It’s no secret that 60 Minutes ‘aint what it used to be but there was something really off about Tara Brown sitting down with Charlotte Dawson just hours after her admission to the psychiatric wing of St Vincents and asking her to read through the tweets that pushed her to the brink.
This was a woman under emergency psychiatric care, who in the early hours of the day of the interview was rushed to hospital in an ambulance, and here she was, phone in hand, reliving on camera the vicious and vile internet campaign that had preceded the emergency. Perhaps the producers thought publishing the Lifeline number at the end of the segment gave them a free pass.
Since the drama surrounding Dawson broke last Thursday there’s been a division between people who think you should ignore internet trolls and people who think it’s best to name and shame. But even 60 Minutes last night concluded that the best thing to do when you find yourself on the receiving end of a vicious online attack, is to turn your phone or computer off and step away.
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We’re a bit squiffy about media outlets paying for stories in this country. Unlike in the UK, where any single mum with a third nipple can get a pay cheque from a newspaper, here we like our paid media appearances to be reserved for heroes or, at least, worthy folk.
No one begrudged the huge sums paid to Brant Webb and Todd Russell, who spent two weeks trapped down the Beaconsfield mine. They’d earned one of the biggest media cheques ever.
But going to air this Sunday night is a paid-for 60 Minutes interview with Gordon Wood, whose conviction for the murder of his girlfriend Caroline Byrne was recently quashed on appeal.
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It’s the worst part of being a working journalist. Those times you approach people for their story, when they’ve been through the most terrible time of their lives.
I’d love it if every story was just the opposite. And mostly they are on 60 Minutes. This week I’ve finished writing stories on adorable animals, a very successful businessman, a surprising health advance, and a man who risked his life in a war.
But last week, my focus was on the Keep family who lost their 2 year old daughter, and both her Grandmothers, when their house literally was ripped open in the Grantham flood.
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The dramatic return of 60 Minutes on the weekend raises new questions about so-called “death knocks”.
In the first story, reporter Michael Usher interviews the Keep family, who last month lost baby Jessica and both grandmothers in the Grantham flooding.
The 23-month-old was torn from her pregnant mother’s arms. It is difficult to imagine a greater tragedy.
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Channel Nine’s decision yesterday to cave in to the bullying of the Victorian Government and Beyond Blue is deeply depressing. No doubt the network could see it was in a lose-lose situation.
Even if it were to win in the courts and have the injunction lifted which prevented it from broadcasting a 60 Minutes piece on the suicides of four teenagers in Geelong, it would be forever hostage to the accusation it had blood on its hands if any others from the school were to take the final solution.
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It’s a complicated formula, how much a TV network is prepared to pay for ratings.
60 Minutes has just sealed a rumoured $200,000 deal with British back packer Jamie Neale, to do an interview to air this Sunday night, up against the Masterchef final.
Someone at Willougby obviously thinks its worth paying that much for Jamie’s version of how he survived lost in the Blue Mountains for 12 days.
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