Roundup: Kochie’s future at Sunrise, Succession, Michelle Guthrie’s new gig


Privacy Act, Dylan Howard, Twitter, Evan Gershkovich, ABC, New Yorker, Eddie McGuire, Chrissie Swan, Dicko, Nigella Lawson, Alone

Business of Media

‘Deeply problematic’: Media companies slam Privacy Act review

Australia’s largest media companies are warning the federal government its proposed privacy law reforms would allow affluent people, politicians and celebrities to avoid scrutiny and could inundate the court system, reports Nine Publishing’s Zoe Samios.

The Australia’s Right to Know coalition, a group of major Australian publishers, fiercely opposes proposed changes to the Privacy Act and claims it would have a “devastating impact” on journalists’ ability to do their jobs. In a submission to Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus’ review of the act, the group argues the government’s approach to reform is not evidence-based and misunderstands the role of news reporting.

“Increased regulation will lead to a suppressed media, which violates the implied freedom of political communication,” says the submission from the group, which includes Nine, which is the owner of this masthead. The group also includes the ABC, Guardian Australia, The West Australian and News Corp Australia, owner of The Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun and The Australian.

The Attorney-General’s Department released in February its review of the Privacy Act, a report that proposes a way for people to sue for serious invasions of their privacy. The department has sought submissions in response to its set of proposals from the sector.

The changes are being considered as a way to better protect Australians from intrusions into their homes and digital lives, but similar laws overseas, such as in the UK, have allowed bankers and celebrities to suppress true but embarrassing stories such as of affairs and drug use.

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Consumer advocates reject media calls to preserve exemptions to Australian privacy law

Consumer digital rights advocates have rejected media companies’ call to preserve their exemption to privacy law, warning that commercial models should not be put ahead of public interest, reports The Guardian’s Paul Karp.

Peter Lewis, the director of the Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology, said it was “disappointing” that the Right to Know coalition “set up with the laudable goal of protecting journalists and whistleblowers is now being deployed to prosecute Big Media’s business interests at the expense of the public they purport to serve”.

The attorney general’s department has proposed creating a right to sue for serious invasions of privacy and scaling back the journalism exemption to privacy law. That would require media companies to secure and destroy private information and to notify affected individuals under the notifiable data breaches scheme.

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How Australian Dylan Howard became a witness in case that led to Trump’s indictment

Controversial Australian journalist Dylan Howard can be revealed as a key witness in the case that led to former president Donald Trump’s indictment, reports News Corp Australia’s Ben Butler.

Howard, a former Seven Network reporter who was once close to Hollywood star Charlie Sheen, gave secret evidence to the grand jury earlier this year before it made history by indicting Trump on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records over hush money payments to women including porn star Stormy Daniels.

Howard was drawn into Trump’s orbit through his role between 2013 and 2019 as chief content officer and editor-in-chief of the publisher of the National Inquirer, American Media Inc.

He worked at AMI after a turbulent period in his career that included a run-in with the AFL and the courts over his reporting of the medical records of two footballers and a falling-out with his business partner, Craig Hutchison.

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Musk admits BBC ‘among least biased’ in row over Twitter ‘government-funded media’ tag

Elon Musk has described the BBC as “among the least biased” media organisations after the broadcaster objected to being labelled as “government-funded media” on Twitter, reports The Guardian’s Nadeem Badshah.

The BBC contacted Twitter after the designation was attached to the main @BBC account. The label links through to a page on Twitter’s help centre that says “state-affiliated media” are outlets where the government “exercises control over editorial content” in various ways.

The BBC added in its statement: “The BBC is, and always has been, independent. We are funded by the British public through the licence fee.”

Since 1927, the BBC has operated through a Royal Charter agreed with the government that states the corporation “must be independent”, particularly over “editorial and creative decisions, the times and manner in which its output and services are supplied, and in the management of its affairs”.

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How Fox chased its audience down the Rabbit Hole

Rupert Murdoch had built the most powerful media empire on the planet by understanding what his audience wanted and giving it to them without fear or judgment, reports Jim Rutenberg in The New York Times.

