It’s hard being a publisher – sometimes you just can’t win.

Peter Wilkinson at The Independent Australian has sent us the following extract from an article he plans to run by David Astin, who distributes a right-wing magazine called Right Now!:

My next plan of attack to move the subscription numbers so as to rival The Bulletin was to approach that well known on-line newsletter crikey.com.au. A fair bit more expensive, but a much larger footprint.

Two adverts with a few requests for complimentary copies but no one actually putting their hand in their pocket and taking out a subscription, but I’ll persevere, so I email crikey.com.au and ask for my usual ad to be put in and invoice me for the usual $250.00.

“We copped a bit of grief from PP McGuinness and a couple of others for running your ads, so I think we’ll pass this time. Nothing personal, but we are sensitive about what our subscribers think on matters like advertising.” End Quote. That was the message from Stephen Mayne, the editor of crikey.com.au who pushes the line of “Support an INDEPENDENT media”, i.e. help the little bloke pushing his (maybe not popular) ideas out into the marketplace. I saw red.

My email to Stephen was as restrained as I could make it, advising that I was a subscriber to his on-line newsletter and was also an advertiser, therefore trumping Double P and his pals, but let’s move on. crikey.com.au allowed me another ad; so a little victory was had.

It’s true that we had complaints about the Right Now! ads. It’s also true that no publication, whether conventional or on-line, can just run anything it receives with no sort of controls. And that applies to advertising as well as editorial – in each case we reserve the right to refuse to run offensive material. Right Now! had Le Pen on one of its covers and frankly looked a little too right wing ratbag for our liking.

However, Right Now! has not been completely banned by Crikey. Mrs Crikey, our long-suffering advertising manager, has had several exchanges of email with Mr Astin, explaining to him most recently that we could not take bookings for ads for the period after the new owners take over next week.

Mr Astin is also seemingly more of a luddite than we are, sending us hard copies of his magazine which we are meant to scan for him.