Laura Murphy-Oates

The winners are in for the mid-year Walkley Awards, Kyle Sandilands plays Judge Judy, no union for BuzzFeed, plus other media tidbits from the day.

Walkley wins. SBS journalist Laura Murphy-Oates has been named Young Australian Journalist of the Year at the mid-year Walkley Awards. Murphy-Oates also won awards in the longform feature or special, and the public service journalism categories. Jane Caro won the award for women’s leadership in media, over other nominees Tracey Spicer, Kate McClymont, Lorna Knowles, Jo Puccini and Jeannette Francis.

Trial by Kyle. The Ten Network is giving Kyle Sandilands another go, nearly 10 years after it sacked him as an Australian Idol judge. The shock jock, best known for being incredibly offensive, will be doing a one-off pilot of a Judge Judy-style program called Trial by Kyle, he told listeners of his radio show yesterday. People will come on the show with various disputes that he will rule on.

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The confirmation follows reports of a panel show hosted by disgraced Senator Sam Dastyari and Sydney socialite/PR queen Roxy Jacenko, also to be piloted by Ten, about the week’s scandals.

Cliff Richard wins privacy case. Sir Cliff Richard has won a privacy case against the BBC, over a report that the singer was being investigated by police over child sexual assault claims. Richard sued the broadcaster for invasion of privacy when it reported his name without going to him for comment so it could beat any rivals to the story.

Yesterday, a court awarded Richard £210,000 for the breach of his privacy, with further damages still to be assessed. The court said the BBC’s coverage, which included flying a helicopter over Richard’s home, had been “somewhat sensationalist”. The court found that suspects in police investigations had a right to privacy, and that the BBC’s decision to name Richard prompted his decision.

The BBC said it was a considering an appeal, but news director Fran Unsworth said there was a significant principle at stake:

This judgment creates new case law and represents a dramatic shift against press freedom and the long-standing ability of journalists to report on police investigations, which in some cases has led to further complainants coming forward. This impacts not just the BBC, but every media organisation…

It means police investigations, and searches of people’s homes, could go unreported and unscrutinised. It will make it harder to scrutinise the conduct of the police and we fear it will undermine the wider principle of the public’s right to know. It will put decision-making in the hands of the police.

UK viewers switch to streaming. UK media regulator Ofcom has revealed there’s been a “major shift in the UK’s viewing habits”, as viewers moved to new digital services. A new edition of the Media Nations report has found that the number of UK subscriptions to the three largest streaming services — Netflix, Amazon Prime and Sky’s Now TV — hit 15.4 million in the first quarter of this year, exceeding for the first time the number of pay TV subscriptions of 15.1 million (on Sky, Virgin Media BT and other services). Ofcom said that more than 39% of UK homes subscribe to at least one on-demand service, so there must be some overlap. –– Glenn Dyer

No union for BuzzFeed. Staff at BuzzFeed UK have voted against unionising in a secret ballot. A staff-led push in November 2016, to unionise was strongly opposed by BuzzFeed management. There were heavy redundancies in the London and US newsrooms in the months following, and the vote yesterday went against unionising 22-4.

Glenn Dyer’s TV Ratings. A Wednesday night in winter on Australian TV is not a pretty sight, especially when the networks have run out of ideas and fallen back on the hardy staples of confected reality. That was the night on Seven with Single Wives debuting. After last night’s ratings, the debut episode might be the last — 571,000 national viewers , 375,000 in the metros and 196,000 in the regions.

Remember, it was a year ago when Seven brought us the equally appalling Yummy Mummies which they kept in the schedule for two and a half weeks until its metro audience slid to just 289,000 and shunted it off to 9.30pm and then death. Is Single Wives the most appalling Australian TV program of 2018 like Yummy Mummies was for 2017? Well, Nine’s Love Island would beg to differ. Read the rest on the Crikey website.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief
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