State-owned television station TVM has promoted several staff, pushing veterans with decades of broadcast experience out of their positions and appointing junior journalists into senior decision-making roles.
Massimo Axisa, a former government spokesperson, and Liam Carter, both recruited to the station a few years ago, have been made shift editors responsible for deciding what content makes the cut and what does not.
Carter and Axisa are both in their late 20s and have less than six years of experience in journalism each but will be giving orders to senior staff such as Ruth Amaira, who has been at PBS since the 1980s, and Mario Micallef, who has been coordinating the newsroom for 15 years.
As for those pushed out of their positions, Maria Muscat, a PBS reporter who also spent years working as a government spokesman but who also has years of experience in journalism, was made a manager of the newsroom roster and resources.
According to a memo issued by Chairman Mark Sammut, more promotions are in the offing.
Meanwhile, PBS reporter Albert Gauci Cunningham, a former l-Orizzont’s reporter and editor of ILLUM and one of Labour’s poster boys during the 2013 electoral campaign, is earmarked for the post of parliamentary affairs coordinator.
Glenn Falzon, another PBS reporter directly engaged from Labour’s TV station, is slated for the post of court affairs coordinator.
The interviews for the positions were conducted by Sammut, who has never worked in a newsroom, and Charles Dalli, an engineer and former ONE TV CEO who is the registered editor on PBS. The interviews did not include editorial board members, such as Charles Flores, despite his decades of experience, including being head of news at PBS.
The interviews were conducted following an internal call for applications, which listed the post of head of news editorial and another post of news duty manager 1 to replace former boss Norma Saliba, who was axed from her post by Sammut in agreement with Prime Minister Robert Abela.
However, when the final list of promotions came out, it included new posts which were not issued in the original vacancies call.
From the two managerial positions included in the call to replace Saliba, the positions had become four, with other promotions given to other already-senior staff to reduce complaints about the new positions given to juniors Carter and Axisa.
This exercise continues to increase costs at PBS, which is losing money despite some €6 million in annual subsidies and additional millions in government advertising.