The Age rewrites the book on tasteful opening lines. Heath Ledger may have picked up the Golden Globe for best supporting actor, but journalist Stephanie Bunbury’s lede remains as a paean to icky ghoulishness.

Motherhood and p-rn go hand in hand at NineMSN’s Wondertime. I happened across this today from a link on the NineMSN home page about another industry calling for a US government bailout, and found myself unexpectedly in NineMSN’s Mother & Baby site, Wondertime:

Incongruous? I particularly like the “Vote for Mother & Baby in the best parenting site in the Australian NetGuide Web Awards” link at the bottom of the article and the large amount of Disney advertising. — Crikey reader Craig Roberts

Another classic from The West Australian. In their education pull-out on Saturday 10 January the West got on its high horse again and chose to print school league tables against the wishes of private schools. If you are going to promote yourself as the champion of academic standards, probably best not to commit schoolboy spelling mistakes:

D’oh! Go to the bottom of the class and see me after school. — Anonymous Crikey reader

Freedom of the press in the Middle East? Not in Israel! BlueStarPR, the marketing firm responsible for the Orwellian pro-billboard signs in places like San Francisco, has one poster in particular that comes to mind today.

In the BlueStarPR world, there is freedom for the press in Israel. In the real world, the Israeli government has imposed a media blackout forbidding Israeli media from covering the attacks on Palestine, and foreign press from entering Gaza. — KABOBfest

Iran’s hottest p-rn video. A video scandal has hit the Iranian Internet scene. Like many online scandals in the West, it involves a model. Not Paris Hilton, but a supposed model of virtue: a cleric. In the video — for weeks voted the top story on Balatarin.com (an Iranian version of Digg.com) — a robed cleric is caught on a hidden camera in a private room. He walks to the door to let a chador-clad woman enter. “Nobody saw you come in, did they?” he asks her lightheartedly. As she removes her chador, he continues in the same tone: “Want to do some Nasnas?” Iranians know Nasnas as a mythological monster. What the cleric means by “do some Nasnas” is clarified by what happens next in the clip. Americans have a similar expression: the beast with two backs. — The Daily Beast

The death of the bonnet: BBC to overhaul costume dramas. The BBC is world renowned for its lavish costume dramas, which in recent years have taken in everything from Bleak House and Cranford to Sense and Sensibility and Little Dorrit. But viewers who have become accustomed to the constant stream of adaptations will soon have to live without the bonnets and breeches, as the corporation is to move away from traditional 19th century costume dramas in favour of a grittier look at the period and a new focus on other historical eras. — The Guardian

Five things Google could do for newspapers. While the New York Times was given an early death sentence this week by The Atlantic, Google CEO Eric Schmidt was asked by Fortune magazine what Google should do to save the ailing newspaper industry. He reiterated his previous “moral imperative” sentiment to do something, but failed to come up with any concrete solutions. The internet behemoth thrives on curating the flow of information from media outlets, so it has a stake in the future of newspapers. But should Google necessarily intervene? — Wired

Duly quoted: Journalists don’t deserve a bailout. I’ve noticed a curious thing recently: There’s been plenty of talk about the possibility of a newspaper-sector bailout — as you’d expect, with other dying industries lining up for their handouts — but virtually all the arguments are about why there shouldn’t be one. There are plenty of good ones to choose from: taking money from the government would compromise the press’s independence; subsidizing an inefficient delivery mechanism that consumers have outgrown is a poor use of taxpayer dollars; and so on. But Reason‘s Matt Welch hits on another possible reason so many journalists seem lukewarm to the idea of a rescue plan that could preserve their jobs: We know better than anyone how undeserving we (or some of us, anyway) are of a fat life preserver. — Portfolio

Peter Fray

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