Roundup: Wednesday, Jane Doyle signs off, Turkish journalist arrested


News Corp, Georgie Parker, Twitter, Meta, Washington Post, Warner Bros Discovery, Spotify

Business of Media

News Corp boss warns of ‘consequences’ after another drinks incident

News Corporation is investigating complaints relating to an incident at end-of-year drinks for its flagship masthead The Australian at a Sydney pub last week, as the company manages the fall-out from two other party incidents, report Nine Publishing’s Mark Di Stefano, Edmund Tadros and Sam Buckingham-Jones.

The newest incident led to News Corp Australia executive chairman Michael Miller sending a note to staff this week, with a blunt warning about end-of-year Christmas parties: “Remember that inappropriate behaviour has consequences.”

Sources say a senior editor at The Australian attended News Corp headquarters in Sydney on Wednesday to meet with HR over an incident during end-of-year drinks at a pub in Surry Hills.

The incident is understood to have occurred last Thursday night in Surry Hills, where both senior and junior staff were meeting for drinks.

“A thorough investigation is under way after complaints were made following an informal end-of-year function,” a News Corp spokesman said in a statement. “No conclusion has yet been reached and our priority is for the fair treatment and well-being of all those involved.”

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Seven pays up after star Georgie Parker’s Logies’ suit ‘butchered’

Six months after Aussie TV icon Georgie Parker wore a showstopping suit to the Logies, its designer has finally received reparations from the Sydney stylist who she says “butchered” her red carpet creation, reports News Corp’s Mikaela Wilkes.

Confidential can reveal Channel 7 had to step in and pay off Cristina Tridente, the owner of Couture+Love+Madness, who had loaned it to the Home and Away star.

The custom-made technicolour ensemble landed Parker on all the best dressed lists in June, but Tridente said it was altered without her permission or knowledge, and not returned by Parker’s stylist after the event.

“The stylist went and took it to a tailor and changed the shape of the suit without getting permission from us,” Tridente wrote.

“It wasn’t a fitting issue, the whole pants were butchered to change the shape.”

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First Turkish journalist arrested under ‘disinformation’ law

A journalist has been arrested in south-east Turkey for allegedly spreading “disinformation”, his lawyer said on Thursday, marking the first pre-trial detention under a new law that critics say poses a threat to free speech, reports Reuters.

The arrest comes two months after parliament passed the sweeping legislation that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling party said would protect the public. Critics say the law could be abused by authorities to stifle dissent.

Sinan Aygül, a journalist in Kurdish-majority Bitlis province, was detained early on Wednesday after he wrote on Twitter that a 14-year-old girl had allegedly been sexually abused by men, including police officers and soldiers. He retracted the story.

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Twitter suspends over 25 accounts that track billionaires’ private planes

Twitter on Wednesday suspended more than 25 accounts that track the planes of government agencies, billionaires and high-profile individuals — including one that followed the movements of the social media company’s owner, Elon Musk, who has said he was committed to “free speech,” reports The New York Times’ Ryan Mac.

Jack Sweeney, a 20-year-old college student and flight tracking enthusiast, said he woke up on Wednesday to find that his automated Twitter account, @ElonJet, had been suspended. In recent months, the account amassed more than 500,000 followers by using public flight information and data to post the whereabouts of Musk’s private plane. Twitter later reinstated the @ElonJet account before suspending it again.

Musk had been aware of @ElonJet for months. After buying Twitter for $44 billion in October, he said that he would allow the account to remain on the platform. “My commitment to free speech extends even to not banning the account following my plane, even though that is a direct personal safety risk,” Musk tweeted last month.

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Meta warns spyware still being used to target people on social media

Meta has warned that the use of spyware to indiscriminately target people – including journalists and activists – is a persistent threat because surveillance-for-hire companies continue to adapt and change tactics in the face of efforts to shut down their capabilities, reports The Guardian’s Stephanie Kirchgaessner.

A report by Facebook’s parent company described efforts by the social media group to remove a number of firms, including two linked to Russia, one based in Israel, and an entity in China, all of which were alleged by Meta to have been used to “scrape” Facebook and Instagram for users’ private information in an attempt to compromise users’ accounts.

In one case, Meta said it removed more than 100 accounts on Facebook and Instagram linked to a company called Avalanche in Russia, which it said sold access to a platform that allows spying across the internet. Meta said a host of individuals and groups were targeted using the Russian network, from environmental activists, members of the media, NGOs in the US and politicians. Other companies that were removed from Meta platforms include a New York-based company called Social Links, which was originally based in Russia, and Cyberglobes, based in Israel.

