Thursday, June 13, 2013

Media Watch: Playing to your audience (03/06/2013)

Media Watch: Playing to your audience (03/06/2013)

Playing to your audience

They’re a famously bolshie lot, Fairfax’s reporters. As we noted three weeks ago, former business reporter Paddy Manning lost his job forhaving a spray in Crikey against his own bosses...especially at the Australian Financial Review...

The AFR’s business journalism is built on a fundamental contract between company and reporter: high-level access in exchange for soft coverage.

— Crikey, 8th April, 2013


  1. Sattler suspended over PM gay interview

    Perth shock jock Howard Sattler has been suspended after public anger over his interview with the Prime Minister in which he repeatedly asked if her partner Tim Mathieson was gay.

    Sattler, who is well known for his blunt style, quizzed Julia Gillard on his afternoon show about offensive references to her body on a Liberal Party fundraiser's menu, her religious beliefs and same-sex marriage.

    He then asked if he could put rumours to her about her partner Tim Mathieson's sexual orientation.

    Ms Gillard said the rumours were "absurd".

    "But you hear it, he must be gay. He's a hairdresser," Sattler said.

    Ms Gillard replied: "To all the hairdressers out there, including the men who are listening, I don't think in life one can actually look at a whole profession full of different human beings and say, 'Gee, we know something about every one of those human beings'. I mean it's absurd, isn't it?"

    Sattler: "You can confirm that he's not?"

    Gillard: "Oh, Howard, don't be ridiculous. Of course not."

    The radio jock copped heavy criticism on Twitter with journalists and commentators asking if the questioning revealed double standards and went too far.

    "Remember the day that radio interviewer asked John Howard if Janette was a lesbian?" @GregBaum tweeted.

    Sattler later apologised to those who thought he went too far.

    "The management of this station ... has instructed me to apologise to anyone who was offended by my interview with the Prime Minister, during which I asked questions about her private life," he said.

    He said he asked Ms Gillard those questions because her office had agreed to a "candid" interview.

    Fairfax Radio posted a statement on their website last night confirming Sattler had been suspended pending an internal enquiry.

    "Fairfax Radio management has reviewed this interview and considers the questions posed by Mr Sattler were disrespectful and irrelevant to the political debate," it said.
    "The PM answered Mr Sattler's questions with dignity and some patience."

    1. Any Australian misogynists looking for a real pair - nows your chance!


      Poet puts testicles up for sale

      A Colombian poet and journalist has offered his testicles for sale to fund a trip to introduce Europeans to his work.

      Raffael Medina Brochero yesterday told Radio Caracol he would sell them to the first person to agree to pay 375 million pesos ($A209,049) so that he could travel to Europe.
      His testicles could be transplanted into a sterile person or used to make soup, said the 52-year-old poet, who has had 11 books published.


  2. WA jobless rate falls

    An exodus of WA workers from the jobs market has saved the State from a further lift in the unemployment rate.


    Only a sharp drop in the participation rate, which tracks those in work or looking for it, stopped the jobless rate climbing. It was 3.5 per cent in June last year.

    Almost 14,000 jobs across the State had disappeared since January, split between full-time and part-time workers.

    In the past year, other States, including NSW and South Australia, recorded faster jobs growth than WA.


    Thousands jailed to pay fines

    More than one in seven admissions to WA's overstretched jails in the past 4½ years has been a person sent behind bars solely to pay off fines, costing taxpayers millions of dollars in lost revenue and in prison accommodation.

    The Opposition has said the 5017 cases of people jailed between November 2008 and May this year for the exclusive reason of paying off fines was "inconceivable" when jails were overcrowded and record funding of $655 million had been pledged to increasing prison beds.

    "At a time when the Premier has announced he is cutting public servants and therefore reducing services to the community in the name of austerity, it's inconceivable that he could justify filling our prisons with people who are sitting on their backsides over weekends paying off fines," shadow corrective services minister Paul Papalya


    WA Sheriff Greg Rickie said the total value of unpaid fines and infringements reached $278 million last week, an increase from $249 million at December 31.

    Mr Rickie said under fines enforcement regulations, fines were paid off at a rate of $250 a day in custody.


    EU carbon price surges amid optimism

    Europe's carbon price has surged to its highest level in months, prompting analysts to tip a rosier outlook for Australia's future carbon market.

    The spike came midweek as EU lawmakers expressed for the first time bipartisan support for efforts to fix Europe's ailing emissions trading scheme (ETS).

    The EU parliament in April voted against a plan to temporarily "backload", or remove, 900 million permits from its market in a bid to double its carbon price.

    The rejection saw prices plunge to record lows, and bleak projections that Australia's carbon price would fetch less than $3 per tonne when it links with Europe's ETS in 2015.

    But the price of European carbon permits hit a two-month high this week after conservative politicians indicated they'd support an amended backloading plan.

    The proposal is now expected to proceed to the EU parliament once again, where it will go to a final vote on July 2.

    Energy and carbon advisory firm RepuTex said although not set in stone, bipartisan support for this proposal was unprecedented and spelled good news for Europe's ETS.

    "Prices don't spike 70 per cent in one day unless there's good news," RepuTex executive director Hugh Grossman told AAP.

