60 Minutes has long had a tradition for never confirming nor denying payment for its stories.
But it is quick to break those rules when it suits.
A press release for Sunday’s interview with the sister and estranged mother of alleged drug mule Cassie Sainsbury declares: “60 Minutes has assisted Lisa and Khala with their travel to Colombia. Reports in the media the program had done a deal with the family worth one million dollars are completely false.”
But this omits how much the family was actually paid for the interview (which Cassie Sainsbury has said is ‘her story to tell’) separate to airfares and accommodation expenses. It is rumoured to be around the $200,000 mark.
In 2014, producer Tom Malone said of an interview surrounding the ‘Baby Gammy’ case, “We never comment on any commercial arrangements between 60 Minutes and our interview subjects but given the nature of this story, it’s important our viewers know that no money has been or will be paid to the parents.”
In 2012 60 Minutes confirmed no payment for interviews with the girlfriend of Kings Cross bash victim Thomas Kelly. Similarly A Current Affair has previously confirmed no payments for some profile interviews.
Meanwhile 60 Minutes is up against Sunday Night which has an interview with Sainsbury’s boyfriend Scott Broadbridge. Both shows will go head to head on Sunday at 8:30, making the interviews and promos pivotal to where audiences will go.
Seven has neither commented on how much it paid for their story, but it may have the upper hand given Nine promos indicate the family distressed in trying to gain access to Sainsbury.
Cassandra Sainsbury: The Real Story
For the past five weeks South Australian woman Cassandra Sainsbury has been locked away in a dingy and overcrowded prison in Bogota, Colombia, accused of smuggling cocaine. The evidence against her is damning: 5.8 kilograms of the drug were found in her suitcase at the airport as she tried to leave the country. Cassandra says she’s innocent, but the reality is her prospects are bleak. It’s a distressing time for the 22 year old as well as her mother and sister, who’ve spent the last week in Bogota trying to make sense of this awful nightmare.
Reporters: Liam Bartlett
Producers: Phil Goyen, Sean Power
8:30pm Sunday on Nine.