But Donald Trump now appeared to be making a serious bid to overturn a legitimate election, and his chaos agents — his personal lawyer Giuliani chief among them — were creating dangerous new appetites. Now Murdoch was faced with holding the line on reporting the facts or following his audience all the way into the land of conspiracy theories.

Murdoch had for weeks — for years, really — avoided making a choice.

Dominion is now arguing in its seismic defamation lawsuit against Fox that the network had by then made its choice: It would amplify a lie to maintain its audience. Dominion is now seeking $1.6 billion in damages from the news network and its parent company in a defamation trial that — barring a settlement — is scheduled to start in Delaware this month. (Smartmatic is also suing, seeking $2.7 billion, with a trial date pending. In both cases, Fox is arguing that its actions are protected by the First Amendment.) Losses in either or both cases would represent a big hit to the balance sheet of the Fox Corporation, which reported a net income of $1.2 billion in 2022. But the case is about matters more existential than Fox’s bottom line.

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Journalist Evan Gershkovich formally charged with espionage in Russia

Russian Federal Security Service investigators have formally charged Evan Gershkovich with espionage but the Wall Street Journal reporter denied the charges and said he was working as a journalist, Russian news agencies reported on Friday, reports The Guardian.

Russia’s Federal Security Service, the main successor to the Soviet-era KGB, said on 30 March that it had detained Gershkovich in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg and had opened an espionage case against the 31-year-old for collecting what it said were state secrets about the military-industrial complex.

“Gershkovich has been charged,” Interfax quoted a source as saying on Friday.

Tass reported that FSB investigators had formally charged Gershkovich with carrying out espionage in the interests of the United States, but that Gershkovich had denied the charge.

“He categorically denied all the accusations and stated that he was engaged in journalistic activities in Russia,” Tass citied an unidentified source as saying.

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News Brands

Cost of ABC’s Parramatta relocation program revealed

Almost half the ABC’s forecasted $67 million budget to relocate staff to a new office in western Sydney will be spent on refurbishing its existing Ultimo headquarters just minutes from the city’s Central Station, reports Nine Publishing’s Zoe Samios.

The ABC announced last year it would relocate up to 300 staff from its offices in Ultimo to a new space in Parramatta Square to get its staff out of the inner city and better reflect Australia. But a newly released breakdown of the “Sydney Accommodation Project” shows $27.8 million will be spent on the “modernisation and refurbishment” of the ABC’s inner-city headquarters.

“Reinvestment in the Ultimo site will improve the working environment and facilities available to remaining teams and importantly will provide an opportunity for the ABC to sub-lease some of its facilities and gain an ongoing revenue stream,” the ABC said in a statement. “There will be no additional cost to the taxpayer in delivery of the project, as the costs for delivery are supported via the sale of ageing assets and the sub-leasing of seven floors of the ABC’s Ultimo facility.”

The project’s budget was released in response to questions on notice from a Senate committee and shows how the ABC plans to spend the $95 million it received from selling its former television studios at Gore Hill, on Sydney’s north shore, earlier this year.

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Trump drawing to be first New Yorker cover featuring courtroom sketch

The next cover of the New Yorker will feature a drawing of Donald Trump at his arraignment on felony charges this week – the first time a courtroom sketch has graced the cover of the famous magazine, reports The Guardian’s Gloria Oladipo.

Jane Rosenberg was one of three permitted sketch artists during the hearing involving the former president at the Manhattan criminal courthouse on Tuesday.

Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, as part of a hush money scheme involving the porn star Stormy Daniels.

Before this week, no president or former president had ever been criminally indicted.

Court artists are tasked with drawing what happens during proceedings where cameras are not allowed, a step taken by the judge in New York amid intense interest in the Trump hearing.

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Former ABC boss joins new radio company targeting entrepreneurs

Former ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie has joined a consortium of media executives behind Disrupt Radio, a yet-to-be-launched national digital radio station promoting tech and entrepreneurial content, reports Nine Publishing’s Mark Di Stefano.

The start-up had been fundraising at the end of last year when it circulated an investment presentation among family offices. The company was founded by Benjamin Roberts, who remains the chief executive of Perth-based media consultancy firm Broadcast Intelligence.

“We recognise that the Australian radio industry hasn’t really had the best of innovation and new opportunities and experiences for audiences and advertisers for a very, very long time,” Roberts said in a phone interview on Monday, adding that the funding round had successfully closed.

Roberts said Guthrie had joined the board of Disrupt Radio, which also includes Richard Hernan, managing director of Perth-based Broadleaf Financial Group, and Colm O’Brien, currently a director of Sports Entertainment Network, the parent company of SEN Radio.

The start-up has hired about 20 employees, including some presenters, and has an office in South Melbourne. Roberts said the plan was to start broadcasting in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane this year. The station will broadcast live radio as well as podcasts and be supported by advertising.

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‘BANG!’: Eddie McGuire’s first moments behind a 3AW Football microphone

An ode to 3AW commentators before him, the use of an iconic Rex Hunt line and a quick-fire Hawthorn goal – Eddie McGuire’s first minute behind a 3AW Football commentary microphone certainly had it all, reports 3AW.

[Listen to the audio here]

Radio listeners are increasingly tuning into programs when it suits them

Radio listening habits have significantly changed as consumers opt to tune in to popular shows and podcasts at a time that is convenient to them, Nova Entertainment’s chief growth officer Adam Johnson says, reports The Australian’s Sophie Elsworth.

Rejigging program schedules to cater to listeners’ different working schedules has resulted in the popular FM station this year introducing a new show hosted by Chrissie Swan in the new 2pm to 4pm timeslot.

“We put Chrissie into a whole new show we’d never had before and that 2pm to 4pm slot … is No.1 in its timeslot nationally,” Johnson said.

“Some people now go home in that 2pm to 4pm timeslot because they start work earlier and want to get home in time for school pick-up, so the traditional drive slot is no longer traditional.

The Chrissie Swan Show fills an interesting gap that would have historically been more wall-to-wall music without as much personality in it. It reflects the more modern ways of living and working.”

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‘Everything has to come to an end’: David Koch hints at Sunrise future

Sunrise host David Koch has given the biggest hint yet that he is preparing for life after breakfast TV saying “everything has to come to an end,” when asked about his future on the Channel Seven show, reports News Corp’s Fiona Byrne.

Koch signed a two-year contract extension with the network last year that will keep him on the show into 2024.

“I have been doing it (Sunrise) almost 21 years. I love it, I still have a passion for it, but I want a bit more flexibility in my life, for Lib and I to enjoy our lives and they (Seven) are happy to do that,” Koch said.

“Everything has to come to an end, but I have got the flexibility to do it on my terms and I am incredibly grateful that I have that opportunity.

“I love working with Nat. She is the most incredible person to work with. You get up at god awful hours (to do breakfast TV), but it is a joy to work with her.”

Koch said Sunrise remained “the world’s best job.”

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I’m A Celebrity: Dicko breaks down over Australian Idol stoush 20 years on

Two decades on, Ian ‘Dicko’ Dickson still feels the impact of his infamous ‘gold dress’ critique of contestant Paulini Curuenavuli, reports News Corp’s
Jonathon Moran.

In 2003, as the hard hitting record label executive judge on the first season of Australian Idol, Dicko faced immediate backlash when he told Curuenavuli she needed to “choose more appropriate clothes or shed some pounds”.

The brutal comment still haunts him today.

“I don’t feel like that guy Dicko on television 20 years ago,” he said in a segment to air on I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! last night.

“I am a different person. It is interesting for me to feel how that impacts on the person I am today. I imagine there is still stuff I am still repressing there, there is stuff I am still hiding away from myself.”

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UK food star Nigella Lawson to return to MKR in 2023 with Manu Feildel and Colin Fassnidge

Like any good dinner party, My Kitchen Rules has mixed up the hosts for its up and coming season, reports News Corp’s Karlie Rutherford.

