Media Watch

Media Watch returns Monday 5 February 9:30 pm

Australia’s leading forum for media analysis and comment, bringing you a brave and fearless critique of the week’s journalism, issues and events in the news. Presented by Paul Barry.


‘Bugger off!’: Media meltdown over Woolworths’ Australia Day merch snub.#MediaBites #MediaWatch

— Media Watch (@ABCmediawatch) January 30, 2024

interesting story from tonight’s show

It’s a shocker when Sophie “Chopper” Elsworth emerges as the voice of common sense!


The segment about the Bondi coverage in Last night’s episode seems to have just been a vehicle to slip the boot into the ABC, lots of discussion about nine and sevens coverage but not with a very critical eye - Ten didn’t even get a mention!

Was it? Their analysis and criticism seemed pretty fair and spot on to me. Do you not think the ABC could have done better? And if this is how they respond to a major event on their home turf, imagine the coverage if it happened in Adelaide or Hobart. Seven’s unprofessional blunders have got blanket coverage and I haven’t seen any suggested Nine did anything bad. The ABC’s performance seems like a reasonable angle and something MW could contribute something which hasn’t already been said.

And honestly, Ten didn’t get a mention because beyond this forum, no one really cares. It’s not a serious news outfit and no one is turning on ten when there’s a major breaking event.


It’s fair to call out the ABCs coverage, but failing to critically review the others coverage other than their ability to throw resources at it comes across as incredibly pointed.

Indeed, though there is only so much you can do in a short show.

Nine’s coverage IMHO was probably too much but I guess for the purpose of contrast, you can do worse than pointing out how well resourced and timely they were. I don’t think the ABC needed a reporter at every hospital and extra presenters to come in Nine style but their slow response times and struggle to get enough journos on the ground is a real worry. Their skeleton staff basically seemed to be at the level of 10’s weekend staffing, to draw a contrast there, and 10 only had a 1.5 hour national bulletin vs ABC’s supposed local bulletins and news channel.

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I agree that the criticism was apt, and I am a keen supporter of the ABC. I also think that the sting was in the tail, with Paul Barry concluding … why does the ABC have a News Channel if they can’t mobilise and get troops on the ground quickly, particularly so close to home base.

The ABC has stated that News is their primary focus, a point emphasised by new chairman Kim Williams recently. The ABC clearly has superior resources to draw upon than the commercial outfits, but appears to be hamstrung in deploying them. I would have thought that for the two days of the weekend, the ABC would have had sufficient personnel on standby for such an emergency, but it just appears to operate with skeleton staff for this period? Unfortunately the world doesn’t stop on Friday night!

It seems to me that the staff cuts and consequent redundancies, reputedly $22 million in 2023, are having a detrimental effect on deploying sufficient personnel. Paul Barry’s final barb brought up the hoary chestnut of the very existence of the News Channel, by suggesting that if it cannot perform the task for which it was created … rolling coverage of breaking news … then perhaps it should be closed down and the money used elsewhere.

Personally, I would hate to see it go, but it must be appropriately resourced, and staffed accordingly at all times.


In his defence, he did a fairly extensive review of the wider coverage the week after it happened and appears to have returned to the subject to talk about the ABC News Channel specifically this week.

I’d be surprised if the ABC haven’t at least discussed the idea of closing the news channel, or cutting it back to more of a rip-and-read service (though it seems they’re halfway there already!).

They could wheel out the usual lines of “our audience is elsewhere … everyone is online … digital-first”. You could convincingly argue that viewers are served well-enough through News Breakfast, News at Noon, 7pm, 7:30 and the late news, plus Q&A and Insiders. Not saying I personally think that (because I don’t) but it’s food for thought.

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They need to reinvest in local state-based news, the ABC Radio stations do an admirable job but the TV side lets it down considerably.


Don’t Seven and Nine already spend plenty on that though to fill their one hour bulletins at 11am and 4pm and 6pm.

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That’s not really relevant to the ABC, though. Anyway 7 and 9’s local news is all crime and sport. ABC could easily fill a niche for a more upmarket state-based news if they wanted to.

Tonight on Media Watch

:raised_hand: A push and a shove and he’s out for Nine – Peter Costello departs.

:rugby_football: ‘It’s a knockout’ - The Daily Telegraph cheers Reece Walsh concussion.

:musical_note: And we reveal the radio network that loves to fool its loyal listeners.

9.15. Tonight ABC TV + iview


Media Watch’s longest-serving host, Paul Barry, will leave the ABC show in December.

Confirming his departure on Thursday, Barry said it had been a “great privilege” to host the show but that it was “time to give someone else a go”.

“Thanks to all our viewers. I’ll be with you until December. And I’m sure the program will go on to great things without me.”

An ABC spokesperson said the award-winning journalist finishes with a track record of independent commentary, analysis and robust discussion about the media industry and its ethics – or lack thereof. The broadcaster will announce a new host later this year.

Yup. I'm hanging up the mic at the end of this year. But lots of fun to be had before then.

— Paul Barry (@TheRealPBarry) June 13, 2024

He’s been good but it’s well time it was freshened up with a new voice at the helm. Generational change.

I wonder who it will be? Anyone betting on someone like Virginia Trioli?


I’m thinking Fran Kelly. She’s not got much else on

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Janine Perrett up to much nowadays?


Janine Perrett please.


She was great when she filled in. Please a new set too. Or at least a new backdrop. Even the Media Bites set-up is better.