Scottish Sunday Express (almost) apologises for ‘Anniversary Shame of Dunblane Survivors’ front-page story. On Friday, Crikey decided to award its weekly Wankley Award to a worthy international recipient. A concentrated campaign by UK readers, bloggers and Father Ted/IT Crowd genius comedy writer Graham Linehan now appears to have shamed the Express into an apology yesterday for their disgraceful “scoop”:

It’s a by no means perfect apology (“nobody was misquoted”, indeed) but it’s a start. Note lack of personal apology from reporter Fiona Murray or editor Derek Lambie, neither of whom are even mentioned in the apologetic editorial. An online petition demanding a full front-page apology continues. — Neil Walker

NT News sub recruitment advertisement. Interesting enough that NT News are seeking sub-editors at a time when subs are being laid off worldwide in large numbers, but some may take issue with their claims that they are the “greatest paper in the world, in the best city in the world”:

Bolt’s fan club. There’s a fair degree of scepticism among some circles about President Obama’s latest video message to the Iranian people to coincide with Nowruz, the Persian new year. Among them is Andrew Bolt. But many readers will be sceptical of Bolt’s ability to decide what is or isn’t sensible discourse fit for publication on the Herald Sun website. One wonders what Herald Sun advertisers would think if they realised their precious dollars were going toward the publication of the following sentiments:

The Dean of Doonside (Reply) Sun 22 Mar 09 (09:52am)

“In the Islamic world, they look at negotiations as surrender.”

Barry of Round replied to the Dean Sun 22 Mar 09 (10:52am)

“Insightful. Best bomb them in that case.”

Larry replied to the Dean Sun 22 Mar 09 (01:10pm):

“Barry of Round, bombing them, back to the stone age where their politico-religious philosophy belongs, would indeed be the only thing they understand. Islam has no such thing as a peace treaty, just hudna, to be entered into when weaker than the opposition, and only lasting long enough for them to gather the strength to have another go. You don’t negotiate with that, you shoot it.”

So the best way to deal with the Muslim customers of Herald Sun advertisers is a combination of shooting them and bombing them and their neighbourhoods back into the Stone Age. I’d love to see Andrew Bolt justify this kind of stuff when he appears on Q&A this Thursday night. — Irfan Yusuf

What is going on in Western Australia?

Fairfax automated advertising fun. What do you match with a story about an escaped lion? Disney DVDs and WSPA.

Crikey reader Peter Gray

Don’t panic! Your TV will not stop working after 1 May. If any of you happened to read the Herald Sun article last Monday entitled “Clock ticks for plasmas, LCDs” by Peter Familari and were wondering “what the f%*k?! How can a brand new TV be obsolete in less than two months?”, you can now rest easy. The article is a load of rubbish. It’s actually pretty unbelievable just how wrong the story is, even though the underlying issue is well worth looking at. — Gizmodo

Time publisher Donald Fries steps down. Donald Fries, publisher of Time magazine, is stepping down from his post at a crossroads for the Time Inc. title. Mark Ford, president of Time Inc.’s newsmagazine group, which includes Time, Fortune and Sports Illustrated, will take over ad sales for Time magazine as it faces a challenging ad market and as its rival Newsweek, a Washington Post Co magazine, is undergoing a reorganization and redesign. Many at Time see that as an opportunity to gain a stronger competitive position. — Wall Street Journal

Friendly fire: NYT hits Obama. It’s not unusual for Barack Obama to take a little friendly fire from the Times. But it’s perhaps unprecedented for him to get hit on the same day by columnists Frank Rich, Thomas Friedman and Maureen Dowd — and in the paper’s lead editorial. Their critique punctuated a weekend that started with a widely circulated blog post by Paul Krugman that said the president’s yet to be announced bank rescue plan would almost certainly fail. The sentiment, coming just two months after the president was sworn in, reflects elite opinion in the Washington-New York corridor that Obama is increasingly overwhelmed, and not fully appreciative of the building tsunami of populist outrage. — Politico

UK Financial Times reporters to take on subediting duties. The UK’s Financial Times reporters will have to subedit parts of their own stories, including writing draft headlines as the paper launches the next phase of its digital integration. Editor Lionel Barber outlined the changes to staff yesterday as part of a plan to boost production skills among the paper’s reporters and editors called Newsroom 2009. However, an FT spokeswoman confirmed that as part of today’s announcement the paper has no immediate plans for any future redundancies, whether compulsory or voluntary. — The Guardian

The death and life of great American newspapers. Communities across America are suffering through a crisis that could leave a dramatically diminished version of democracy in its wake. It is not the economic meltdown, although the crisis is related to the broader day of reckoning that appears to have arrived. The crisis of which we speak involves more than mere economics. Journalism is collapsing, and with it comes the most serious threat in our lifetimes to self-government and the rule of law as it has been understood here in the United States. — The Nation

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey