Roundup: News Corp, Crikey EIC on leave, Neighbours return


ABC pay disclosure, Chris Dore, Meta job cuts, Trump’s Twitter account, Patrick Delany, streaming content quota

Business of Media

Decision on whether the ABC will disclose pay of high-earning employees’ is imminent

The ABC’s failure to disclose the salaries of high-earning employees “fails the transparency test” and is an act of “self-interest rather than being in the public interest”, according to Liberal senator Sarah Henderson, reports The Australian’s Sophie Elsworth.

The Victorian MP has criticised the ABC after she requested the national broadcaster’s managing director David Anderson reveal the pay details of staff members – including contractors and subcontractors – earning salaries over $230,000, plus any bonuses and allowances they receive.

Senate estimates are due for a spillover hearing on Wednesday and a decision on the issue of pay disclosure is imminent.

The impasse comes as the ABC is in the middle of long-running pay negotiations.

On Monday, voting will open to ABC employees about a new wage deal offering annual pay increases of 3.5 per cent, 3 per cent and 2.5 per cent through until 2024.

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Top News Corp editor departed after event in California

The editor-in-chief of News Corp’s national masthead The Australian left his position at the company after making lewd comments towards a woman at an event in California last month, reports Nine Publishing’s Zoe Samios.

People briefed on the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Chris Dore came to an agreement with senior executives at the Rupert Murdoch-controlled media company that he would leave his position after making lewd comments towards the woman at a function, which was part of The Wall Street Journal’s Tech Live conference in Laguna Beach, California. The sources said Dore had been drinking when he made the comments, which one person close to him described as “inappropriate”.

News Corp declined to respond to a list of detailed questions. Dore declined to respond to a list of questions.

Dore’s sudden resignation from the company he worked at for more than 30 years shocked other News Corp editors within the stable, who were informed on Wednesday afternoon before a statement was issued by local chairman Michael Miller and a press release was posted on The Australian’s website.

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See Also: Christopher Dore steps down as editor in chief of The Australian

Two top News Corp editorial chiefs leave within 48 hours

Rupert and Lachlan Murdochs’ newspaper empire faces its biggest editorial reshuffle in years after News Corp executives lost two of the company’s top editors in a dramatic 48-hour period last week, report Nine Publishing’s Edmund Tadros and Mark Di Stefano.

News Corp Australia CEO Michael Miller sent out a memo to staff last Wednesday announcing The Australian’s editor in chief Christopher Dore would leave the company.

Dore’s departure came after a Tuesday morning report from news website Semafor, which revealed News Corp was planning to replace The Wall Street Journal editor in chief Matt Murray.

The moves have left The Australian and The Wall Street Journal – two of the Murdoch’s top three journalistic publications (the other being The Times in the UK) – facing uncertainty around the future leadership of those newsrooms.

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Crikey editor-in-chief on indefinite leave after journalism awards incident

The editor-in-chief of independent publication Crikey will take leave from his position and seek assistance for his behaviour after heckling the winners of the top gong at Australia’s most coveted journalism awards, reports Nine Publishing’s Zoe Samios.

ABC journalists Anne Connolly, Stephanie Zillman and Ali Russell won the Gold Walkley at the annual Walkley Awards on Thursday night, but their speech was interrupted by Crikey editor Peter Fray shouting “what about Crikey” from his table at the International Convention Centre in Sydney.

The incident prompted a formal complaint from ABC’s director of news and investigations, Justin Stevens. Fray, who is also the managing editor of Private Media, said in a statement that he deeply regretted his actions and apologised to the winners.

“I will use the period of leave to deeply reflect on my actions and seek appropriate assistance. I can’t undo my actions on that evening, as much I wish to do so,” Fray said. “It was wrong for me to question the veracity of ABC’s work and the excellence of its journalism. For me to act the way I did was totally unwarranted, inappropriate and out of character.”

