Roundup: Walkley Awards ban chequebook journalism, Mike Sneesby, OpenAI and News Corp strike deal

Bruce Lehrmann walkley awards

Lachlan Murdoch in Sydney, Plagiarism websites, Nine refuses to deny imminent redundancies, the Guardian, 7NEWS Adelaide, Australian football

Business of Media

Walkley Awards ban chequebook journalism after controversy over Seven’s Bruce Lehrmann interview

The Walkley awards will ban chequebook journalism after the Spotlight program was nominated for scoop of the year for an interview with Bruce Lehrmann secured by paying $100,000 for his rent on top of expenses for dining, entertainment and golf trips, reports The Guardian’s Amanda Meade.

During Lehrmann’s defamation trial the federal court heard claims that he discussed payment of about $200,000 for his participation in an interview and was reimbursed by the network for money spent on cocaine and sex workers, which were euphemistically invoiced as “pre-production expenses”.

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News Corp’s Rebekah Brooks joins Lachlan Murdoch in Sydney ahead of major Australian newspaper restructure

Lachlan Murdoch has been joined in Sydney by the News Corp UK boss, Rebekah Brooks, and global chief, Robert Thomson, ahead of the announcement of a major restructure of the Australian newspapers next week, reports The Guardian’s Amanda Meade.

Guardian Australia understands Rupert Murdoch’s right-hand man, Thomson, Lachlan and Brooks held meetings in Sydney on Tuesday with News Corp’s local chief, Michael Miller, and others to sign off on the transformation of the company.

It is not often Murdoch’s global media executives gather in Sydney, signalling the announcement is significant.

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James Raptis resigns after ABC investigation reveals his links to plagiarism websites

James Raptis, the media lawyer identified by an ABC investigation as being linked to an AI plagiarism operation, has left his position at Australian Community Media (ACM), reports the ABC’s Julian Fell.

ACM chief financial officer Chris Hitch informed staff in an internal message that Raptis had tendered his resignation and would finish up at the company immediately.

“I’d like to thank James for his contribution since joining ACM last June,” Hitch wrote.

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News Brands

OpenAI, News Corp strike content deal valued at over $US250 million

News Corp has struck a major content-licensing pact with generative artificial-intelligence company OpenAI, aiming to cash in on a technology that promises to have a profound impact on the news-publishing industry, report Dow Jones’ Ra Bruell, Sam Schechner, and Deepa Seetharamanl.

The deal could be worth more than $US250 million over five years, including compensation in the form of cash and credits for use of OpenAI technology, according to people familiar with the situation. The deal lets OpenAI use content from News Corp’s consumer-facing news publications, including archives, to answer users’ queries and train its technology.

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Nine refuses to deny imminent redundancies across broadcast division

Nine is remaining tight-lipped amid rumours of significant planned redundancies in its broadcast division, reports Crikey’s Daanyal Saeed.

Crikey understands dozens of jobs are slated to be lost.

A single sentence was all a Nine spokesperson would provide in response to Crikey’s questions about the plans: “As change occurs in the media industry, we are always evolving to best meet the needs of our business in order to remain the market leader.”

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Nine CEO Mike Sneesby urges staff to report ‘inappropriate behaviour’ after news boss’ Darren Wick’s exit

Nine Entertainment chief executive Mike Sneesby has urged the company’s staff to come forward with any complaints about ­“inappropriate behaviour”, amid new claims that its former news boss Darren Wick groped a TV star at a Logies after-party, report The Australian’s Sophie Elsworth and James Madden

The email sent to all staff on Wednesday afternoon referenced media reports this week that have shone a light on the media giant’s internal processes, amid alle­gations about the workplace conduct of Wick.

On Monday, The Australian revealed Wick left the company in March after allegations of ­inappropriate behaviour towards a female staff member.

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Free coffee perk now a cost-of-living casualty at the Guardian

In a cost-of-living crisis, we all have to make sacrifices. And that includes the long-suffering staff at the Guardian Australia, who on Wednesday learnt that their employers would be cracking down on the buying of coffee on the company dime, report Nine Publishing’s Noel Towell and Kishor Napier-Raman.

“In the past few months, we have seen a significant rise in coffee expenditure across our four offices, partly due to a marked increase in coffee prices,” an email from management read.

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The TV and media heavyweights in the race for 7NEWS Adelaide news director as Chris Salter departs

7News Adelaide news director Chris Salter is on the move interstate, earning a well-deserved promotion as Seven Melbourne’s Director of News, starting in July, reports News Corp’s Antimo Iannella.

A former journalist at The Advertiser, Salter will take over from Shaun Menegola, who announced his departure earlier this month.

“It’s been a tremendous honour to lead Seven’s Adelaide newsroom. Their commitment to telling South Australia’s stories is inspiring, and the reason viewers keep tuning in,” said Salter, who has been in the Adelaide role since June 2018.

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Sports Media

The dark side of Australian football’s ‘great sporting fairytale’

Against a sea of red and black flags, an angry throng punches the air and chants, “Go f— yourself!” as police look on. These are scenes not from a protest, but from the march of the Red and Black Bloc (RBB), the fans of Western Sydney Wanderers FC, in Parramatta earlier this year, reports Nine Publishing’s Bridget McManus.

The rapid rise of the A-League soccer club, who in 2014 became the only Australian side to win the AFC Asian Champions League, is the subject of SBS documentary Came from Nowhere.

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