Extra: The Dodo joins WGA East; Endemol Shine Finland gets new MD

The Dodo ratifies first union agreement with Writers Guild of America, East Staff at the animal-focused digital news site The Dodo, part of Group Nine Media, have voted unanimously in favor ...
December 20, 2018

The Dodo ratifies first union agreement with Writers Guild of America, East

Staff at the animal-focused digital news site The Dodo, part of Group Nine Media, have voted unanimously in favor of ratifying their first union contract with the Writers Guild of America, East.

The Dodo reached a contract deal on Dec. 5, after four consecutive days of bargaining with management.

The ratified contract includes a US$50,000 salary floor, a paid parental leave policy, and just cause standards and improved guaranteed severance if there are layoffs. The Dodo’s three-year collective bargaining also includes a 6% pay increase in the first year of the contract and a bump of 2.5% in the second and third years; plus merit pay; union security; secured employee input on editorial decisions; an improved sick time policy; performance reviews that include a compensation assessment; and codification of certain benefits.

The Dodo is the second Group Nine Media subsidiary to unionize with the Guild; the lifestyle publication/site Thrillist ratified their first WGA, East, contract this past October.

Endemol Shine Finland MD Tarja Paakkonen exits

Endemol Shine Group’s Finnish division has named current Nelonen Media executive Unne Sormunen (pictured) as managing director, as long-time Endemol Shine Finland (ESF) MD Tarja Pääkkönen has announced her departure from the company after a 12-year career.

Sormunen will report to Karin Stjärne, CEO of Endemol Shine Nordics, when he boards ESF on March 1, 2019. Sormunen will work closely alongside Pääkkönen over the coming weeks to ensure a smooth transition.

Most recently, Sormunen served as head of domestic programming at Finnish broadcaster Nelonen Media. During his tenure, he was responsible for commissioning and launching such successful programming as local versions of The Wall and Who Wants to be a Millionaire, among others. He also served as an executive producer at Nelonen, managing 15 TV productions across a range of genres.

Prior to Nelonen, Sormunen was a sports producer at MTV Media and a program manager at SBS Finland.

Stjärne, in a statement, said that “Tarja has been an incredibly inspiring colleague and has led our team in Finland expertly these past years, growing our business locally and creating incredibly strong relationships with the key broadcasters. We will miss her dearly and wish her all the best in her personal adventures.

“While I am sad to see Tarja go, I am extremely pleased to welcome Unne Sormunen as our new head of Finland. Unne is a very talented and bright leader with lots of very relevant experience, as well as drive and focus, making him an excellent addition to our Nordics leadership team. I look forward to working closely with him and Tarja over the coming weeks to ensure a seamless transition.”

(Photo credit: Samuli Pulkkinen & SanomaMedia Finland)

ITV Australia remakes Operation: Live for Channel Seven

ITV Studios Australia is producing a local version of Operation: Live for Aussie broadcaster Channel Seven.

Created by The Garden Productions, part of ITV Studios, Operation: Live will take viewers into life-changing operations in their entirety from Australia’s top hospitals. The two-night event will cover procedures ranging from open-heart surgery to the birth of a baby, both in real time, with a multi-cam setup capturing all the activity.

The special will feature expert commentary from Dr. Nikki Stamp, a trained cardiothoracic surgeon, who will explain the stages of the operations as they happen, working alongside the surgeon performing the operations.

Alongside, watching a variety of surgeries, audiences will witness the nerve-wracking wait the patient’s close family have while their loved ones undergo surgery.

Operation: Live will bow on Channel Seven in 2019.

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