6 September 2008

Blood runs free at WIN as Stanhope cronies take their pound of flesh

| johnboy
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The Canberra Times brings astonishing news of sackings and suspensions at WIN for saying unkind things about the Rhodium disaster specifically and the Stanhope Government in general.

    “The chief of staff of WIN TV news has been sacked and a political reporter stood down after a senior member of Chief Minister Jon Stanhope’s staff complained to the station about a story on government-owned fleet management company Rhodium.

    John Roe was sacked from his position at the Canberra news station at 11am on Thursday after just three months in the position.

    Long-time Legislative Assembly reporter Geraldine Nordfeldt has been suspended from covering local politics just six weeks out from the ACT election.

And this is why Governments like to be major advertisers. They get what they want on the editorial side too.

In my opinion if there weren’t huge ad contracts in the offing station management would have put up a bigger fight.

UPDATE: It’s become a bit of a tradition for aggrieved media personalities to get blind drunk and then instant message or email me late at night (demanding the conversation be off the record while, one suspects, secretly hoping I’ll blab anyway). So to John Roe I’d just like to say I’m busy tonight but will be in on Sunday night, preferably after Doctor Who has finished.

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My understanding was that a poorly advised use of the word “corrupt” may have been at the heart of the problem.

But I also have formed the impression that the Government was more generally unhappy with the editorial direction of the news.

After 72 posts, has anybody found out what was written / said by WIN that caused the trouble ? I really would like to know, thanks.

Roe’s position was advertised in the Australian’s media section today. “WIN needs you!” or some such thing.

Jessica is very good IMHO. Just ask us. :-0

Eyeball In A Quart Jar Of Snot5:58 pm 09 Sep 08

Hey there hip-Canberra-media-insiders!

Is there any truth to the claim that John Roe was fired because he was black?

I could understand the secret workings of the Canberra gestapo ready to extinguish a man of colour as coloured folk don’t fit into the grand colour scheme of Canberra – white, grey, cream, beige etc. etc. etc.

Everyone complains about the politics at Win-TV, and the reporters, but nobody complains about the vacant talking head, Jessica Not-So-Good, who reads the news every night.

Her delivery is embarrassing, like a kindergarten teacher talking to a class of five-year-olds. And she is the only full-time commercial TV newsreader in the national capital!

Peter Leonard seemed positively dynamic and authoritative compared to Jessica.

(Yes, there’s a hint of sarcasm there)

Ha, my post passed Johnboy’s like a ship in the night. Look forward to learning about Woden Tradies trading in land tomorrow!

just when it was getting interesting 🙂

The question is ‘Did the Tradies buy adjoining land in an open market auction?’ or ‘Was there a shady direct sale from govt’? If the later then there would be no transparency or openness, and maybe not best value for the ratepayer.

I wonder how many Labor MLAs have been on the Tradies Board?

This town seems a bit like Chicago sometimes, with small town wheeling and dealing undermining the public interest at every turn.

Ding Ding Ding

back to your corners gentlemen.

You’re both offtopic.

We’ll discuss the woden development tomorrow.

call me names all you want; i’m not taking your bet because its based on a faulty premise; what happens if the development goes through because its an appropriate development for the location and consultation produces no one saying otherwise.

you got caught out telling lies and painting smears simple as that; give up your pathetic attempts to hide it, you’re embarrassing yourself.

BTW: If the development plans are going in this month, then does that not suggest that the direct sale of the land has been done? where is the consultation in that? Why would the tradies spend 100’s of thounsands of dollars on a development appllication on land they do not own?

O: The Woden Community Council know more about what happens in Govermnet than what you see in your navel.

tom tom, you gutless to take on a $50 bet? Money mouth. Oh that’s right you are all mouth.

thats not what you said though… you suggested it was a done deal.

Pandy said :

miz, I heard that the government has sold the car-park next to the Tradies Club (CMFEU owned and a major sponsor to Labor) to build a 20 storey monster block. where is the consultation in this from Stanhope?

you told a porky and got caught out. simple as that; no amount of insinuations are going to change that. stop now, you’re only embarrassing yourself.

tom tom, I will bet you $50 that ACTPLA that is independent *cough* of Government will NOT block the developmkent of a 20 storey block.

