Former The Australian journalist Rick Morton joins The Saturday Paper as senior reporter

Rick Morton, a former social affairs writer at The Australian, has been appointed senior reporter at Schwartz Media’s The Saturday Paper.

Morton has written two articles for the paper already, the first of which was an investigation into research suggesting that Murdoch media, specifically The Australian, was fuelling far-right recruitment.

Morton said he won’t be leaving social affairs reporting behind in his new role.

“I’m stoked to be joining The Saturday Paper team which already has a reputation for thoughtful and daring reporting and analysis. It will allow me to join my two favourite things: breaking news in policy and writing (hopefully) with clarity about the major animating themes and debates each week,” he told Mumbrella.

“I have a particular interest in social policy which I’ve covered for the better part of a decade now and I won’t be leaving that interest behind. My remit is broad, however, and I will be digging into issues across the spectrum of national affairs and others like science and culture. I really can’t wait to get started.”

His first piece for The Saturday Paper, titled ‘Murdoch media fuels far-right recruitment’, sparked backlash from News Corp, with columnist Nick Cater calling it a “vile anti-Murdoch hate speech dog whistle”.

Morton responded with: “Nick Cater, well known for his accuracy that definitely doesn’t get his employer sued for $570k, is back with his above average attention to detail. And he believes in dog whistles now.”

The Australian responded to the article with one of its own written by associate editor John Ferguson,’Victoria University rejects false ‘far-right’ report‘. Morton forecasted its publication, taking to Twitter to write: “The only abiding shame is that they [The Australian] do not have the academic research to write the denial they would like (because they don’t have sources good enough to get it). But the spirit to press on under such adversity is beautiful.”

Morton’s pushback against his former employer began in May, when he told students at the University of Technology that: “It’s not always a Murdoch line; it’s just that Murdoch hires editors who are very much like him.” Soon thereafter, Morton left the newspaper after seven years, one of a string of exits.

Columnist and sketch writer James Jeffrey left after 16 years to become a speechwriter for Labor leader Anthony Albanese, and investigative reporter Anthony Klan departed after 15 years. Business reporter Ben Butler, now at The Guardian, and football writer Ray Gatt also left.

Morton, who is also the author of the memoir One Hundred Years of Dirt, published last year, will join editor Maddison Connaughton and editor in chief Erik Jensen at The Saturday Paper.


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