The battle for Danny Katz is hotting up. The Age columnist was dumped in anger by new editor Andrew Jaspan after Crikey ran this quote in our ”What the papers say’ section: “‘It’s easy lounging around all day writing nonsense for newspapers.” (Jaspan couldn’t really have missed the heavy irony here, could he?)

Since Japsan’s fit of pique was reported in Crikey this week, things moved quickly. Readers have been writing to us and The Age, demanding Katz be reinstated. The paper responded with vague promises of an “expanded role” for Katz, but no-one bothered to tell him about it, so he’s been sitting at home feeling sad and sorry and thinking he’s out of a job.

Now Herald Sun editor Peter Blunden is rumoured to have thrown the Katz among the pigeons by making the columnist a substantial offer to defect to the all-conquering tabloid. And this morning word from Spencer Street is that, now that the Herald Sun wants Katz, The Age is pulling out all stops to keep the once-unwanted columnist.

CRIKEY: If the rumours are true, Danny Katz has just gone from being an unloved discard to the centre of a love triangle. If he’s smart, he’ll play off his two suitors and end up with a big pay rise – which is the least he deserves for having to write for hot-heads who don’t seem to understand the meaning of irony.

As for the perpetrator of the fiasco, Age editor Andrew Jaspan, this is yet another mistep in a short editorship of misteps. There can be no crueller or, apparently, more accurate comparison than the one now being made with increasing regularity in the media industry: Jaspan is another Jonathon Shier. Ouch.

Peter Fray

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