I requested an interview with Ruth and Martha close to three months ago now - logical for a journalist preparing an article. Given that they were 'too busy' to speak with me, I requested an interview with Ross (Mathews) who, as an experienced filmmaker, would be well placed to talk with me. Either Ross does not wish to do so or he has been forbidden from doing so! Hard to know given that Ross does not respond to any email I send to him.
I accept, after close to three months, that no-one from Screen Australia will speak to me during the preparation of my article. I will see if a member of the Screen Australia Board will do so. It would be an awful shame not to have a Screen Australia perspective.
Subject: RE: interview request
Date: Mon, 1 Feb 2010 15:08:35 +1100
We are not in a position to spend time and resources undertaking research for your article. There are a variety of sources open to you including our annual report and our website Get the Picture. I would encourage you to use these services.
Executive Director Strategy and Operations
Does this mean that I will not be getting answers to any of my questions either?
Screen Australia and its executive team cannot see any value (for either party) in acceding to an interview request. No such interview will be forthcoming.
If there is to be any dialogue between us regarding my request for an opportunity to interview Ruth Harley and Martha Coleman, can it please be on the basis of the facts and not of spin?
As you know full well, I informed Victorian Buchan both in a telephone conversation and in an email to her written on 22nd. Nov. 2009 that I was writing my article for Encore Magazine. And I made reference to this again in my email to Elizabeth Grinston of 27th. Jan to which your email of 29th. Jan is a response. To refresh your memory: "Victoria got back to me to say that an interview could not be granted if I did not have a newspaper or magazine lined up to publish it. When I told her that Encore magazine would publish it Victoria told me that an interview was not possible “at this time.”
Even if I had been writing my article ‘on spec’ (as indeed I was, when I first spoke with Victoria on the phone) what difference does this make? With a few exceptions (commissioned work) I have spent my entire career starting work on projects ‘on spec’ and completing stage one before approaching a broadcaster or publisher. The same applies for many freelance journalists. Does Screen Australia have a policy of only giving interviews to affiliated journalists?
You write “There comes a time when an organisation such as ours cannot afford the time or resources to continue with such unproductive dialogue.” Again, this is, as you are aware, factually incorrect – as even a cursory glance at my attempts to communicate with Ruth, Martha and Ross vis a vis my interview request would reveal. It is the total lack of dialogue with Ruth, Martha and Ross regarding my interview requests that has led me to continue making such requests.
That Ross Mathews has not responded to my emails of 10th Dec, 17th. Dec and 12th. Jan. is not anomalous behaviour on the part of Screen Australia personnel, it is standard procedure. Again, in my email to Elizabeth on 27th. Jan I wrote, "My email of 11th Dec to Martha (see below), has still not been answered. It seems that Screen Australia has abandoned all pretence at transparency, accountability and professional courtesy."
Did you actually read my 27th.Jan email to Elizabeth, Fiona, before responding to it?
Given that you have not indicated in your email of 29th. Jan. that Ross is, like Ruth and Martha, too busy to talk with me, it will be interesting to see if Ross responds to the email I sent to him yesterday. Perhaps Ross might find half an hour in the next couple of months to speak with me on Screen Australia’s behalf! Or, if Ross is also too busy, perhaps I could interview you, Fiona. Or Elizabeth Grinston. Anyone! Does Screen Australia have any spokesperson to deal with the media when Ruth, Martha, Ross are too busy to do so?
Dear Mr Ricketson,
I understand that you have requested an interview with the CEO and/or the Head of Development for an article that you are writing 'on spec'. I am advised that our media relations company, the Lantern Group, has already advised you that providing detailed information or interviews for articles being written on spec is not possible given the competing demands on Screen Australia's time. It is fair to say that subsequent to your discussions with the Lantern Group, many of your emails have gone unanswered. There comes a time when an organisation such as ours cannot afford the time or resources to continue with such unproductive dialogue.
To be clear, the CEO and the Head of Development will not be available for an interview. I have provided some basic facts that may assist with your research as follow.