By Business editor Peter Ryan
It was once a highly anticipated quarterly event for journalists - the opportunity to put a rare question to Rupert Murdoch or one of his high flying executives.
But today, the man who lives and breathes the media, showed he doesn't necessarily appreciate having journalists questioning the direction of the News Corporation empire - especially in these troubled times.
Read the story on ABC News Online
In an advisory to journalists about this morning's teleconference on the empire's quarterly earnings, reporters reading the fine print discovered that while they were invited to dial in, it would be on "a listen only" basis.
In the past, reporters were allowed a "window" near the end of the call to queue for questions once the grilling from financial analysts were completed
So disappointed reporters from around the globe, including this one, were sidelined while analysts monopolised questioning of News Corporation president Chase Carey, chief financial officer David Devoe and deputy chief operating oifficer James Murdoch.
Rupert Murdoch was not on the call at today's briefing although he has regularly fronted many briefings in the past taking questions ranging from his love of newspapers, the British phone hacking scandal and who will succeed him once he goes to the big newsroom in the sky.
Hacks questioning the surprise move have been told by News Corporation corporate affairs that the company is moving in line with other US based companies that do not allow journalist question during results briefings.
The answer was non-committal when the ABC asked if News Corporation would consider holding separate media briefings in the future.
The decision by News Corporation to exclude reporters questions ensured this morning's teleconference relating to a US$1.6 billion quarterly loss, was a pedestrian affair.
Here's my analysis from this morning's edition of AM.
There were no inconvenient questions about the UK phone hacking scandal, the future of the global newspapers business or the reputational damage the empire had sustained.
But it wasn't always that way.
Rupert Murdoch has often used financial teleconferences to outline his wide ranging views on political and economic matters assisted by questions from the odd pesky journalist.
For example, in August 2010 during the federal election, Mr Murdoch dispensed with me efficiently when I asked him to say who he'd prefer as Prime Minister.
PETER RYAN: I just wanted to get your thoughts on the Australian election campaign. What are you seeing as the big issues for the economy? And who would you want to see as the prime minister of Australia - Julia Gillard or Tony Abbott?
RUPERT MURDOCH: I think I have no comment at all. Just read our newspapers and see what our editors think. They have the freedom to decide that. We're obviously watching it closely. And there haven't been any really great issues emerge yet.
PETER RYAN: What's your view of the campaign and how it's been conducted by the two leaders? It's been criticised by some quarters back here as being a bit of a debacle.
RUPERT MURDOCH: Well that might be true of the ABC's comments but, and what part you're playing in it. So I think I'll just let that pass.
A year later on, I asked Mr Murdoch how his succession plans were going given the pressure James Murdoch was facing in relation to the News of the World scandal.
Mr Murdoch made news by nominating Chase Carey, rather than one of his own children as his successor:
RUPERT MURDOCH: Well I hope that the job won't be open in the near future (laughter) and I ahh, I have, I have you know Chase is my partner if anything happened to me I'm sure he'll get it immediately but if I went under a bus but Chase and I have full confidence in James but you know in the end the succession is a matter for the board.
There are many more moments like these that unlikely to be repeated in a briefing dominated by questions from financial analysts.
And before you suggest this reporter's nose is out of joint, there is the public interest to consider.
The role of a journalist is to shine a light into dark corners, and by blocking journalists questions, one can only assume there are questions News Corporation and Rupert Murdoch would prefer not to confront.