Mediaweek Roundup: Nine, News Corp, Steve Dunleavy, Stan + more

• Facebook, AFP Raids, 2GB, Logies, AFL, and Super Netball

Business of Media

Nine ends Factiva deal for Australian Financial Review articles

The Australian Financial Review will cut ties with News Corp-owned content licensing business Dow Jones Factiva after contract negotiations broke down, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

Nine decided to terminate the contract following six months of discussions that began after the December merger between Nine and Fairfax Media.

Financial Review content will remain available on Factiva until the current contract finishes at the end of 2019.

“We will no longer be supplying content from The Australian Financial Review to Dow Jones Factiva after failing to agree a model that can support sustainable investment in public-interest journalism,” Nine director of subscriptions and growth David Eisman said.

The Australian Financial Review is focused on a subscription business model designed to support its award-winning journalism. The current relationship with Factiva is inhibiting that approach, and therefore is not in the long-term interests of our readers.”

Nine’s other major mastheads, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, will continue dealing with Factiva.

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AACTA used banned auditor in poll that cost Jacoby board seat

The nation’s peak screen awards body used a deregistered auditor to preside over a ballot in which a high-profile critic was voted off its board, reports The Australian’s Rosemary Neill.

In this month’s election, Anita Jacoby, whose credits include 60 Minutes and The Gruen Transfer, lost her board role with the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts, which runs a local version of the Oscars.

AACTA admits it inadvertently engaged deregistered Victorian auditor Philip James Dowsley as its returning officer for the recent board election, and is investigating possible breaches of its rules.

AACTA members who voted in last month’s board poll were told to post or email their votes to Dowsley, despite the fact his auditor registration had been cancelled.

Jacoby lost the election, which was won by Jo Smith, a cinema operator and film industry lobbyist.

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News Brands

Tabloid trailblazer Steve Dunleavy signs off on final scoop

Steve Dunleavy, the hard-hitting, hard-drinking Australian who brought tabloid television journalism to America, has died at 81, leaving his colleagues to recount the stories that created a legend, reports Mark Day in The Australian.

With his feisty persona, Australian accent and impossibly coiffured hair, Dunleavy, who left school at 14 to be educated in the dog-eat-dog world of 1960s Sydney newspapers, became a household name in the US long before Greg Norman, Paul Hogan’s Crocodile Dundee and Steve Irwin.

After landing in New York with $7 in his pocket, he was hired by Rupert Murdoch to write for the National Star and New York Post, before shooting to fame as a “whatever it takes” reporter for A Current Affair on the fledgling Fox network in the 1980s.

Such is the stuff of legends. They don’t make reporters like Dunleavy any more, and if they did, he would be howled down for his politically incorrect antics.

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Mark Day on friend and colleague Steve Dunleavy: toast to a headline act

Steven Francis Patrick Aloysius Dunleavy is dead, aged 81. How he managed to achieve such an age is beyond comprehension, especially by physicians, given that he consumed enough vodka to float the Russian Federation, writes Mark Day in The Australian.

Yet alcohol was but a small part Steve Dunleavy’s extraordinary life as a journalist beyond peer. He began his career at Sydney’s Daily Mirror in 1952 and retired from the New York Post in 2008. His death at his home on Long Island on Monday is a full point to the golden age of newspapers.

No one on this planet epitomised the hard-drinking, hard-driving, relentless, scoop! scoop! scoop! news reporter from the old school as did Dunleavy. He inspired the mad reporter played by Robert Downey Jr in Oliver Stone’s movie Natural Born Killers and was inducted last year into Australia’s Media Hall of Fame.

Rupert Murdoch yesterday acknowledged Dunleavy’s contribution, describing him as “one of the greatest reporters of all time”.

Dunleavy learned his trade in Sydney in the 1950s. He began work at the Mirror in the same year Murdoch inherited Adelaide’s The News.

Dunleavy left Sydney before Murdoch took over the Mirror in 1960. He headed for a life of adventure, starting in Hong Kong. His exploits there and in Tokyo mostly involved drink, women, police and, ultimately, immigration authorities.

He beat a tactical retreat to London, via Spain, and then to New York, where he arrived destitute in 1966. He worked fill-in shifts for United Press International before being hired for the News Limited New York bureau.

It was there that I met him in March 1968, the start of a 51-year friendship. Most of our work involved writing North American news with an Australian slant for Murdoch’s Australian papers, but that was not enough for Steve. He sought to make his own news.

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Photos: New York Post

Overhaul defamation laws after odd Facebook ruling

A landmark ruling by NSW Supreme Court judge Stephen Rothman has up-ended fundamental principles of defamation law, leaving Australia out of step with other English-speaking democracies, comments an editorial in The Australian.

