Tag Archives: twitter

How TV turned itself into a big event

Reports of the death of the ‘watercooler effect’ are greatly exaggerated.

The strangest thing about The Voice and My Kitchen Rules was not Delta’s shoulder
pads, Joel Madden’s hair or watching wannabe chef Dan Mulheron say with a
straight face: “I get excited anytime there’s a mention of sausage.” It was not scat
music or the use of “confit” as a verb (as in “I had better start confitting that duck”).
Nor Ben Lee telling a singer to “get freaky in your own planet”. No, the strangest
thing is that we were watching at all, in such numbers.

Last Sunday night, an estimated 2.95 million people tuned in to see the MKR winner
crowned on Channel Seven, while 1.97 million watched musical battles on Nine’s The
Voice. It was the biggest night of television viewing this year.

Not so long ago, some pundits predicted the rise of digital TV and on-demand
devices would supplant such mass viewing events. The TV audience would fragment
via a multitude of channels and technologies. And yet, last Sunday night just under 5
million homes were tuned in to one of two commercial channels – which equates to
roughly half the households in Australia. Many viewers chatted about what they were
watching in real time via social media and the next day with friends and colleagues. Continue reading How TV turned itself into a big event

Jim Schembri departs The Melbourne Age after 28 years

AFTER a number of Twitter indiscretions, The Age’s long-serving entertainment writer Jim Schembri negotiates an exit.

In a memo sent to staff last night, editor-in-chief Paul Ramadge wrote: “After 28 years of dedicated service and hard work bringing a distinctive voice to The Age’s entertainment coverage as a film and TV critic and feature writer, Jim has decided to embrace other challenges.”

Last week, website Crikey erroneously reported Schembri had been “sacked from his position following revelations he had reportedly dobbed on the employers of his Twitter critics and hinted at taking legal action under the auspices of Fairfax Media”.

In fact, management only asked Schembri to take early leave after Crikey broke news of his Twitter transgressions. It is understood Schembri had a substantial amount of time owing and Fairfax Media did not comment on Schembri’s misdemeanours.

Schembri has since negotiated his departure. It is believed he will continue writing  on pop cultural matters elsewhere.

He is the published author of more than 40 books, including the memoir Room For One and eight novels for young children.

Schembri was one of the best-loved and contentious writers at The Age, with his Modern Fable series in the 1990s a particular favourite with readers. He cultivated a strong film blog, Cinetopia, for the newspaper and occasionally attracted the opprobrium of the film industry for his strident views on the industry despite his championing of comedy and certain filmmakers.

While presenting at this year’s AACTA Awards, A Few Best Men’s director Stephan Elliott asked Schembri to “stop the poison pen” and “hate” after the journalist wrote his film was “unreleasable”. It went on to earn $5 million.

At the 2008 AFI Awards, The Black Balloon’s co-writer, Jimmy Jack, responded to Schembri’s criticism of his film by reading the review before saying “Jim Schembri. F*** you.”

And last year, The Chaser’s Hamster Wheel program named its segment on internet discretions ‘The Schembris’ after the journalist revealed a major plot twist in his review of Scream 4 before retracting it and writing it was merely a ruse to fool the “Twittersphere.”

In the memo to staff, Ramadge thanked Schembri for his contribution and wished him well. He added Schembri “has chosen to forego farewell drinks and will arrange an informal gathering soon.”

Michael Bodey – The Australian, 16/3/12