Mediaweek Roundup: AAP newswire, Dylan Voller, Facebook, AFL + more

• Hollywood, NewsLocal, Kate Kendall, and Matty Johns

Business of Media

Peter Tonagh-led consortium strikes as bidders circle AAP newswire

A consortium led by former News Corp Australia and Foxtel boss Peter Tonagh is understood to have submitted its bid for AAP newswire, which is being considered by the 85-year-old media group’s board, as others continue to circle, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich.

A representative from Australia’s biggest media union MEAA has told AAP staff that the “Tonagh-fronted consortium has formally submitted its bid, which is being considered by the board”.

“As it stands the bid is for the Newswire only, although Medianet could still potentially be involved,” the MEAA representative said in an email, seen by The Australian, on Monday.

[Read more]

Hollywood eyeing off Australia for post COVID film bonanza

Hollywood movie giants are eyeing off Australia as a COVID-safe location to film after the country’s so-far ­successful efforts to tackle the disease, giving it a major opportunity to kickstart the hibernating industry once restrictions are lifted, reports News Corp’s Matthew Killoran.

But a cash injection and an almost doubling of tax offsets for production companies are needed to secure the opportunities, according to Aussie production company Village Roadshow.

The Federal Government is in early stages of developing plans to restart the Aussie ­entertainment industry, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison in talks with industry figures over the weekend.

It is understood the PM is keen to get the film industry, which employs about 3000 people in Queensland, up and running again and that the Government is investigating ways to help kickstart it.

Australia is in the front row to get US and Hollywood productions, given its advanced state in combating the virus.

Morrison said he had spoken with entertainment ­industry representatives and indicated that some form of stimulus was in the works.

“We’re looking into the film industry and we want to ensure that we’re getting those sectors of the economy moving again as soon as they can.”

Village Roadshow chief executive Clark Kirby said it was critical the Government increased the location tax offset from 16.5 per cent to 30 per cent to ensure that when international productions were able to restart Australia would be competitive in securing the work.

[Read more]

News Brands

Dylan Voller: Media companies lose Facebook defamation ruling

A court ruling has paved the way for anyone with a Facebook page – including businesses, politicians and the courts – to be sued over defamatory comments left by others, a coalition of the nation’s largest media companies said, reports The Australian’s Deborah Cornwall.

The judgment, made in the NSW Court of Appeal on Monday, came after The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, Centralian Advocate and Sky News Australia tried to overturn a NSW Supreme Court ruling in June that found the organisations were the responsible “publishers” of all public posts on their Facebook pages.

The ruling followed a preliminary skirmish in a world-first defamation action against the media outlets by Dylan Voller, a former inmate of the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in the Northern Territory, over 10 allegedly defamatory comments posted by third parties on their Facebook pages. Voller, whose abuse at the centre made international headlines and sparked a royal commission in 2016, says the posts included claims he “savagely” assaulted a Salvation Army worker who visited him in detention, leaving him “blinded in one eye and deaf in one ear”.

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Digital-only newspapers ‘a proven strategy’ says NewsLocal publisher

The architect of several News Corp digital publications, NewsLocal publisher John McGourty, will lead the reshaping of many other titles and says the strategy has achieved proven results for community news, reports The Australian’s David Ross.

The move to cease printing many of News Corp’s regional and community newspapers in a move to a digital-only model marks a turning point for the business.

Several digital-only news sites have been launched by News Corp in recent years, which according to McGourty point the way for how the model will work for other sites.

“There’s a lot of talk out there about us deserting community, all we’re doing is transitioning from one platform to another,” McGourty said.

“Our audience is moving online rapidly, we are responding.”

[Read more]

Facebook employees stage virtual walkout to protest Trump posts

Dozens of Facebook employees, in rare public criticism on Monday of their own company, protested executives’ decision not to do anything about inflammatory posts that President Trump had placed on the giant social media platform over the past week, reports The New York Times.

The employees, who said they refused to work in order to show their support for demonstrators across the country, added an automated message to their digital profiles and email responses saying that they were out of the office in a show of protest.

The protest group – conducting a virtual “walkout” of sorts since most Facebook employees are working from home because of the coronavirus pandemic – was one of a number of clusters of employees pressing Facebook executives to take a tougher stand on Trump’s posts.

[Read more]

Television

Actor Kate Kendall steps up as Neighbours producer

Former Neighbours actor Kate Kendall will become a producer on the 10 Peach soap, reports TV Tonight.

She steps in for series producer Natalie Lynch who begins maternity leave.

Kendall has already been directing for the series, including the much-lauded Sonya/Toadie episode with Eve Morey’s farewell.

She first joined Neighbours in 2013 playing Lauren Turner, enjoying a five year run, but developed her TV directing skills on the Fremantle soap.

“They were finishing up with the character of Lauren, so in the last six months while I was acting, I started to direct little scenes here and there,” she tells TV Tonight.

“I’ve always been interested in storytelling, no matter from what perspective, whether it was directing or acting.

“I hadn’t really done it with the cameras. I’d told stories through one-woman shows and stuff like that. But I didn’t know the technical, so it was really helpful to have a group of people who support you, and teach you everything they know.”

[Read more]

Sports Media

Matthew Johns apologises over Hitler joke amid cardboard cut-out outrage

The NRL will review the screening process for its ‘Fans in the Stand’ initiative after it was revealed the face of an English serial killer appeared at Campbelltown, reports AAP.

Dr Harold Shipman was one of hundreds of faces placed in venues this weekend, after a joke from one fan got through the scanning process.

It comes as Matthew Johns and Fox Sports have apologised for an on-air comedy sketch that depicted Adolf Hitler in the crowd at a match on Sunday. Hitler’s face was not in the crowd of any game and would never have passed the NRL’s vetting process, but others did.

“We are reviewing the vetting process for Fan In The Stand,” an NRL spokesman said.

“The weekend was a trial run and trials are designed to iron out issues.” Under the NRL initiative, images of fans are placed on corflute cutouts at their selected stadiums until crowds return, when the displays will be returned to the supporters.

It comes as Johns apologised for Sunday night’s ill-advised on-air gag, that showed Hitler next to Nine presenter Richard Wilkins in the crowd.

“The segment on my Fox League show on Sunday in which we showed an image of Hitler in crowd cut outs was in poor taste and completely inappropriate,” Johns said.

“I know Fox Sports has apologised but I need to personally step up to this. “I know how raw and devastating those events remain for so many people and families.

“I acknowledge it was wrong and I apologise to our viewers and to everyone in the community who is rightly concerned and offended by the segment.”

[Read more]

AFL star Wingard imposes media ban in wake of US protests coverage

Hawthorn star Chad Wingard says he will continue to fight to stamp out racism in Australia as he placed a temporary media ban on himself citing “mainstream media” coverage of protests across the US, reports News Corp’s Chris Cavanagh.

Wingard made a series of posts on Instagram and Twitter on Monday, expressing his frustration at coverage of the events in the US after the death of George Floyd at the hands of police.

He also hit out at suggestions that racism wasn’t a big issue in Australia.

Wingard is a proud Indigenous Australian, with his father Trevor part of the Kaurna people who hail from the Adelaide Plains in South Australia.

“This happens here as well,” Wingard posted, along with a video of the death of Aboriginal man David Dungay Jr while in police custody in New South Wales in 2015.

Wingard went on to post photos of peaceful protests in the United States, writing “What Australian mainstream media forget to show, only show you the negative riots”.

The 26-year-old then tweeted: “I don’t trust our media anymore! Until things change I won’t be doing any interviews I’m not contracted to do!”

[Read more]

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