September 20th, 2007 at 07:48pm
As you are probably aware by now, ABC TV’s “Media Watch” presenter Monica Attard, and executive producer Tim Palmer, are going to leave the program at the end of the current season in November.
Whilst Attard, who has been hosting the show for nearly two years, has not announced her future plans, Palmer has announced that he will take up an executive producer post with Lateline and Lateline Business when he completes his one year stint on the program.
I do have to wonder if Media Watch has a future. Of late, although it has produced some very good stories, it has resorted to filling in time with either short bloopers, or lengthy beatups, and has even started to pour more scrutiny on ABC programming than it used to (a behaviour which played a part in the demise in SBS’s Hotline and the similar shows on other stations).
Last year in April, Monica Attard and (then) executive producer Peter McEvoy threatened to quit if ABC management interfered with the show, following ABC management removed a story from the show. The tension between Media Watch and ABC management has been fairly obvious since then, with ABC managing director Mark Scott openly criticising the program a number of times.
It is rumoured that Media Watch is destined for the chopping block which, despite its many faults, would be quite unfortunate. Media Watch may have slipped in to the realm of reporting bloopers (the start of this story would be a good example), but it does often make some very valid points and observations about the state of the media in this country, and the amount of work the staff of Media Watch do behind the scenes investigating issues and corresponding with various people in the media does keep everyone on their toes.
Media Watch, in many ways, plays an important role in maintaining common sense in the media, at a level which is too minor for ACMA to investigate, but too important to be ignored completely.
For all its faults, Media Watch is an important part of the Australian media landscape, and cancelling it because ABC management can’t stand the heat of having scrutiny of their own staff would be a tragedy.