Long time reader – first time writer.
I prefer to comment only on things I have some understanding of.
So, here’s another two cents for you.
News organisations are harassed daily by media advisers seeking to push their agenda. It happens at all levels, on both sides of politics and there have been some well documented examples recently. Most journalists and the agencies they work for treat this intimidation with the contempt it deserves. It doesn’t serve the interest of the political parties that the staff represent nor does it achieve their desired outcome. To suggest that a media corporation such as WIN would accede to the demands of a former employee to protect the interests of his beleaguered leader is sensational enough for the front page, but it’s speculative and one sided. It’s all to easy to believe in stereotypes and conspiracies when it comes to media moguls and oppressive politicial leaders wielding almighty power. In this case it doesn’t apply. Most are quick to believe because they want to. No matter how on the nose the Stanhope Government might be. No matter how much WIN values their advertising revenue. If a corporation like WIN sacks a staff member then it’s guaranteed the reasons are more than just one mistake or transgression. They won’t expose themselves to an unfair dismissal case anymore than a defamation suit. It is sad that a young inexperienced journalist has been made a scapegoat but she still has her job and that should tell you where WIN thought the problem lay. John Roe shouldn’t be portrayed as a martyr to freedom of the press. He was just another example of the inexperience that permeates WIN News.

so hang on; they’ve only talked about putting in a development application? thats it?
i mean thats hardly the govt agreeing to the development without consultation is it? the usual way of doing things is application first then consult; right? or is the govt. just meant to use their psychic powers to know when someone wants to float an idea?

you sure showed me up with that smoking gun piece of evidence.

tom tom what about:

The development officer from the Woden Community
Council on the radio yesterday and this:

Dear Friends of Woden Valley Community Council The WVCC meeting, Wed 3 Sept 7.30pm, Hellenic Club Woden (upstairs in theOrpheus Room) will include the following matters: The proposed redevelopment of the Woden Tradies and Quality Hotel (WVCCunderstands the ACT govt has agreed to a direct sale of land to expandhotel. The plan is to knock down all existing structures, clear the site andbuild a new club, a new bigger hotel, some offices, some furnishedapartments and some residential units with active shopfronts on the groundlevel and some basement car parking. Some of the proposed new structuresare to be approx 20 storeys. The Club aims to lodge a DevelopmentApplication early Sept.)

The Sabre Waving Saracen Wall6:59 pm 07 Sep 08

tom-tom said :

but don’t you think the reason these people post less often might be down to people marginalising what they have to say?

Of course not, Thumper obviously doesn’t believe people’s views are important if they haven’t been spending more time wasted on here. Especially if any information brought into the discussion goes against his pre-conceived views on certain events he knows nothing about.

Anyways, I’d love to know what or who I’m apologising for? Certainly not WIN, or Labor, or Stanhope, or the Illuminati, or the Bildeberg Group or or or or or…….

All I want to say is that I’ve been told this John Roe fella rubbed a number of people at WIn the wrong way and that this incident was just the final straw. Plus, if the guy had only been there for a few months he was probably still on prohibation and would’ve been given the sack if he had’ve parked in Phil Small’s parking space.

Are we really surprised that Emperor Nero behaves like this?
He fiddled while the city burnt. He condemned those who criticised his handling of the issue (after holding a press conference saying “If you’re going to blame anyone, blame me”)
He has run a tin-pot dictatorship for the last ten years, and now is oppressing the media, backed by advertising dollars, and thus clout.
The tragedy is the (in)competence of the opposition.

but don’t you think the reason these people post less often might be down to people marginalising what they have to say?

dont you see a bit of faulty logic in that comment thumper?; you’d prefer if people wrote more frequently then one post rants but then marignalise them with comments like the apologist one. seems a little disingenous to me.

They also have votes on election night and you can count them off by looking at the swing. Yeah some will be Libs and others will be former card-carrying members of the Labor Party. Stanhope had one of the latter variety of voters bite his head off outside Jamison shops on Saturday at 11:30am … very amusing.

The same old half-dozen anti stanhope zealots have been posting here for about a decade, though…

miz said :

20 storeys – it’s unbelievable that they thought just rezoning and approving this development was OK.

yep so unbelievable i wont be believe it until pandy comes up with a source thats not just ‘i heard’ etc

on topic i think theres more to this than has been mentioned here, WIN wouldn’t sack some one just on a staffers say so… thats assuming the staffer even said so, my understanding is that suggestions been roundly denied by every one involved.

as for Norsevedlt she should have been given a lot more supervision and guidance, being a journalist doesn’t involve just letting pollies put a soundbite on camera, it also means asking tough questions etc, take Zeds response to the use of school sites this week; on win news he said something about agreeing with some govt decisions but that he would change others and refused to be specific about what that meant, (later in the week he did, so he gets a few points) but norseveldt didn’t challenge his statement or question him about specifics. thats pathetic journalism and it’s a recurring theme, with her and everyone at win news. i’m less inclined to blame the on air people as they’re clearly not very expereinced but there should be a supervisor who can be teaching them this sort of stuff.

and on a side note it’s funny that people point out the ‘one post apologists’ but say nothing when the same old half-dozen anti stanhope zealots fill every political post with whinges.