Despite reports UK culinary legend Nigella Lawson would not return for the 2023 series, Kitchen Confidential can reveal Lawson will back. But only for the spicy end of the season: the finals.

In a shake up to the format, French-born celebrity chef Manu Feildel will be will be hosting and judging the competition alongside fellow celebrity chef Colin Fassnidge.

“I’m so thrilled to be back on MKR! It combines two of my favourite pastimes: championing home cooking and eating wonderful Australian food,” said Lawson.

Feildel has been a host and judge on all 12 seasons of the reality show, while Fassnidge joined the show as a guest judge in season four.

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What makes an ideal Alone Australia contestant?

Alone Australia is currently putting 10 survivalists to the ultimate test on the remote west coast of Tasmania in brutal conditions, reports Variety Australia’s Vivienne Kelly.

With most reality competition formats – whether it’s Survivor or The Amazing Race – a large portion of viewers smugly watch the screen and think they could thrive, or at least survive, in the experience, but Alone Australia is different.

The whole time they’re out there, anything could kill them, stresses Riima Daher, executive producer from ITV Studios Australia. And while there is a 24/7 production and emergency team, ready to intervene in cases of distress or disaster, there are certain qualities and capabilities which make an ideal Alone Australia contestant.

The starting point, says Daher, is competency. The production team has to have some base level of base-level confidence that the person can keep themselves alive.

Then, it evolves into less instinctual territory.

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Succession S4 E3

HBO’s Succession bombshell arrives in episode three of final season on Foxtel & Binge

In this summary of the third episode of Succession, Mediaweek avoids any spoilers, but you better hurry if you haven’t seen the episode yet!

Succession boss says development “was always going to” happen

It’s the final season of Succession, which means anything can happen. And something very big did happen in the third episode, “Connor’s Wedding,” reports The Hollywood Reporter.

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Succession is not just the best show on TV; it is the bravest

It’s a testament to the greatness of this show that even when you suspect you know what’s coming, the gut punch leaves you breathless, reports Nine Publishing’s Thomas Mitchell.

Here’s some insider info: media are provided screeners in advance to watch the show and write recaps like this or deliver podcasts like this. But ahead of episode three, Connor’s Wedding, HBO withheld those screeners.

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Succession pulls the trigger on game-changing moment

It was one of the finest hours of TV ever crafted, a tour de force in writing, directing and performances, reports News Corp’s Wenlei Ma.

You probably spent at least half the episode with your jaw hanging open, unable to process what you were watching.

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The greatest episode of TV this year with plot twist of Shakespearean dimensions

A plot twist of Shakespearean dimensions in episode three of the final season of Jesse Armstrong’s acclaimed HBO drama about cold-blooded power plays makes this the standout in an extraordinary series, writes Caryn James at

From the start, Succession has been compared to Shakespeare’s tragedy because of its family story of inheritance, love and betrayal. But the brilliant fusing of those themes with dazzling writing, depth of character and dramatic structure may be series creator Jesse Armstrong’s most ambitious, Shakespearean nod of all.

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Material Event: Unpacking that pivotal Succession episode

The Roys live in an environment where everything is personal and nothing is entirely private. Your family is your family, but it’s also a business, writes James Poniewozik in The New York Times.

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Succession’s unprecedented twist will transform how we think about TV

Craig Mathieson from Nine Publishing. (All other sentences contain spoilers!)

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Succession reaches series high of 2.5m viewers with shocking episode 3

The Jesse Armstrong-created drama hit a series high of 2.5 million US viewers on Sunday night, when HBO aired Episode 3 of the fourth and final season. The ratings bump was certainly helped along by the episode’s shocking twist, which will dramatically impact the way the series ends.

Provided by Warner Bros. Discovery, that figure represents a combination of Nielsen’s measurement of the US audience that tuned into the episode live on HBO’s cable channel and WBD’s own data regarding streams on HBO Max through the night.

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