More rumblings from disgruntled hacks at the Melbourne Age this morning about a practice as old as the hills – the editor giving plum jobs to his mates.

Imported
British editor Andrew Jaspan has a bit of form in this department –
Crikey reported in March that he’d put quite a few noses out of joint
when he hired David Dick, deputy editor of his old paper, the Sunday Herald in Scotland, to be executive editor. Now journos are in a flap over Jaspan’s decision to run this
Op-Ed column by his good mate, Alan Taylor, in yesterday’s paper about
cuts to the BBC – hardly a pressing issue for Melbourne readers, or a
topic that would usually rate an opinion piece in TheAge.


The piece reads exactly like what it is – a story written for a British
audience – without even a token effort to make the obvious link between
what’s happening at the BBC and the financial struggles of the ABC.

This latest jobs-for-the-mates act follows some other changes to the paper’s op-ed page. The column by former Age
publisher and editor-in-chief Greg Hywood – who now works for the state
department of Premier and Cabinet on “rebranding” Victoria – has been
axed.

And heavy-hitting conservative columnist Gerard Henderson has also been dumped from The Age, though his column still appears in The Sydney Morning Herald.
Crikey sent the meticulously accountable Henderson a couple of emails
to find out what’s going on, but so far he hasn’t responded. He did
however vent his spleen in an interview on the Radio National breakfast
show last week, claiming that The Age was starting to resemble “TheGuardian on the Yarra.”

Meanwhile, rumours persist that “sea change packages” (aka redundancies) are coming soon to TheAge as the paper continues to carve back its budget to make the shareholders and market happy. Pity about the readers.