Media companies, such as News Corp Australia, publisher of The Australian, will now be held legally responsible as the first, primary and, as the judge says, the “only” publisher of random posts by readers on their public Facebook pages. As most people on the planet know, Facebook is a huge, very profitable, independent and ubiquitous social media platform that controls its vast domain, with rules of service and protected proprietary technology. It’s a legal decision that is as novel as it is unexpected, prompting Australia’s media companies to seek urgent reforms to defamation laws.

Our parent company is carefully reviewing this troubling judgment, whose ramifications already seem profound and unprecedented, with a view to an appeal. These are difficult days for promoting the public’s right to know and for the people who are dedicated to the news business.

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Media chiefs demand new laws to protect journalists from police raids

The nation’s biggest news organisations will mount a united campaign for sweeping legal changes to protect press freedom after a political storm over raids on journalists, setting out four new defences for those who reveal information in the public interest, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s David Crowe.

The new safeguards will be put forward on Wednesday after Nine, the ABC and News Corp Australia combined to demand reforms including stricter rules to allow the media to contest search warrants.

The changes would give the media more scope to force a judicial review of the search warrants and challenge the power of police to investigate a journalist at the behest of politicians or officials who are embarrassed by leaks to the press.

Nine chief executive Hugh Marks will join ABC managing director David Anderson and News Corp Australia executive chairman Michael Miller at a National Press Club event to set out the four reforms.

“As a society, we shouldn’t fear truth,” Marks says in a draft of his remarks.

“We shouldn’t fear debate. We shouldn’t fear opinions. The Australian public’s right to know makes our democracy function.”

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See also: Leo Shanahan in The Australian
Rivals unite on law reform

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Radio

2GB turmoil: Chris Smith to be axed from his popular timeslot

Top rating 2GB afternoon talkback host Chris Smith is to be axed from his popular afternoon time slot, reports News Corp’s Matthew Benns.

Smith stormed out of Macquarie Media’s Pyrmont offices after a meeting with management on Monday morning. Temporary host Luke Grant was hastily brought in to cover for Smith, who was back on air on Tuesday afternoon.

It is understood Smith was told he could be moving to the evening timeslot, in a straight swap with current night time host Steve Price.

He was told of the changes by radio station management last week and went into the office on the weekend to clear away his trophies and celebrity photographs from the walls of his office.

It is currently lined with packing boxes.

The staff in Smith’s team were called in for crisis talks with management on Tuesday morning.

It is the latest in a string of destabilising events at the station and has had the 2GB rumour mill buzzing.

Last month, Macquarie Media finally announced that it was re-signing breakfast show king Alan Jones on a two-year contract worth a whopping $8 million.

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Alan Jones vs Ray Hadley in clash of views over Israel Folau

Outspoken radio hosts Ray Hadley and Alan Jones have clashed in their views of Israel Folau, with Hadley insisting money donated to fund Folau’s legal battle would be better spent on helping sick kids, reports The Australian’s Jessica Cortis.

The two radio hosts from 2GB, who share back-to-back morning shows, have held opposing views of Folau’s fundraising efforts to raise $3 million to foot a legal suit against Rugby Australia for terminating his contract over religious comments he made about homosexuals.

Jones this morning described Folau as a “good and gentle soul without a skerrick of hatred in his body” while Hadley has maintained the former Wallaby star’s comments on homosexuals were “ill informed”.

“Israel’s comments would suggest he thinks it is some sort of lifestyle choice … it is not a choice Israel, homosexuals are not decision makers, it’s the way they are,” Hadley said on air last Monday.

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Television

Stan’s biggest gamble yet on new series starring Downton Abbey actress

Stan, in conjunction with Screen Australia, has announced its most expensive and ambitious project to date with the Australian production of a major new original series called The Commons, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Genevieve Rota.

The production, which begins in Sydney next week, is set to star South Australian actor Damon Herriman alongside Downton Abbey‘s Joanne Froggatt.

The Commons is a “character-driven thriller” playing on the very real topics of climate change and biotechnology but set in the near future.

Written by Shelley Birse (The Code) and produced by Playmaker in association with Sony Pictures Television, the show is set to be Stan’s biggest investment – at more than $20 million – in an Australian original yet. The streaming platform’s chief executive, Mike Sneesby, says the series was the perfect show to add to their catalogue, as Stan aims to lead the way in the creation of local, Australian-made original productions.

“For us, this is another step on that journey,” says Sneesby.

“We have increased our investment in local productions every year. The size and ambitions of our original productions have gotten bigger with every project that we’ve announced – in fact The Commons will be the biggest budget, and most ambitious project that we’ve undertaken.

