Crikey has never seen anything like it but Rash Ash Long, publisher of the e-letter Media Flash, has begged his readers to deposit $85,000 into his account to stave off imminent financial disaster.

Well, Ash has just made an impassioned plea to the 6400 people he emails each week asking that they deposit $85,000 into his account by 5pm on Wednesday.

This is the second time we’ve seen Ash do this. After fielding a torrent of criticism for publishing our subscriber list, Ash somehow tried to turn it around by threatening to sue Crikey for defamation.

I was sitting in an internet cafe at Lend Lease’s Blue Water shopping centre in England when a long and very Rash email arrived demanding a $10,000 settlement within 48 hours. Maybe this was another one of his tactics to raise quick cash.

Anyway, this is the settlement that Rash Ash proposed:

1. Matters not get personal or offensive from this point on.

2. The matters of this settlement be made – and permanently kept – as fully confidential.

3. Crikey publish the following apology at the top of its front cover page, for one week from 6am this Sunday (July 18):

Apology To Ash Long and Media Flash

Crikey has published a number of unfair and untrue references to Mr Ash Long, proprietor of the Media Flash news service. Stephen Mayne and Con Christov, the Directors of Crikey Media Pty Ltd – wholly withdraw all of these references, and unreservedly apologise to Mr Long and his family for the deep hurt and embarrassment caused to them.’

4. No direct or indirect reference to me, my family, Media Flash or any of my business interests, ever again appear in Crikey, Shareholder (sic), or any of your writings.

5. That Crikey Media Pty Ltd, Mayne, Christov, and Long release each other from any further legal action of any kind, given –

5. That in consideration of these matters, Crikey Media Pty Ltd deliver to Ash Long – by cash or bank cheque, by 2pm Friday (July 14) – the sum of $10,000 (a share of which, after legal costs, will be donated to the Australian Rotary Health Foundation).

So Stephen, there you are. In all the circumstances, a very reasonable remedy for a very serious wrong. This not-negotiable amount is reasonably calculated on less than what you would end up paying lawyers, one which will not close your business, but will instead help Rotary towards ridding the world of polio. I will be away from my office now until 10am Friday (Melb. time), at which time I will see your E-mail response. At that time, you will have dictated whether I see my lawyers at 12 Noon to immediately issue proceedings, or complete a full settlement by 2pm in the terms outlined above. You have asked for a reasonable solution: in the circumstances, you will agree this is demonstrably fair to all concerned.

Ash Long

Ends

Not surprisingly Crikey told Ash to get nicked and of course he didn’t sue. If anyone had a defamation case it was us against him but we are not in the business of suing or even threatening to sue. This is the internet afterall. Ever heard of free speech Ash?

Anyway, we now have Ash pleading for money and Crikey is proposing a $2 donation into the said bank account.

Check this wonderful effort out and let me know your thoughts.

Media Flash: A Special Edition

Tuesday, November 14, 2000

(Normal Transmissions Resume Later This Week)

Published by Ash Long. Phone/Fax: 1-800 231 311.

E-Mail: [email protected]

My Most-Important Editorial … For You

More than 6400 people receive Media Flash every week. I prepare it and send it, free of charge, with the aim of presenting to you the latest news within our very competitive media industry, earning a few dollars from the paid advertisements.

It’s no fortune, but it is probably one of the few online businesses in the world that actually runs at a small profit!

There will be many of our 6400 who may giggle in delight at what they may regard as what they see in this editorial as an ultimate surrender. Let them mock.

There will be a handful who feel empathy with the very real story being related … and there will be just a few who will truly know what I’m talking about, and the question that comes with it.

This question is for You.

The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing But The Truth

Since Media Flash started, I have tried to present the absolute truth about our media craft. This weekly newsletter is about the foibles, successes and failures of the people working within the Australian media – a people who delight in applying the blowtorch to all others.

In providing such full disclosure, I have been obliged to peel the masking layers from my own veneer.

In our weekly columns, I’ve told you about my own business and personal failures.