They’d have to want to fight it Miz.

When a big advertiser clicks their fingers you find out what you’re made of.

20 storeys – it’s unbelievable that they thought just rezoning and approving this development was OK.

About the WIN issue, I wonder if they could take the matter to court on grounds that there has been a breach of the implied Constitutional freedom of communication? WIN should certainly get legal advice, anyway.

A good explanation of this Constitutional freedom in the link below (which is quite old but explains it well, and notes that political matters such as the Rhodium matter would fit the criteria)


miz, I heard that the government has sold the car-park next to the Tradies Club (CMFEU owned and a major sponsor to Labor) to build a 20 storey monster block. where is the consultation in this from Stanhope?

No real irony, they’re in a rotation with a wide variety of advertisers.

Is there some irony that at the bottom of this page is an advertisement for the Labor party, ‘Building a better city and a stronger community’ (which should also include at the end the phrase ‘…for those that don’t question our methods’).

Probably just some toady who will say, “Yes, Chief Minister”.

Geraldine Nordfelt is a good reporter, and her presence during the elections will be missed. Does this mean we get the cartoon character that is Erin Molan covering politics now? *shudder*

Not sure where to post this, but the ALP ad on this site says “building a better city and a stronger community”. It’s starting to p*ss me off, as their slogan seems totally the opposite to what they are actually doing, ie,

1. wrecking Canberrans’ quality of life through dodgy developments (eg the one adjacent to Phillip Pool),
2. unpicking communities through their school/library closure policies, plus uprooting housing tenants by removing security of tenure, and
3. trying to censor the local news.

evilmonkey’s comments about junior reporters has struck a chord with me.

Sure, the average age of journalists has dropped noticeably over the past 10 years. But that doesn’t mean it gives the powers-that-be more rights to bully them around.

There’s already a significant amount of self-censorship in the media (probably the reason why this issue hasn’t been picked up elsewhere…yet), and it’s not helped by over-zealous political staffers.

It’s a strange move by Stanhope if he did indeed start targeting the media so close to an election, but I can guarantee every journalist in this town felt somewhat nervous upon hearing about this. Maybe that was the plan – Send a message to the fourth estate that he’s not going to loose this election lying down.

Even if it was true that the government did not play a role in this sordid affair, it’s still going to look bad on them. Not many people are willing to believe that the ACT Government isn’t capable of this. Myself included.

Try calling up WIN to complain about being defamed if you’re not a major advertiser and see how far it gets you?

Defamation damages are now capped at $250,000 and can be insured against.

There might well have been other reasons for this move but trying to pin it on a complaint of defamation suggest to me they’re hiding something.

Also for management to gag their staff talking to other media, which I can tell you has happened, does not suggest there’s a lot of support for it among the troops.

It sounds unlikely to me that Stanhope would have had anything much to do with the sackings at WIN. Sure he probably made a complaint, but news organisations will always have the upper hand over politicians because they control the flow of information.

More likely Roe was sacked and Geraldine moved aside because of a serious reporting error.

Politicians are by nature media tarts so it seems illogical that Stanhope would do anything to upset the local media so close to election time when he needs them to deliver his messages – just a thought.

-Duke (not affilliated with any party!)

evilmonkey should go back to spanking

Are we seeing the real Stanhope now that the pressure is on?

I really do wish he’d stop exposing himself like this in public.

A man with too much power is a man who can influence the news.

I wonder if he called the member of the committee into his office too and threatened them with defamation action for publishing the report.. oh I forgot, parliament sittings are exempt. Funny that.

The case against stanhopeless is mounting.. he’s getting more worried too judging by his actions.

The Sabre Waving Saracen Wall9:32 pm 06 Sep 08

Who’s apologising?

Anyways, there’s only been one sacking here, and from what I’ve heard this incident is only part of the reason for it.

But let’s forget that, it must all be due to the supposed influence from some ‘media advisor’.

I’m sure Bruce Gordon is caving into all of his demands.

Reality has no place in a world of gossip and speculation.

Gerraldine has been on our TV a while. And the bloke in the paper looked like he’s been in the profession for years. Evil monkey is building a straw men when he equates them to work experience students.

