​Leek of the Weak | radioinfo

​Leek of the Weak

Thursday 28 November, 2013

Not all leaks are created equal. Opinion from Peter Saxon

Soon after it revealed the leak from Edward Snowden that Australia has been intercepting the private phone calls of the Indonesian President and his wife, the ABC itself fell victim to its own ineptitude when it inadvertently released details of salaries to a senator in South Australia whose staffer then leaked it to the Murdoch press which gleefully published the details.

The two incidents caused acute embarrassment to both the Federal Government and the ABC for different reasons and with vastly different outcomes.

The first has escalated into a minor to middling international crisis which has the potential to affect trade and Australia’s standing in South East Asia if a diplomatic resolution is not found soon.

Of the second incident, all that can be said is, “big deal.”

The Murdoch press and conservative broadcasters were first to leap on what they rightly saw as the delicious irony in all this, that the ABC had no qualms in outing the Indonesian spy scandal but was horrified when its own secrets were splashed about the front page.

The real irony is that both the left and right wing media are in furious agreement with the old maxim, News is what somebody somewhere wants to suppress; all the rest is advertising.” Lord Northcliffe, British publisher 1865-1922.

The Media Watch catchphrase puts it another way: “Everyone loves it until they’re on it.”

Unless there’s a court order to supress, or in rare events such as war or when human life is at stake, news outlets may agree to supress news, but “embarrassment to the subject” has never been a good enough reason to do so. In fact the more uncomfortable a story makes the subject the more newsworthy it is deemed to be.

ABC Managing Director Mark Scott’s assertion that ABC salaries should be kept secret so as not to give its commercial competitors an advantage by which to poach ABC stars is baseless. Commercial radio and TV managements know full well what ABC salaries are and that they’re a fraction of what similar positions command in their world. What’s more, serious suitors in this day and age can easily find out exactly what their target is earning as well as what their spouse’s lifestyle expectations are… and more.

What is true is that the publication of the salaries has caused management quite some discomfort internally with many ABC employees discovering that they are underpaid compared to their colleagues. No doubt there’ll be some prickly discussions between staff and management. But, in the end they’ll get over it and move on.

The third major leak of the week was the “chance discovery” of the marketing collateral being developed for Kyle and Jackie O’s move to Mix and the artwork for the station’s new name KiiS FM.

The material was allegedly discovered by a passer-by who glanced in the window of creative agency Joy and photographed the pin board where all the material was in plain site of the street. They then leaked the photos to Mumbrella who were happy for us to leak it some more on radioinfo.

At first glance this could be a very embarrassing leak for ARN if negotiations are at a sensitive stage and they didn’t want Kyle and Jack’s managers to think they were too keen. In any case, they wouldn’t want the public to be speculating on K & J coming to ARN and have the deal fall through.

In any event, it is extremely embarrassing for the creative agency who have been so slipshod with their client’s confidential planning.

On the other hand, what if the deal with Kyle and Jackie O has already been done and plans are well under way for their new show on a “new” station in 2014? What great harm has been done?

To the contrary, it could be argued that a great deal of good has been done. With its trending on Twitter and the amount of water cooler talk this leak has generated for no cash outlay, keen judges could be forgiven for thinking that this wasn’t an embarrassing leak at all but an orchestrated one.  

It could even end up a double reverse leak where, in fact, the original leak was a stuff up but the leakee ends up claiming that it was intentional all along.


Post a Comment


Log InYou must be logged in to post comments.
29 November 2013 - 4:21am
It all sounds like a very good reason to buy a bunch of potatoes and make some Vichyssoise soup!
radioinfo ABN: 87 004 005 109  P O Box 6430 North Ryde NSW 2113 Australia.  |  All content © 1996-2021. All Rights Reserved.