Roundup: Radio power list, Nine legal stoush, CNN Murdoch doco, Bolt on journos, Mid-Winter Ball, Carey latest

• SEN 1116 shake-up, Radio power list, “hypocritical” networks, Is Lord of the Rings really ‘too woke’?

Business of Media

Former Member of Parliament Andrew Laming wants $1m payout from Nine

Former federal Liberal MP Andrew Laming is seeking a payout of close to $1m in his defamation action against the Nine Network, reports The Australian’s Michael McKenna.

Mediation talks between the parties broke down last Friday in Brisbane despite Nine earlier admitting the central claim of a report about the veteran MP was untrue.

On March 27 last year, Nine aired a segment on its nightly news bulletin in which the then federal MP was accused of committing the criminal offence of taking an inappropriate “upskirting” photo of a Brisbane store worker, Crystal White, without her consent.

The report earned Nine reporter Peter Fegan and producer Rebeka Powell a Walkley Award in the television/video news reporting category and the gong for Clarions Queensland 2021 Journalist of the Year.

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News Corp’s Andrew Bolt: Journalism no longer the truth business

How naïve I was when I first became a journalist, 43 years ago. This wide-eyed country boy who worshipped George Orwell thought he’d joined the truth business, writes News Corp columnist and Sky News Australia host Andrew Bolt.

But now I see Australia’s top media honours go to people spreading ruinous falsehoods. To journalists pushing populist smears they can’t prove.

No wonder respect for journalists is down the toilet, when those awards are not withdrawn even when the untruths are exposed.

Doesn’t truth matter even to the journalists’ union? To organisers of the Walkley Awards? To the Melbourne Press Club?

Right now, the Nine Network is being sued by former federal Liberal MP Andrew Laming for falsely claiming last year he’d committed a filthy crime – “upskirting” a woman in a Brisbane shop.

That claim ruined Laming’s reputation and he was forced to resign.

But Laming was innocent.

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CNN and The New York Times preview seven-part series on Murdoch family

The story behind the rise of the Murdochs, the world’s most powerful media family, had all the right ingredients for a gripping drama: greed, betrayal, family backstabbing, reports The New York Times.

The New York Times reporters Jonathan Mahler and Jim Rutenberg chronicled that drama in a three-part, 20,000-word investigation in 2019. Now that reporting is captured in a documentary series, The Murdochs: Empire of Influence, which will be broadcast on CNN this month.

The Murdochs explores the legacy of the media mogul Rupert Murdoch and the dynasty he built. Based on exclusive reporting from The New York Times, this seven-part series goes behind the scenes of the unlikely ascent of the media tycoon, his outsize influence around the globe and the intense succession battle between his children.

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It is not yet clear if the series will screen at the same time on CNN in Australia.

Vice exploring a partnership with Saudi-backed media company MBC

After Saudis killed the journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, Vice Media joined many other American companies in publicly distancing itself from the Saudi Arabian government, whose agents carried out the killing, reports The New York Times.

Now, Vice is in talks to expand its business in the country.

The youth-focused digital media company is exploring a deal with MBC, a media giant partially owned by the Saudi government, to launch a new content partnership in the region, according to two people with knowledge of the talks who would speak only on the condition of anonymity.

The deal, which may include the creation of a new media brand focused on lifestyle coverage and training local media workers, could be worth at least $50 million over multiple years, one of the people said. Shane Smith, a co-founder of Vice, has been involved in some of the discussions.

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News Media

Greens hijack Canberra Press Gallery’s Midwinter Ball with political protest

The Greens have hijacked Canberra’s biggest party and turned it into a protest, with one senator marching in and shouting “This is a hall of fossil fuels” and another emblazoning “No Coal or Gas” on their dress, reports The Australian’s Jenna Clarke and Jess Malcolm.

The Midwinter Ball returned to Parliament House on Wednesday night after two years of pandemic-related hibernation, bringing together journalists, MPs and staffers.

The renowned night was attended by a range of MPs and senior business figures, including Westpac chief Peter King, Telstra chief executive Vicki Brady and Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia, Vasyl Myroshnychenko.

Senator Sarah Hanson Young and Greens leader Adam Bandt’s wife, Claudia Perkins, took a leaf out of US congresswoman Alexandra Orcasio-Cortez – who used this year’s Met Gala in New York to stage a fashion protest – and wore gowns emblazoned with messages against fossil fuels.

