It’s been a tough year for journalists, and indeed for all in the media industry.
Pay rises have been hard to find, there have been strikes aplenty, Fairfax have laid off more staff than you can poke a stick at, and six-figure salaries are as rare as hens teeth among reporters with less than a decades experience, and not much more common eveb for the battle-wizened veterans of the trade.
All in all I reckon it’s fair to say that things have generally been pretty crook in Tullarook as far as life in the mainstream media game goes. So it’s heartwarming to learn that at least one member of the profession has kicked a goal.
I refer here to Jaqueline (Jaqui) Park, the former gun reporter for The Nation Newspaper in Thailand turned professional union official who held the role of Regional Director (Asia) of the International Journalists Federation for about a decade before sliding behind the wheel of the Walkley Foundation as the Chief Executive Officer of the organisation.
Now if you have never heard of The Nation newspaper you are not alone, and I don’t know a whole lot about them either, but I do know two things.
The first is that the newspaper was widely regarded as an opponent of Thaksin Shinawatra, the deeply corrupt former policeman turned business tycoon who fled the country to avoid a spell in a Thai tomato can for ripping the mug punters of the land of lap nuea dip off blind.
That’s a tick in Jacqui’s box.
The other is that The Nation is a joint-venture partner with the Eleven Media group, a Myanmar media outfit that published 5 weekly papers, each of which is virulently anti-Rohingyan and regularly rails against the rights of the stateless folk widely regarded as the world’s most oppressed peoples, or in the alternative ignores their plight completely.
This is a huge cross in the same box.
So it’s six of one, half a dozen of the other as far as Park’s journalistic career goes, and the jury remains out, but you’d have to quietly ask your compositor how the hell a limited career in Asian media qualifies you to run the Walkley Foundation.
At the risk of sounding like a misogynist misanthrope I merely mention that Jacqui Park is the wife of Chris Warren, the long-serving former National Secretary of the journalist’s union MEAA, and long-time head of the International Federation of Journalists.
This fact is well known and had been widely reported (see above) and I need say no more other to add that I am a proud member of MEAA and regard the organisation highly, and that my wife the Bead Twirler was an organiser for the outfit in the late 1990’s/early 2000’s and departed on excellent terms with all, including Chris Warren, who acted as referee for her subsequent role in Aetearoa, the land of the long white cloud.
I tell you this simply so that you may understand that I have no axe to grind when I reveal that in the present extremely constrained cost environment in the media world, where the average journalist is forced to take industrial action in order to achieve a 2.5% pay increase, Jacqui Park – who on any fair read does not hold the most onerous job in the world – received a near 20% pay increase last year.
What exactly was the justification employed to bump Park’s salary up by 8 times the average industry percentage pay increase?
You tell me, and then we’ll both know.
And in return I’ll tell you who paid for it.
Funny old world isn’t it?