Roundup: Covering the death of Shane Warne, SMH and The Age editors apologise

Shane Warne

Plus: Tom Joyner, VMLY&R, IPG Mediabrands, TV Ratings change

News Brands

Shane Warne’s final run: how the shocking news hit the streets – and the screens

A major unexpected news event breaking at about 1am has always been a challenge for newsrooms – editors must scramble to get staff out of bed, stop the presses to bring print runs to a shuddering halt, and re-make the front page in a matter of minutes in order to get late-night distribution trucks on their way, report News Corp’s James Madden and Sophie Elsworth.

The sudden early morning death of Shane Warne, an event no outlets could possibly have prepared for, and with no pre-written obituaries ready to go, posed an even trickier challenge as editors desperately tried to bring readers the news, while designing editions befitting such a significant public figure.

Modern printing logistics mean newspapers are increasingly published early each evening, leaving little time for late night special editions landing on front lawns around the country.

On Saturday morning, newsrooms across the country were racing to re-make newspapers while immediately publishing the breaking news on digital platforms to a shocked world.

While News Corp’s city-based metro papers in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide managed to get hundreds of thousands of printed copies with the Warne news onto the streets on Saturday morning, The Australian chose to publish a special digital replica front page of The Weekend Australian.

Data compiled for The Australian by media research company Streem shows the news of Warne’s death attracted extraordinary interest from readers of websites of all major news sites in Australia, with articles relating to the ex-cricketer on Saturday more than doubling the combined online traffic of the stories about the conflict in Ukraine and the devastating floods in NSW and Queensland

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See also:
Shane Warne: Fox Cricket pays tribute to one of ‘closest family members and favourite sons’
Shane Warne: Media roles beckoned after record-breaking cricket career ended

While Ukraine fights, ABC correspondent Tom Joyner gets a massage

A bloody invasion may be raging in Ukraine, but ABC correspondent Tom Joyner – who until the weekend was reporting on the conflict from the western Ukrainian city of Lviv – took time out on social media to chronicle something a world away from the mayhem surrounding him, reports News Corp’s Nick Tabakoff.

Early last week, around the same time blasts were shaking a number of Ukrainian cities, Joyner put up a lengthy Instagram story to his 1000-odd followers that was all about his adventures in finding a massage in Lviv – in a post that left some of his ABC colleagues bemused.

The post included plenty of detail about the one-hour event, right down to how the masseur came to be recommended by his driver: photos of both the practitioner he says “pummelled” him, and the “cage” out of which he operated; and even “the view out the window” from the massage studio.

Joyner, who was called in to Ukraine by the ABC a fortnight ago as a reinforcement from his regular post as Aunty’s Middle East correspondent, began his lengthy Instagram post by explaining his need for a bit of TLC.

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SMH editor Bevan Shields says sorry for strike ‘stuff-up’

The editor of the Sydney Morning Herald has issued a lengthy public apology to the newspaper’s subscribers, after insisting that the NSW government’s recent decision to halt the city’s train network was a “strike” rather than a “shutdown”.

Bevan Shields — who took over as the masthead’s editor in January — was left red-faced on February 21 when messages were leaked from the SMH newsroom’s internal chat group, revealing his curt instruction to staff to describe the government shutdown as a “strike”, despite several staff pointing out his error.

Shields’ mistake drew heavy criticism on social media, including posts from SMH readers who expressed concern that such “mischaracterising” of political events was damaging the newspaper’s integrity.

On Friday, in his regular email to SMH subscribers, Shields acknowledged his “stuff-up”, and also expressed regret over the failure to run an immediate correction to the online news story.

Shield wrote: “Last Monday, Sydney’s train network stopped running as part of a continuing industrial dispute between the NSW government and NSW Rail, Tram and Bus Union.

“During a discussion with reporters, I decided we would use the word ‘strike’ to describe the unfolding event.

“I wasn’t alone in settling on that word – the ABC, Seven, Nine and Ten also used ‘strike’ throughout the morning.

“But this was not a strike and I take little comfort in the fact others used the same word. “Once it became clear the government was responsible for the chaos – not the union – we stopped using the word strike and shifted to ‘shutdown’.”

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Age editor Gay Alcorn apologises for ‘embarrassing error’ after publishing Geoff Bainbridge story

The Age editor has sent out an apology to readers after admitting the newspaper made an “embarrassing error” in publishing a now-discredited story on the alleged criminal extortion of multi-millionaire meth-smoking Melbourne entrepreneur Geoff Bainbridge, reports News Corp’s Sophie Elsworth.

