tip off

Fairfax refugees … News Ltd changes … Qld budget leaks …

From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Fairfax’s loss is Kohler’s gain. A big-name business writer who took redundancy from one of Fairfax’s metro broadsheets will soon join Alan Kohler’s coterie of scribes writing for Business Spectator and other News Limited-owned websites. As Crikey reported last week, business reporting at The Sydney Morning Herald has been particularly hard hit in this redundo round, with Ian Verrender, Elisabeth Sexton, Annette Sampson and Scott Rochfort departing. The business reporting veteran — who’s set to sign on the dotted line any minute now — is only expecting to file for the Spectator group’s online publications, not The Australian or the News Limited tabloids.

News’ NSW ‘superdesk’ takes shape. Still on media matters, News Limited is forging ahead with its news-gathering overhaul. Yesterday we published Queensland editorial director David Fagan’s email to all staff explaining how the brave new world will look; today it’s NSW’s turn. In his 1460-word email yesterday, editorial director Campbell Reid announced appointments for the head of news, head of sport, head of lifestyle, community news editor and many other senior positions.

Jo Seymour, wife of The Daily Telegraph’s managing editor Trevor Seymour, will also be chief sub editor for centralised production hub NewsCentral NSW. Bill Watt will be production editor even though we hear one News big wig issued an edict telling staffers not to implement key aspects of his recent Tele redesign. In his missive, Reid also bids farewell to 23-year News Ltd veteran Brett De Vine who’s worked at the Tele, MX and the NT News.

Meanwhile, staff at the Tele — and their brethren at The Courier-Mail — say they’re in the dark about when, if ever, paywalls will go up on their sites. The Herald Sun’s refusal to release its figures is seen as a sign that all is not well.

Queensland budget whispers. One tipster, whose mate works in the Queenland Treasury, says its a dead cert that the Liberal-National Party will use next week’s budget to lower a planned increase in electricity tariffs at a cost of $60 million. Luckily for the electricity suppliers, they’ll be subsidised for an almost identical amount. Child protections services, we hear, are also for the chop.

One area Newman isn’t slashing is the spend on spin — at least in the social media space. The premier’s team has taken an unusually proactive approach in answering questions from Facebook users on all matter of topic including the state’s “gay panic” defence and why Nine’s Big Brother is receiving state government funding. As far as online engagement among pollies goes, Can Do’s effort is a standout.

Lib infighting at Melbourne Council. Think the battle between the Greens and Labor will be the highlight of the upcoming Melbourne City Council elections? Not so, says one tipster. The best fight may well be the proxy war between the pro and anti-Ted Baillieu forces in the Liberal Party. The pro-Ted faction, we hear, is deeply suspicious of Lord Mayor Robert Doyle and his closeness to certain “recalcitrant” MPs.

*Do you know more? Send your tips to boss@crikey.com.au or use our guaranteed anonymous form.

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