New editor at Herald Sun, Guthrie leaves. News Ltd has announced a number of senior editorial appointments at its Herald & Weekly Times (HWT) and Messenger newspaper groups. The Australian publishing arm of global media giant News Corporation said Phil Gardner, currently editor of the Sunday Mail in Adelaide, has been appointed editor-in-chief of HWT in Melbourne. Simon Pristel, currently editor of the Sunday Herald Sun, has been appointed editor of the Herald Sun. News Ltd CEO John Hartigan said the new appointments will “position our already strong Melbourne and Adelaide based mastheads for a new era of strong growth.”

Bruce Guthrie, the current editor-in-chief of the Herald Sun, will leave the company effective November 30. Meanwhile, Damon Johnston, currently deputy editor of the Herald Sun, has been appointed editor of the Sunday Herald Sun.

Megan Lloyd, currently editor-in-chief of Messenger community newspapers in Adelaide, has been appointed editor of the Sunday Mail in Adelaide. Matt Deighton, currently deputy editor at Messenger, has been appointed its editor-in-chief.

“Phil, Simon and Damon all have outstanding credentials and strong personal affiliations with Melbourne and Victoria and I am confident they will help our mastheads forge a new era of growth in print and across digital platforms,” Mr Hartigan said. — Glenn Dyer

Age newpaper slashes costs, reduces … newspapers. Hot on the heels of this litany of ridiculous internal cost-cutting measures at The Age comes word that level 3 newsroom staff are being denied hard copies of rival newspapers. Crikey understands that The Oz, the Hun and even Fairfax’s own Fin have gradually disappeared from the immediate grasp of journos keen to check on their rivals’ yarns.

The decision to cut back on papers believed to have come straight from pugnacious operations manager David Skelton, the man also responsible for nixing night shift canteen facilities and shutting the switchboard after 8:30pm. Some copies are still being delivered to the executive bunkers on level 5 but are in short supply by the time they wend their way down to the hacks in Editorial.

Axeman Skelton and Managing Director Don Churchill were also behind the August closure of the ground floor retail shop — add this to the banning of late night first edition sales from the Lonsdale St security window and it seems it’s not only Fairfax’s loyal customers that are being denied the opportunity to leaf through dead tree editions of the company’s esteemed mastheads. — Andrew Crook

Media exacerbated house-price myths. The BBC business editor, Robert Peston, has admitted at an industry conference today that the media were to some extent “complicit in this canard” that house prices would continue to rise. Peston also said that the media helped to create “a myth that somehow houses were a one-way bet and that debt never had to be repaid”. However, he dismissed suggestions that the media were responsible for the recent banking crisis that forced governments and central banks to pump trillions of pounds of public money into the ailing financial system. — The Guardian

Facebook boosts participation in rare Saudi hunger strike. A 48-hour fast on Nov. 6-7 is believed to be the first of its kind in the Saudi kingdom. It was organized by 13 individuals to protest the extended detention of 11 men who had called for political reforms. The most prominent detainee is Matrouq Al Faleh, a human rights activist and political science professor seized at King Saud University last May after criticizing prison conditions. About 70 hunger strikers fasted in their own homes in order not to run afoul of a ban on unauthorized gatherings, said another organizer, professor of economics, Mohammad Fahd Al Qahtani. The group publicized its plans on, where almost 60 people added their names to the initial 13 protesters, publicly committing to join the hunger strike. The Facebook discussion group also drew more than 800 comments in English and Arabic. — Christian Science Monitor

‘Bonk’ billboard follows sex ad ban. The Advanced Medical Institute’s latest billboard has “Bonk longer!” written in big red letters, a response to the censoring of their similar-looking “Want longer lasting sex?” posters that were outlawed by the Advertising Standards Bureau in August. The billboard, on Sydney’s Parramatta Road, went up this morning. Despite prompting over 220 complaints from their original campaign, the AMI believes the new promotion will be more acceptable. “I think that people who understand the word ‘bonk’ understand it, and the ones who don’t, don’t,” said AMI spokesman Dr Chris Fenton. — ninemsn

Electoral triumph built on a Web revolution. Like a lot of Web innovators, the Obama campaign did not invent anything completely new. Instead, by bolting together social-networking applications under the banner of a movement, they created an unforeseen force to raise money, organize locally, fight smear campaigns and get out the vote that helped them topple the Clinton machine and then the Republicans. As a result, when he arrives at the White House, Obama will have not just a political base, but a database, millions of names of supporters who can be engaged almost instantly. And there’s every reason to believe that he will use the network not just to campaign, but to govern. — International Herald Tribune

MySpace offer new user profile platform, Profile 2.0. Social networking monolith MySpace has launched Profile 2.0 – a new upgraded version of MySpace profiles which has, according to the MySpace official blog, been based on over seven years of user feedback. MySpace, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, has made four key upgrades to the way users profiles work with the introduction of Profile 2.0. — SMP

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey