The ABC has confirmed that journalist and author Paul Barry is the next host of the public broadcaster’s Media Watch program.
Barry will replace current host Jonathan Holmes when he steps down in July. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at Media Watch”, said Holmes.
“I believe it’s one of the most important jobs the ABC has to offer. Whether it likes it or not, the Australian media needs a critical eye, and Media Watch has an ability to name and shame swiftly and publicly in a way that the regulators cannot.”
“Stuart Littlemore pioneered the role, and did it for nine seasons, while holding down a full-time job as a barrister. That’s a record that is unlikely to be matched, but I have stayed in the job for longer than any of his successors, and it’s time to pass the baton.”
Holmes said he had not decided whether or not he will stay with the ABC.
Barry is currently in Europe where he is writing a book on media mogul and News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch. In recent years Barry has previously filled in for Holmes when he has been away.
His stint as Media Watch host in 2000 saw Barry grill then ABC chairman Donald McDonald over ABC funding only to then see the show axed in 2001 before returning a year later with a new host.
ABC managing director Mark Scott said“Media Watch is unique in Australian media, now a widely respected institution that reminds journalists of the responsibility that comes with the job.”
“Jonathan’s leadership in bringing social media under the microscope of Media Watch and his success in taking the discussion about the show into the social media space has renewed the program’s relevance.”
“Paul Barry has a detailed understanding of the complex operations of the Australian media and is widely respected. He appreciates the values and traditions of the program and in an era of significant change in our industry, I am looking forward to Paul’s return to Monday nights on Media Watch.”