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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Jonathan Marshall bends the rules of journalism

Jonathan Marshall is a 27 year old ambitious Kiwi journalist on the move.  Last year he left New Zealand and is now working for Rupert Murdoch's The Sunday Telegraph. 

Last month Marshall and Neil Breen, editor of the Sunday Telegraph, won the inaugural Kennedy Awards for Excellence in NSW Journalism for their scoop that led to the Australian Olympic Committee banning athletes from using the sleeping pill Stilnox at the London Olympics.

Neil Breen

Marshall is also the person responsible for secretly taping Alan Jones as he spoke to what he thought was a closed gathering of Liberal Party supporters and was caught out saying "The old man recently died a few weeks ago of shame, to think that he has a daughter who told lies every time she stood for Parliament."  He then went on to suggest that the PM's tears of grief were responsible for the sudden leap in her popularity.

So how did Marshall get inside the closed Liberal Party function?  He sent the organizers an email stating he wanted to become a Young Liberal member and bought a $100 student ticket to the event.

Jones compared his predicament to that of Mitt Romney, who gave a speech to what he thought was a closed meeting of Republicans and when his secretly recorded comments were released, all hell broke loose.

Jones claims that the Chatham House Rules were broken, a principle that guarantees that whatever is said within a private meeting, stays private a confidential.  Jones said "It's a cautionary tale.....if all of us had to sit down at a private function and wonder whether the person three up from us hasn't got a tape recorder in his pocket."

Jonathan Marshall disagrees and told the ABC "Even if there were (principles broken), I think the public interest in this would greatly override any of those concerns." 

But another journalist present at the meeting said the MC made a point of asking any journalists to identify themselves and pointed out that the evening's events were "completely off the record."