Tough questions in Murdoch's empire
IT'S a fascinating time for aspiring journalists raring to work in Rupert Murdoch's empire. As well as absorbing all the twists and turns in the phone-hacking scandal that the boss had no knowledge of, applicants for traineeships at the Herald Sun have had to search within. If you think the Church of Scientology's 200-question personality test has some trick questions, the application form for the NewsVictoria positions can test the best and brightest. Take the question: "Which website do you think is best representing the future of news coverage and why?" That's a cinch: The Age, the one without the paywall. And this: "What would the last person you 'de-friended' on Facebook say about you in three words?" Tip: honesty is not the best policy if you want to get to round two. Then this: "What are the sorts of people you struggle to work with? Why?" Tip: be careful not to point the finger at the shortcomings of specific journalists at the tabloid. Applicants need to know that the tweets of "Not Rupert Murdoch" are more entertaining than the musings of the real media mogul. Also, if you inadvertently break an embargo and reveal the Gold Logie winner, it's best not to blame Google, the world's biggest search engine, but say the word Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli struggled to articulate on Happy Days: "Sorry." And there's no doubt that phone hacking is bad news.
The cost of saving taxpayers
THE parliamentary year is in full swing with Ted Baillieu in the blue corner and Daniel Andrews in the red corner, but it's never too late for public servants to brush up on the intricacies of Spring Street. The Institute of Public Administration is running workshops and tomorrow's soldout session on "How Government Works" coincides with budget day. Bean counters have to wait until May 25 for "Making the Most of Public Money" that's presented by lawyers James Smart and Michelle Burridge from Maddocks, the firm that's a friend of the government due to its industrial relations armoury. The cost of finding out how to best spend taxpayers' money: $330 for personal members, $440 for corporate members and $660 for non-members.
From crim to crime film
IN THE spirit of that showbiz adage "the show must go on", Chopper Read (pictured) could have six weeks to live after being struck with liver cancer but he is cast in the Melbourne crime film Pinball as himself and producers hope he will be able to film the remaining scenes in May. When co-star John Jarratt returns from LA after shooting the Quentin Tarantino film Django Unchained, Read will film his scenes in Collingwood and the rest of the film will be shot in July. Pinball is the debut work of filmmaking brothers Matt and Trevor Holcomb and tells the story of a former AFL footballer called Clint Thorp played by Kevin Kiernan-Molloy who becomes a crook. Kate Neilson and model Silvana Lovin have roles and giving the film extra cred is Alan Finney, the AFI chairman who has been appointed consulting producer. With Read in the credits, this film could be a collector's item.
Planets align for Venus
LIFE just gets better for "boned" Channel Nine news director Michael Venus. Now flying high with Etihad Airways in Abu Dhabi, he has been upgraded from the head of international media relations to vice-president of corporate affairs. After Nine wished him the best for the future, Venus flew to the United Arab Emirates to start work last June. Joined by wife Kellie Curtain, who was a reporter while he ruled the newsroom, the family has acclimatised well to the lush Arabian days and nights. With Hugh Nailon occupying the chair of Nine's news director, the Venus appointment didn't make news there but he's hot stuff on the Arab Aviation website. When emailing friends about his upgrade, Venus, forever the newsman, said: "Thought you might like to have a look at some breaking news from the Middle East!"