Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Media Watch under Fire for Snubbing News' Female Editors

Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Media Watch under Fire for Snubbing News' Female Editors

Article excerpt

IF HELL hath no fury like a woman scorned, imagine the furore if you've angered five of them.

ABC's Media Watch, the self-proclaimed industry watchdog, is under fire after a story this week grossly miscounted the number of female editors on daily newspapers in the News Corp stable.

Media Watch said in its piece there were just two women editors of daily News titles across metro and regional, but they were a whopping 250 per cent off, with seven females actually in charge of daily papers, including this one.

The reporting has been slammed as "shoddy and unbalanced".

The statistical blunder came in Media Watch's coverage of the evolving Don Burke saga. In trying to make a point about what it said was the male-dominated top ranks of the media world in this country, host Paul Barry listed only Townsville's Jenna Cairney and Cairns' Jennifer Spilsbury as women editors of daily papers in either metro or regional sites.

But he forgot Rowan Hunnam (Mackay, Daily Mercury), Christine McKee (Gladstone, The Observer), Shelley Strachan (The Gympie Times), Shannon Newley (Ipswich, Queensland Times) and Kerri Moore (Warwick Daily News).

Media Watch has claimed it got the list of regional editors off a News Corp website - but the program covered News' buyout earlier this year of Australian Regional Media, which delivered it 12 new daily titles, and as recently as October ran a story where it reviewed coverage in several of the new regional titles in NSW and Queensland.

We asked to interview the Media Watch host about his program's omissions but the request was denied.

Instead, the show's executive producer, Tim Latham, said the show's researchers did not try to slant the figures to make it look like there were more male-led newsrooms than reality.

"The point of the story was that the key metro newsrooms in Australia, across daily newspapers and TV networks, are run by blokes," Mr Latham said. …

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