The pre-eminent US sports network, ESPN, revamped its Australian website in 2016, complementing its extensive coverage of US sport with a new Australian offering. This centred around AFL, NRL, rugby and the A-League. Happell Media was approached to provide the expert AFL commentary each week, as well as a Power Rankings list. Martin Blake writes an AFL column for the site on Tuesday:
And, Charles Happell, Jonno Nash and Martin Blake write the Front & Centre column on Wednesday, which focuses on newsy, behind-the-scenes tidbits and sometimes a smidgin of scuttlebutt:
On the video side, Happell Media was approached by ESPN to film its pundits previewing, and wrapping up, key AFC Asian Cup matches in 2015. In Melbourne, we produced packages of Francis Leach outside AAMI Park within 30 minutes of the final whistle. In Sydney and Newcastle, we filmed Jason Dasey and his colleagues give their special perspective on the Cup, both before and after games.
Better Care Victoria, a branch of the Victorian Government’s Health Department, wanted a complex 40-page innovation strategy document to be boiled back to 10 pages of plain English.
So they engaged Happell Media to de-clutter the document of much of its complex language and bureaucratic terminology and transform it into a shorter, punchier and more accessible read. Aligned with this work were the production of a PowerPoint presentation and an illustration of the BCV strategy at work, via two case studies.
Happell Media provides China’s premier news agency with sports copy, and any other newsworthy items from Australia – including current affairs, business, society, and science and technology - that might appeal to its global audience of hundreds of millions. We write 140+ stories per month for the agency’s Canberra and Melbourne bureaus. Xinhua operates 107 foreign bureaus worldwide, and maintains 31 bureaus in China, printing in eight languages: Chinese, English, Spanish, French, Russian, Portuguese, Arabic and Japanese.
Recent articles by Matt Walsh:
Recent articles by Matt Goss:
As a consultant, Happell Media was commissioned by the operators of GolfLink and iSeekGolf – two of Australia’s most popular golf websites – to help merge those platforms into a single entity.
The brief was to identify the most successful aspects of GolfLink, refine some of those ideas, add new creative editorial concepts into the mix, and then marry them all under a new iseekgolf.com banner, to be launched in April 2017.
The finished product will be home to Australia’s most avid and active golfers, where they can book tee times at dozens of Australia’s leading courses, read the latest golf news and opinions from home and abroad, and watch myriad videos – including The Week in Golf, regular lessons from professionals, and offbeat stories on players from the backblocks and ‘burbs.
Perform, a digital media company based in London, is a news agency-style organisation that syndicates broadcast news content around the world. Among its subscribers are the BCC, ITV, English Premier League and SkySports.
Happell Media, with video journalists based in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane and Canberra, has filmed a wide range of key international sporting events for Perform. In 2015, we covered cricket’s ICC World Cup and football’s AFC Asian Cup as well as the International Champions Cup, which featured Real Madrid and Manchester City. We also covered each day of the Australian Open tennis in 2016.
This work revolves around shooting training sessions and media conferences featuring leading players and officials - as well as covering breaking news stories such as Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein’s bid for the FIFA presidency at the AFC Extraordinary Congress in Melbourne.
Happell Media provides regular sports copy to Fairfax’s leading newspapers, The Age in Melbourne and the Sydney Morning-Herald. We also ghost the weekly AFL column of former North Melbourne premiership captain, Wayne Carey, in The Age.
Our recently published articles in Fairfax:
Wayne Carey’s recent columns in The Age:
In 2014, we were also entrusted with the job of ghost-writing the fortnightly column of the player known only as The Secret Footballer. As with The Stig on Top Gear, The Secret Footballer’s identity became the subject of much debate. All we can tell you, though, is that he was one of the league’s high-profile stars who was only too happy to take The Age’s readers behind the scenes into the players’ inner sanctum.
View The Secret Footballer’s articles:
ANZ wanted to leverage its considerable investment in tennis, where it is a sponsor of the Australian Open and Shanghai Masters tournaments. So it commissioned a regular tennis column from Happell Media, which is written by former Paul McNamee, champion player and Australian Open tournament director from 1995 to 2006, and aims to give an insider’s view into the modern professional scene.
Charles Happell also examines some of the pressing sports issues of the day, and how they relate to business.
