Recycled copy doesn’t translate for food. The cover story in today’s Age EG is “Feast in a lunchbox” by New York Times food writer Mark Bittman. Contained therein are references to foods that Australians have no desire to eat, or any access (ranch dressing, blue cheese dressing, jicama — a mexican root vegetable, lima beans). Food is a specific cultural thing. You can’t buy bargain basement stories from the New York Times and expect us to swallow them. — Crikey reader Ben Birchall

SMH on boat people. In today’s SMH, an interesting story about those annoying boat people: “Thailand accused of dumping refugees at sea without water — Bodies could wash up at premier tourist beaches, write Connie Levett and Yuko Narushima”, I just can’t work out if this is better or worse than if the bodies wash up on an island owned by some Russian billionaire? — Anonymous Crikey reader

The Daily Tele doesn’t know how to use IMDB. The Daily Telegraph struggled with identifying actors yesterday in their story “Michael Sheen first werewolf of many in 2009“. There’s a bit of a difference between Michael Sheen (English, has played a prime minister and a man who interviewed a president) and Martin Sheen (American, played a president). First they mention the wrong Sheen in the headline and the story, and then they link to the IMDB page for the wrong Sheen, too. But I would totally go see a film about a lycanthropic President Bartlett. — Crikey reader Jennifer Bennett

John Pilger’s thoughts on Australian media coverage of the Gaza conflict:

New York Times‘ policy on Facebook and other social networking sites. New York Times employees on social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn have to mind their Ps, Qs and political views. The company issues a policy regarding online activity to all staffers, reminding employees that while social networking sites “can be remarkably useful reporting tools,” anything and everything posted online is susceptible to coming into view of all public peepers. Read it to believe it. — Poynter Online

Murdoch’s last laugh. After his News Corp.’s $5 billion acquisition of the Wall Street Journal‘s parent, Dow Jones, Murdoch has jettisoned longstanding traditions of the paper. Operating through his editor in chief, Robert Thomson — a worldly, unsentimental Aussie — Murdoch has transformed one of the world’s most specialized publications into a more general, fuller account of the news beyond the business world, especially in politics and international affairs. By expanding the Journal’s bull’s-eye, Murdoch is fulfilling a pledge to compete head-to-head with The New York Times — for readers and for advertisers. It’s an evolution that’s been showcased by the Journal’s coverage of the confluence of a historic presidential election and a national economic meltdown. — Newsweek

Film critic’s YouTube channel shut down. A film critic has become the latest casualty of a content owner’s overaggressive attempts to police YouTube. Blogger and essayist Kevin Lee used to have a YouTube channel where he posted his thoughts on movies along with brief clips. Incorporating copyrighted material into reviews is generally considered fair use, the same as quoting from a book in a review. But not everyone saw it that way. YouTube recently received a complaint about Lee’s piece on And God Created Woman, which included a clip from the movie. Because the company had received two prior complaints about Lee, it deemed him a recidivist and removed the 70 videos on his channel. — MediaPost

The day the newspaper died. The newspaper is dead. You can read all about it online, blog by blog, where the digital gloom over the death of an industry often veils, if thinly, a pallid glee. The Newspaper Death Watch, a Web site, even has a column titled “R.I.P.” Or, hold on, maybe the newspaper isn’t quite dead yet. At its funeral, wild-eyed mourners spy signs of life. The newspaper stirs! The last time the American newspaper business got this gothic was 1765 when Parliament decided to levy on the colonies a new tax, requiring government-issued stamps on pages of printed paper — everything from indenture agreements to bills of credit to playing cards. — The New Yorker

Journalists as politicos in America? No. It’s rare to see journalists seeking public office. When they do get into the political world it’s as press aides, where they bring directly applicable skills and networks of contacts. But examples of successful politicians who started out in newsrooms are hard to come by — the only ones who come to mind are ex-vice presidents Dan Quayle and Al Gore. Why that should be isn’t immediately clear. Why does a career as, say, a corporate lawyer seem a natural preparation for public service, while a background covering matters of contemporary importance for a public audience seems an oddity? — Miami Herald

Peter Fray

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