Shame, Ash, Shame

After leaving a successful senior executive’s post at Melbourne’s Leader Newspapers in 1983, I went on to be Managing Director at Victorian Media Corporation – a company that failed gloriously just 18 months later.

Put simply, we weren’t very good at it. Total debts were more than $350,000, and of the nine partners, only two (my wife Fleur and me) stayed around to face the music in repaying the debts.

Our company had been encouraged by the money lending operation (charging more than 48 per cent per annum) to furnish 27 dud invoices. This led me, and only me, to be placed on a 12-month good behaviour bond more than a decade ago.

The Recession We Had To Have

In 1985, I voluntarily put our family home and cars up for auction, with all the proceeds going to re-pay the creditors of the company. For the next nine years, Fleur and I each worked seven-days-a-week, to re-pay more than 90 per cent of all the remaining moneys owed.

Then came Paul Keating’s ‘recession we had to have’.

Only people who have lived in a country district will understand what happened next. We ran a small weekly country newspaper, and ended up funding the many small family tradespeople who could not afford to pay for their ads over the hard times.

We ended up with a town ledger of $110,000 owing to us … and no option but to sell a profitable company, with every cent to pay out the remaining debts.

Blowing The Whistle

By 1995, we had returned to Melbourne, to start a small local paper operation.

Within a couple of years, this expanded to TV and radio production … only to suddenly call it quits as a whistleblower-of-sorts in the ‘cash-for-comment’ enquiry.

Blowing people out of the water meant blowing ourselves out of the water too. It also meant bankruptcy, and the ‘establishment’ closing its doors on us.

Our Troubles … And An Opportunity

The Ash Long bank is now running on empty. In fact, about $85,000 in debt (including GST). We have a small business – two successful TV programs, this online E-newspaper, and other odd jobs – that have a track record of being quite successful. But, after 17 years in small business, we have simply run out of chips.

One motivational book encourages us: ‘Don’t Keep Your Troubles To Yourself’.

And with that faith, but perhaps commercially unwisely, I open myself to you .. warts and all.

Successes

My 30-year media career includes achieving the best, and working with the best.

I have been a Senior Executive with a large company. I have been the successful proprietor of a newspaper company over a 10-year period. I rescued a 112,000-circulation newspaper – which had been losing $20,000 a week for that company – back into profit. I was named Winner of Victoria’s Best Local Reporting Award. I have fostered many careers. For community works, others awarded me with as a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow.

There are thousands of favors that I now seek to call in.

My Vision: Putting My Difficulties To Work

With all these knocks; having voluntarily sold all our assets; having been Bankrupted by my own application; I still have a faith to practise, encourage and foster honest media in the Australian community.

I am energetic, talented, visionary, able, skilled, loyal, honest and hard-working.

But will that be enough?

A Final Question

I reckon I am a good enough family and community man, keen and eager to do the right thing.

But, at just 44, this week brings with it the danger, of being put on Australia’s media scrap-heap forever.

What a waste of a man – and the enormous media experience that accompanies!

So this letter blindly seeks a few good folk to help me with my endeavours.

I am trying to raise $85,000 – either by repayable loans or gifts – by 5pm this Wednesday. Otherwise I’m being put out of the picture.

I will use these funds to re-pay all outstanding debts and taxes, and get on with the business of honest media. I will re-pay these loans and gifts (whether directly, or to charities) as quickly as I can.

You will receive a receipt promptly.

Will you help me please – if you can? (Yes, I’ll do interviews if you think it might help. But please bear in mind that I’m nervously exhausted and that my wife has just had MRI brain scans.)

Ash Long, 30 Glen Gully Road, Eltham, Vic. 3095

Telephone/Fax: 1-800 231 311

Mobile: 0417 123 094

E-Mail: [email protected] (Yes I expect plenty of abuse from the idiots)

Bank Deposit: Please Deposit Funds Directly by 5pm Wednesday To ‘Ash Long’

Westpac-Bank of Melbourne, Eltham (Victoria) 033-091, 19-9940