“We’re lifting the bar in terms of production values and the ambition of production here in the Australian market and we intend to continue to do that.”

Production of The Commons is expected to open up 290 local jobs across cast, crew and in post-production and the show is slated for 2020 premiere.

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Tom Gleeson, the people’s hope, irks industry with Gold Logie campaign

“To win the Gold Logie, you have to fight dirty.” That’s the eye-watering motto behind comedian Tom Gleeson‘s viral #Gleeson4Gold campaign, and it appears to be working, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Robert Moran.

Ahead of the Logies’ Sunday ceremony, the tongue-in-cheek campaign has seemingly struck a nerve. Gold Logie-hopeful Amanda Keller – framed by Gleeson in an online video as an inveterate liar who toyed us with promises of flying cars and robot servants, now 20-odd years overdue (remember Beyond 2000?) – has reportedly “struggled” with the comedian’s tactics.

Gleeson’s sarcastic “attacks ads” are one thing, there is also his claim he won’t bring back his popular Hard Quiz show unless voters get him local TV’s top prize.

“To be honest, I read Amanda’s comments and all she’s saying is she finds me irritating. And, I mean, that’s my specialty… I completely get it. I’m sucking the oxygen out of this whole thing; I’m starting to give myself the shits,” said Gleeson.

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TV Week Logie Awards 2019: The crazy luxuries stars will get

The stars heading to the Gold Coast for the Logies this weekend are going to be living it up in rooms that are between $1500 and $5000 a night, reports News Corp’s Shoba Rao.

New photos of the rooms they will be staying in reveal no expense will be spared for one of the Australian entertainment industry’s biggest celebrations.

Stars who are going to the Logies – as nominees, presenters or guests – will be staying at The Star Grand Hotel and the The Darling.

Their rooms will be able to get complimentary Moet champagne on arrival during their stay, as well as native bee honey chocolates.

Stars at the hotels will also be treated to goodie bags that The Star Gold Coast have curated as part of their “surprise and delight” series.

Each will differ depending on which celebrity they are going to.

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Sports Media

Footy fans vote for the best in AFL media: SEN, Triple M & ABC win

Over 1000 people answered The Sounding Board’s inaugural footy survey, asking the tough questions about footy and in particular, the media, reports SEN.com.au.

Listeners to the weekly podcast hosted by Craig Hutchison and Damian Barrett were asked to rank the following 10 sports websites from first to last based on how much they respect their journalism: AFL.com.au, Herald Sun, The Age, SEN.com.au, 3AW, Triple M, News.com.au, Fox Sports, The Roar and the ABC.

The ABC received the most votes as the number one most respected news site, with The Age second and AFL.com.au finishing third just ahead of SEN.com.au.

News Corp’s News.com.au and the Herald Sun came in last and second last respectively.

Triple M easily took the chocolates in the pre-match radio coverage vote, finishing with 57 per cent of the votes.

SEN came in second place with 29 per cent, while 3AW and ABC both finished with seven per cent.

When asked which radio broadcast has the best play-by-play AFL coverage, SEN edged out Triple M for first place.

SEN received 41 per cent of the votes, while 3AW came in last place with 8 per cent.

Craig Hutchison said: “That’s a nice acknowledgement for the work being built on SEN from our audience with Gerard Whateley, Anthony Hudson, Garry Lyon, Nick Riewoldt and co.”

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Super Netball and Thunderbirds missed a chance with Folau statement

Social media. It’s a minefield, and on Sunday I walked into it wearing gumboots, writes netball star turned commentator Liz Ellis in The Sydney Morning Herald.

My comments on netball’s response to Maria Folau re-posting her husband’s controversial Instagram post about his GoFundMe page evoked a passionate response. So now I want to provide a more measured response in more than the few characters Twitter allows.

I suspect this will disappoint a few people on both sides of the argument, but here goes.

Firstly, my beef was not with Maria Folau. Of course she is welcome to play in Super Netball. In fact, I am rapt that she does. She is one of the most mesmerising, enigmatic and skilful goal attacks ever to play our game. To watch her sink long bomb after long bomb from the edge of the circle under all sorts of pressure is nothing short of amazing.

I understand that my tweet was interpreted to mean specifically that Maria was not welcome. I get it. It was poorly worded from that point of view. I am devastated to think that the way I wrote it may have suggested the sort of bigotry that I passionately dislike. I don’t want to fight bigotry with bigotry.

Having said all that, when Maria shared her husband’s Instagram post announcing his GoFundMe page seeking donations to cover his legal fees, she invited response, and netball bosses had to act.

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