The Australian’s James Jeffrey departs to become speechwriter for Anthony Albanese

Columnist and sketch writer James Jeffrey has resigned from his role at The Australian to become a speechwriter for leader of the Labor party, Anthony Albanese.

Jeffrey has worked at the News Corp-owned title for 16 years and is the latest in a string of journalists to depart the publication.

“The path from parliamentary journalists to working for politicians is well-trodden. This is a great opportunity for James and he goes with our very best wishes,” said a News Corp spokesperson about Jeffrey’s exit.

Jeffrey joins social affairs reporter Rick Morton, who left earlier this month after seven years with the title, investigative reporter Anthony Klan, who also left this month after 15 years, business reporter Ben Butler, and football writer Ray Gatt.

Both Morton and Klan were outspoken at the time of their departures about their concern over The Australian’s editorial focus and direction. Butler has joined the Guardian.

Speaking on a UTS podcast, Klan addressed the issues uncovered working for a Murdoch title during the recent election.

“People will tell you going back a decade it used to be a very great paper, and in many ways it still is, but some of the craziness has been dialled up,” he said.

He went on to refer to ‘death rattles’ and state that journalists working for the title spend ‘pretty much’ all day talking about a ‘loss of relevance’.

Morton made it clear he was not leaving with another job lined up, but that he would be taking the time off to work on his next book.

There has been whispers of dissent from other staff members, including business editor-at-large Alan Kohler who spoke about ‘biased media’ in his Invest Smart newsletter and columnist Niki Savva who spoke to the ABC about media coverage during the election.

Earlier this year, ex-The Australian journalist Tony Koch slammed the title in an opinion piece for The Guardian, saying the ‘requirement for balance’ has gone.

Jeffrey is the editor of daily column Strewth and has also written several books. Albanese was present at the launch of Jeffrey’s memoir, My Family and Other Animus, in 2018.


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