It ‘won’t happen again’, Nine’s publishing boss says of Liberal Party fundraiser

Nine’s publishing boss Chris Janz has emphatically said the media company’s “mistake” of hosting a Liberal Party fundraiser at its Willoughby offices “won’t happen again”.

Janz was asked by Mumbrella if he thought the $10,000 a head, Hugh Marks-hosted, Nine-catered fundraising dinner was a mistake before Marks admitted as much publicly.

Honestly, there was near immediate acknowledgement internally that it was a mistake and you won’t see that happening again with the Nine group,” the company’s managing director of publishing responded, speaking on a panel at last week’s Mumbrella Publish conference.

Chris Janz (right) was on the panel with industry peers including The Australian’s Nicholas Gray (left)

“Obviously a lot has changed within the business over the past seven, eight months [following the merger of Fairfax and Nine]. But there was absolute acknowledgement, whether that was public acknowledgement is another thing.

“And I think it was really important for us to talk to our people and our staff first because, rightly so, people were passionate about our titles and passionate about our journalism and really passionate about anything that might be perceived to influence the independence of our journalism.”

Nine CEO Hugh Marks ultimately admitted the event was a “mistake” that “could have been handled better” after journalists from Nine mastheads The Australian Financial Review, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age took their concerns to industry union the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA).

When asking Janz to address the controversy, Mumbrella’s content director Tim Burrowes noted that The Australian Financial Review broke the story.

“You pointed to the fact that it was the AFR that broke the story. It was the Herald that had the photographer papping people out the front, very kindly also providing those photographs to [News Corp competitor] The Australian the next day, without authorisation,” Janz said, drawing laughs from the room of media colleagues and rivals.

“That independence I think is so core to our proposition and the proof’s in the pudding there. We broke the story. We followed up the story. And the organisation absolutely acknowledges that it’s a mistake and won’t happen again.”


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