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Di Jim Jessica Strutt was behaving gormlessly, according to the WA Attorney-General. Gormless isn’t a bad word. It means lacking in intelligence: the etymology is the old English gaum, or attention/understanding. “Oh Jessica, can I say most of the other journalists at The West can appreciate that the winds of change are blowing,” Mr McGinty said at a presser. “You gormlessly seem to go on not appreciating that.” Oh Jim! Anyone who knows Jess Strutt knows she’s not gormless. Determined, resourceful, resilient – yes. But she’s got plenty of gaum. I was once labeled gormless by another Fremantle identity. In 1997, when he was campaigning to be mayor of the beautiful port city, Richard Utting said in a letter to the Fremantle Herald I was short on gaum. Mr Utting has moved on, but I’m still here. The Attorney-General will move on sooner or later – and Jess Strutt will still be there. In fact when we’re all pushing up daisies, The West Australian , and journalism and fearless reporting, will still be around. Our state daily is a proud paper with a long and distinguished history. No matter who’s owned it, it’s been a vital part of free speech and informing the public in Western Australia. It’s dim of Jim not to invite its reporters to his pressers. Perhaps Jim is being badly advised. Of course, he has form in the black-ban area: a few years ago I was working for the Australian Nursing Federation as its media ofﬁcer and writing stories for the union’s monthly member mag The Western Nurse . I turned up at GMO HQ with my Western Nurse hat on, only to ﬁnd I was PNG. I made it to the thirteenth ﬂoor, but was intercepted by Jim’s media advisor and ushered back into the lift. What’s the point? One of the functions of a journalist is to remember. We’ll all remember the Attorney-General’s tetchiness with West reporters and journalists from The Sunday Times . We’ll remember his unhappiness at being asked questions about what his government is doing. Reporters Without Borders didn’t accuse the Attorney-General of impotence, cowardice and duplicity when it comes to freedom of
The watchdog didn’t mention Mr McGinty. Instead it concentrated on countries such as Pakistan, Russia, Iran, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Niger, Chad and Iraq. But isn’t banning papers, belittling reporters and generally throwing your toys out of the pram not defending the values the Government supposedly stands for? Perhaps our Jim will get a mention next year from Reporters Without Borders if he keeps on with the gormlessness.
Volume 19, No. 2 Winter 2008
Australian Journalists’ Association Section of the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance 123 Claisebrook Road PERTH 6000 Phone: 9227 7924 Fax: 9227 9016 www.alliance.org.au WA Branch Secretary Michael Sinclair-Jones 9227 7043 email@example.com Honorary ofﬁcers: President (WAJA): David Cohen 0414 780 441 firstname.lastname@example.org Committee: Norm Bailey (Freelance) Victoria Laurie ( The Australian ) Torrance Mendez ( The West ) Robert Newton (Channel 10) Fiona O’Connor (Freelance) Sandra Peterson ( The Sunday Times ) Phillipa Prior ( The West Australian ) Paul Semple (Ofﬁce of Vincent Catania) Paige Taylor ( The Australian ) Martin Turner (Community) Nick Way (Channel 10) Scoop editor: David Cohen Legals: Joseph Fernandez (Curtin University) Design: Silverback Creative Contributions welcome: have your say in your magazine. Thanks to all contributors, especially Marie Nirme, Bill Hatto and Brian Richards. And remember: “I get annoyed with the media. They cause a hell of a lot of problems in general. I don’t think the media realise what they do to people’s lives. They ruin people.” Highly-paid Australian cricketer Shaun Tait, who’s had a break from the game to wrestle emotional and physical exhaustion. Printed by Optima Press
4 News in brief, including the re-birth of the Perth Press Club. 5 Peter Kennedy remembers the late Phil Pendal’s ﬁrst foray into politics.
6 Have you ever thought about swapping jobs? Senior Murdoch University broadcast journalism lecturer and Alliance member Mia Lindgren has done just that.