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Meta job cuts a harbginer of doom for Facebook’s news media deals

Mark Zuckerberg has made it pretty clear that news is not an investment priority for him anymore, reports Nine Publishing’s Zoe Samios.

But if the media industry was still unconvinced, the job losses across Facebook’s parent Meta last week would kill any remaining hopes that the $US297 billion tech giant has plans to continue to spend millions on content deals with news publications.

Meta’s director of international news partnerships, Jesper Doub, was among the 11,000 people made redundant in a global cull designed to reduce costs last week, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke anonymously. The cuts to Doub’s division were felt in other markets, including Australia.

“A number of roles in Australia’s news team were recently impacted by Meta’s global restructure,” Meta Australia’s managing director Will Easton said in a statement provided to this masthead.

“This is not a reflection of the great work these groups have done, but what we need going forward as we shift our resources onto a smaller number of high-priority growth areas. While we have maintained news partnerships resources in Australia, user preferences have shifted to creator-driven content in products such as Watch and Reels, and this is where we will focus moving forward.”

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Elon Musk reinstates Trump’s Twitter account

Elon Musk said on Twitter on Saturday that he would reinstate former President Donald J. Trump to the platform as part of a shake-up of the social media service, with Trump’s account quickly showing up again on the site, report The New York Times’ Ryan Mac and Kellen Browning.

Musk, who bought Twitter for $44 billion last month, had asked users on the platform starting late Friday afternoon about whether to allow Trump back onto the service. Twitter had barred Trump after the riot on Jan. 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol, saying his posts had run the risk of inciting violence.

More than 15 million votes were logged in answer to Musk’s question about whether to reinstate Trump, according to the results that Musk included in his tweet, with nearly 52 percent in favor of the former president returning to Twitter. Trump’s Twitter account went live shortly after, though the former president’s last tweet was from Jan. 8, 2021.

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We’re not America: Foxtel boss says streamers are getting it wrong

International streaming services have wrongly assumed that Australian viewers want only “Americanesque” titles and have underestimated the cost of building up a sustainable local subscription base, the head of pay TV operator Foxtel says, reports Nine Publishing’s Edmund Tadros.

Patrick Delany also warns that there will probably be a shakeout of the more than one dozen paid streamers on offer locally as Foxtel prepares to launch a new TV operating system next year, which will bundle multiple streaming services into one interface.

The product, known internally as Project Magneto, will provide viewers with a consolidated menu of available shows and films in a single interface. It will also help them find shows available across streaming apps and will offer to bundle multiple services into one bill.

“There is growing cost pressure on consumers and on the streamers themselves, and we’re seeing that,” Delany said. “That’s what Project Magneto is about – putting the services all into one place, converging them for the convenience of consumers, making everything simple, but also allowing consumers to see what they’re paying for and finally giving them discounts on certain services that might be bundled.”

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Coalition to host streaming giants at roundtable as content quota squeeze nears

Former communications minister Paul Fletcher has hit out at the federal government’s proposal to introduce quotas that would force streaming giants Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ to make a certain amount of Australian shows and films, claiming such a move does not consider broader media policy objectives, reports Nine Publishing’s Zoe Samios.

Federal Arts minister Tony Burke confirmed last week he planned to impose content quotas on international streaming platforms, putting an end to a two-year debate between the production, streaming, and media sectors.

Fletcher, now shadow arts spokesman, and Senator Sarah Henderson, shadow communications spokesperson, will host a roundtable with streaming platforms on Monday to discuss issues related to the proposal, which could force them to spend up to 20 percent of locally generated revenue on content.

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Some actors are ecstatic, others need time to process: What we know about the surprise return of Neighbours

Bringing someone back from the dead is, arguably, one of the great soap opera plot twists, reports the ABC’s Margaret Paul.

Now, it’s happening for Neighbours itself — again!

But, as with all good storylines, it raises more questions for next season — like, what did the characters do while they were gone (I’m looking at you, Harold), or will they actually turn out to be their own long-lost evil twin (Dee)?

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