From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …
Howcroft to Ten — seriously. Advertising guru and Gruen talking head Russel Howcroft was announced as the Ten Network’s new Melbourne GM today. We knew that back in May and told you so — but Howcroft insisted at the time it was rubbish. Quite the bum steer, Russel.
A cut-out Tony Abbott. A mole at the University of Sydney says that all the old issues of the Uni’s Honi Soit publication from the time of Tony Abbott’s year at the helm of the Student Representatives Council in 1979 have been censored (or souvenired). Apparently someone has gone through and cut out all the items by him, or about him. For an online example of one of his stories — in which he reflects on having a condom pinned to his door — take a look here.
Can any Crikey readers verify that the library’s 1979 issues have indeed been censored? And does anyone know whether it was a friend or foe who wielded the scissors? Let us know, and feel free to stay anonymous.
Closing hours for libraries. We’ve been running tips on the scaling back of government libraries in Queensland as Campbell Newman wields the budget knife. Apparently something similar is on the cards in Victoria:
“A couple of years back the government departmental libraries were amalgamated as part of a shared service provider. With the government’s cuts to public service numbers, my understanding is that the library component of this unit is facing the loss of about half the 40-odd staff, and the closure of multiple branches based within the departments that the libraries are serving.”
What’s in a name? Lots of fun. Yesterday, we launched a contest for the best-named (apt or amusing) lobby group or spokesperson and Crikey readers were so enthusiastic, we were even given a fancy-sounding name for the phenomenon: Nominative Determinism. Here are some of the early front runners, with the winner to have their entry immortalised in cartoon by First Dog on the Moon. Can you top these entries? Drop us a line.
S.G. Grocock, artificial limb maker. Sydney-based Grocock was active in the 1950s-’70s. Our tipster used to drive past his office, noting “my headlights would pick up the brass plaque of an Artificial Limb specialist named “Grocock”. Can’t get better than that.” We agree wholeheartedly.
Terry Towell, managing director of Allianz Australia. “It amuses me every year when I am entreated to remain with them as my insurer of choice,” said our tipster. Does Towell focus on the insurance risks of not wearing floppy hats to the cricket? (While this appears to be a real Terry Towell, there is a Crikey contributor called Terry Towelling.)
Wolf Siemen, apparently a prominent figure in animal husbandry. We’re not sure if this entrant is pulling our leg, and a Google search revealed no trace of Mr Siemen (although it produced some interesting results). Our entrant claims that on Mr Siemen handing out his business card, “smothering laughter suddenly became a zen-like exercise in self-control any casual observer may have mistaken for a stroke”.
Media merry-go-round. News that John Westacott is departing the Nine Network later this year means that he has been in television 30 years to the year. It was in 1982 that he started on the ill-fated Reporters program, moving there from the Sydney Telegraph. That was an in-house move because Reporters was on the Ten Network when Murdoch owned it in the early ’80s. Westacott there joined with Steve Cosser, who had been fronting AM on ABC Radio. Cosser was later to be a brief owner of the Ten Network. Reporters was axed later that year in a major costing-cutting purge by Murdoch (there was an economic slide after the second oil price shock in 1979-‘80). Murdoch had also bought another paper in America, The Boston Herald, and needed as much cash as possible.
Westacott then moved to the ABC where he joined with the late Ian Carroll to give birth to that flop called The National. After that failed he moved to the Nine Network and The Today Show where Ian Frykberg was in change. The rest as they say is history. They say history repeats itself, so could Westacott end up back at Ten working for another Murdoch in son Lachlan?
Left to write. Tips has been roundly chastised by a reader for having a go at The Global Mail’s left-to-right scrolling function (TGM is redesigning its website). ”TGM layout works!” our critic declared. “Particularly with a scroll-wheel mouse. Hey, we are dealing with English — a Latin-script language. Read the write — left to right! TGM layout is pretty.” It turns out the Crikey office is split on the left-to-right issue.