Evil Monkey should read the Auditor General’s report on Rodium. The Auditor General doesn’t use the c****p***n word or the f****d word (those are media terms rather than auditing terms of art), but she lines the facts up so it’s pretty clear what went on. Good on the media for reporting on all that is rotten in this little Denmark.

And pretty lame argument by evil monkey to claim that that the stench from Rodium is all down to sub-editing errors at Win news. Funny that Generalissimo Lasek heavied the station to sack its journos so close to an election. The Rodium report has been out for over two years so why the sudden need for a fresh set of journos who may well be straight out of uni?

People know Stanhope is a hectoring sanctimonious bully. Some people just want to pretend it aint so and the guy is an angel.

Thanks for that, Jeremy. I’m pleased you are so totally in touch with the WIN newsroom that you can provide such an insightful critique.

Perhaps the issue was one of supervision.
WINs Canberra newsroom comprises predominantly junior reporters, some with no formal journalism training. In such an environment supervision and basic sub-editing should be paramount concerns. Any regular viewer of WIN News would find it difficult to argue that their level of reporting was not sub standard. There are frequent mispronunciations, misuse of words and grammatical errors; all things which should be detected in the production process before going to air. If such basic errors are going unchecked, then it’s only a matter of time before a more serious error exposes the company to litigation.
WIN has a responsibility to ensure a fair and accurate bulletin. It would be a shame if we lost our news service because of an expensive defamation action from the government, business or private sector.
In an environment where regional news delivery is constantly being downgraded, we are indeed lucky to have a half hour of local news. It shouldn’t be too much to demand that the service be a reputable and thorough coverage of local issues. It should also be a service that gives the next generation of television reporters a chance to learn and develop their craft, with adequate supervision and guidance.

The Sabre Waving Saracen Wall said :

So maybe there’s more to this than has been reported?

TSWSW : RA members never shoot from the hip, we are always sure we have all the facts before posting and that is why you can trust that everything written here as gospel.

The Sabre Waving Saracen Wall7:55 pm 06 Sep 08

And thus come the one post apologists as well…

Sometimes you need to come in and break up the sound of “rabble rabble rabble rabble rabble rabble”……

Nothing wrong with a bit of Chinese style totalitarianism, is there?

Come on, you know that the government knows best.

Na not since the Chinese took power at the last federal election and gave us
chairman Rudd. And then in one of the first major acts of Beijing’s first year of
government down under they allowed 11% Chinese ownership of Rio Tinto as the first step in their aims of 100% control of BHP when the take over of Rio finally happens.

The Sabre Waving Saracen Wall7:21 pm 06 Sep 08

It’s amusing to watch a lot of people get into a spin and put this sacking down to supposed Labor Party bullying based on such little information. Especially when so few people have seen the stories in question.

Regardless, I know quite a few people at WIN and all I’m going to say is that they won’t be missing John Roe. In fact, there’ll be a number of staff celebrating this decision.

So maybe there’s more to this than has been reported? But isn’t that ALWAYS the case………

Geraldine is a terrific reporter; her coverage of the election will be sorely missed.

John ‘Magabe’ Stanhope is a domineering bully, censuring the press, railroading the community, conducting dodgy dealings – it is unfathomable to me that even the most die-hard Labor supporter would consider bringing back this Labor givernment under his ‘leadership’.

The fact that Stahhope’s Chief of Staff previously worked at Win would suggest that undue pressure has been applied. Cronyism at its worst. Anything must be better than this.

Honestly the people of Canberra need to boot this idiot out just on principal regardless of the competency of the opposition.

John Stanhope has two political tactics: be Silent or be Sacked. What a sad day it is that we finally know that the ACT Government has the economic power to marginalise those that simply report what has gone on or squash those that want to expose what is going on. Too long in power I suggest.

Perhaps a pattern emerging on Sonic’s part. Instead of screaming abuse at all and sundry yourself, get an underling to carry the can. Similar to getting a fairly placid Mick Gentleman to carry the attack on Zed’s abortion opinions.

Please go, and take your rotten self agrandising media adverts with you.

ACT Light Rail1:26 pm 06 Sep 08

Im very alarmed that the journaliist is being penalised for doing her job. In the several instances where Ms Nordfeldt has covered light rail issues, i have found her to present well researched and balanced items in the news.

WIN should stand behind its staff.

Damien Haas

They all say that before they open the bottle 😉

Anyway best of luck.

