Crikey caption contest. This morning we asked our Twitter pals to caption this picture of Minister for Internets, Stephen Conroy:

Our favourite response came from John Chandler (@curlydog), who suggested:

“The gold goes to the ’09 Stephen. An up-front, fruity but hollow light red with nutty undertones and a trace of bitterness”

You’re a funny man, John, and will be rewarded for your efforts with a mountain of riches.

Some others we liked:

@uncyherb: Stephen Conroy proudly shows off his participant medal from Albury’s “Understanding the Internet” conference & Devonshire tea.

@GrantDMacdonald: Conroy matches tie to medal ribbon, opposition claim another example of Rudd-government arrogance.

@jeremyhore: “I’m not a puppet, I’m a real boy!”

@baldpom: Union through and through – happy to accept award

Feeling left out? Give in to peer pressure, sign up to Twitter and follow @crikey_news.

How important are newspapers to a newsagency? The speculation about the possibility of News Ltd moving to a free newspaper model sent me back to data gathered for the Q1 2009 Newsagent Sales Benchmark Study last week. I wanted to check in with how important newspapers were to the average newsagency. Across all participating newsagencies, newspaper sales account for between 3% and 27% of retail (non agency-lotteries etc) revenue. The difference between newsagencies is considerable. — Australian Newsagency Blog

Video of filthy McDonald’s restaurant becomes a worldwide hit. Adelaide has found itself in the international spotlight this week for a filthy McDonald’s on the city’s nightclub strip. Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide have now reeled at a video taken at the McDonald’s restaurant on Hindley St at about 3am on a Sunday earlier this month, AdelaideNow reports. Images of fast food wrappers piled over the restaurant floor have been watched more than 170,000 times on AdelaideNow and other sites including YouTube. The story and video also appeared prominently on the US website the Drudge Report — sparking nearly 200,000 hits from overseas users as Adelaide slept Wednesday night. — news.com

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQEHZlNLmXk[/youtube]

Domino’s posts apology video on YouTube. Domino’s, in its ongoing effort to put out the public-relations fires ignited by “disgusting” YouTube videos made by two employees, has fired back with a YouTube video of its own. In it, Patrick Doyle, president of Domino’s USA, apologizes for the incident, and describes the steps his company is taking to ensure such an incident doesn’t happen again. — Advertising Age

Should The New York Times go online-only? Over on Webnewser , there’s a story about the finances of Taloussanomat , a Finnish paper that went online-only in December, 2007. The results: “While the move decreased costs by 50 percent, revenue fell more than 75 percent and online readership dropped 22 percent.” More importantly — especially for the Times, which prides itself on the quality of its coverage — the study done by researchers at London’s City University found that “the quality of content did suffer,” because of drastic cuts to the newsroom. The Gray Lady needs to lay off some staff, but it needs to do all it can to continue producing a print product. — Mediabistro

Wounded Wolverine sets premiere contest . Hugh Jackman said on Tuesday that X-Men Origins: Wolverine has officially given itself over to mob rule and will premiere in whatever US town that we, the unwashed masses, vote for. He even plans to show up for it, castmates and klieg lights in tow, bringing all that Hollywood glam and impressive hair. In a way, it’s sheer genius. After all, how do you stir up excitement for a premiere that’s already been ruined by an unauthorized leak of an incomplete version of the film to file-sharing sites? — AdFreak

US newspaper ad revenue could fall as much as 30%. Newspaper advertising, already in its worst slump since the Depression, suffered by far the sharpest drop in generations during the first quarter of 2009, down 30 percent for some papers, industry executives and analysts say. Publishers will start to report first-quarter results this week, but people who follow the industry and have had a glimpse of the 2009 numbers say it is clear that once again, even the most pessimistic predictions were not dark enough. They are expecting declines sharp enough to wipe out profit margins at many papers that, despite two years of battering, had stayed comfortably in the black, and to push already-weak publishers closer to bankruptcy, perhaps even closure. New York Times

Peter Fray

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