Channel 9 staff axed over 'fake reporting'
21:03 AEST Thu Aug 25 2011
The news director of the Nine Network in Brisbane has reportedly resigned and a producer and two journalists have been sacked after live crosses to the Daniel Morcombe search site were faked.
After almost 25 years of working for the network, Lee Anderson resigned from the post of director of news in Brisbane, News Ltd reported on Thursday.
Nine Brisbane's managing director and head of news Mark Calvert sacked producer Aaron Wakeley and journalists Melissa Mallet and Cameron Price on Thursday afternoon, it was reported.
The television station would not comment on the reports of the sackings.
The sackings came after Nine's weekend news bulletins crossed to reporters in a helicopter who claimed they were hovering over the Morcombe search site "near Beerwah".
But the aircraft was on the station's Brisbane helipad on one occasion and circling the station's Mt Coot-tha studios on the other, the Brisbane Times reported on Wednesday.
Police have resumed the search for Daniel Morcombe's remains and have so far found two shoes matching the brand the 13-year-old was wearing when he was last seen alive in 2003.
They have also found three human bones, which are being examined. A man has been charged over the boy's murder.
In a statement on Wednesday, Nine admitted the location was "misreported".
"During Saturday and Sunday night's Brisbane bulletin, we crossed live to a reporter in our helicopter updating the Daniel Morcombe case," the statement said.
"On both occasions we said the helicopter was near Beerwah. This was not the case.
"The fact that the location was misreported is totally unacceptable.
"We have launched a thorough investigation into all the facts surrounding these reports."
According to Network Ten political editor Hugh Riminton, the investigation resulted in heads rolling.
Riminton tweeted on Thursday night that Anderson, Wakeley, Mallet and Price had lost their jobs over the two fake live crosses.
"Big sackings at Nine Brisbane tonight over helicopter scam," Riminton tweeted at 7.15pm, followed shortly by a tweet that named the four.
"Word is that Lee Anderson resigned in protest over the sackings," he tweeted.