Press Gallery president and Sydney Morning Herald journalist David Crowe addressed the fracas outside the event telling the crowd “only 7 per cent of the sponsorship of this event” was linked to oil and gas.

Aside from the fuss and fury from the Greens, parliament’s Great Hall was adorned with giant disco balls, with politicians and journalists dressed in their finest attire.

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See also:
The Daily Telegraph: Parliament House goes Hollywood glam for 2022 Midwinter Ball

Nine Publishing: Veil of secrecy descends on Midwinter Ball in Canberra

Social Media

Instagram to TikTok: The new wave of Aussie creatives breaking the internet

The Age’s Michael Lallo reports: “There is one historical misconception that bothers me,” author and sexuality expert Esme James declared in a video she uploaded to TikTok early last year. “It’s that explicit pornography is a recent thing … [the 18th century] was actually a golden era of porn.”

At the time, James was researching her PhD thesis – an exploration of the aesthetics of pornographic works from the 1700s to the early 1900s – at the University of Melbourne. Her efforts yielded a trove of fascinating tidbits, from the origins of common sex toys to the “impotence trials” of pre-revolutionary France, in which dissatisfied wives sought to annul their marriages by proving their husbands were not up to the job.

In 2020, James began sharing her findings on the rapidly growing short-form video service TikTok, branding each instalment a lesson in #kinkyhistory. When her 54-second clip about 18th century erotica racked up 400,000 views almost instantly, she deemed it a stroke of good luck. A fortnight later, she posted another lesson – an abridged history of oral sex – before heading to a doctor’s appointment. By the time she was done, her clip had surpassed 1 million views.

James is now among the top 1 per cent of TikTok creators globally: a metric that reflects high levels of audience engagement (measured by the number of likes, shares and comments) as well as total view counts. It also places her at the forefront of a new wave of Australian creatives who have amassed huge followings by serving their fans directly. Their work is vibrant, funny and fresh, due in no small part to the editorial freedom that comes from bypassing the middlemen.

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Courier-Mail Power list: Who are Queensland’s most influential radio stars?

Who are the talking heads that make us listen? In the cutthroat world of Queensland radio, some stars shine brighter than others, reports The Courier-Mail as it investigates radio as part of its Queensland 2022 Power List feature.

Beyond doing their “day job”, they carry broader influence, whether through their community involvement or directly impacting people’s purchasing decisions.

The Courier-Mail reveals the state’s most influential radio stars who have made the full list of Queensland’s most power people in arts, entertainment and celebrity.

Women top the Radio Power List including:

SUSIE O’NEILL: Nova 106.9 Breakfast radio presenter

She was first known as Madame Butterfly, the golden girl of the 2000 Sydney Olympics who went on to achieve eight Olympic medals during her swimming career.

Relatable and down-to-earth, Susie O’Neill is almost an accidental success story.

She began co-hosting Nova’s breakfast show in 2013 but, buoyed by her popularity, station bosses convinced her to join the program full-time in 2019. The show won 10 of the following 13 radio surveys.

ROBIN BAILEY: KIIS 97.3 Breakfast radio presenter

Robin Bailey is known for wearing her heart on her sleeve. She feels deeply about issues and isn’t afraid to broach sensitive subjects.

Her on-air sharing of the loss to suicide of her first husband (the father of her three sons) and of the death from cancer of her second husband just a few years later won her a legion of fans, as well as a national profile.

Bailey made her mark on the scene firstly by spending nine years with Jamie Dunn and Ian Skippen on the B105 Morning Crew, dominating the Brisbane market during the 1990s and early 2000s.

She then hosted 97.3 for a decade before contract negotiations turned sour and she was axed from the network. In a testament to her power in radio, she jumped ship to launch a new breakfast show on rivals Triple M before a struggling 97.3 reinstated Bailey in a bid to boost their ratings.

ABBY COLEMAN: B105 Breakfast radio host

Abby Coleman’s career began when she finished runner-up on the first season of reality TV show The Mole when she was just 18. She leveraged her new-found fame to launch a successful career on TV and radio, presenting Couch Potato, weather on Weekend Today and The Hot30 Countdown.

In 2011, she moved to Brisbane and joined B105 to host the breakfast show which she has now been presenting for more than a decade, sharing all facets of her life as a mother of three, as one of the most influential names on Brisbane radio.

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Producers slam “hypocritical” networks as Australian Children’s TV plummets

Screen Producers Australia have hit out at Commercial Free to Air Networks seeking extensions to industry protection whilst scaling back on Children’s Drama, after the former government dropped sub-quotas, reports TV Tonight.

