Nine’s new news boss admits a culture of power plays

One journalist said her management style involved undermining people, pitting them against each other and “ghosting” (suddenly refusing to talk to them), which left staff scared, shocked, “belittled, intimidated, paralyzed and threatened”.

One journalist described Wick as a “master of the dark arts, and he was brilliant at it,” he told the newspaper. Herald.

“Suddenly you realize you’re getting rubbish stories, rubbish turns, if you talked at all.”

Nine Entertainment CEO Mike Sneesby returned early from leave.

Nine Entertainment CEO Mike Sneesby returned early from leave.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

Many felt CEO Mike Sneesby took too long to address the substance of the claims since News Corp raised them last Monday.

“The ghosting continues,” said one.

At Monday’s meeting, Sneesby pledged to conduct an investigation into behavior and concentration of power in the newsroom, which will be carried out with “external partners” to ensure independence.

But several staff members told the Herald They no longer had faith that their complaints would be handled efficiently.

“The atmosphere is extremely disheartening,” said one News employee.

A former senior Nine reporter, speaking on condition of anonymity, said “he (Wick) kept everyone mean and lean and keen, and turned them against each other.”

“In that sense, she was basically making fun of young women and keeping them hungry and hungry for the next on-air hosting role. “It was a really disgusting culture.”

A former Nine presenter said women in particular felt they risked their career stagnating if they didn’t stay on their good side.

“If you didn’t play the game and flirt a little bit and harness its power, you wouldn’t get anywhere in Nine,” he said.

Another journalist said that “the fact of the matter is that they were incapable of addressing it.”

At the meeting, Sneesby said: “The alleged serious leadership failures in TV news tell me clearly that more work needs to be done to ensure we have a safe and inclusive workplace across Nine.”

Speaking at an extraordinary “All” meeting in the Nine newsroom on Monday afternoon, Dear flanked Sneesby in a bid to address growing anger over the company’s handling of a sexual harassment complaint against Wick in 2023, as well as the anonymous complaints of many others. women realized through the media.

Charging

Sneesby told staff that an outside legal team had deemed the 2023 complaint “baseless,” but did not explain why Wick was asked to leave the company anyway.

Sneesby said he had not signed any non-disclosure agreements about the inappropriate behavior of any employees, including Wick, but did not say whether Nine, which owns this masthead, had issued any non-disclosure agreements signed by others.

Dear admitted that the network had played “power games” with employees as embattled company executives scrambled to address growing staff outrage over allegations of lewd and toxic behavior by Wick.

“In terms of contract negotiations, media leaks, power plays over professional development, that ends today,” he said.

“I know some of you will find it hard to believe that… but I want to say that the power plays end today.”

Former Nine chief executive Hugh Marks, who left in 2020 after five years at the helm, told this newspaper he was unaware of Wick’s alleged behaviour.

Marks said he was “shocked and very sorry” and would not have decided to return the powerful news director to work following his drink-driving conviction if he had been aware of the alleged pattern of behaviour.

“I am so sorry that terrible things have happened to people. “I am sorry for what has happened as a result of that decision,” he said, adding that “this is the Darren Wick I didn’t know.”

“In hindsight, we should have asked more questions, rather than waiting for the information to come to us.”

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