Dr Mumbo

Treading heavily at the press freedom dinner

To the Press Freedom Day dinner in Sydney, where Fairfax investigative duo Richard Baker and Nick McKenzie’s joint speech left the audience feeling both inspired and old.

Elsewhere in the room, the collaborative media spirit was less easy to find, not least in the bidding for a case of Tulloch’s wine in the silent auction.

Early written bids from Nine’s Laurie Oakes and indeed Mumbrella, were later overtaken by generous bids by the Copyright Agency and somebody from Seven who should probably remain nameless.

The Copyright Agency guest managed to nip in with the final bid as the auction came to an end. Fair to say that the woman from Seven did not take it well when her late bid was not also accepted.

The Seven representative stepped painfully on the shocked Copyright Agency person’s foot, before walking off without apology. Dr Mumbo chooses to assume is that it was an accident, and in the hubbub, she didn’t hear the pained yelp as she marched away.

Meanwhile, there was a warmer spirit radiating from Nine’s 60 Minutes table, which at the end of the night was the only one where nobody had budged, in a rather unusual sign of a team enjoying its own company rather than looking for a future employer in the room to schmooze.

And speaking of respect, the room gave plenty of it to the parents of Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste, who remains in an Egyptian jail on bullshit charges.

It was something of a contrast to the reception for journalists’ union boss Chris Warren. If the muttering going on during his speech is any indicator, the MEAA federal secretary is beginning to outstay his welcome.


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