The Australian’s editor-in-chief Paul “Boris” Whittaker will take the helm at Sky News in a shuffle of News Corp’s editors. Whittaker will replace Angelos Frangopoulos as CEO of Australian News Channel, who is moving to a similar role at Sky News Arabia.
Whittaker, who replaced Chris Mitchell in the top job at the Oz in 2015, will inherit a network — now fully owned by News Corp — that has been increasingly right-leaning in its “after dark” commentary, culminating in the disastrous interview with far-right nationalist Blair Cottrell earlier this year.
After Cottrell appeared on The Adam Giles Show, Frangopoulos quickly apologised and reshuffled the station’s management, introducing a new position for news director Greg Byrnes of program director.
That followed an interview on Outsiders — hosted by Rowan Dean and Ross Cameron — in which Senator David Leyonhjelm repeated offensive remarks he’d made about his senate colleague Sarah Hanson-Young, for which she is now suing him. Sky later apologised for airing those comments and for repeating them in an on-screen strap.
Whittaker will be replaced by the Daily Telegraph’s editor Chris Dore, following a similar career path — Whittaker was editor of the Tele for five years before taking the job at the Oz.
Ben English, currently the editor of the Gold Coast Bulletin — another News Corp daily — will replace Dore at the Tele. Rachel Hancock, currently deputy editor at Brisbane’s Courier Mail and previously editor of News Corp’s NT News will take the Bulletin gig.
Meanwhile in the US, another Murdoch company, 21st Century Fox, has been playing swapsies with the Trump administration.
Hope Hicks, Donald Trump’s old head of communications, is joining Fox as a communications executive. Bill Shine, formerly an executive at Fox News (and close ally of the late, disgraced Roger Ailes) was recently made White House communication chief.
Hicks will join Fox next year after it has settled its US$71 billion deal with Disney. The deal will see Fox News remain a main asset, along with its fleet of pro-Trump hosts such as Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity.
Hicks’ closeness to Trump will add to the relationship Murdoch has cultivated with the President via personal phone calls and the adulation of Fox News and its hosts.