7 The aftermath of Perth-born-and-raised Hollywood heartthrob Heath Ledger’s death: it was the biggest story in town since … the last biggest story in town.
9-16 The West’s Greg Burke is the WA Press Photographer of the Year: see his and others’ award-winning images.
17 Begging for stories, ideas, photos: Arylene Westlake shares what it was like editing a Curtin University student magazine.
18 Austereo in Subiaco was the venue for Women in Media’s ﬁrst 2008 event: check out Marie Nirme’s pics, including the winner of a $1000 pearl necklace.
19 An Alliance member does well at APPA, and a new journalists’ memorial at the BBC. 21 Media mischief, including hand jobs, pants ecstasy and the perils of pre-publishing. 22 Industry moves and Alliance coverage in PROSH 23 More news in brief, including Facebook and a new Perth magazine.
24 Our resident style sergeant rants about sloppy language and wrong writing.
Sub standard A Roy Greenslade column on sub-editors caused plenty of comment in the UK on mediaguardian.co.uk recently. Greenslade wrote about Archant’s (Britain’s sixth-largest regional newspaper owner) plan to sack 20 subs and replace them with “advertising designers . ” “I can see that they will be the ﬁrst journalistic victims of the digital revolution,” Greenslade said. “In the traditional newsprint environment, subs have three roles: subbing copy (a mixture of fact-checking, correcting grammar, cutting to length), writing headlines and designing pages. Yet there is no earthly reason why reporters cannot carry out the ﬁrst task themselves. “Headline-writing is an art, supposedly. But, in truth, it can be learned. As for designing, that has never been a journalists-only job anyway. Lots of the men and women who lay out pages on national papers have had no journalistic experience at all.” Readers wondered if the designers would know defamation law, be able to cut for length, have any specialist or historical knowledge, cope with deadline pressure… “Media commentators: do we really need them? ” was one pithy reaction. Greenslade’s column was wittily headed: ‘Subs? Do we really them any longer?’ Booze lose Last year’s Media Ball and Awards were the usual triumph, but a group of young media workers had some unhappy post-event experiences. The bright young things won a voucher for alcohol and were delighted. More than two months after the Ball, they asked: where do we collect our booze? You take the voucher and redeem it, they were told. Alas, it transpired the voucher had been lost. Recriminations followed. The group begged for another voucher. No can do, they were told. The bright young things were last seen crying into their caffeinated energy drink.
Byrski boosting Alliance member Liz Byrski’s literary career continues to blossom, thanks in part to her dedicated fan club. Her new novel, Trip of a Lifetime , is out, and some of her past ﬁctional works are being published in France and Germany. Since it went on sale on March 1 with an initial print run of 20,000, Trip of a Lifetime has been reprinted twice. At one stage it was the third-most mentioned book in the country. Recently a Byrski operative was in Brisbane and sent her a photo of a poster of her new book. At exactly the same time , another Byrski fan took a photo of a poster promoting her book tour in the WA State Library. Expect to see a group item about photos of Byrski material on Flickr soon.
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Olympics China is hosting this year’s Olympic Games, but one organisation calls the host “the world’s biggest prison for journalists and cyber-dissidents”. Reporters Without Borders says Chinese police were intensifying a crackdown on subversive elements, including Internet users and journalists, when the International Olympic Committee assigned the Games to Beijing in July 2001. Six years later, nothing has changed: “…despite the absence of any signiﬁcant progress in free speech and human rights in China, the IOC’s members continue to turn a deaf ear to repeated appeals from international organisations that condemn the scale of the repression,” says RWB. “Around 30 journalists and 50 Internet users are currently detained in China, some of them since the 1980s. The government blocks access to thousands of news websites. It jams the Chinese, Tibetan and Uyghur-language programs of 10 international radio stations. After focusing on websites and chat forums, the authorities are now concentrating on blogs and video-sharing sites.” Rumours this year’s Media Ball will have China as its theme have been censored.
