Another lame effort from the Fin Review

December 29 subscriber email

The Australian Financial Review
really is letting down its readers badly. Having not come out since
last Thursday, one of the world’s most expensive financial dailies
today produced a disappointing “bumper” issue that is meant to last for
a week until the next edition on January 4.

And with the biggest natural disaster
unfolding on Australia’s doorstep, the paper stuck with its template
post-Christmas front page picture – two blokes sitting on Bondi Beach
reading The Fin Review with themselves on the cover under the headline “Bumper Beach Holiday Issue”. They did the same thing last year.

Does anyone else think this is in poor taste given that thousands of people taking beach holidays have lost their lives?

And how amazing that the Asian crisis
only scored number 9 out of 11 stories plugged on the front page? You
turn to page two and the first thing you see is a big story head-lined
“Party may soon be over on Great Keppel”.

Sure, the page three lead was a wrap on the Asian relief effort written out of Canberra but one of the many stories that The AFR
could have done was how places like Great Keppel will potentially
benefit from the Asian tsunamis as so many rival destinations have been
wiped out.

The AFR’s Indonesian
correspondent Andrew Burrell did manage to produce a couple of pieces
but he didn’t even leave the capital when most Jakarta-based
correspondents were hot-footing it to Aceh, like the ABC’s Tim Palmer
certainly did.

The whole “bumper” edition had the
feel of something that was written before Christmas on the basis that
nothing would happen in the intervening period.

Even the editorial looked that way as
it was headlined “Chance for Bush redeem himself” but made no reference
to the Asian tsunamis, when surely an American led recovery effort for
the devastated nations would go some way to redeeming Dubya’s damaged
reputation after Iraq.

The Chancticleer survey of 28 CEOs was
certainly a pre-fabricated job and it was amusuing to see BHP-Billiton
chairman Don Argus pop up as the only chairman participating alongside
27 CEOs. What was that about Don’t Argue being a dominating chairman
again? Poor Chip Goodyear must be suffocating under the hand-on
presence of his interventionist chairman – a man who liked to have
lame, hands-off chairs back in the days when he was the dominating CEO
of National Australia Bank.

Why the AFR is going on holiday
December 22 subscriber email

We suggested subscribers email our
old friend Michael Gill, the head of Fairfax Business Publications, to
complain about the highly infrequent service from one of the world’s
most expensive dailies over the silly season and now we have the
explanation for not publishing The AFR every ASX trading day over Xmas and New Year:

Email to Michael Gill from a Crikey subscriber:

Hi there Michael,

I am interested to note that The Age is not bringing out a Christmas Day edition but will add a day to subscriptions. What about the AFR?
Two bumper editions and a lot of gaps with no papers in between and no
offer to subscribers to make good the missed days. The paper may be
pretty thin this time of year but no paper at all on offer to
subscribers for quite a few days is a bit slack.

Anyway Merry Christmas and cheers

Gill’s reply:

I think you’ll find that the bumper
holiday editions are an ample substitite (sic) for what can normally be
produced by a daily over the holiday season. In fact we find that they
produce very large jumps in sales – the opposite of what used to happen
when we tried to maintain a daily over Xmas.

But we will keep your suggestion in
mind. (If you find that you need to check any daily events, is
– of course – maintained during the break.)

Best regards, Michael Gill

CRIKEY: Notice how he ignores the issue of crediting subscribers with a
few extra days for failing to deliver a daily service to working