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Andrew Bolt | Updated: 3:22:08 PM, Thursday November 22, 2012
By Dana Flannery Andrew Bolt

He runs the most-read political blog in Australia, hosts his own TV show and is no stranger to litigation. But above all Andrew Bolt has convictions and is not afraid to stand by them.

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Andrew Bolt works hard at being loved or loathed in equal measure. According to Bolt’s main employer, The Herald Sun, he runs the most-read political blog in Australia. He could also be the most prolific blogger in the country, with a daily output that would make him a millionaire many times over if he received a dollar for every word he wrote.

Not that he would ask Treasurer Wayne Swan for advice on how to invest his millions. Andrew Bolt is a conservative journalist, and people like Wayne Swan are never Right.

It’s not hard to detect where Bolt’s political sympathies lie when you read his blog and columns, listen to him on the radio, or watch him on The Bolt Report on Network 10. He makes no effort to disguise his contempt for the Labor government, in particular their policies on asylum seekers and carbon pricing.

It’s this transparency that makes Bolt a highly visible target for those on the Left, and something of a hero for those at the other end of the spectrum. Because he does generate so much comment from all sides, it’s no wonder Andrew Bolt is a very bankable media commodity.

Bolt gave no early indication that he would become one of Australia’s most powerful media commentators. Born in Adelaide in 1959, to Dutch-immigrant parents, he took on a succession of jobs in Australia and Holland after leaving school, before enrolling in an Arts degree.

He soon quit his studies, and began a short stint as a cadet reporter at The Age in Melbourne. The press media wasn’t to Bolt’s liking, at that stage of his life anyway, so Bolt went back to Holland, returned to Australia and became a staffer for a federal MP. A Labor federal MP. Soon enough, Bolt would join Bob Hawke’s media liaison unit.

Bolt’s career, like the man himself, became a lot more conservative after he joined The Herald in 1989. Interestingly he even worked as the newspaper’s Asia correspondent, based first in Hong Kong and later Bangkok. He has been with News Limited ever since, as a columnist and, from 2005, as a blogger, where his site gets more than 250,000 unique browsers a month.

By all accounts, Andrew Bolt is shy and reserved. That’s not apparent in his commentary, where he is unafraid to call it as he sees it. The unabashed style, which attracts readers, listeners and viewers, is also a magnet for trouble and sometimes quite sustained personal attacks.

Bolt has been at the centre of several legal actions, some of which have been quite central to press freedom in Australia, including a defamation case brought by Magistrate Jelena Popovic after one of Bolt’s columns suggested she had hugged two drug traffickers she had let walk free.

According to Popovic, she had actually shaken hands with them after they had completed a drug rehabilitation programme, and she was awarded over $200, 000 in damages.

More recently, Bolt made headlines when he was sued for breaching the Racial Discrimination Act, and he was found to have contravened a section of the Act in September of 2011. For an interesting insight his blog entry on the issue is well worth the read.

Given Bolt’s confrontational style, you can assume he might be the target of litigation somewhere down the track. If that ever happens, you can bet your last dollar that Andrew Bolt won’t be seeking legal advice from Julia Gillard. Just like Wayne Swan, the former solicitor and current primeminister is not to Bolt’s conservative tastes.

Money talk According to PayScale.com, an Australian print based journalist with 10 to 19 years experience can earn between $50,868 to $86,472. However a shift to TV or digital really changes the ballpark. According to Seek, the ABC is currently seeking a senior reporter for its 7:30 program and this position sits within a salary range of between $120,000 and $150,000. Working out the salary of a senior journalist, with a solid national profile, across print, digital and TV is a little tricky. But feedback we have had suggests that the ball park might be between $200,000 to $300,000 for the print and digital side and around $100,000 for a weekly TV spot. In addition, what such a journalist could earn through private speaking engagements and so on is fairly open to guesswork.

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