Mediaweek Roundup: Big Brother, ABC, News Corp, The Voice + more

• Tech giant payments, Film bonanza, Tom Krause, regional coverage, AFR, and Mike Carlton

Business of Media

Tech giant payments should be based on investment in journalism: Nine

A proposed fund with money paid by Google and Facebook for the use of news reports on their platforms should be split based on investment in journalism, with special provisions for small publishers and media start-ups, Nine chief executive Hugh Marks says, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

Marks said the size of the fund, how it would be split, and who could get a share of the pie would be the key issues in drawing up a code of conduct, a draft of which is to be completed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission by the end of July.

“We say that there should be a split based on respective organisations’ investment in journalism,” Marks said. “If the public policy outcome we’re seeking to protect is an investment in journalism, then that’s the basis on which a split could be determined.”

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Film bonanza bound for South Australia in wake of pandemic

Movie stars and crew members could be granted travel exemptions for Australia to help the country secure up to $900 million worth of new film projects, reports News Corp’s Claire Bickers.

The Department of Home Affairs has not ruled out exemptions for the film industry after the Adelaide Sunday Mail reported a huge spike in demand from overseas filmmakers wanting to film in Australia and South Australia as COVID safe destinations. Australian Border Force commissioner Michael Outram will consider requests “on a case-by-case basis,” a Home Affairs spokesman said.

“Decisions by the ABF Commissioner to grant exemptions for travel to Australia must be balanced against the Government’s intent for imposing travel restrictions to protect the Australian community from the health risks posed by international travellers,” he said.

Anyone granted an exemption would have to quarantine.

Ausfilm boss Kate Marks said there had been more than $900 million worth of new inquiries to film in Australia in just four weeks.

“The level of opportunity that is presenting itself to us, if we can capitalise on it, would be great for the industry,” she said.

South Australia is in the box seat to score a wave of new film and television projects as international studios hunt for safe locations to film amid the coronavirus crisis.

It’s a “huge opportunity” which could bring in new jobs for the hard-hit film sector and inject cash into local businesses.

“We have had a huge increase in the number of inquiries of people looking to shoot in South Australia from international locations,” SA Film Corporation chief executive Kate Croser told The Sunday Mail.

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News Brands

ABC staff in redundancy talks with management

ABC staff are already in consultation with management about the prospect of taking redundancies, with large-scale job cuts at the broadcaster expected in July, reports The Australian’s Leo Shanahan.

ABC staff across the organisation, including journalists in news and current affairs, have begun discussions with management about the prospect of redundancies as they await the final outcome of a large-scale review into staffing at the ABC.

The Australian has previously reported that up to 200 jobs could go as part of the five-year blueprint that was expected to be handed down in March but has since been pushed back to July as a result of COVID-19.

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News Corp Australia sets out shared digital strategy

News Corp national executive editor Peter Blunden has placed reader demand at the centre of the company’s new digital strategy, declaring premium journalism should be “done once, done better and shared across the company”, reports The Australian’s Leo Shanahan.

Following News Corp’s announcement that more than 100 regional and community papers will move to digital-only mastheads, Blunden has declared the “silo model” of journalism over as the company moves to adapt to a streamlined digital model.

In his new role as national executive editor, Blunden – who is also chairman of News Corp’s editorial board, a former editor-in-chief of the Herald Sun and managing director in Victoria – will direct specialist network teams in national news and sport to break and share quality content across mastheads in a bid to grow digital subscriptions.

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Journalist fears decline in regional coverage

ABC foreign correspondent Sean Dorney is fearful of the ongoing decline in coverage of the Pacific region by the Australian media and the vacuum it leaves for an expansionist China, reports The Australian’s Leo Shanahan.

Dorney covered PNG and the Pacific for the ABC for nearly 40 years and is a recipient of the Order of Australia (AO) in this year’s Queen’s birthday honours for “distinguished service to Australia-Papua New Guinea relations, to the broadcast media as a journalist, and as an author”.

Dorney, who in 2018 received the Walkley Award for outstanding contribution to journalism, told The Australian he was concerned with the lack of attention and resources Australian media was paying to its closest neighbours.

A recipient of the AM this year was former editor-in-chief of The Age and founder of The Conversation, Andrew Jaspan.

Jaspan tells of being recruited in London by former Fairfax executive and later ABC managing director Mark Scott.

“I got a call out of the blue from him in 2004. They were interviewing a bunch of editors in London and could I meet him. I didn’t know who he was, but went to London and met him and ended up being offered the job.”

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Tom Krause: Mark Day remembers a man of passion

If there is a single word that can do justice to the life of Tom Krause, who greatly influenced journalism in Australia over the past half century, it is passion, writes Mark Day in The Australian.

