October 31 yet?? We at Crikey have come to the conclusion that Halloween has come a week early. Check out this headline from the poor overworked subs at the ABC:

And from those crazy kids at The Age:

Bring out your costumes, it’s time for a Simpsons special. — Crikey team with Neil Walker

Fairfax shows greater devotion to death from a thousand cuts. Leaked letter from The Age:

From: Liz Earl

Following today’s meeting, I can now confirm the new structure for the Newspaper Sales Customer Service area.

An extensive review of the customer service area was recently conducted. We have looked at how we currently do business with the view to creating a stronger focus on sales and revenue, and the most efficient way to manage our supply and administration.

As a result, the existing Customer Service team will be divided into two teams which are detailed as follows:

Subscription Sales Team (Call Centre): The Subscription Sales team will report to the Subscription Sales Manager Christina Cass with a dotted reporting line to The Age Contact Centre Manager Alison Wallace. This area will be led by a Subscription Sales Team Leader and will include nine Sales Consultants. This team will be responsible for handling service and sales calls from subscribers. In time, this team will be relocated to level four.

Supply and Administration Team: The Supply and Administration team will report to a newly created position – Newspaper Sales, Supply and Strategy Manager, held by Sean Harrison. This team will be led by a Supply and Administration Manager, Julie Bickle and incorporates nine Supply and Administration Coordinators as well as a newly created position of Supply Executive.

As a result of the restructure, there will be a reduction of about 14 positions. We will be consulting with our staff and the AMWU on the process of implementing this change in accordance with the EBA. These changes will open some exciting new roles within the department as well as more closely aligning ourselves with the over-arching Sales and Marketing Strategy, announced by David Hoath in late September. I understand this is a significant change, and want to thank you once again for your patience as we work through this process. I look forward to working with you, and believe this structure will provide a greater focus on our customers, improved efficiencies, better ways of achieving business objectives, and opportunities for staff development.

Liz Earl

Newspaper Sales Director

The Age

250 Spencer Street

Melbourne, Vic, 3000

T 03 9601 2872 | M 0438 765 164 | F 02 9282 1779

learl@theage.com.au | www.theage.com.au

Head of commerical radio debunks McNair survey. The last time Joan Warner questioned the McNair survey (in September 2006), legal action was threatened, but that didn’t stop her writing an email in response to this article by The Age:

“More tuning to community radio”

* Matthew Ricketson October 14, 2008

THE audience for community radio has jumped in the past two years even as the overall audience for commercial radio has marginally declined, according to a survey.

The McNair Ingenuity telephone survey of 5000 people, commissioned by the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia, found that the proportion of people aged 15 and over who listened to a community radio station in an average week had increased from 4,034,000 in 2006 to 4,519,000 this year.

This represents an increase from 25% of those surveyed to 27%.

The survey, first conducted in 2004, will be launched today in Canberra by federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy.

When asked this year whether they had listened to a community radio station in an average month, 57% said they had, compared with 47% in 2006.

Warner’s faith in McNair is clearly strong as she says in this email:

It is far from accurate – but it is separate reserach to the official radio surveys that the community sector carries out every 2 years – they phone a couple of thousand people and ask leading questions – like have you ever listened to local community radio – without defining what that means – so the figures in our view are grossly exaggerated. However, we needed to choose whether to respond and give the ridiculous claims more air – as only 1 paper ran the story we decided to ignore it.

Joan Warner
Chief Executive Officer
Commercial Radio Australia Ltd

In contrast the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy welcomed the survey results. — Anonymous Crikey Reader

Do Good Newspapers Make Good Congressmen? Press coverage often does hold politicians accountable — on the local level at least. That’s according to a new working paper by David Stromberg and James M. Snyder Jr. They found that congressmen from districts with newspapers that aggressively cover local politics tend to work harder to represent the interests of their constituents. — Freakonomics

Why your boss should never be your Facebook friend. There are many good reasons for not having your boss as a Facebook friend, and Sydney call centre worker Kyle Doyle has just discovered the most convincing of them all. An email exchange between the 21-year-old and his boss has become a viral sensation in the past couple of days, readers wincing in sympathy as Doyle’s insistence he missed a day of work through genuine illness is demolished when the manager points out an incriminating Facebook entry. The brief status update, dated for the day he called in ill, is simple and to the point: “Kyle Doyle is not going to work, fuck it I’m still trashed. SICKIE WOO!” — Guardian Media

True or False: Murdoch is Sick of Fox News? From the way Rupert Murdoch has been griping about Michael Wolff’s new biography of him, you’d never know it was a fully authorized production. First, the News Corp. chief slammed as “crap” and “nonsense” the claims, contained in The Man Who Owns the News, that he is quite earnest in his desire to buy The New York Times. And now Murdoch is trying to refute Wolff’s report that he has come to deplore Fox News and is embarrassed by his association with its creator, Roger Ailes, and its star talent, Bill O’Reilly. — Portfolio

Australian film rethinks dinner and a movie. The Australian movie Dying Breed (tagline: “Every body has different tastes”) has some compellingly gnarly advertising. “Dying Breed interweaves the two most fascinating icons of Tasmanian history: the extinct Tasmanian tiger and ‘The Pieman’ (aka Alexander Pearce) who was hanged for cannibalism in 1824. Against all odds, Pearce escaped from the most feared penal settlement of the British Empire—Sarah Island—and disappeared into the impenetrable forests of Western Tasmania. Seven convicts escaped with him, yet Pearce was the only one that emerged … along with chunks of human flesh in his pockets.” — Adfreak