News & Insights


It's a wrap - Honner's quarterly media roundup (Q318)by Rebecca Thurlow

© AdobeStock / 3d_generator

What’s news?

Nine to take over Fairfax

Fairfax Media and Nine Entertainment announced a $4 billion merger  that the broadcaster claimed would create Australia’s largest integrated media player.

Fairfax will lose its name in the deal aimed at cutting costs and positioning the combined entity to remain profitable in an industry increasingly dominated by digital media.

ABC chairman resigns

ABC Chairman Justine Milne resigned  amid controversy over the sacking of former managing director Michelle Guthrie and accusations he interfered in the broadcaster’s editorial independence.

Mr Milne’s resignation followed revelations he told Ms Guthrie to sack presenter Emma Alberici and political editor Andrew Probyn following complaints from former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.

News Corp reports large loss, cuts Australian jobs

News Corporation suffered another large full year loss of US$1.4 billion as it continued to write down the value of its Australian pay TV subsidiary Foxtel.

The company later said it will cut about 30 editorial jobs across its Australian publishing portfolio, including The AustralianHerald Sun and The Daily Telegraph, as part of its ongoing focus on cost reduction.

Guardian Australia turns a profit

Guardian Australia reported its first profit, five years after the launch of the news site.

The site now employs 80 people at news bureaus in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, and has 65,000 paying Australian readers.

Facebook launches Watch

Facebook launched its video section Watch in Australia and globally.

Using the Watch tab, viewers will be able to access a feed of recommended videos, as well as a customisable list of content from pages they follow.

Insights & opinion

© AdobeStock / Roman Stetsyk

Journalism is becoming a profession for only the rich, says Mumbrella’s Adam Thorn.

A takeover by Nine is the least worst way to save Fairfax journalism, says former Sydney Morning Herald editor in chief Darren Goodsir.

ABC business editor Ian Verrender explains why Facebook will still snuff out Fairfax’s hopes

University of Melbourne academic Dennis Muller explains why the ABC, and the public that trusts it, must stand firm against threats to its editorial independence.

Quotable quotes

“The problem with this is that, in terms of news management, Channel Nine, for over half a century, has never other than displayed the opportunism and ethics of an alley cat.” - Former prime minister Paul Keating on the prospect of Nine running Fairfax editorial policy.

“Send help.” – Hannah Francis, arts editor at The Age, on news Nine would take over Fairfax.

“So after 150-plus years this is all we get.” – A tweet from Sydney Morning Herald investigative reporter Kate McClymont, who also joked that she is in talks to co-host Today.
“Frankly, we are all spooked by everything in here.” – An ABC on-air presenter commenting on the culture of anxiety created by the high levels of criticism being aimed at public broadcaster.

“On numerous occasions, in conversations with Mr Milne, I have defended the independence of the ABC from government and the fact that we can’t fire journalists including [political editor] Andrew Probyn and Emma Alberici because the government of the day complains about their reporting,” – Former ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie to the public broadcaster’s board.

“The current trend in Australia for suddenly removing leaders with little explanation today has hit the ABC.” – ABC host Leigh Sales when introducing 730’s coverage Ms Guthrie’s sacking.

“She’s been all but invisible, I might say, for a very long time.” - ABC presenter Jon Faine on Ms Guthrie’s leadership.

“Have you checked the entire building? They may have been relocated due to hot desking.” - Comedian Tony Martin when neither ABC Chairman Justin Milne or Ms Guthrie were available to be interviewed by the 7.30 report regarding Ms Guthrie’s sacking earlier that day.

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