Jaspan: Fairfax digital could have been better. Fairfax’s Age online site would have been a better and more creative web presence had it not been for the intervention of Sydney Fairfax management, according to sacked Age editor Andrew Jaspan.

On ABC radio’s Jon Faine program this morning, Jaspan was outspoken:

We here in Melbourne had a lot of thoughts about how we wanted to develop the online service, and I’m not going to rehearse them all here, but I think if we’d allowed local initiative to take hold and we could have developed The Age online as we wanted to do it here in Melbourne, we would have been offering very much the kind of things that Crikey and others can do out there.

But the fact of the matter is that The Age online was largely run out of Sydney by a different division with its own, you know, its own costs and profit motives and its own business structure.

This is a rare confirmation from a former senior Fairfax editor of the structural tensions within the organisation, not only between Melbourne management and Sydney head office, but also the frustration felt by newspaper editors unable to assert control of their masthead products online. — Jonathan Green

Nine’s new logo. Sums up the network, wouldn’t you say?

Fairfax digital leads with crotch shot. Admittedly no one actually thinks the SMH online is a serious news operation, but on Tuesday night they hit a new low. Since when has the close-up crotch shot been legitimate news at a broadsheet?

That was the lead image on smh.com.au at about 9.15pm Tuesday night, although it had been taken down by 10pm. But at 8.59am Wednesday morning, there were 19 items in this photo gallery, including this picture:

But by 9.10am there were only 18 items, and the photo had been removed. Clearly the SMH panties police were out in force. — Crikey readers Michael Winkler

Twittering plagiarism. Yesterday Newcastle media blogger and Sticky Advertising director Craig Wilson posted an original article ” How to get a job in the advertising, design or media industry in 2009” on his blog Media Hunter. Today media, online and digital talent agency, Transfer, reproduced the exact article, but attributed it to their own author Bart Jawien. Wilson noted his indignance on Twitter this morning, clearly to some effect, as before Crikey published, Transfer had added an attribution line to Media Hunter. Does this demonstrate the power of Twitter? Here is Wilson’s Twitter feed:

Eleri Harris and First Dog on the Moon

News.com.au keeps it real.

Fairfax reports as rumour yesterday’s  Australian  confirmed news. Yesterday in John Durie’s Oz column:

Clyne hires Wright

While on the personnel trail, NAB’s Cameron Clyne, an ALP person from way back, is keen to promote himself and the bank as the punter’s friend.

To market NAB’s Clyne to the man in the street, he has hired George Wright from Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s office and previously a former ACTU staffer.

Today ‘s Fairfax Age “Diary” and WA today :

Bank on it

He baled out of the Kevvy Rudd chain gang back in August, wanting to “spend time with my family”, but now we hear former prime ministerial media guru George Wright might be gearing up for a posting on the other side of the tracks. Wright, the bloke behind the ACTU’s Your Rights at Work campaign, is tipped to bob up at the National Australia Bank as a managerial spin doctor. Polishing up the bank shingle during the economic bonfire? Best of luck to him.

But who is right?

Grazia ‘s woes signal the magazine sector’s troubles are only just beginning. It’s not quite six months since I picked up the first edition of Grazia and counted the ads. The ACP and Hearst joint venture made an impressive debut indeed — 172 pages, including 62.5 ad pages — an ad ratio of 36%. It was a great start for the weekly fashion fix. But it’s amazing how things can go down the gurgler in six months. Today I’ve picked up the February 9 edition. At 108 pages, it’s still thick. But the ads have vanished. — Mumbrella

BBC drops Carol Thatcher after ‘golliwog’ remark. The BBC confirmed tonight it had dropped fomer Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s daughter Carol Thatcher as a presenter after she referred to a professional tennis player as a “golliwog” in a private conversation at the Australian Open. Thatcher wrote a letter of apology, but her spokeswoman said she denied that the comment was racist, saying it was an “off-the-cuff remark made in jest”. However, the apology was not enough. A BBC spokesman said tonight: “We will no longer be working with Carol Thatcher on The One Show .” — The Guardian

30 days of WWGD? — Googley toilet paper? For today’s snippet from What Would Google Do?, we bring you the question of whether toilet paper — like other consumer products (Coke or clothes) — could be Googley. OK, consumable goods, gadgets, and fashion could be Googlified. But what about Google TP? Surely it is not possible to bring Googlethink to toilet paper. There won’t be communities around toilet paper. — BuzzMachine

A pair of galactically odd child-abuse public service ads. New American PSAs for child-abuse awareness group Childhelp are truly odd. They somehow manage to be both alarmist and campy at the same time. I guess that’s what happens when you hire Casper Van Dien from Starship Troopers , dress him up in his battle armor, and have him refer to child abusers as “the nastiest creatures in the entire galaxy.” Oscar-winning visual effects gurus Robert Skotak and Dennis Skotak apparently worked on the ads, along with Starship Troopers 3 director John Murlowski. They probably won’t be adding to their trophy collections here. — AdFreak

Financial Times accuses Blackstone of login abuse. The Financial Times is suing the Blackstone Group for multiple use of a single online subscription, alleging the private equity firm shared a user name and password to avoid paying for multiple accounts. The suit, filed in federal court in Manhattan, says that a senior Blackstone employee distributed login information to other employees. That account accessed thousands of individual articles between February 2006 and June 2008. The suit describes the use as “massive” and “far more than an individual would normally access.” — Wall Street Journal

Who’s undercutting Obama? I have called the main number for the White House press office, going back to the Nixon administration. Never has anyone in the press office declined to spell his name, give his job title, or hung up, even after the kind of aggressive exchanges that used to be common between journalists and flacks — and between journalists and high government officials, for that matter. Interviews with a dozen Washington reporters indicate that the Obama press operation tends to embrace friendly questions, while treating skeptical questions as not worth their time or, worse, as coming from an enemy. — Columbia Journalism Review

Peter Fray

Save 50% on a year of Crikey and The Atlantic.

The US election is in a little over a month. It seems that there’s a ridiculous twist in the story, almost every day.

Luckily for new Crikey subscribers, we’ve teamed up with one of America’s best publications, The Atlantic for the election race. Subscribe now to make sense of it all, and you’ll get a year of Crikey (usually $199) and a year’s digital subscription to The Atlantic (usually $70AUD), BOTH for just $129.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW