Mediaweek Roundup: Diversity Report, School Road Publishing, SBS + more

Sido Kitchin

Zenith Australia, Brisbane radio milestones, Basil Zempilas, Peter V’landys and ABC

Business of Media

Zenith Australia promotes Elizabeth Baker to national head of investment role

Zenith Australia CEO, Nickie Scriven, has appointed Elizabeth Baker (pictured) to the role of national head of investment, moving from her existing responsibilities as Sydney head of investment.

Baker commences in her new role, effective immediately and will report directly into Scriven. “Lizzie has been with Zenith for 17 years and has been instrumental in the development of our agency’s investment product and expertise. I am delighted to welcome her to our national executive team, and I look forward to her ongoing contributions to Zenith, delivering unmatched value and growth to our clients,” Scriven said.

On her appointment, Baker said: “In an ever-changing media environment, I look forward to the challenge of continuing to find, in collaboration with our media partners, smarter and more innovative ways to deliver the best investment outcomes for our clients.

“I am thrilled to take on this national role. It will be a privilege to lead what is an exceptionally-talented investment team across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.”

Baker replaces Anthony Ellis, who has taken on the broader position of managing director of Publicis Groupe’s investment arm, Publicis Media Exchange ANZ.

A new head of investment in Zenith Sydney will be announced shortly.


From the ashes of Bauer NZ a new publisher reveals new brands

New Bauer Media owner Mercury Capital had been planning to sell some of its recently closed titles after the surprise shut-down earlier this year. It recently announced the sale of Metro and North & South. It is also resuming publishing of some of its key titles.

However former key Bauer New Zealand staff, including former CEO Paul Dykzeul, are behind the resurgence of magazines in the country with more detail being released about the launch of the magazine business School Road Publishing.

See also:
Ex-Bauer boss and award-winning magazine editor believe in print
• New media venture School Road Publishing launching four titles

New Zealand’s newest independent media company, has announced four new local magazine brands helmed by some of the country’s most-experienced magazine editors.

The new titles, launching from October, are:

• Haven, edited by Vanessa Marshall
• Thrive, edited by Wendyl Nissen
• Scout, edited by Sarah-Kate Lynch
• Woman, edited by School Road Publishing group publisher Sido Kitchin

“I’m incredibly proud of this line-up of exceptional editors. These wonderful women bring remarkable talent, experience, confidence and creativity to this new publishing venture,” says Kitchin. “This great collective of editors all have distinct styles, but Sarah-Kate, Wendyl and Vanessa share an exceptional writing gift and an innate understanding and ability to connect with readers through the power of great storytelling.”

Photo L-R: School Road Publishing editorial team – Wendyl Nissen, Vanessa Marshall, Sido Kitchin and Sarah-Kate Lynch

The company has released details about its four new titles:


Kitchin will take the helm of Woman, a fortnightly print and digital magazine she describes as “about New Zealand women, for New Zealand women, by New Zealand women”.

“Wonderful everyday Kiwi women love their magazine fix, but the closure of so many titles this year has completely disrupted the magazine landscape. Our world has changed dramatically in 2020, and so has what’s most important to New Zealand women, so it’s my privilege to respond with a fresh magazine that speaks to them about what’s really driving them today. Woman will be inspirational but real, with a proudly Kiwi heart and soul.

“I am excited that as well as beautiful print editions, we will reach a whole new audience through our digital platforms from launch.”


Haven is a new monthly home and living magazine which will be edited by Vanessa Marshall, who joins School Road Publishing from Bauer Media’s Nadia magazine, where she was editor for three years. An established lifestyle journalist with a passion for interiors, food and lifestyle content, she brings close to 20 years’ experience across significant brands. For more than a decade she was lifestyle editor, then director of Woman’s Day and New Zealand Woman’s Weekly before becoming editor of premium food title, Dish.

“I am thrilled to launch Haven magazine, a brand-new home title for a brand-new world. With many of us spending more time at home than ever, our homes are our safe haven from the challenges we face beyond our front doors.”

Packed full of inspirational and achievable interiors advice, Haven is a home and decorating magazine that will help make your dream home a reality. With a focus on affordable products, DIY projects, relatable interiors, family entertaining and easy gardening ideas, Haven’s mission is to bring great design to the masses.


Wellness title Thrive will be edited by Wendyl Nissen, a journalist, broadcaster and acclaimed magazine editor who is the author of 10 books, mostly about living a chemical-free, wholesome and back-to-basics lifestyle. The former editor of Australian Woman’s Weekly, New Zealand Woman’s Weekly and Woman’s Day gave up her corporate life 20 years ago and now happily lives in the Hokianga with her husband, 18 chickens, two dogs and two stray cats.

“A return to a simple life is something I have been passionate about for more than 20 years,” says Nissen. “Thrive is a nurturing and inspirational monthly wellness magazine for anyone who believes that caring for ourselves and others, living healthily and sustainably and getting back to basics is a way of life they want to embrace. In a world which can be full of stress and confusion, Thrive will be a guide to a much less complicated and more fulfilling life.”


Helming monthly domestic travel magazine Scout is Sarah-Kate Lynch, who has published 12 best-selling books, edited the New Zealand Woman’s Weekly, won awards for her columns and TV shows and spent the last nine years as travel editor of Woman’s Day.

“I was born with itchy feet and have jumped at every chance my whole life to go here, there and anywhere – but right now there’s nowhere I’d rather be than in Aotearoa. To edit a travel magazine focusing on everything our own glorious backyard has to offer? What a gift. I can’t wait to get amongst it,” says Lynch.  “What we have right on our doorstep in New Zealand is 268,021 square kilometres of beautiful beaches, mountains, lakes, rivers, towns, cities, bush walks, bike tracks, train journeys, national parks and gorgeous islands. Whether you’re parked in your armchair or packing your bags, Scout will take you there.”

News Brands

Racing boss Peter V’landys wins access to ABC emails in defamation trial

Secret correspondence between senior ABC 7.30 staffers about an exposé on animal cruelty against former racehorses will be released to NSW racing boss Peter V’landys after a judge rejected the public broadcaster’s bid to keep the documents under lock and key, reports The Australian’s Kieran Gair.

In a major victory for V’landys, Federal Court Justice Michael Wigney on Monday ordered the ABC to hand over internal correspondence between journalists who were involved in the “production and publication” of the confronting exposé, ‘The Final Race’.

V’landys, the chief executive of Racing NSW and Australian Rugby League Commission chairman, is suing the ABC and journalist Caro Meldrum-Hanna for defamation in the Federal Court over the segment which aired on 7.30 last year.

The matter returns to court in September.

[Read more]

Diversity: Australian media is still living in White Australia

Few would argue that Australian media does well at representing cultural diversity. Certainly not in a way you’d expect when we are a multicultural society, often trumpeted as the most successful of its kind in the world, writes columnist Tim Soutphommasane in The Sydney Morning Herald.

Now, for the first time, we have the numbers that show us just how representative – or rather, unrepresentative – the state of play is.

In our report, Who Gets to Tell Australian Stories?, we gathered data to provide the first comprehensive picture of who tells and produces stories in Australian television news and current affairs. We examined about 19,000 news and current affairs items broadcast on free to air television during two weeks in June 2019.

In their frequency of appearance on screen, we found that more than 75 per cent of presenters, commentators and reporters have an Anglo-Celtic background. While about 18 per cent have a European background, only 6 per cent of those on screen have an Indigenous or non-European background. Within our sample, none of the commercial networks had more than 5 per cent of presenters, commentators and reporters who have a non-European background.

[Read more]

Tim Soutphommasane is a professor at the University of Sydney and a former Race Discrimination Commissioner. He is a co-author of the Who Gets to Tell Australian Stories? report initiated by Media Diversity Australia.

ABC response to “Who Gets to Tell Australian Stories?” report

The ABC has welcomed the release of the “Who Gets to Tell Australian Stories?” report into cultural diversity in television news and published this response:

The findings broadly reflect the results of our own tracking and show that, while we’re making good progress in how we reflect the diversity of the Australian community, we can certainly do better.

As the national broadcaster, the ABC has a responsibility to represent all Australians in our content and services and in our workforce. Ensuring we look and sound like contemporary Australia in all we do is central to our role. A broad range of perspectives, people and content makes us stronger, more creative and better able to engage with Australia’s many communities.

The ABC’s Diversity & Inclusion Plan 2019-22, which complements the key content priorities in the Content Plan, sets out our vision for diversity and inclusion and is centred around three strategic goals:

• Recruiting, developing and retaining a diverse workforce
• Fostering an inclusive, collaborative and accountable workplace culture
• Reflecting and representing the diversity of the Australian community in our content and the services we provide

As of July, our workforce representation of Indigenous employees was 2.9%; culturally diverse content makers 9.6%; culturally diverse executives 8.3%; and employees with disability 4.9%. More information on our goals for Indigenous representation are in the Elevate Reconciliation Action Plan 2019-2022 (Elevate RAP).