He had it in spades. It drove him to excellence in his journalism for newspapers and television; it drove him in his love and commitment to family; it drove him near to obsession in his support of his football heroes, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Sydney Swans, and it occasionally spilled over to become the stuff of newsroom legends.

It was passion that brought Tom to Australia in 1971. He was so radically opposed to the policies of Richard Nixon in Vietnam that he left his job at United Press International and sought exemption from the draft by enlisting as a teacher in New York’s troubled Harlem. He said at the time: “I would rather teach disadvantaged kids in Harlem than shoot Vietnamese kids in a war I hated.”

After hitching a ride on an Israeli freighter, he arrived in Sydney and soon landed a teaching job in western Sydney. But not for long. His fellow American dissenter and migrant James McCausland coaxed him back to journalism at The Australian, where he wrote for the literary section and as a television critic.

He became The Australian’s foreign editor in 1974 – a post he held for a decade. I worked with Tom in this period and saw his prodigious worth ethic; first in each morning to sift the daily cables and often last to leave, ensuring his pages were as up to the minute as possible.

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AFR amends, defends, apologises for criticised cartoon

The Australian Financial Review’s David Rowe has adjusted a cartoon after complaints that it depicted the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg in an anti-Semitic trope, reports the Nine newspaper today.

Both Rowe and the Financial Review apologised for unintended hurt and offence caused by the cartoon published in last weekend’s AFR Weekend.

At the same time, the Financial Review and Rowe maintained that the cartoon contained no Jewish references, even though they understood why some readers had interpreted the imagery differently.

Frydenberg said on Sky news Monday night that Rowe was a brilliant cartoonist, that he accepted the cartoonist’s explanation and that “we all move on”.

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Controversy surrounds Mike Carlton’s honour in Queen’s Birthday list

Liberal MPs are demanding a review of the Governor-General’s honours and awards process after former columnist and radio host Mike Carlton was recognised despite a history of abusive tweets towards women and Jews, reports News Corp’s Sharri Markson.

Carlton, who supports Australia becoming a republic, received an AM in the Queen’s Birthday 2020 honours list yesterday for significant services to print and broadcast media and naval history.

He resigned from his longstanding role as a columnist at The Sydney Morning Herald in 2014 after Fairfax asked him to apologise for sending abusive emails and tweets to Jewish readers where he called them ‘Jewish bigot’, ‘pissant’ and ‘Likudnik’.

But his abuse continued in his retirement where he has used sexualised and violent language in tweets about women.

Despite Carlton’s well-publicised history of abuse towards Jews and women, ABC breakfast host Michael Rowland and Chair of Australian Republic Movement Peter FitzSimons both publicly commended Carlton for his honour.

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Boy George, Kelly Rowland filming The Voice remotely due to COVID-19

In just a matter of weeks The Voice Australia contestants have gone from video calls with their family to video calls with some of the biggest names in music, reports The Age’s Broede Carmody.

International pop stars Boy George and Kelly Rowland have been forced to film new episodes of the series remotely due to COVID-19 travel restrictions preventing them from entering Australia.

The pair have started mentoring artists via Facetime and a real-time satellite feed from studios in London and Los Angeles respectively will be used for judging upcoming live performances.

The Voice‘s executive producer, Leigh Aramberri, said the show’s set had also been completely rebuilt to adhere to government guidelines. Initial episodes of The Voice were shot in Sydney earlier this year prior to widespread stay-at-home orders but production had been suspended by March due to the global health crisis.

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“Big Brother is as mischievous as ever!” exec producer tells TV Tonight

Big Brother is as mischievous as ever! Episode One hits off with a secret mission,” Big Brother executive producer Amelia Fisk tells TV Tonight.

“I feel like we’ve taken the best parts and put it into a jam-packed, entertaining 90 minutes of television.

“Every episode there are outcomes and pace. It’s got everything that we love about Big Brother which is hilarious house tasks and soap opera that comes from living within a bunch of strangers. But then there’s a new injection of game where they have to vote themselves out.”

Big Brother 2020 has shaken up a 20 year format under Fisk, whose work on Australian Survivor has been a hit with fans and Network 10.

Now Seven is hoping a rebooted version of the Dutch-created show will spruce up its schedule. Fisk, who worked on two seasons of the UK and one of the Australian series, has looked to more recent versions for inspiration.

This sees fundamental changes including a highly-produced series, no live eviction shows with audience voting (the grand final will return both), and housemates who vote to evict their own. Like Survivor, each episode entails a challenge and nominations ceremony including the first.

[Read more]

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