No joy in YAJOY News of the new award for Young Australian Journalist of the Year wasn’t received with total joy by everyone. “How ageist can you get?” screeched one elderly grizzled industry veteran. “Where was this when I was a young rocket so dazzled by my own talents I nearly vanished up my own arse in a spray of sparks and smoke?” The weathered sage said in the interests of fairness and balance there should be an OAFJOY (Old Australian Fart Journalist Of The Year). “The youth of today wouldn’t know a diphthong from a diaphragm,” the crusty guru philosophised. “What do they know about delivering beer to ambulance drivers… they were the days.”
Pnda’s ﬁrst election BY PETER KENNEDY
Much has been written about the late Phil Pendal’s 25-year career as a State MP and, before that, his contribution to journalism on the South Western Times and the Daily News . But there was more. Pendal, who died in May aged 61, was also an active member of the Australian Journalists Association. In fact he ran for State AJA president in 1974 on a reform ticket – and lost. How do I know? Because I was the other half of the ticket, running for vice-president. Our active involvement in the AJA started in 1971 while Pendal was a member of the WA branch committee. He was keen to advance the training of journalists which, at that stage, was conducted on the job. He believed budding journalists should also have tertiary training: not only in the basics, but in related areas which could be of value during their careers. Pendal was the driving force behind the formation of the branch’s education sub-committee, which proceeded to gain support for tertiary training. The WA Institute of Technology liked the idea, although employers were initially somewhat suspicious of the motives. The course got off the ground at WAIT (now Curtin University) in the mid '70s, and was a trailblazer for similar courses at other institutions. But back to the reform ticket. By 1974 I was also a member of the journalists' union branch committee and, as the West’s industrial reporter, touted as something of an authority on industrial relations. We believed the AJA needed a shake-up, and that we – modestly – were the ones to deliver it. Pendal would challenge the incumbent, Bert Crowley (a veteran sub on the West’s suburban supplement, and a JP), and I’d run for vice-president. We thought such a gifted team would prove attractive to the membership. And with a carefully-crafted three point plan, the support would come ﬂooding in. A coup was delivered – in our assessment, anyway – when the West’s talented cartoonist, Bill Mitchell, agreed to do our caricatures for the campaign pamphlet. It was a ﬁrst! But things didn’t run according to the book. The ﬁrst problem: printing of the pamphlet was delayed. It didn’t emerge until after the voting slips had been delivered. So, many members had voted before they were aware of our brilliant strategy. The second was political. Some veteran members said, once they were aware of our challenge, that there was a major problem with our ticket. “Pendal’s a Lib.,” they said. “It’s not on.” Now the political afﬁliation was news to me. Not that I thought it mattered, given his record of service on the branch committee over the previous years. Pendal had been both committed and energetic on AJA issues and I, naively as it worked out, was surprised that the issue of political afﬁliation even arose. After all, the AJA constitution spelt out clearly the union was to have no political afﬁliation, for obvious reasons.
The other side of the coin was my role as The West’s industrial reporter. At Trades Hall I was suspected by many union ofﬁcials of being simply a “lackey of the capitalist press”. On the other hand, sections of the management suspected you of being “too close to the unions”. Either way you couldn’t win, but there was a chance that the concerns expressed about Pendal’s political afﬁliations might be neutralised by a cunningly-balanced ticket. Alas, it was not to be. The bold challenge failed. Crowley was re-elected, but I was successful. Pendal was obviously disappointed. His ﬁrst major attempt for elected ofﬁce had failed. There was some soul searching, and we wondered whether Mitchell’s caricatures might have been counter-productive. For example, what might have happened if we’d shaved off our fashionable moustaches? Some harsh critics suggested we even looked “shady”. That was the last election he lost. He quickly shrugged off the setback and got on with life. The next year he joined Charles Court’s government as a press secretary and ﬁve years later, thanks partly to the lessons learned in the cauldron of the AJA ballot, was elected a Liberal member of the Upper House. There followed a distinguished political career, including as an independent. Memories of our trailblazing attempt to “take over” the AJA in 1974 were often a source of some mirth as our paths crossed in subsequent years. He suggested if he’d had a stronger running mate things would have been different. I countered with questions about his campaigning skills, which obviously became ﬁnely honed as time moved on. And who knows what might have happened if he’d won that 1974 ballot!