Late on Friday afternoon editor Gay Alcorn sent out an emailed apology and conceded the newspaper article, authored by the newspaper’s chief reporter Chip Le Grand, was “incorrect” and “we and several others were seriously misled by Bainbridge”.

She referenced the report on ABC’s Media Watch program from earlier in the week where host Paul Barry did a segment explaining the publication had been duped by the former Lark chief executive.

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VMLY&R welcome new hires across Australian offices

VMLY&R have expanded their Australian team, announcing fourteen new hires across offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Among the new hires are four senior roles in strategy, creative, experience design and business management, solidifying a strong start to 2022 for the agency.


VMLY&RThomas Tearle, VMLY&R Australia and New Zealand CEO, said of the appointments: “We’ve had a fantastic start to 2022, with exciting expansion of several client partnerships and new business wins in Auckland, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Wellington.

“We’ve taken this opportunity to both invest in our team and to add to our capability with these new appointments. Steve, Erin, Vanessa and Franc bring exceptional talent and more importantly are just awesome humans who’ll take us towards the next stage in our journey. I’m so pleased to welcome them to VMLY&R Australia and New Zealand,” he added.

Joining the VMLY&R Brisbane team is Steve Mair as the head of customer experience.

For over 20 years, Mair has been delivering work for clients across the government, finance, pharmaceutical, health and tech sectors. He has won awards both nationally and internationally, including BADC, AIMIA Awards, Cannes Lions, Effies, and a best of show at the digital w3 awards.

Erin Hunter has been appointed as Australia and New Zealand business director and will be responsible for developing and executing commerce strategy and plans for key clients.

Hunter joins the company from MKTG, where she led the shopper and experiential offering, working with brands across FMCG, Pharma and Beverage sectors. Additionally, Erin brings experience in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) spaces, having worked with organisations such as R U OK? And Black Dog Institute.

Vanessa Tout steps into the role of client services director for VMLY&R’s Melbourne office and her hire comes as the agency invests in bolstering its CX skills.

Tout brings over 15 years of experience working at agencies in the UK, Australia and New Zealand including Isobar and Digitas. She brings with her a wealth of knowledge and expertise in digital transformation strategies, marketing campaigns and brand and commerce platforms.

François-Xavier (Franc) Hafner has been appointed as VMLY&R Brisbane group account director. He joins from CHE Proximity where he spent over three years leading work for AGL and La Trobe University. He previously worked across a number of agencies in London, including Grey, Havas and BBH, where he won the Creative Grand Prix for Audi ‘Clowns’.

The other ten appointments at the agency span production, social, account management, user experience, technology and creative sectors.

Reddit and IPG Mediabrands sign global ad partnership agreement

Reddit has signed a partnership agreement with IPG Mediabrands.

Led by Reddit’s global agency development team, the deal will give the media and marketing solutions division of Interpublic Group (IPG) advanced access to cultural trends in real-time, data-driven insights, and other strategic benefits.

The partnership will also benefit the social news aggregation website’s global advertising business.

Leading the partnership is Lindsay Kaufman Placona, Reddit’s global agency development lead. She and her team will work with Mediabrands to make adjustments to the Trending Insights Dashboard to match the needs of clients in their different markets.

Clients will also have access to Reddit’s in-house creative strategy agency KarmaLab, as well as other commercial benefits to maximise business value. The Reddit team also plan to release insight reports for all major industry verticals throughout the partnership.

This is Reddit’s second enterprise partnership and first global partnership. Reddit has a growing presence in the UK, Canada, Australia, and Germany which will allow Mediabrands to work with Reddit’s local Sales, Marketing Sciences, and Community teams to ensure the best possible results for their clients.  


Ratings data shows shift in way audiences watch reality TV

The way Australians watch television has changed dramatically in the past two decades. Streaming services that deliver content over the internet and the development of smart televisions allows people to watch their favourite shows anywhere, anytime, reports SMH‘s Zoe Samios.

This has not only changed the way people watch television shows and films, but it is affecting the way television audiences are measured. It is also starting to change the way television networks determine whether a show is a success.

The overnight metropolitan TV ratings, once the most reliable metric to determine the success of a show, no longer tells the full story as audiences fragment and busy work schedules delay prime-time viewing by hours, if not days.

Once two very separate worlds, linear TV and digital have collided. And while traditional television viewing is not at the levels where it used to attract millions of people each night, the audience is being make up through networks’ digital sites such as 9Now, 7Plus and 10Play.

Data from the television industry’s measurement provider OzTAM shows this. Nine’s flagship reality television program Married At First Sight, for example, had an overnight metropolitan audience of 869,000 on linear TV when it premiered on January 31. The media industry reported this as the lowest launch for the program in four years.

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