Category: Commercial Radio

The Internet isn’t the problem, the loss of the “story” is…. Freelancers and Media Business Models….

By Kate Doak.
By Kate Doak.

A few days ago, Andrew Stafford posted one hell of an interesting article on Mumbrella about freelance journalists and other content producers not getting paid for the material that they produce, by various media outlets.  Needless to say, it was fiery and gave me the general feeling that a river of blood had been created during its production, purely from the frustration of seeing hours of work being all for naught time after time, with only the hint of “exposure” being given as potential remuneration.

Photo of Mr Andrew Stafford, Courtesy of Mr Stafford and Mumbrella
Photo of Mr Andrew Stafford, Courtesy of Mr Stafford and Mumbrella

But why stop there? While I admit that it would be fun to grill both Crikey and MamaMia amongst others in-depth like Andrew has over their policies towards the remuneration of bloggers and various freelancers for their time, perhaps the way that some parts of the media treat casual employees (and how freelancers often view themselves and their work) can help explain why so many media companies worldwide are in the dismal states that they find themselves in.  As fanciful as this might sound, it’s a thought worth pursuing given some discussions that I’ve had with some Human Relations experts over the past few days.

During one such discussion, I had one of the aforementioned experts explain to me the intricacies of the “Personal Advertisement” and the impact that it can have on the way that people are not only viewed by others, but how they view themselves.  As simple as it sounds, the way that somebody (such as a freelance journalist) communicates with others either within their CV, story pitches or the first 30 seconds of encountering them in a public setting, can be the difference in whether they get work awarded to them or not.  Consequentially she said, if we don’t value ourselves as people and wear a uniform of confidence and honesty when we meet new people, then it will be impossible for them to trust and freely desire to engage financially with us.  Needless to say, that kind of got me wondering if the same thing could be said about the media industry as a whole, which would in turn explain why some media companies are thriving, while others are in dire financial trouble.

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A Royal Cover-up of Southern Cross (Austereo) Proportions….


Mel Grieg and Michael Christian - Courtesy of
Mel Grieg and Michael Christian – Courtesy of

In an interesting twist of events yesterday that feels like a quiet covering of bases, Southern Cross Austereo’s CEO Rhys Holleran stated that the Hot30 Countdown on 2dayFM would be scrapped, with the two hosts involved in the now infamous Royal Prank on the Duchess of Cambridge being moved onto other shows.  Needless to say, I doubt that the news that Michael Christian and Mel Grieg are going to be back on the air-waves of Sydney is going to be of any solace to the family of Jacintha Saldanha, who was the nurse that committed suicide soon after the prank call to the Duchess’s ward at King Edward VII Hospital in London was made.

Soon after Saldanha committed suicide, the following comment was made by Michael Christian in regards to the incident:

‘We just made the phone call and that was it. We don’t get to make those decisions, we don’t get to make those calls, that’s done by other people. Our role is just to record and get the audio and wait to be told whether it’s OK or not OK.”

This statement was further compounded upon, when Mel Grieg confirmed the procedures.

”It’s not up to us to make that decision. We just record it and then it goes to the other departments to work out. I don’t know what they then do with it. We just do what we do, which is make those calls.”

Now whether you believe the story put forward by Christian and Grieg or not, it is now evident that Southern Cross Austereo are trying to reduce the license conditions placed upon them by effectively renaming the Hot 30 Countdown and moving the presenters onto new positions (or waiting till the scandal surrounding them fully subsides). Given that the Hot 30 Countdown was already the subject of additional licence conditions for 2DayFM from an on-air incident with Craig Lowe and a porn star in 2005, Southern Cross Austereo would’ve undoubtedly been anxious to avoid having two major shows with multiple black marks put against their names by ACMA.

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