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J S O W B ASPW JO AP Jo J S b s O w W ap B wi A th S m P utu W J al be O A neﬁts Have you ever thrown lustful glances at other jobs but not b quite ready to jump ship? Senior broadcast journalism lectu Mia Lindgren at Murdoch University has. As a result, she ﬂoated the idea of swapping jobs with ABC Radio National producer Kirsti Melville for a semester. Murdoch University and the ABC considered the unusual suggestion and agreed to the idea. As Mia’s ﬁrst radio documentary went to air, Kirsti was busy lecturing radio students at the South Street campus. After nine years of teaching tertiary students how to put radio and television stories together, Mia felt she needed to get back into the industry. She originally worked as a journalist for the Swedish Broadcasting Corporation and a job-swap was the perfect way to refresh her skills. “I wanted an opportunity that would provide me with great professional development, allowing me to stay up-to-date with technology and production practices. It would also provide my students with relevant and recent examples,” she said. “I’m being reminded about what students face with pitching stories and meeting deadlines.” “And I’m loving working on creative and clearly deﬁned projects and I feel a sense of great satisfaction when a documentary goes to air. Teaching and research is ongoing and you don’t often feel that you complete anything.”
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Kirsti Melville is doing a Masters in International Relations part-time at Deakin University, so she was keen to work at an academic institution. She has worked for the ABC for 13 years in a variety of different roles. Her current position is with ABC Radio National’s Social History and Features Unit, producing documentaries for the Street Stories and Hindsight programs. Ms Melville said both organisations beneﬁted from the job-swap, with the ABC having someone fresh staff, while Murdoch students gained from the industry knowledge she could share. “I wanted to do something different and I think it’s a good thing to put yourself outside your comfort zone,” Kirsti said. “Working as a lecturer has made me step back from what I normally do by instinct as a journalist and producer and analyse why I do what I do.” As part of the job swap, each will continue to be paid by and accrue their usual beneﬁts from their respective employers. The transition has been easy for both women, since Murdoch University and the ABC have a similar public service ethos.
Hair hr, hr n hair What do John D’Orazio and Doug Bollinger have in common? The West Australian ran a photo of the mustachioed Member for Ballajura after he’d shaved it off, while The Sunday Times published a pic of the new Australian cricketer with a chrome-dome – after he’d had the Advanced Hair Studio treatment.
d r Fiing o t n h H e a t h’s f g arewell Nick Way and David Cohen report on a tale of Hollywood, Lmeedngteior’ns: ﬁlorscta l asgteanftf rweavse ailnetde rhvoieww tehde. y’Edvesing tnheed Aullpi atnhce e ygooutn ga heartache, heroics and hair-pulling. actor to the union when he was 15. His uncles spoke to one TV station which beamed the exclusive to giant US network CBS. Within hours, CBS was on the line: could they arrange a studio hookup with the pair? And by the way: would it be a good idea to put them up in the Sheraton’s penthouse and supply them with limousine transfers to the station just to make sure nobody else got the scoop? Money was no object. As it was, the Ledger uncles happily arrived in a ute and were soon speaking live on CBS’s morning show. Editors then wanted to know when Ledger’s body would arrive in Perth, when the funeral would be and who would be attending. Paparazzi started to arrive, and much time was spent at both airports. Funeral homes were contacted – was it Midland or Fremantle? Who had buried the previous Ledgers? In fact, anyone with the remotest connection to the dead Hollywood star and his family was called. The paparazzi weren’t impressed with waiting at the airport for no return. “I ‘ave been ‘ere for ﬁve fucking days and no-one is fucking showing up,” fumed a European agency snapper, gesticulating in frustration. “Zis is not good: I cannot fucking believe it.” A People magazine correspondent jetted in from LA and couldn’t believe the local information blackout. “I’m from Tinseltown but this is the toughest story I’ve ever worked on,” she purred. “Perth is one hard nut to crack. ” cont'd over
You know it’s serious when the paparazzi are in town. Ruthless photographers ﬂew in to Perth in January to join WA media workers covering the aftermath of Heath Ledger’s death. With the exception of one cable station, the TV front was handled by local operators ﬁling for overseas afﬁliates such as ITN, CNN and NBC. It was the biggest story in town since … the last biggest story in town. A time of excitement, apprehension, hypertension, fast food, standing around, rumour and counter-rumour and a million phone calls. The local media got off to an unfortunate start; as Media Watch later reported. A broadcaster on a Perth commercial radio station told people having their breakfast that Heath Ledger had hung himself. Where to first? Ledger’s alma mater, Guildford Grammar. A haunting Hollywood photo of Heath with a '66 Mustang convertible suddenly had pride of place in the school foyer, while headmaster Rob Zordan proved a friendly and talented media performer. Among the many questions (one that would take more than a fortnight to answer): where would Ledger be farewelled? Guildford Grammar offered its hallowed halls for a memorial service as reporters hammered out endless copy and standups for the world’s media.
