July 28, 2008
Here is Stephen Mayne's story from the Crikey edition on Wednesday, 16 November, 2005.
6. Australia's premier and glittering media awards
By Stephen Mayne, Crikey's best business editor (self-awarded)
Donald Rumsfeld might be jetting in later today, but Adelaide is still recovering this morning from Rupert Murdoch hosting a glittering black-tie function celebrating the best of journalism that News Ltd has to offer.
The inaugural News Awards have immediately outclassed the 50-year tradition of the Walkleys, at least that's what Melbourne's paper of record, the Herald Sun, declared this morning with a page two story which began as follows: "The Herald Sun has been honoured for excellence in journalism at Australia's premier media awards."
You had to wait for the seventh paragraph to learn these were a one-company competition, albeit a dominant one with 36 titles and almost 70% of the Australian newspaper market.
The Herald Sun described the night as "a glittering awards ceremony in Adelaide," although Rupert used the occasion to attack the Walkleys for being, like the Pulitzers, too "politically correct."
The Australian took issue with Crikey's comments about the awards night to Virginia Trioli on ABC Sydney yesterday as you can see from this item in today's Strewth column.
Unfortunately, we all know that journalism is not a mistake-free profession. The shorter piece about the awards night in Rupert's flagship, managed to misspell the name of the paper as The Australia. Oops.
Similarly, my report yesterday about Rupert's dinner at Machiavelli's last week was also wrong in respect of The Australian's editor Michael Stutchbury, who did attend. Stutchbury also attended last night as he featured in the photograph of Rupert with all the winners of the News Awards on page 18 of The Advertiser today.
Jenny Dillon and Mike Sheahan were standing either side of Rupert and poor old Matt Price was the only one obscured as he was poised right behind Sheahan, perfectly placed to put something into Rupert's back if his objection to the Iraq war was strong enough.
That's all for now as it's time to head down to The Advertiser's glittering new glass-fronted headquarters in Waymouth Street for Rupert's first ever "shareholder information meeting."
It looks like there will also be a press conference as The AFR's Chanticleer columnist John Durie and Business Sunday's Ross Greenwood have flown in for the meeting, joining a posse of Murdoch loyalists still in town following last night's awards. And Rupert isn't just going through the motions. With 200 or more shareholders in attendance, he's certainly putting on a good show – complete with the News Corp showbags, which this year include an Electra DVD, Geraldine Brooks' book March, a Foxtel program guide, the latest issue of sports mag Alpha and the July-August issue of Donna Hay.
We'll probably be too late for today's edition but here are some of the questions I'm hoping to get up today:
Is it right that we've really dropped $600 million bankrolling the NRL over the past decade? Is there any chance we'll ever get a return on that investment?
Donald Rumsfeld jets into Adelaide today and had an opinion piece in The Australian this morning. Are there any commercial implications from so strongly backing the Iraq war when public opinion seems to be moving against it?
How are relations with the Packers and Telstra? There has been talk of shareholding arguments at Foxtel. Have you met Telstra's new CEO and are you and Mr Packer comfortable with what he's doing?
You seem to have a strong backer in Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal who owns 5.5% of our voting stock. We've just published a very favourable biography of his life. Does he want anything else in return for his voting support against John Malone? Is there any pressure for the Muslim world to be portrayed any differently in News Corp outlets?
Today is partly about nostalgia and I note you were at Old Parliament House for the 30th anniversary of The Dismissal last Friday. Thank you so much for helping get rid of Whitlam and what were your reflections from last Friday's tour? Is it right that we suffered quite a commercial backlash and The Australian was under great financial pressure in the aftermath?
Have we got rid of the corporate jet that used to be based in Australia? How many leased or owned jets are their in the global these days?
I'll probably get shut down after just a couple but nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they say.
Copyright © 2011 The Mayne Report. All rights reserved