Achievements over the past year include:

• Overhauling our recruitment processes to enhance our ability to recruit for diversity Introducing compulsory online cultural awareness training
• Launching an Indigenous recruitment strategy, which aims to bring 20 new and prominent Indigenous roles into the ABC
• Partnering with First Languages Australia to offer Indigenous language lessons to enable us to embed Indigenous language in our work
• Establishing two new ABC Employee Network Groups – ABC Belong (focussing on Cultural Diversity) and ABC Inclusive (focusing on employees with disability) and continuing to support ABC Pride (focusing on LGBTQI+ inclusivity)
• Launching training in relation to both Disability Awareness and LGBTQI+ awareness, which will be made part of our induction program

We’ve also just announced a series of staff forums, led by managing director David Anderson, to get direct input from our people about the ABC’s efforts to promote diversity so far and how we can accelerate it.

[Read more]

TV news directors respond to diversity report

The response from various television news directors have been collected on the Media Watch website.

Craig Macpherson, Seven

We are very aware of who our audiences are and the makeup of our workforce. Improving diversity is an ongoing challenge but this report does nothing to help the industry as a whole. It’s an exhaustive deep dive into names on a two week roster with shallow outcomes. It does little in looking at the supply system of prospective employees from all walks of life. There is a scant acknowledgment in the report that Free To Air TV employers simply aren’t hiring culturally diverse employees because they’re not applying.

Darren Wick, Nine

We all acknowledge that diversity in all media/newsrooms – not just television – is a challenge both in Australia and globally. However, I don’t think simply counting surnames on TV is an effective way of addressing the issue or helps in finding practical solutions to these challenges.

This report has clear errors / ignores the significant contribution of someone like Brooke Boney on Today, where she is one of four main hosts on the desk, instead simply listing her daily and regular contribution on the program at somewhere between 0.1 and 0 percent. This is not reflective of the real changes and proactive appointments we have been making in improving diversity in our television business.

Ross Dagan, 10

We are committed to diversity on and off-screen and have a number of initiatives in place to continue and grow diversity representation across our business.

We also believe that diversity goes beyond just ethnicity but also includes a balance of gender, age, geography, economic factors and physical ability.

While we acknowledge that more needs to be done when it comes to diversity, we are working to ensure better representation on and off-screen across these categories.

In the last year alone, we’ve launched three distinct university scholarships that better enable students from diverse or disadvantaged backgrounds to embark on a pathway into our newsrooms.

Jim Carroll, SBS

We’re pleased the report reinforces SBS’s leading role in including and representing the diversity of Australia across our news and current affairs. SBS is unique in the Australian media, reflecting the diversity of Australia through the people presenting and telling stories, as well as through the stories we cover.

National Indigenous Television (NITV) – part of the SBS network – was not included in the report but plays a critical role in ensuring First Nations people are front and centre of coverage exploring issues with an Indigenous lens, and bringing those stories to a wider audience.

Currently, all hosts of SBS and NITV news programs are culturally diverse or Indigenous.

We’re focused on providing news and current affairs that is inclusive of contemporary Australia, that understands and reflects the nuances that make up our nation’s diversity, and in doing so, providing all Australians with distinctive and trusted news and current affairs, in service of our charter.

[Read more]


Brisbane radio milestones for Nine’s 4BC and SCA’s Triple M

There were two significant milestones at the end of last week in Brisbane radio. One was a 40th birthday and the other an incredible 90th anniversary.

Brisbane Triple M launched into the Brisbane market 40 years ago and it follows other 40th anniversaries for commercial FM radio stations from Perth to Sydney and Melbourne. The first song on 4MMM was The Little River Band’s Cool Change. On Seven News last week current Triple M Brisbane breakfast host Marto recalled being a schoolboy who listened to the new station in morning on his way to class.

An early FM 104 promotion involved asking listeners to bring in their old AM receivers. They would be given a new radio and then the old one would be smashed live on air. The station became so successful it later attracted a bid from Christopher Skase who paid $50m for the licence and premises. The Brisbane station also introduced the annual Sky Show which also was a successful event in other markets.

The other radio milestone in the market was the 90th birthday of Brisbane’s first commercial radio station 4BC. The station went to air on August 16, 1930. Interesting it was launched by a city retailer who later went on to be Lord Mayor of Brisbane – John Beals Chandler.