Waiting, waiting…media workers outside the Ledger family home in Applecross.
Images from top: Kim Ledger and PR ﬂack Alison Carroll-Jung gives the media what they need, with Channel 9’s Mark Burrows in the background. A TV news cameraman ready to ﬁlm anything that moves outside the Ledger family home in Applecross. Journalists ﬁle their stories from the grassy knoll at Penrhos College during Heath Ledger’s funeral service.
But patience was rewarded. When supermodel Gemma Ward got off a plane, the three photographers who were there had her all to themselves for 30 minutes because her mother was running late. There was one airport scare: a TV cameraman looked up from his coffee during the 24-hour watch involving local networks and saw a hearse driving past. Cue pandemonium, countless snappers, 17 news cameras and three helicopters. One reporter eventually found the hearse at Qantas Freight being loaded with a cofﬁn draped in the Australian ﬂag. Obviously, they were bringing him home with an Aussie tribute. With barely an hour until local TV news deadlines producers were panting: this had to be him. Then a fuming freight manager came out of the depot: it wasn’t Ledger, it was a 56-year-old British woman who died in India and was being taken to Northam. But TV types weren’t convinced, especially when news choppers pursuing the funeral car ﬁlmed the driver stopping, a car pulling up beside him, the hearse doors being opened – and photographers from the second vehicle taking many photos of the cofﬁn. Was it Ledger or wasn’t it? A frenetic round of fumbling ﬁngers dialed the funeral home which yielded an employee who said the driver stopped to show photographers it wasn’t Ledger. Could they tell us the name of the dead woman, so we could check and be reassured we weren’t going to miss the story? No. It wasn’t Ledger, but the feeling of unease was strong. In the absence of signiﬁcant news, much attention was devoted to the death notices in The West . They provided harrowing reading – and fresh leads. Twelve days after the death, new cofﬁn rumours surfaced: according to airport contacts Ledger’s remains had already been whisked in to WA. Two days later the family landed back in Perth, sparking a frenzy of attention. The word was that a convoy of limos and vans was secretly parked under the Qantas domestic terminal. Security booted out cameras from the upstairs arrivals lounge but they missed a tenacious reporter with his trusty mobile videophone. (He’s not nicknamed The Rottweiler for nothing). So the TV networks shared in a few seconds of grainy, jerky vision of Ledger’s mother and sister before The Rottweiler, too, was ejected by armed guards. As predicted, minutes after the plane touched down a convoy appeared on the tarmac. The great unknown was which of the 20 or so airport perimeter gates they would use. Ground crews were foiled as the Ledger entourage headed towards the international terminal but news choppers caught the action. Now the media contingent outside Sally Bell’s (formerly Ledger) Applecross home grew exponentially. One elderly resident was alarmed by the pack as she walked her dog. “Is it a bomb?” The next day Ledger’s former ﬁancée, Michelle Williams, and their daughter Matilda slipped through the airport in a similar fashion. There were some unorthodox procedures by a private security ﬁrm which blocked off the street on the day of their arrival. Media could still walk in and wait outside the house, so the point of the exercise was somewhat unclear. Reporters asked police to let them know if the Ledgers requested help with security – and were then disappointed when the police didn’t tell them. cont'd page 20
