DEFAMATION RACKET: Star News Group says pay our tax or feel our axe

starnewsgroupscandal Melbourne’s heavily indebted Star News Group has been accused of dudding local residents by pressuring staff to write hatchet job stories calculated to pressure targets to book advertising with their newspapers. Staff have spoken out about the ethics of senior managers according to explosive new claims from within its ranks.

A source who asked for their identity to be protected for fear of consequences from management has told VEXNEWS “there is constant pressure on us” to produce commercial outcomes for Paul Thomas, the company’s CEO. “It’s not journalism in any way that it was traditionally taught,” the source explained.

The informant told VEXNEWS that journalists who work at the company are having their reputations sullied by the antics of senior managers at the company.

STAFF PUT IN IMPOSSIBLE POSITION
They pointed to a “weird” recent front-page bucketing of the popular local Dandenong mayor Pinar Yesil as an example of what goes on.

“It’s no secret that Mr Thomas is furious with the Dandenong council because they won’t advertise with Star and haven’t for over a year,” the source explained. There are also suggestions that Thomas has been seen inebriated at local community gatherings in the south-east, drowning his sorrows before staggering for a cab for a long fare back to his inner-city Melbourne residence.

“So they send in Melissa Meehan, who is basically a junior member of staff in to do a vicious hatchet job on the mayor to put the pressure on the council to buy ad space before June 30.”

“It makes life impossible for Melissa who is covering Dandenong council and wants to be able to do her job by talking with everyone and maintaining civil relationships with all the council officers and councillors. How the f**k can that happen with headlines like ‘Mayor’s a ‘dud?’ I mean what is Garry Howe thinking? If anyone’s the dud here, it’s Howe and Thomas, the captains of the SS Titanic they are. What credibility will Howe have left? What will he leave an up and coming young journo like Melissa with? No wonder she wants out. This is not something anyone wants on their CV. She’s not alone in wondering why she’s staying,” he said.

FINANCIAL PRESSURES COULD CAUSE IMPLOSION AT STAR
Whistleblowers tell VEXNEWS that Star News Group is struggling to service its growing debt mountain, run up during an acquisitions and expansion binge under Paul Thomas’s reign.

“Melissa is a young talent who won’t be at Star News Group for long, she’s told her friends that ‘it’s just wrong’ what goes on. There’s a lot of anger beneath her smile I reckon. There’s a lot like her there. They hand out awards instead of paying people the right amount, it really is a scandal.”

The story on Dandenong’s mayor that appeared with Meehan’s by-line was allegedly substantially rewritten by others our source was unwilling to name. It quoted from two political rivals – one of whom is believed to suffer from serious mental illness – asserting the mayor was a ‘dud’ who didn’t diligently attend to her council duties. Meehan insisted on speaking with the mayor who council officers told VEXNEWS fully co-operated with her, even providing her access to her diary which showed a very busy schedule indeed.

By the time the story appeared in the paper, Meehan reportedly told friends she was pleased to be “on the front” of the newspaper but disgusted and ashamed at the one-sided and biased way it was presented.

“A lot of people come out of Uni all idealistic and excited about journalism. It’s corrupt joints like Star News that beat it out of them very quickly. It wouldn’t surprise me if Mel walked. There’s a big turnover of people. The pressure is really on this year, constant rumours of bad debts, long meetings with banks, you name it…” the whistle-blower revealed.

Claims that Star News Group is effectively extorting money from local businesses and councils by threatening to write axe-attack stories on them unless they “co-operate” with the paper are growing in currency in Melbourne’s south-east. It is a very disturbing development and one that its rivals are increasingly concerned about too.

Previous VEXNEWS Investigations Unit stories have revealed the company owes its banks $8 million, which will be increasingly difficult to service with plummeting ad sales this year.