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News Brands

Washington Post publisher announces plan for job cuts

Fred Ryan, the publisher of The Washington Post, said in a meeting with employees on Wednesday that the company would eliminate some positions early next year, including some in the newsroom, as the company looks to focus on different coverage areas, report The New York Times’ Benjamin Mullin and Katie Robertson.

Ryan said that the cuts would amount to a single-digit percentage of staff, adding that the company would finish its plans over the coming weeks. He said there would not be an overall reduction in the newsroom’s head count because the cuts would be offset by hiring in other areas. The newsroom has more than 1,000 employees.

Ryan’s remarks came during a contentious town hall meeting that culminated with Ryan stepping offstage without answering follow-up questions from employees, according to people with knowledge of the gathering.

In a statement, The Washington Post said the cuts were part of a plan to “invest in coverage, products, and people in service of providing high value to our subscribers and new audiences.”

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Warner Bros Discovery expects $1 bln more in scrapped content charges

Warner Bros Discovery Inc on Wednesday raised its expectations of costs related to content write-offs by $1 billion and said the charges could now reach up to $3.5 billion, reports Reuters.

For the media company, formed earlier this year by the merger of AT&T Inc’s WarnerMedia unit and Discovery Inc, the total financial restructuring cost could now be between $4.1 billion and $5.3 billion.

Warner Bros has undertaken a series of cost-cutting measures since the merger, including canceling projects such as the live-action version of the DC Comics character Batgirl, a planned Wonder Twins film, and shutting down the CNN+ streaming news service.

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Spotify cancels at least 6 live audio shows in latest programming cuts

Spotify has canceled at least six of its live audio shows as part of the audio giant’s latest round of programming cuts, reports The Hollywood Reporter’s J. Clara Chan.

Included in the cancelations are Deux Me After Dark, a celebrity gossip show hosted by the anonymous creator known as Deux Moi; Doughboys: Snack Pack, a food show hosted by the comedians Nick Wiger and Mike Mitchell; The Movie Buff, a movie review show hosted by the comedian Jon Gabrus, A Gay in the Life, a current events and LGBTQ+ culture show from Teen Beach Movie star Garrett Clayton and writer Blake Knight; Taylor Talk, a Taylor Swift fan show hosted by Ellie Schnitt; and Lorem Life, a music show based on Spotify’s Lorem playlist hosted by Dev Lemons and Max Motley.

The cancelations, two of which were not previously reported, were confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter by a Spotify spokesperson.

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“I’ll certainly miss the adrenaline”: Jane Doyle farewells Seven News Adelaide

Seven News legend Jane Doyle last night signed off from the desk, ending a remarkable 33 year run in Adelaide, reports TV Tonight.

Doyle, who joined Seven in 1989, announced her retirement several weeks ago, to be succeeded by Rosanna Mangiarelli and Will Goodings.

“Seriously it was the best decision I’ve ever made, both personally and professionally. And I can never adequately thank everyone who’s been part of my experience here. My wonderful husband and our beautiful son, Henry, who are in the room tonight, have been my biggest supporters and I’ve also made lifelong friends here in the newsroom.

“The Seven family is a remarkable place to work. My colleagues have been a continuous source of inspiration and I know with Rosanna and Will at the helm, they’re going to continue our tradition of presenting the best news bulletins in town.

“I’ll certainly miss the adrenaline and the camaraderie of working in a newsroom. But most of all, I’ll miss you, our viewers from all over this great state.”

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Wednesday beats out Dahmer in Netflix streaming records, reaching 1 billion watch hours but Squid Game still reigns supreme

Tim Burton‘s series Wednesday, based on a new interpretation of the Addams Family, has exceeded 1 billion watch hours, putting it in the top three most-streamed shows on Netflix, reports The ABC’s Caitlyn Davey.

The series, starring Jenna Ortega, has amassed 1.02 billion watch hours in its first three weeks of release, eclipsing the Harry & Meghan docuseries released this week and knocking Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story out of third place.

Squid Game remains the all-time favourite, with a staggering 1.65 billion hours of viewing time in its first 28 days, followed by Stranger Things 4 at 1.35 billion hours-viewed.

Wednesday has also received two Golden Globe nominations — best television series, musical or comedy as well as best actress in a television series, musical or comedy for Ortega — and remains in number one spot for a third week on the streaming provider.

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