This image of a skeleton tobogganer helped win Community Newspaper Group’s Andrew Ritchie the Best Suburban Newspaper Photographer Award. Brk is th bst Brk is th bst Brk is th bst Disgraced West Australians Ben Cousins and Julian Grill have Suburban Newspaper Photographer Award: especially striking helped Greg Burke become the pick of the photographic crop. was his photo of a girl skeleton (tobogganing) racer in training Greg, a senior photographer with The West Australian , is the WA at Perry Lakes. Press Photographer of the Year. Derek Pool from the South Western Times won the award for Best His brilliant portfolio of submitted images was heavy on cars Country Newspaper Photographer. and chumps. Award judges assessed 827 images from 536 entrants. This year’s They included pictures of a fatal traffic crash and vehicles judges were retired freelance photojournalist Ritchie Hann, self-crammed onto Fremantle’s Victoria Quay. employed commercial photographer Simon Cowling and Duncan Dodd from Maxwell Optical Industries. There were also images of Ben Cousins being led away by police “WA-based news photographers have developed a high standard after being stopped in Northbridge, and Julian Grill contemplating with their ability to graphically convey the content of a story,” Mr the apology he was forced to make to State Parliament. Hann said. Greg also won a gong in the Spot News category with a picture of “They present this material so they may compete for editorial spioelgicee i nh oRldeidncgli faf eb liono Odicetdo bmear.n who was involved in a drug-fuelled space with reporters. The Best News Feature Photograph was won by The West “Hopefully the days of the photographic hack who provided Australian’s Lee Grifﬁth for his portrait of two-year-old Chenielle photographs to ﬁll holes left by sub-editors have long gone. Majje amid the debris and misery in a squatter’s camp near the “The winning entries in all sections are ﬁne examples of today’s Mangrove Hotel in Broome. news photographers. Freelance photographer Lincoln Baker won first prize for “The editorial and technical quality of the ﬁnalists’ photographs Best Sport Photograph by capturing Adam Gilchrist taking a in each division are to be complimented.” spectacular catch at the WACA. There are nine award categories: Portfolio, Spot News, News Jody D’Arcy of The Sunday Times won Best Feature Photograph Feature, Por trait, Spor t, Feature (Lif touts), Picture Stor y, for her image of Beijing Olympic swimming medal hopeful Eamon Suburban and Country. Sullivan diving deep at Challenge Stadium. The overall and suburban prizes are judged from a portfolio of the Community Newspaper Group’s Andrew Ritchie took out the Best entrants best four images for the year. WINTER 2008 SCooP 9
Wst Astraian Prss Phtgraphr f th Yar: Greg Burke, The West Australian
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Top: Fremantle’s Victoria Quay was crammed full of new cars awaiting delivery to their owners, illustrating WA’s booming econ -omy. Left: Ben Cousins is led away by police after being stopped near the corner of Stirling and Aberdeen Streets in Northbridge. Below: Julian Grill contemplates the apology he was forced to make to State Parliament this year.
Bst Spt Nws Photograph of the Year
Right: Greg Burke’s ( The West Australian ) winning photo shows police holding a man who was involved in a drug-fuelled siege in Redcliffe. Below: Runner-up Barry Baker ( The West Australian ) photographed a tearful and red-eyed Deanne Reeve-Norton hugging her daughter Trista in the back of an ambulance.
Below: Third-placed Trevor Collens ( The West Australian ) depicts Alannah MacTiernan’s two-year-old grand-daughter Umi Schapper being the centre of attention aboard the ﬁrst Mandurah-line train.