    If the vote is successful it would have immediate implications for Australia, even though it's not anticipated the local market will mirror exactly what's going on in Europe.

    RepuTex expects Australia's carbon price to reach $5 in 2015 when the schemes link, well short of the revised down $12.10 forecast in the May budget.

    But by 2020 they predict it could climb to $30 per tonne, closer but still under Treasury's estimate of $38.


    380 million year old fish challenges evolution theories.

    A fish found in the Kimberley with abdominal muscles is set to challenge accepted theories of evolution.

    (I have often wondered that with finds of this sort in the Kimberley that the Human Race first evolved from a spot near Fitzroy Crossing and not from Africa as is the accepted theory.

    Maybe we are all really descendants of Australian Aboriginals.)


    1. Concerns over changes to Aboriginal heritage sites

      Archaeological and anthropological groups are concerned about the WA government's changes to recognition of Aboriginal sites.

      The Department of Aboriginal Affairs has moved entries on its Register of Aboriginal Sites, onto a list called 'other heritage places'.

      The Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists says anthropologists and traditional owners have not been consulted and there are no legal requirement to protect sites that are not on the register.

      The Archaeologists Association's National President Fiona Hook says there is a lot confusion and the government seems to be trying to help the department's Aboriginal Cultural Materials Committee.

      "We think the approach is to reduce the ACMC's workload which has been tremendous over the last five years or so, given the mining boom and they haven't been adequately resourced to do their job properly," she said.

      "Part of this, I think, is to help that process but they've thrown the baby out with the bathwater.

      "It hasn't given the people of Western Australia the ability to actually make comment on what's going on so it's been a decision made by the state government and dealt with administratively.

      "We've had 30 years of past practice and definitions of what would be a site under the Heritage Act which have changed without consultation."

      The Chief Heritage Officer of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs Arron Rayner says there is nothing to be concerned about.


      The Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists is discussing the issue tonight with the Professional Historians' Association and the Anthropological Society of WA.


    2. World's oldest abs rewrite ideas of evolution

      PILATES enthusiasts know the importance of a strong core. It was just as important 380 million years ago, according to Australian scientists who have found the world's oldest abs.

      The researchers discovered muscle tissues in the remains of placoderms, armour-plated fish that preceded the dinosaurs, while analysing fossils from north-western Australia. They were “stunned” to find they included abdominal muscles, previously thought to have originated in land animals.

  3. Is our economy weathering the 'perfect storm'?

    Yesterday Michael Chaney expressed what most people in business are feeling right now.

    The chairman of NAB and Woodside Petroleum called the coincidence of a decline in the terms of trade and a long election campaign a "perfect storm" and added: ""I would hope that after September, whatever the result is, people are a bit more confident and start spending again."

    Yes, well, good luck with that. The fact that there will be an election later this year was hardly a surprise and the result is already clear: no need to wait to start spending.

    The original Perfect Storm - the Halloween Nor'easter of 1991 - had three causes coming together, Australia has two: the terms of trade decline, otherwise known as the end of the Chinese resources boom, and whatever is causing domestic demand to contract.

    In last week's national accounts, GNE or gross national expenditure (which is GDP minus external trade, so a proxy for the domestic economy) declined for the second consecutive quarter - that is, we're in a "domestic recession".

    Is that caused by the long election campaign, as Michael Chaney asserts? I doubt it, although three years of feverish politics certainly haven't helped. Government has been reasonably stable these past three years, with plenty of legislation passed and no threat to supply, but politics has been in a state of constant uproar.


    I suspect the main reason domestic demand is declining is the high level of household debt, which is producing a return to higher savings to repair personal balance sheets.

    That process is likely to continue after the election, especially if a new government imposes new austerity measures to repair its own balance sheet.


    In some ways a recession would suit an incoming Coalition Government. The lack of one for 22 years has produced an expectation that there will never be any losers in economic reform. Mining tax, carbon tax and Gonski education reforms have all been over-compensated.

    Worthwhile reform requires losers because it is always designed to remove economic capture by a vested interest; all the great reforms of the past needed a crisis atmosphere to strip some group or other of its monopoly rent.

    Tony Abbott just might get one next year.


    WA Government to slash 1,200 public sector jobs

    The WA Opposition says the Government's decision to cut 1,200 jobs and cap its annual wages bill is an insult to public servants and the wider community.

    The so-called efficiency measures have sparked fiery scenes in State Parliament.

    Around 1,000 workers will be offered voluntary redundancies, while 200 others could be sacked under the public sector reforms.

    The Government will also introduce a new wage policy to keep pay rises in line with the rate of inflation.

    Premier Colin Barnett says the state's annual wage bill is rising by about 8.5 per cent every year and that it is not sustainable in today's tough economic climate.

    "This is a responsible action, it is a necessary action and it is an early action," he said.

    But Opposition Leader Mark McGowan says the move is outrageous, especially in light of recent hefty pay rises given to ministerial staffers.

    "These job cuts are a rude slap in the face to the people of Western Australia after the Premier went on a hiring spree in his own office and lavished pay rises of up to 52 per cent on his favoured staffers," he said.

    "What sort of example is that for the public sector and the people of WA?"