Roundup: Facebook curators, Alan Jones, Big Brother: VIP + more

Alan Jones

• Tech giant algorithms, China and US agreement, AACTA Reg Grundy Award, Optus Sport

Business of Media

Facebook seeks more news curators for Australian service

Facebook is beefing up its news service in Australia, employing more curators in Sydney to offer a 24-hour service of news in partnership with traditional media. And trust of Facebook is one of the criteria for getting a job, reports News Corp’s Chris Griffith.

“We are looking for an experienced journalist with a track record of identifying credible news from a wide variety of content publishers,” its job ad says.

The ad says the role involves a rotating shift across seven days. Shifts will be between 6am and 8pm, and some weekend and public holiday work will be expected.

Sources have told The Australian that applicants are asked whether they trust any information on the platform. “Where do you turn for trusted information on Facebook?” says one question.

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Ofcom warns that secret tech giant algorithms may be bad for media plurality

Ofcom has agreed with the likes of Mail Online and The Sun that opaque algorithms from Google and Facebook may be bad for media plurality, reports Press Gazette’s Charlotte Tobitt.

The watchdog said it would now prepare to make a final call on the potential risks posed by the algorithms, and will report further on whether anything should be done to address the concerns raised by summer 2022.

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China and US agree to ease restrictions on journalists

China and the US have agreed to ease restrictions on each other’s journalists amid a slight easing of tensions between the two sides, reports The Guardian.

The official China Daily newspaper said on Wednesday that the agreement was reached ahead of the virtual summit between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and US president Joe Biden held a day earlier.

Under the agreement, the US will issue one-year multiple-entry visas to Chinese journalists and will immediately initiate a process to address “duration of status” issues, China Daily said. China will reciprocate by granting equal treatment to US journalists once the US policies take effect, and both sides will issue media visas for new applicants “based on relevant laws and regulations”, the report said.

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News Brands

Alan Jones creates website to stay in touch with fans after Sky News exit

Alan Jones has set up a website where fans can register to get updates about the political commentator’s next move, reports News Corp’s Frank Chung.

The 80-year-old TV and radio veteran abruptly departed Sky News earlier this month, saying the network had declined to renew his contract.

Visitors to are invited to enter their name and email address.

“Sign up to find out where Alan goes next,” the text reads.

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Thomas Markle Jr. out of Big Brother: VIP

The third and final international participant in Big Brother: VIP, Thomas Markle Jr. has left the building, reports TV Tonight.

Following two challenges last night Luke Toki convinced Jessika Power and Imogen Anthony (yes, I realise those names don’t exactly jog the memory) to vote him out.

Markle, who had teased lots of inside info on his estranged half-sister Meghan Markle said, “Big Brother’s VIP hotel has definitely given me a life-changing experience.

“It gave me the opportunity to cleanse my soul. I mailed off the good letter to Meghan. It’s in the post.”

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AACTA announces finalists of the 2021 AACTA Reg Grundy Award

AACTA has announced the five finalists for the 2021 AACTA Reg Grundy Award, established to support new ideas in screen entertainment and fast track new and original productions. 

The 2021 AACTA Reg Grundy Award was open to any Australian with a new idea for a television competition program, with $50K on offer.

In addition to last year’s prize of $20,000 in cash and $30,000 in development funding, the 2021 AACTA Reg Grundy Award will offer $10,000 to someone under 25 with a TV show pitch that impresses the judges. AACTA will announcing more news on that in the coming weeks.

Last year’s finalists have all gone on to garner industry interest with the creators of the 2020 Reg Grundy Award winner, Seven Pups, in discussion with producers in the US for series 1. Factual and unscripted production company WTFN are collaborating on other projects for broadcasters and streamers with one finalist entering a development agreement.

This year’s finalists are:

Australian Graffiti – Neil Singh
Australian Graffiti is a modern reality competition where talented street artists put their skills and creativity to the test. They will compete in a series of challenges that will help transform a town in need into a captivating outdoor gallery. The artists will hope to impress industry icons enough to go on and win the ultimate prize.

Boomerang – Kevin Brumpton and Angus Fitzsimons
A game show where the players throw the questions away… but they keep coming back.

Fun family viewing in an original and distinctive take on the classic game show format.

Pass it On! – Tylah Pratt
A challenge-based comedy show in which six personalities work in pairs to compete in a series of outlandish tasks, whereby one team member is given a rapid masterclass on a random subject and required to pass the lesson on to their teammate as best they can to then execute the task in a real world scenario with the team judged by the end result.

Real Teams – Ross and Rochella Calia
Teams of athletes, each made up of people with and without disability, undertake challenges of strength and skill as they work together to battle each other for crowning glory.

The Second Best Game Show – Jason Chong
Want to win this quiz? Finish second.

The Second Best Game Show takes the quiz show format and destroys it by asking one question: “What would happen if it’s the person in second place that takes home the prize money?”

Each entrant will pitch their original concepts to the judging panel made up of experienced industry figures in the local and international television industry, available for all to view as part of AACTA’s ScreenFest program on Tuesday 7 December, on AACTA TV.

The judging panel includes Eden Gaha (President of unscripted television at Shine USA), Cathy Payne (CEO of Banijay Rights), Sharon Wheeler (Award-winning Senior Entertainment Executive), and Marion Farrelly (Speaker, consultant, TV & Film Producer), and Ian Hogg (Media CEO, Advisor, Australian Idol, Australia’s Got Talent, Family Feud).

Sports Media

Optus Sport wins Gold for Best Social Strategy at SportsPro Awards

Optus Sport has been awarded Gold for the Best Social Strategy category in the SportsPro OTT Summit Awards. The category recognises brands developing the most innovative and creative strategy for implementing social media as part of a broader OTT strategy.

Optus Sport was also awarded Silver for the Best Platform of the Year Award category.

Commenting on the win, Optus’ head of TV and content Corin Dimopoulos said, “We’re thrilled to be recognised at this year’s SportsPro OTT Awards. To have the work of our amazing people showcased through these award wins, we couldn’t be prouder.

“The team works hard to create authentic, creative content our customers enjoy engaging with and to have a prestigious international brand like Sports Pro acknowledge this dedication, is a wonderful result.

We look forward to continuing our commitment to bringing premium football content to our customers across all of our digital touchpoints.”

In the six years since launch, Optus Sport has built a social community that was, in October, the top performing Sports Broadcaster page with more than 1.7 million engagements across all platforms.

Optus Sport noted the award wins are yet another feather in the brand’s cap following year-on-year growth as a result of its broadcasting of the 2020/21 Premier League season, the launch of Optus Sport Fitness – a lockdown solution keeping families and fans engaged by offering sports drills and a large variety of fitness workouts – and a record-breaking UEFA Euro 2020 event, resulting in over 900,000 Australians watching the dramatic tournament Final between Italy and England.

The 2021 OTT Awards are hosted by London-based SportsPro, the leading international media company for the sports industry. The awards celebrate collaboration, innovation and creativity across production, distribution, monetisation, direct-to-consumer, and broadcast.  Created with a global focus, the awards pay tribute to the most creative and inspiring uses of technology and new thinking.

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