UPDATE: It’s become a bit of a tradition for aggrieved media personalities to get blind drunk and then instant message or email me late at night (demanding the conversation be off the record while, one suspects, secretly hoping I’ll blab anyway). So to John Roe I’d just like to say I’m busy tonight but will be in on Sunday night, preferably after Doctor Who has finished.

OH don’t worry I won’t – I’ve got re-runs of the young ones to watch too…

Hi All – Due to my contract at WIN I am unable to comment on this matter or any issues evolving around this case / story / issue for around six months…..so thats why I will be a little quiet.

The problem for WIN is that they depend on the advertising dollar for their profits and it looks like ACT govt ads comprise a huge % of the market this (election) year.

They are a big player that needs big bucks to keep the doors open.

I wonder if the journos will take the matter to court and whether Lasek (or his boss Stanhope) could be liable for any civil action?

Lassick is married to a heavyweight in ACTPLA. ACTPLA rides roughshod over development guidelines. See a pattern here folks?

And, what Jorge said.

Wow. Now I am sure this govt stinks, and bad.

As for our own advertising relationships… the current deal is with the ALP, not the ACT Government.

We’d certainly welcome a slice of the Government advertising pie as it seems to sustain many other media organisations in this town.

But you generally only get this kind of heavying if the other side is sure it will be responded to. And that’s where Jeremy Lasek’s experience probably came into its own.

Anyone can, and frequently will allege that reporting they don’t like is defamatory.

“But news is mainly what someone somewhere doesn’t want you to put in the paper” -Paul E. Schindler, Jr.

An allegation is not, of itself, reason to sack someone and strong news organisations will stand by their people, perhaps after counseling, even when they’re found to have got something wrong.

The only way to never get anything wrong is to never try at all.

And are they saying WIN doesn’t carry defo insurance?

Personally I don’t believe this has anything to do with any defamation action.

Having read the report, it seems the COS was sacked for allowing a story with “alleged” defamatory imputations to go to air.
Again, assuming it was accurate, WIN should back its reporter and call Stanhope’s bluff.

A bit more of a skim through that report and it’s clear there were funny uses of public money around Rhodium. If it was treated like a kind of Pleasure Island by one of the bosses then Stanhope should be leading the charge against the wrongdoer, not calling for journalists to be sacked when they report on the story.

This is tiny town politics at its worst.

I just googled the Auditor General’s report, see link


I can’t see how Stanhope can evade a share in the blame when the report pings him as a Shareholder Minister on the first page of discussion: “In Rhodium’s case, it seems evident that the lack of clear strategic direction from the Shareholders created uncertainty and made it difficult for Rhodium to provide and commit to appropriate long-term strategic planning to achieve its business objectives.”(p3)

And this is interesting: Stanhope only asked the Auditor-General to investigate AFTER the Legislative Assembly found out about the stink, not after he first found out:

1.3 The Rhodium Board advised the key stakeholders, including the Chief Minister and Treasurer, Department of Treasury and the Auditor-General about the conduct and the outcomes of the reviews by KPMG. The Board also provided advice to the various stakeholders concerning actions taken to address the outcomes of the reviews.
1.4 Management practices at Rhodium came to the attention of the ACT Legislative Assembly in June 2006. Consequently, on 13 June 2006, the Chief Minister and Treasurer requested the Auditor-General to review various matters related to Rhodium’s operations. The Auditor-General decided to conduct a performance audit of the governance, administration and financial management of Rhodium to promote public accountability in the administration of Territory-owned corporations.

ACT Labor have been advertising on RA. Look out JB, they will be asking you to moderate anyone who isn’t a fan of Labor next.

Maybe the ACT Gov spent some time with the Chinese Gov during the torch relay and picked up some tips on controlling the media.

Maybe its all a load of crap… the frightening bit is given Stanhopes track record of arrogance and over use of his angry voice it could just be true.

What a mini-Mugabe. Looks like Stanhope’s belief in workers’ rights and human rights is a cheap veneer that flakes off quickly.

It’s certainly unusual to pre-judge the proceeding by sacking staff.

I can’t say I noticed anything particularly out-there in the reporting, but I might have missed it.

I’m just seeing power and money here and the public interest be damned.

So let me get this straight;
– If the Coroner makes findings against you, then she is obviously biased.
– If the Legislature makes findings against you, then they are obviously only taking cheap policyical shots (despite having a Labor member on the committee)
– If the media makes reports about you, it is obviously defamation, and you get them sacked.


What was the problem with the report?

Was it accurate? If so, WIN should have told Stanhope to shove it.

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