Age sponsored musical causes front page outrage in The Age. A Musical-comedy inspired by the 2006 Beaconsfield mine tragedy has been condemned by the family and friends of killed miner Larry Knight. Beaconsfield: A Musical in A-Flat Minor, making its debut as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival tomorrow night, has been promoted as the “feel-good piss-take of the year” by creator Dan Ilic. But Mr Knight’s father in-law, Phil Stevenson, said yesterday he was incensed by the title. “He’s a sick bastard whoever has done this,” he said. Survivor Todd Russell said the title alone was a pathetic attempt to portray a tragic event in a humorous light and “shows no respect for Jacquie (Mr Knight’s widow) and her family”. Ilic — known for his involvement in Channel Ten’s Ronnie Johns Half Hour and the Comedy Channel’s The Mansion — said the show was not about the miners but “a savage look at the media circus” that surrounded them. “I hope they (the families) don’t find it distasteful because we are not making fun of the miners,” he said. “We feel we have treated Larry Knight’s death respectfully. The only death we haven’t treated respectfully is Richard Carleton’s.” — The Age is a sponsor of the The Melbourne Fringe Festival. — The Age

ABC Learning Centres ‘ads’ on ABC Kids TV. Today’s Australian reports the ABC appears to have unwittingly committed itself to air branded entertainment in airing the Iconoclasts series on its ABC2 digital channel. The series was created as a marketing vehicle for vodka brand Grey Goose. The Grey Goose brand only appears in the credits. An ABC spokeswoman admitted with brands becoming involved in the creation of shows that were then being on-sold to other networks, the issue of branded content would become more problematic for the national broadcaster in the future. Mook reckons it’s actually problematic for the ABC right now. ABC Kids’ show Farm Kids is apparently co-funded by ABC Learning Centres. Why else would ABC Learning Centres’ corporate logo appear in the Farm Kids show end credits? Some parents have noticed the ‘ad’. This forum post on parenting website The Bub Hub shows they’re wondering why our ABC appears to be carrying advertising for ABC Learning Centres. Not a good look. Especially since ABC managing director Mark Scott was again floating the idea of a dedicated new ABC childrens’ channel last month, saying it would obviously be commercial free “and brought to you by the most trusted and valued source of children’s television in Australia’s history”.Should the taxpayer funded ABC be allowed to buy and air shows created by companies as marketing vehicles? And how can parents trust a source of children’s television that is currently running (almost subliminal) ‘ads’ during kids shows? — MediaMook

What kind of tribute to a journalist forbids journalists from covering it? The New York Observer‘s John Carney gatecrashes Rupert Murdoch’s party hosted in honour of departing New York Post columnist Steve Dunleavy. “I’m sorry, we aren’t letting any press in tonight,” a blond woman said when we approached the door with our notebook. Wasn’t just about everyone in the bar press? She clarified, “No working press.” We assumed a position outside the bar, where we had a good view of the proceedings within. Drinks flowed freely until they were interrupted by the sound of bagpipes and drums. Unbelievable, was right. It was the wake-iest non-wake we had ever been too. Mr. Allan emceed the ceremony, describing Mr. Dunleavy as a “wonderful journalist and an even greater man.” Behind him a video tribute began. It was the greatest hits of Mr. Dunleavy’s career. Outside it was raining, and the ink on our notepad was starting to run. We considered leaving. — The New York Observer 

Steve Dunleavy’s last post at New York Post. How lucky can one guy be? How lucky to go into retirement with all that behind you. I never spent a single hour at Columbia School of Journalism, except when I gave a lecture to journalism students — and I was about as popular as a fire hydrant at the Westminster dog show. It’s only those who are lucky enough to work for Rupert Murdoch who know what I am talking about. This organization is filled with news hounds, young and old, guys and gals who take their jobs pathologically seriously — but, heaven forbid, don’t take themselves seriously. In my day, a misguided era in which the job was consumed by booze, tobacco and carousing, perhaps we were a little (little?) wilder, but the result of victory in the pages of the newspaper was the same. Of course, then to atone for our sins, my friend and colleague Piers Akerman in Sydney says, “Forgive us our press passes.” All of it has made me a pretty happy fellow. — New York Post

Sarah’s doodles On a recent reporting trip to Alaska, TNR senior editor Noam Scheiber came across a piece of paper from an old Wasilla city budget, on the back of which Palin doodled and brainstormed her potential mayoral campaign themes (“time for a change,” “you would be my boss!”) and qualifications (“life-long alaskan,” “NRA supporter,” “taxpayer!”).

Read the fine print on this 1996 document; it’s a fascinating glimpse into how she thought she could best present herself to the Wasilla electorate. — The Plank, The New Republic

Dreamworks And Paramount Finalize Split, Geffen Ends Relationship I’m told the decision as to the new distributor for DreamWorks 2.0 will be made at the beginning of the week by Steven Spielberg. (Of course, odds are it’s going to be Universal.) Below is an advance look at the press release to be issued about the formal separation of Paramount and DreamWorks which was started by Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg. This ends David Geffen’s 14 years as a DreamWorks partner and his retirement from the film business now that the DreamWorks principals’ resignations were finalized with this agreement. Wow, end of an era! The deal now means that Geffen has engineered his most fervent wish: to give director Steven Spielberg and his studio chief Stacey Snider a big enough warchest of $1.5B worth of indie financing (half from India’s Reliance ADA) so they could leave their rocky relationship with Paramount behind and answer only to themselves. — The Huffington Post

Peter Fray

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