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33 Comments

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33 responses to “DEFAMATION RACKET: Star News Group says pay our tax or feel our axe

  1. Insider

    Well done Vexnews…..This paper is nothing but a rag and is written by hack reporters who can’t get a job with a serious and professional paper. Gary Howe is one of the biggest arse lickers going around and will kiss anyone’s but for a free feed and a drink. Paul Thomas is a confirmed alcoholic and is a big supporter of corrupt councils, in particular council officers and councillors who he can buy off with a front page here and their in return for a commitment to large advertising revenue. The sooner this paper goes under the better, which I know will not be too far away.

  2. Ex-Journo

    This story is a true indication of the facts in relation to the current culture within this organisation. The most obvious floor within this organisation is the problem journalists are confronted with on a daily basis. The problem is not the fault of the journalists, or to be more correct, most of the journalists, the problem is with the editors who clearly have been given directives from above to write stories in a particular way and only to only promote positively certain people and to continually write in a negative light other people. It’s not hard to establish that the hierarchy of this organisation are politically influenced by a particular political party which reflects the style of the articles written. As ex-senior journalist with this paper, it is truly a shame as this paper, particularly in the South-East had just a good name, unfortunately, that good name is far gone and it will take a change of direction within the organisation to restore the credibility of the paper and more importantly the journalist who are trying their best under strict censorship.

  3. Truth seeker Truth speaker

    Very perplexing story, I know several Star News journalists and know they would never stoop to this.

    Is there more to this story?

  4. excellent photos

    Garry doesn’t normally wear a shiny gold wig.

  5. poled

    Is that a big pole up Paul Thomas’s bum???

  6. Inga Binga

    Stop picking on my favorite community paper. I definately have no complaints, the journalists always write about me in a positive light. And Paul Thomas,….hubba hubba………he can put is pen and note book under my bed anytime, not to mention do a full page spread on me.

  7. Yikes

    The only sauce you’ve got is that infectious gunk dribbling out your tiny knob. Why do you berate the city’s only relatively conservative community news group?

  8. Lets talk the facts

    Truth seeker Truth speaker….a classic example of one of the Star News journalist who regularly stoops to the low depths of un-professional journalism is the prehistoric Jim Mynard. This poor excuse for a journalist has been bribed with cash payments, overseas holidays, numerous dinners and free nights on the drink in exchange for doing hatchet jobs on certain public people whilst at the same time covering up for his mates, even those who have been caught red handed stealing….he is nothing more than a coward and typifies the totally biased and pathetic standard of journalism this paper is renowned for.

  9. Show us the facts?

    Really, Let’s talk the facts. Do tell. Unless you have some sort of proof of your allegations (including dates etc) I think you are just making shit up. To me it looks like you’re doing a hatchet job on a public person for personal gain. Shame on you and your hypocracy!

  10. Anonymous

    “The only sauce you’ve got is that infectious gunk dribbling out your tiny knob”? I thought you were talking about the MP who represents Macleod in the Victorian Parliament.

  11. Anonymous

    Nasty story that Jake the Snake one. AIDS is very bad news.

  12. Anonymous

    Claig Rangdon used to love Jake the Snake.

  13. Anonymous

    what is this tripe? did you guys bother to contact the reporter you have all hung out to dry?

    you should all be ashamed

  14. conservative cockie

    funny that the city of casey only advertises with the stars news group. Has anyone seen an adverse story about Casey? No not on your sweet nellie. Ever seen a city of casey advertisement in the leader newspapers? No because old Mikey Tyler took advertising away from them because they wrote a critical story on mikes kingdom.

  15. Anonymous

    the star is a disgrace

  16. The Professor

    Neither funny, or surprising conservative cockie. Having worked out a couple of local councils, I think you might find that nearly all advertise exclusively or near-exclusively in either Star, Leader or the Fairfax publication. There would be small sums for some advertising in other newspapers for special events, but the bulk would be exclusive to one newspaper brand. Star may be the recipient of plenty of casey Council dollars, but it would be missing out on the bulk of dollars elsewhere. Nearly all the advertising done at Hobsons’ Bay went to Leader. Advertising contracts were put out to tender and whichever paper delivered the best deal – not tied to actual editorial – received the contract. Nothing sinister here folks, it’s how council advertising is awarded. Your Herald Sun and Age carry exclusive advertising from certain events, organisations etc. do they not??? Councils will go where they can the best deal – more likely – the best exposure. I wouldn’t personally advertise in Star myself as I live in its circulation area but receive the paper itself, whereas I always received my Leader and Mail. That’s another issue. Distribution would be a pretty key criteria for councils deciding where or where not to advertise.

