Senior ABC journalists are appealing to cabinet ministers for advice on how to improve their interview techniques. The move comes following the intervention of Communications Minister last Sunday in which he publicly counselled Leigh Sales and Emma Alberici to be “less aggressive” in the way in which they conduct their interviews.
A spokesperson from the minister’s office has told The (un)Australian that the advice has been received with a mixture of “relief and gratitude” by the ABC presenters, who had privately been hoping for an intervention of this kind for quite some time.
Turnbull’s intervention now seems certain to bring about a kinder, gentler era of political journalism, with as many as 20 flagship ABC presenters now consulting regularly with ministers in the Abbott government.
Lateline and Qanda presenter Tony Jones now meets with social services minister Scott Morrison twice a week to review Jones’ interviews and identify instances when the Walkley winning journalist did not appear to accept the answers of his guest at face value.
AM Radio presenter Michael Brissenden has also been getting assistance. Once a week Brissenden sits down with Defence Minister Kevin Andrews and does a role reversal interview in which Andrews interviews Brissenden and demonstrates “civil interview technique.”
Turnbull himself is now personally mentoring Sales. The Minister for Communications is said to be very pleased with the 7:30 presenter’s progress. In a short interview, he told The (un)Australian: “In the last few weeks Leigh has improved out of site. Frankly I doubt she’ll ever expect a Defence Minister to know the name of the ISIS leader ever again”