View our articles by Paul McNamee and Charles Happell:
This leading Melbourne-based news and entertainment website, which is funded by the superannuation industry, wanted to expand its offering to include more video. So they approached Happell Media ahead of the 2017 Australian Open to film a series of tennis vox pops outside Melbourne Park. The topics up for discussion were: the players’ heat policy (and how fans coped with the sweltering conditions); the conundrum that is Nick Kyrgios; and why Roger Federer is just so damn popular.
Happell Media covered the most recent Ashes series in Australia for The New Daily – and has also provided rugby league, golf and tennis columns for the site.
View our articles:
Happell Media provides a range of sports copy to Australia’s leading wagering and gaming company, including previews for Test cricket matches, AFL football over its 26-week season, and each day of the 2017 Australian Open tennis.
For example, as an aid to footy fans and would-be punters, the TAB wanted to provide a comprehensive preview of each AFL round, examining where the nine matches might be won and lost, as well as a prediction and betting tip.
That sort of work was right up our alley, being as we are footy tragics who are partial to the odd flutter.
So we accepted the challenge and have ended up writing these in-depth previews for the past seven seasons.
Our resident footyhead, Matt Walsh, runs a rule over the nine games each week, providing insights, predictions and his best bets.
On the eve of tennis’ 2016 Australian Open, Buzzfeed and the BBC published a joint expose which alleged widespread match-fixing in the sport. The story came to dominate the tournament headlines over the ensuing week and forced tennis officials, including the head of the Tennis Integrity Unit, to call two media conferences to address the allegations. Buzzfeed engaged Happell Media, which was accredited for the championship, to cover the breaking news each day.
Matt Walsh was our man on the ground at Melbourne Park:
In 2015, Australia’s Jason Day won the golf’s fourth major, the US PGA Championship, and Charles Happell was asked to write the Day back story, and journey from disaffected youth to world No.1.
We also wrote a review of the 2016 World Cup of Golf from Kingston Heath, and argued that the biennial international teams event – which has become an unloved pariah in world golf – should be given a regular home in Australia.
They’re experts at making wine, especially their Moonambel Shiraz which has won rave reviews, but Dalwhinnie’s owners David and Jenny Jones were on less solid ground when it came to the business of journalism, specifically writing informative and entertaining copy about their much-praised Victorian vineyard. So we were happy to help out...
Charles Happell is regular reviewer of sports-related books – both novels and non-fiction - for The Australian’s Review section.
View our articles:
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s premier weekly documentary program profiled Greg Norman, one of this country’s most recognisable sporting figures, in a two-part series in September 2013. Charles Happell, who covered the latter half of Norman’s career for The Melbourne Age, was called on to give a journalist’s perspective on the colourful, charismatic golfer and his place in the pantheon of Australian sportsmen.
Charles Happell is a regular guest on the Sunday morning program hosted by Gerard Whateley, discussing and debating the big sports issues of the week.
Other guests include Francis Leach, Roy Masters, Caroline Wilson, Ange Postecoglou and Waleed Aly.
View our appearances:
Charles Happell covered the 1996 US Masters for The Age newspaper. On the 20th anniversary of Greg Norman’s infamous meltdown at Augusta, Golf Magazine asked him to recount the circumstances surrounding the final round, Norman’s heartache in defeat, and how the Australian coped with the disaster in the days afterwards.
In 2016, the Golf Channel chose the 20th anniversary of Greg Norman’s collapse at the Masters to do a recreation of that fateful final day at Augusta. Charles Happell provided the Australian perspective, having covered the tournament for The Melbourne Age in 1996. The program aired in the lead-up to the 2016 Masters, and featured many of the key players in that sporting drama.
For MediaXpress, a multimedia publishing house that now oversees the in-house magazines at both Melbourne University and LaTrobe University, we have been asked to write about topics as diverse as the 125th anniversary of the famed Melbourne University Athletics Club and how social media, especially Twitter, has changed the way many of us watch, listen, cover, read about and debate sport.
Over the past seven years, first in our guise as BackPageLead and now Happell Media, we have had dozens of journalism students, young writers and wannabe reporters come through our doors. Some have done internships with us, some have been employed under an initiative with the Victorian Government’s Department of Innovation, and some have written for us as citizen journalists. Many have gone on to bigger and better things in the mainstream media:
Matt Walsh, another LaTrobe journalism graduate, has been with Happell Media for two years as a general reporter, while Matt Goss has finished his internship and also joined the company in 2016 as a reporter. Maddy Siladi is our Melbourne-based Video Journalist.