  17. Mr. G

    Is this how you make comments?

  18. The Professor

    Just letting you know how it is, G? Where I worked our dollars weren’t spent at Stra becaue distribution was lousy and were better off getting our message to the masses in the Leader. No amount of pampering from Star, or negative publicity the other way had an effect. Councils will spend the majority of their newspaper advertising budget with one paper….fact!! It’s not abnormal as some on here make it out to be.

  19. conservative cockie

    Dear Professor, your wrong. Casey used to advertise at both until the leader started asking hard questions of the underperforming, second rate lonely CEO. Leader was told to be a good boy and it would get some advertising back.You need to come out to Mikey land where the people play a different game

  20. Stevie

    Casey has the most overpaid ($130,000) and underperforming communications manager out of all local government, the amount of media consultants “SPIN DOCTORS” that council uses, to cover the inept performance of the manager and the cost involved is offensive as a ratepayer. That is why the council plays ball with the Star news and pays the paper thousands of dollars annually, because if they didn’t, no one would know what the council is doing.

  21. nautical

    I think there will be a leak inquiry into this…

  22. pink bits

    Garry Howe is a communist of the filthiest kind. I believe he has a secret Order of Lenin from a misspent youth…

    Inga will sit on you.

  23. dean mighell

    did someone mention a big pole up someones bum?

  24. mel meehan

    im sorry please forgive me i didnt realize the titanic was going down – im just a good time girl caught up in a sinister defamation racket by the greedy Thomas family.

    i will never listen to the Thomas family, and those local retards alan gordon, john kelly and june whitton again.
    Mr vexnews please dont investigate me any further i dont have skeletons in my closet – really i dont – just let it go – please dont put me under the same level of scrutiny you have your other subjects. leave me alone please Mr Vexnews – please i will be good – i will get you some more shit on the Thomas family – i am worth more to u alive working behind enemy lines than being killed off by your legendary hatched skills. Please Mr Vexnews i plead with you please leave me alone.Mr Vexnews there are other ways i can make it worthwhile for you if you know what i mean Mr sexy vexy arrrrr –

  25. Mr N

    I are news man!
    Star News Group says pay our axe or feel our tax

  26. Risk Astley

    This documentary explains most of the issues addressed here:

  27. Ollie

    I’m a big fan of the star. Preferably a chocolate one

  28. what the

    i cant beleive any serious journalist would write that nonsense and what is even more bizar is that the star newspaper not only ran it but ran it on the front page.

    MMMM i smell a rat – Andy i believe you are on to something big here with this defamation racket gate thing.
    well done vexnews you are keeping the bastards honest.

  29. Anonymous

    Dean Mighell I think it is a wally pole up Don Lang’s bum.

  30. Hi there,
    I’m glad you all gave me a go!
    But i think this website should give everyone in my town a go too.
    Keep up the bullshit stories about pointless topics.
    Love George.
    Thanks again for givin me a go!

  31. Mel Meehan

    Call me i will also give you a go George.

    And dont be cheeky to sexy vexy

  32. Bling

    Ha, ha, ha. Just read the “Mayor is a dud” story online on the Star News website. It’s accompanied by a photo of the mayor herself with a link underneath it saying “purchase this photo from Star photos”. Who do they expect to buy it – maybe the mayor herself? Cracked me up. Sure sounds like they are desperate for cash.

  33. NK

    Oh no. Learn to spell before you post a comment on journalists. Grammar should be a basic requirement for people like you. I know some of the people involved here. You should be ashamed of yourselves. We all have bosses.

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