Sydney Morning Herald forgets about business. The trivalisation of the once grey, but honest Sydney Morning Herald is now complete. It is a tabloid masquerading as a broadsheet paper, bent on covering soft stories like riding bikes in Sydney streets, the political moves of a crippled state Government and gossip.

The biggest story of the past day — the slump in retail sales, credit and the slide of the domestic economy towards a possible recession — was all but ignored. It appeared as a small single column story breakout next to a larger report on the ACCC supermarket inquiry; on Page 6, an unimportant page. There wasn’t even a page one pointer.

At least the other Sydney tabloid, the Daily Telegraph, got the news judgment right with a page one splash getting into the Reserve Bank for the retail slowdown and urging an interest rate cut (as did columnist Terry McCrann).

The Tele‘s slant might be wrong, but it got the importance of the story right. The SMH ‘s respected economics editor, Ross Gittins, must be tearing his receding hair out. He has done a sterling job in explaining what is going on in the economy, nicely offsetting the junk being peddled by the Tele and others in the media. He is a voice of economic reason and good sense, but yesterday he was let down by editor, Alan Oakley.

I did however hear Gittins’ view on ABC local radio’s 702 morning show just before 9am this morning. It was ironic that Gittins was being interviewed by former SMH reporter, Deborah Cameron. — Glenn Dyer

All is sunshine and giggles at Sunrise apparently. Well, the Seven Network went full court press yesterday on my story suggesting Mel Doyle might be thinking of leaving Sunrise. Not true, she’s happy and staying, and any chance of Today overtaking Sunrise is fanciful. That might be the case, but the margin between the two programs has narrowed noticeably in the past seven months. And suggestions that Seven News might tailor its coverage to suit the corporate interests of owner Kerry Stokes were also strenuously denied. Seven pointed to the coverage of the Beijing Olympics internet censorship issue by reporter Chris Reason on Wednesday night, which was solid, and then last night Seven; no sign of Seven taking a backward step. — Glenn Dyer

IOC duplicitous, you’re kidding! The censorship issue is getting more absurd with Kevan Gosper claiming his reputation has been damaged by the IOC’s duplicity on the so-called freedom promised by China. There is a simple answer for Mr Gosper: quit on a matter of principle and give Australian reporters a no holds barred full-on press conference in China. But why should we be surprised? After all, the IOC has been able to get on with the Nazis in 1936 at Berlin (and gleefully accepted the Nazis’ idea of an Olympic torch) and then with the Russian Communists in Moscow in 1980 and for years ignored drug cheats of all hues, especially those from the old east Germany, Russia, Bulgaria and even the US. The Games are just a very large commercial event with sport as an incidental. Chinese triumphalism is as nauseating as Australian, American and what lies ahead of us in London in 2012. If there is some sort of protest in Beijing in an arena, opening or closing ceremony, the performance of the various broadcasters will be watched closely. But if it’s really embarrassing to China, the host broadcaster will merely pull the plug. — Glenn Dyer

Give the NT News a hand for latest front cover.

Sam Newman in new fabricated scandal. We know the formula. AFL Footy Show panelist Sam Newman offends. host tells Newman off. Cross fingers ratings will go up. Repeat. Last night was no different. As reported on LiveNews.com.au:

After a clip was shown of Tasmanian MP Paula Wriedt, Newman made one of his trademark off-colour jokes

“We couldn’t get her on, could we?” Newman said after watching vision of the MP.

“Worthy of coming on, her.”

Newman was immediately admonished by Footy Show host James Brayshaw.

“Sam you cannot say that,” Brayshaw said.

“It’s a disgraceful thing to say Sam and don’t do it again.”

Meh.

Never on Sunday. The last edition of Nine’s Sunday is this Sunday morning and the network promoted the occasion thus:

A long and proud chapter of Australian television history will close this weekend when the final edition of the ground-breaking and award-winning Sunday program goes to air on Channel Nine.

Joining host Ellen Fanning to celebrate Sunday’s unique place in Australian journalism will be many well-known faces from the program’s 27-year history, who have all contributed to its remarkable success. They include founding executive producer Allan Hogan, Jennifer Byrne, Charles Wooley, Helen Dalley, Ray Martin, Ross Greenwood, Michael Pascoe, Ross Coulthart, Adam Shand, Laurie Oakes, and the original host, Jim Waley.

Waley returns to introduce the final Oakes political interview for Sunday, with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, just as he did back in November 1981 when SUNDAY premiered, with PM Malcolm Fraser sitting in Laurie’s hot seat. Fraser was the first of hundreds of politicians grilled by Oakes on Sunday mornings, often setting the political agenda for the week ahead.

Along with Australian politics, the Sunday team will look back on the program’s illustrious history with local and international reports on the events that have shaped our world. These include the recent Ross Coulthart story on Graeme Stephen Reeves, the Butcher of Bega, and Adam Shand’s ground-breaking stories that chronicled the course of Melbourne’s gangland war, which was turned into the TV series, Underbelly. We also look back at some of the award-winning pieces filed by many of the outstanding journalists who worked on Sunday.

What’s that? No mention of Jana Wendt, John Lyons, John Alexander or Garry Linnell? Or Jim Rudder, Sam Chisholm, Peter Meakin and Graham Davis Ian Frykberg, a former EP? (both of whom I hope will be there, along with the very respected former film critic, Peter Thompson, arts writer and reporter, Catherine Hunter?) I hope they are all there to celebrate the program. Peter Hiscock, a former EP who made John Lyons’ life easy during his reign. David Gyngell will no doubt be there, but he has accountants’ ink on his hand, along with Ian Law. Max Walsh wasn’t mentioned? — Glenn Dyer

How to save newspapers. If publishers take three audacious but absolutely essential steps, the print newspaper industry can save itself. All three of my suggestions are predicated on the simplest principle of capitalism: scarcity increases demand. Newspapers have made news free and plentiful, which is why they’re going broke. First: newspapers should go offline … Second, copyright every article in the newspaper … Step three on the road back to fiscal viability: cut off the wire services. — Ted Rall, Maui Time Weekly, via mediabistro

Magazine Industry: Be Green So We Don’t Have To All that stuff I said about the magazine industry not being green? I take it all back, because now they have…a logo! This little guy is the “centerpiece” of a new campaign by the Magazine Publishers of America reminding consumers to recycle magazines when they’re done with them …

Now, it’s all very nice that the magazine business is taking an interest in the environment. And doing a little bit of good is better than doing none at all. But a skeptic might suggest that if the industry actually wanted to shrink its carbon footprint — as opposed to wanting to be seen as shrinking its carbon footprint — there’s a lot it could do instead of hiring someone to design a logo that, let’s face it, consumers are just going to ignore anyway. — Jeff Bercovici, Portfolio

Peter Fray

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