New figures from the Australian Communications and Media Authority on content transmission quotas highlight how Seven, Nine and 10 have culled Australian Children’s TV including in 2021.

“I do not know how anyone could look at these figures and say that the Australian public is being well served by the current regulation of our commercial broadcasters,” SPA CEO Matt Deaner said.

“The data in particular shows the effect of a lack of any current requirement to screen any minimum Australian children’s content – overturning a long-standing broadcasting content principle and leading to what is now a collapse of the Australian children’s content industry.

“It is hypocritical for commercial free-to-air broadcasters to be asking government for extensions to their industry protection through the anti-siphoning framework on the basis of audience access while at the same time fighting to deny audiences access to range of other important content.”

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Is the new Amazon Prime Lord of the Rings TV show really ‘too woke’?

The first episode of Amazon’s new billion-dollar Lord of the Rings TV series, The Rings of Power, features a scene where a furious snow troll clobbers a squadron of elves, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Angus Dalton.

The scene turned out to be an eerily apt metaphor for how the highly anticipated series – the most expensive ever produced – was received by a segment of the audience.

Since its premiere last week, real-life internet trolls have stormed Google, IMDB and Amazon to “review-bomb” the new series with one-star ratings. While there has been some good-faith criticism aimed at the show’s plot, pacing and characterisation, much of the backlash seems to be fuelled by self-described purist fans critiquing the show’s casting of non-white actors and claiming author J. R. R. Tolkien’s vision has been muddied by a “woke” agenda.

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See also:
TV Tonight: The Lord of the Rings – The Rings of Power
With a little CGI help, New Zealand looks alluring as Middle Earth in Amazon’s big roll of the fantasy dice.

‘Evil genius’: Paramount+ series The Bridge is addictive and deviously twisted TV

This polished production The Bridge (Paramount+) arrives featuring hallmarks of some of the series that have gone before – notably the pioneers, Survivor and Big Brother – yet puts its own spin on the genre, reports The Age’s Debi Enker.

Not to be confused with the 2011 Swedish/Danish crime thriller of the same name, this production, shot at Lake Pieman on Tasmania’s west coast and produced locally by Endemol Shine, is based on the Spanish format introduced in 2017 by El Puente.

Making the most of the striking Tasmanian wilderness, it sees an initial group of 12 people allocated 17 days to build a 330-metre bridge from the water’s edge to an island in the middle of the lake. And, in one sign of the show’s impressive visual flair, towering over that island is an eerie beacon that glows with red lights, an inspired visual motif, like omnipresent evil eyes, and a device that occupies a central role in the contest. When the beacon’s lights flash, flares intermittently blast off from it and land in different places, where they trail red smoke, marking the site of a chest containing instructions for the bridge builders.

Those with that entrenched antipathy to the reality-TV genre might not be enticed by The Bridge. For the rest of us, though, this cleverly constructed, well shot and snappily paced series is an addictive winner which keeps the twists coming until the finale. Well played, Endemol Shine.

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Sports Media

Wayne Carey to speak publicly about Perth casino white powder incident

Former AFL star Wayne Carey will speak publicly for the first time about the recent incident that occurred at a Perth casino when he returns to his hometown of Wagga Wagga on Thursday, reports The Australian’s Sophie Elsworth.

The 51-year-old will address a men’s mental health event and has told organisers he will talk about what took place last Thursday, which has led to him being investigated by police after reports emerged that he was evicted from Crown Casino in Perth following a bag of white powder in a zip-lock bag falling from his pocket in a gaming room.

The Good Blokes Society event, to be held at Wagga Wagga RSL, is open to the public and will feature Carey as the guest speaker.

Carey will depart Melbourne on Thursday to attend the function which starts at 6.30pm AEST.

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See also:
The Age: Wayne Carey to look at disability discrimination claim following casino ejection

SEN 1116 shake-up: Garry Lyon joins Tim Watson with 3 days a week breakfast

SEN Melbourne is set to tinker with its breakfast line-up next year, reducing the Garry Lyon and Tim Watson show to just three days, reports the Herald Sun’s Scott Gullan.

The AFL legends have been gradually decreasing their on-air time recently with Watson cutting back to three days – Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday – this year.

That meant Lyon and former Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley have been opening the week on Monday mornings with Fridays becoming the Kane Cornes and David King show.

The plan for 2023 is to have Lyon fall in line with Watson’s current roster with a different pairing for Monday.

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