Roundup: News of the World, Are Media sells 11 brands, Lawrence Mooney

• Marcus Reubenstein sues China critic Geoff Wade, Ben Fordham, Tokyo Olympics, and Rex Hunt’s on-air blow up

News Brands

10 years after end of News of the World: Nick Davies on ‘cynical’ closure

10 years ago this week, during the height of the phone-hacking scandal revelations, the News of the World printed its final edition, recalls Dominic Ponsford in Press Gazette.

This week I spoke to former NoW insiders and other sources central to a story that gripped the nation through the summer of 2011 including Nick Davies, the now-retired Guardian reporter who broke the hacking scandal.

His years-long investigation culminated on 4 July 2011 with a front-page revelation in The Guardian that the NoW had hacked the voicemail messages of missing schoolgirl Milly Dowler. The newspaper printed its last edition six days later.

I asked Davies what the impact has been of his investigation 10 years on.

“Nothing important has changed,” says Davies. “I suspect it’s true that criminality committed by Fleet Street newspapers has fallen to zero, or near zero.

“But what we didn’t achieve was the creation of a decent press regulator. The most important thing about a decent press regulator is that publishers would be required to abide by its first clause, for members to correct anything false and misleading they published. If that had been in place we wouldn’t have left the European Union.

“Public debate continues to be polluted by false and misleading information. Some titles at the dark end of Fleet Street remain a distortion of what journalism should be.”

While the views of Davies are likely at odds with many who work in the tabloids, former NoW staffers interviewed by Press Gazette agreed with him on one thing: that Rupert Murdoch was wrong to close the paper.

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Ex-journalist Marcus Reubenstein sues China critic Geoff Wade for ‘defame’ tweets

A former SBS journalist has sued parliamentary researcher and China critic Geoff Wade for defamation over a series of tweets he alleges were part of an effort to portray him as a “mouthpiece” for China’s Communist Party who was engaged in a suspected foreign interference plot, reports News Corp’s Kieran Gair.

Marcus Reubenstein, who operates little-known news website APAC News, is suing Wade and the Commonwealth of Australia for copyright infringement and defamation. He is seeking damages, including aggravated and additional damages under the Commonwealth Copyright Act, as well as interest and costs.

In a statement of claim, Reubenstein’s lawyers allege the tweets defamed their client in six ways, including by suggesting he operates under the direction of the CCP; engaged in unlawful foreign interference by reason of his close connections to NSW Labor MP Shaoquett Moselmane and his staffer John Zhang; is a mouthpiece for the CCP, and operates a website that reports fake news.

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Prime Creative acquires the Trader Group of brands from Are Media

Melbourne-based Prime Creative Media this month acquired the Trader Group of magazine brands from Are Media.

The sale will see 11 separate mastheads and digital platforms covering transport, civil construction and agriculture transferred to the Australian-owned B2B publisher. Prime Creative Media CEO John Murphy said the acquisition is an important step in supporting these vital industries, by ensuring the publications continue into the future.

“Having a variety of print and digital publications, owned by Australian companies, is critical to maintaining a diverse media landscape,” said Murphy. “Far too many publications in this country are closing down, as they adopt digital-first strategies only to lose even more market share to Google and Facebook. By keeping Australian-owned publications alive, we can invest in quality journalists, and cover the important developments taking shape in these industries that play such a critical role in our economy.”

Over the past two decades, Prime Creative Media has acquired more than 20 mastheads and launched many others, covering major Australian industries including manufacturing, infrastructure, resources, education, transport, hospitality, waste and resource recovery, and more.

The CEO of automotive for Are Media, Andrew Beecher, said this new home is an ideal fit for the titles. Beecher joined Are Media in 2020 after five years as CEO and managing director of

“We are so happy that these titles have found a home at Prime Creative Media,” said Beecher. “Prime Creative Media has a proven history of investing in B2B mastheads for the long term, growing the products, the industries they serve, and the teams along with them. They really are best placed to ensure that these mastheads not only survive in the market, but thrive.”

Overall Prime Creative Media publishes more than 80 print and digital platforms. It now employs more than 130 full-time, Australian-based journalists, editors, graphic designers, business development professionals, and has an in-house IT development team. The company’s products include magazines, websites, newsletters and events.


Triple M’s Lawrence Mooney forced to apologise over lockdown breach

Triple M breakfast host Lawrence Mooney has been forced to apologise for breaching NSW lockdown orders, reports News Corp’s Jonathon Moran.

The 56-year-old comedian has spent the past nearly two weeks holidaying in Byron Bay despite having been working in Sydney in the period that required people to stay at home due to the latest Covid outbreak.

“I know how serious this is and the impact lockdowns are having across the state and am very embarrassed by my misunderstanding and stuff up,” Mooney told Confidential. “I feel like an absolute goose for not realising I wasn’t permitted to travel to Byron Bay during my break.”

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2GB host Ben Fordham breaks down on-air after family tragedy

2GB host Ben Fordham broke down in tears on-air on Thursday morning while announcing the tragic passing of his father-in-law Ross Speers at the age of 75, reports News Corp’s Mibengé Nsenduluka.

The radio broadcaster was overcome with emotion as he recalled losing the father of his wife, Channel 7 news presenter Jodie Speers, to cancer on Tuesday.

“I wanted to share with you some personal news, and that is that my wife Jodie’s dad, Ross, passed away on Tuesday night,” he said.

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Sport Media

No spectators for Tokyo Olympics

Organisers of the Tokyo Olympics have agreed not to have any spectators at the Games after Japan declared its 4th State of Emergency due to the pandemic, report TV Tonight.

It marks a major blow not just to fans around the world, but to broadcasters who paid millions in rights for roaring crowds when records are broken. Advertisers have also paid big dollars to be associated with the event that captures the imagination of nations.

Now it could look decidedly soulless without cheering fans.

Representatives from the Games’ organising committee, the Japanese government, the Tokyo Metropolitan government and the International Olympic and Paralympic committees made the decision on Thursday evening.

IOC President Thomas Bach took part in the meeting online after flying into Tokyo and starting a 3-day isolation.

Last month, the five parties capped the number of domestic spectators at 50 percent of a venue’s capacity, or up to 10,000 people, with bans on cheering. But it was always subject to an evolving situation.

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AFL commentary great Rex Hunt’s on-air blow up ends his return to radio

Rex Hunt’s legendary career as an AFL radio commentator appears to be at an end as the footy and fishing icon blew up in an ugly on-air rant, reports News Corp’s Andrew McMurtry.

During his 3AW show Footy Nightline on Saturday night, an interview with 1980s AFL legend Robert DiPierdomenico ran long over an ad break.

3AW head of football Craig Moore made the call to the 30-year radio veteran and it didn’t go down well as Hunt blasted the executive in a stunning on-air explosion.

3AW has confirmed that Hunt had indeed had his final night in his role, with station manager Stephen Beers reportedly breaking the news in a note to staff.

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