Roundup: SCA’s John Kelly, ABC chair candidates, Todd Woodbridge


Mark Zuckerberg, The ads Australians are lodging complaints about, Antoinette Lattouf, Sports Illustrated, Tory Maguire, Andrew Probyn returns, Oscar noms

Business of Media

Government supports including TikTok in news media bargaining code

Video streaming app TikTok may find itself swept into a revised News Media Bargaining Code, with Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones declaring the Albanese government is in favour of including the platform, reports The Australian’s David Ross.

Laying out the government’s agenda for 2024, Jones told The Australian he supported a renewed push to force tech giants to fund Australia’s news media.

Jones, who is also the finance minister, said the News Media Bargaining Code was about “supporting journalism” and ensuring the sector had a viable business model.

He said it was important that platforms which benefit from journalistic content should be “paying a fair price for it”.

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‘Very scary’: Mark Zuckerberg’s pledge to build advanced AI alarms experts

Mark Zuckerberg has been accused of taking an irresponsible approach to artificial intelligence after committing to building a powerful AI system on a par with human levels of intelligence. The Facebook founder has also raised the prospect of making it freely available to the public, reports The Guardian’s Dan Milmo.

The Meta chief executive has said the company will attempt to build an artificial general intelligence (AGI) system and make it open source, meaning it will be accessible to developers outside the company. The system should be made “as widely available as we responsibly can”, he added.

In a Facebook post, Zuckerberg said it was clear that the next generation of tech services “requires building full general intelligence”.

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Scary burgers and ageist chicken: The ads Australians are lodging complaints about

One of the great pastimes for us Australians, a nation of good-humoured larrikins, is complaining. Vociferously and about just about anything, we absolutely love to complain. As a result, it leads to busy and (one suspects) well-paid careers for ombudsmen. It also means that when it comes to public-facing targets of complaints like advertisements, the body responsible for regulating content, Ad Standards, makes public its determinations on complaints, reports Crikey’s Daanyal Sayeed.

In the spirit of transparency, your correspondent rounded up some of the funny, egregious and occasionally ridiculous complaints from the past year.

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News Brands

Antoinette Lattouf hits out at ABC for paying for reporter Louise Milligan’s legal fees because she is ‘white’

Sacked radio presenter Antoinette Lattouf has lashed out at the ABC on international TV, telling the BBC that the taxpayer-funded broadcaster paid for investigative reporter Louise Milligan’s legal fees in defamation proceedings because she is “white”, reports The Australian’s Sophie Elsworth.

Lattouf also claimed in the interview with BBC News presenter Matthew Amroliwala on the weekend that she was left without help from the ABC because she has “an Arab background”.

In the interview, Lattouf said after she was axed by the ABC on December 20, “all across the country Australians are asking what happened to Antoinette, why did this happen to Antoinette and what’s happened to our public broadcaster”.

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List of final candidates for role of ABC chair includes Peter Tonagh, Louise Herron and David Kirk

Anthony Albanese is expected to resist the urge to opt for a “captain’s pick” for the next chair of the ABC, with the Prime Minister likely to choose a replacement for outgoing figurehead Ita Buttrose from the list of three candidates put forward by the independent nomination panel, reports The Australian’s James Madden.

The four-person panel has concluded the months-long interviewing process.

The Australian understands that the three names on its list of preferred candidates forwarded to Albanese are Louise Herron, the current chief executive of the Sydney Opera House; Peter ­Tonagh, the former Foxtel boss who is the current deputy chair of the ABC board; and New ­Zealander David Kirk, who had a three-year stint as chief executive of Fairfax Media (publisher of The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial ­Review) before it merged with Nine ­Entertainment.

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Sports Illustrated employees left in limbo as publisher faces money troubles

The jobs of people who produce Sports Illustrated have been left in limbo after the company that paid to maintain the iconic brand’s print and digital products told staff that its licence had been revoked, reports AP.

In an email to employees on Friday morning US time, the Arena Group, which operates Sports Illustrated and related properties, said that because of the revocation, “we will be laying off staff that work on the SI brand”.

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Tory Maguire noted for ability to ’(oversee) renewal’ and make ’tough and brave’ decisions

The promotion of Tory Maguire at Nine Newspapers surprised few on the editorial floor of the media company, where the influence of chairman Peter Costello is said to be more keenly felt with each passing day, reports News Corp’s Annette Sharp.

The former federal Liberal treasurer continues to pay increasingly close attention to the books at Nine, and where savings can be made, they will be made – even if it comes at the expense of senior staff who no longer seem wedded to the idea of holding out for a promotion or a gold watch at the company.

With no more coin in the pot for the man Maguire replaced as head of publishing, James Chessell, Maguire was formally appointed to the role last Tuesday, making hers one of the fastest rises in the history of the newspaper company formerly known as Fairfax.

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Southern Cross Media boss John Kelly ‘happy’ as ARN Media takeover plans roll on

Southern Cross Media Group boss John Kelly had only been in the top job for four months when rival media company ARN Media launched a takeover bid last ­October, reports The Australian’s Sophie Elsworth.

“Clearly they (ARN) had made their investment (in SCA), but they had said that was a strategic investment. And then this came out of the blue, absolutely it did,” he told The Australian in his first interview since the takeover bid began

“It’s been character-building, the first six months.”

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Andrew Probyn: Comeback kid

One can imagine ABC bosses spitting out their tea en masse on Thursday morning when the dulcet tones of Andrew Probyn were heard on Radio National during fill-in host Sally Sara’s breakfast program. Probyn, who was the ABC’s longstanding political editor until he was controversially axed by the public broadcaster last June, has since moved to Nine where he is national affairs editor, report The Australian’s James Madden and Sophie Elsworth

But on Thursday he caught listeners – not to mention ABC management – by surprise when he popped up for a six-minute chat with Sara to discuss the various political issues of the day, including Taiwan’s reaction to comments by the Chinese ambassador to Australia, Xiao Qian, the federal government’s handling of cost of living pressures, and Foreign Minister Penny Wong’s visit to Israel.

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The movies set for Oscar noms – and who will do it tough

When it comes to predicting the Oscars, you ultimately have to go with your gut – and mine is in a state of agita, reports The New York Times’ Kyle Buchanan

That’s what happens when there are simply too many good movies and great performances to all make the cut: even the hypothetical snubs I’m about to dole out have me tied up in knots.

Which names can you expect to hear on Tuesday (Wednesday 12.30am AEDT) when the Oscar nominations are announced?

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Not even a heart attack stops Todd Woodbridge from taking on new challenges

For tennis legend Todd Woodbridge, stepping on set as host of the new local version of quiz show Tipping Point triggered a familiar feeling – that of stepping on court, reports Nine Publishing’s Nicole Elphick.

“We have an audience in the show, that’s a big difference to the British show,” he says. “They start cheering and clapping, then bang, your adrenaline kicks in, and it’s like going on to a court.”

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