4BC’s new owner Nine Radio has recently launched dedicated Brisbane breakfast and drive shows with Neil Breen and Scott Emerson after the station previously featured all content networked from its Sydney sister station 4BC.

Tom Malone and Basil Zempilas agree 6PR host will quit if elected Lord Mayor

The hotly-contested race to be the next Lord Mayor of Perth has so far attracted six candidates. Three of them have media backgrounds, but none are as high profile as 6PR breakfast host and Seven sports presenter Basil Zempilas.

Yesterday Zempilas revealed to The West Australian that he would stand down from his radio role if elected. If Zempilas is appointed Lord Mayor it means that Nine radio boss Tom Malone would be faced with finding yet another new breakfast combination after recent breakfast changes at Nine’s other AM news stations 3AW, 2GB and 4BC.

Zempilas said: “Tom Malone and I both agree that should I be successful, talkback radio and the Lord Mayor’s role are probably not a perfect fit together.”

However Zempilas did not rule out returning to radio, perhaps returning to FM radio that was not a talkback station.

He added that he will be continuing his work with Seven.

The other candidates for lord mayor include former ABC journalist Di Bain and a casual 6PR presenter Mark Gibson.


Buckle up as SBS commissions new heist series The Unusual Suspects

SBS has announced the award-winning creative team behind its new original Australian fiction commission The Unusual Suspects, as pre-production commences in Sydney.

Produced by Aquarius Films for SBS and About Premium Content, with major production investment from Screen Australia in association with Screen NSW, the four-part heist caper is a fun, yet gripping story about female friendship and a celebration of Filipino culture and community.

Set in Sydney’s glamorous Eastern suburbs, this tale of female empowerment will be led by a female cast – to be announced in coming weeks – and produced by award-winning filmmaking duo Angie Fielder and Polly Staniford (whose recent credits include Lion, nominated for six Academy Awards and four Golden Globe Awards as well as Berlin Syndrome, Dirt Music, The Other Guy and The Unlisted).

When a $10 million necklace is stolen from self-made Filipina businesswoman Roxanne Waters’ home during her twins’ extravagant birthday party, the ensuing police investigation threatens to expose cracks in Vaucluse’s sparkling façade, shedding a light on hidden rivalries, shady business deals and forbidden affairs.

The team bringing the series to life include Emmy Award-winning Natalie Bailey (Retrograde, Run, Avenue 5, The Thick of It) and Melvin Montalban (Rope Burn, Cupid), as directors, associate producer and co-writer Vonne Patiag (Halal Gurls) and writers Jessica Redenbach (Spirited, Rush) and Roger Monk (Nowhere Boys, The Secret Life of Us).

Best known for his short films, music videos and commercials, The Unusual Suspects marks Montalban’s television directorial debut alongside Bailey, whose career spans 25 years both as a performer and behind the lens.

Melvin Montalban said: “To be working and learning under experienced helmer Natalie Bailey is a wonderful opportunity. And, as a Filipino-Australian, to direct a largely Filipino cast is an equally exciting prospect. I can’t wait for the opportunity to share the experience of Filipino domestic workers in a heartfelt and genre-bending way.”

Natalie Bailey said: “I’m thrilled to be working back in Australia with Aquarius and SBS, the most forward-thinking channel in Australia. It is a rare opportunity to direct a female-centred series, let alone one with such a dynamic heist at its core. The Unusual Suspects explores the bonds of female friendship and experience while cutting to the heart of some of Australia’s ethical blind spots – wealth disparity and the exploitation of immigrant workers.”

Producers, Angie Fielder and Polly Staniford, said: “The Unusual Suspects is a female friendship story about a group of women from different walks of life wrapped up in a wildly entertaining heist caper with an important message at its heart. This is Aquarius’ first collaboration with SBS and we are extremely excited to be moving into the production phase with such a strong creative team.”

SBS director of television and online content Marshall Heald said: “The Unusual Suspects uses the hook of a heist genre to unpack the complex relationships between a diverse group of women. SBS has a proud history of producing original and exceptional drama and this latest chapter marks our first foray into dramedy. The talented creative collective behind this exciting new commission will ensure The Unusual Suspects entertains and enthrals whilst telling a story that explores a different facet of the Australian multicultural experience with female friendship at its core.”

The Unusual Suspects is an Aquarius Films production for SBS with major production investment from Screen Australia in association with Screen NSW. The series is financed with support from Cutting Edge. International distribution managed by About Premium Content.

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