You think they would have learnt their lesson. Only a few short months after News Limited tabloid The Sunday Telegraph rushed to print with infamous fake nude pics of Pauline Hanson, its weekday counterpart has chanced its arm on another set of snaps — this time of troubled R&B starlet Rihanna. The questionable pics, only two of which show Rihanna’s face (and only then in non-suggestive poses) were apparently taken by someone called “YoungTurk”. They first appeared on the Tele ’s website on Saturday under the seemingly unequivocal headline “Rihanna Exposed”.

But in a curious addendum, the paper seems to have hedged its bets, leaving it up to you, dear reader, to adjudicate on their authenticity: “Is it Rihanna? Check out the gallery of photos and decide for yourself.”

Three days later, the Tele still wasn’t sure, reproducing slabs of Saturday’s story to make sure the clicks kept coming: “Is it her? Decide for yourself. Advisory: The Daily Telegraph has edited some of the photographs due to their explicit content.”

The storm over the pics’ source is still tearing up the web with Rihanna’s estranged ex-boyfriend Chris Brown yesterday denying claims he leaked them to spite his former partner. But for the Tele, also famous for running online galleries of celebrities who are fruit, they’ve already served their purpose — the Rihanna non-story has been lodged high on the Tele’s most read list all week. — Andrew Crook

Story sequences with Fairfax budget coverage. Up next…

The ever shrinking SMH. A year or so ago, the Sydney Morning Herald moved its consumer electronics coverage (personal computers, digital cameras, PDAs, etc.) from its Tuesday edition and merged it with its Monday TV supplement. “The Guide” became “The Guide + Icon”. SMH trumpeted this change, saying that it was appropriate that all “media” be togther — TV, radio,online, etc. Icon, within the guide, was usually three pages, sometimes more. Now, SMH has quietly moved its personal computer coverage OUT of The Guide and back to being hidden somewhere in the second section of Tuesday’s edition. Today, it was one page.

Wayne Swan channels The Simpsons. While the meeja has mostly focused on the nitty gritty of last night’s Budget, there’s been less attention paid to Treasurer Wayne Swan’s harried dispatch box delivery. The detail seemed rushed — Swan started with a descent into Lord of the Rings territory (“forged in the fire”) before running through his talking points in a series of familiar soundbites.

But for the purists, the main focus wasn’t on forward projections, but on the number of high-pitched adolescent testy pops Wayne would drop over 29 tense minutes. Crikey counted dozens of occasions when Wayne’s warble risked ascending to the heavens in a manner strikingly similar to the Squeaky Voiced Teen character in The Simpsons. As a drinking game, it proved devastating.

Swan, apparently under intense pressure to conclude his remarks before his 8pm 7:30 Report date with Kerry O’Brien, seemed pretty stressed. But by this afternoon’s Press Club speech, the Treasurer seemed to have momentarily composed himself, before mangling the phrase “global downturn” in thoroughly humorous fashion.

The Treasurer’s attention was momentarily distracted by another high-pitched squeal, that of a female protestor possibly complaining about the ETS, before the rival shrieker was bundled away by security. – Andrew Crook

Malcom Turnbull’s immediate response to the budget? Video footage of an explosion. Last night the leader of the Opposition Malcolm Turnbull, tweeted this:

Which led to this:

Wow. He was really angry. — Eleri Harris

Meanwhile at budget.gov.au…

Johns stood down amid group sex scandal. Under-fire rugby league personality Matthew Johns has been stood down by Channel Nine and the Melbourne Storm after a two-hour meeting with network bosses in Sydney. Channel Nine said Mr Johns had been stood down indefinitely from all his network commitments. Nine chief executive David Gyngell says the decision was by mutual agreement “and in the best interests of the Nine network, the game and its supporters, Matthew Johns and his family”. The decision came after Monday night’s Four Corners program which aired an interview with a woman who gave details of a night of group sex with Mr Johns and other Cronulla Sharks players in a Christchurch hotel in 2002. The woman said the experience left her feeling degraded and suicidal. — ABC Online

NewsHour on PBS gets a makeover. The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer , public broadcasting’s nightly newscast, is getting a makeover, designed to bring it more fully into the digital era, give it a livelier look and nudge it, however slowly, toward the day when its longtime anchor decides to retire. Mr. Lehrer, who will turn 75 next Tuesday, isn’t stepping down. But in September the program will be retitled PBS NewsHour and return to a two-anchor format, which it had until 1995. — New York Times

A new site for today’s yuppies, who are apparently cooler than yesterday’s. Another personality who first made a name in traditional media is putting the final touches on an ambitious online destination. Carlos Watson, an MSNBC anchor who also hosts a weekend show on talk radio network Air America, and a small band of staffers created The Stimulist , a news and opinion site that went live on May 12.  Watson bills The Stimulist as being aimed at what he terms “the change generation;” that is, an audience of young professionals between the ages of 25 and 49. Watson is still on the shy side of 40 and counts himself as a card-carrying member of this cohort, and freely uses the words “we” and “us” to describe his intended audience. “People in their 20s, 30s, and 40s — educated but edgy,” he says. — Business Week

Reporter Tweets being shot. Talk about making your own headlines! It’s true; the deputy business editor of the Post & Echo was caught in crossfire this weekend and — like the news trouper he is – tweeted what was happening to him, from the ambulance. In a nutshell, (teetotal) Tony McDonough was unfortunate enough to be downing a diet Coke in his local Liverpool pub when armed bikers opened fire on the doorway in a “ride by” shooting. Some of the pellets hit him in the face, and he ended up needing an ambulance ride and hospital treatment. — Headlines and Deadlines

Newspapers: there is no magic bullet. Charging for online content is not a magic bullet — in fact, in most cases, it may do more harm than good. Micropayments are not a magic bullet — though they may (or may not) bring in a few extra pennies of revenue for the Wall Street Journal . The Amazon Kindle (even in doublewide mode) is not a magic bullet — especially when Apple unleashes its rumored large-screen iPhone, aka the Kindle-killer. Punishing Google is not a magic bullet — indeed, it’s a short-sighted strategy that can devastate traffic and ad revenue. Repeat: There is no magic bullet. — Recovering Journalist

What a free Evening Standard did for me. From lunchtime Monday onwards, distributors in lurid orange t-shirts were distributing free copies of the new-look  Evening Standard to Londoners. Well, all it did for me was convince me not to shell out for the Standard ever again. Why? Well, take a look at the lead story — a city “tycoon” in a divorce case has revealed that he was keeping two families. And this is the biggest story in one of the greatest cities in the world? And as we move through the paper, it’s all celebrity tat, with a smattering of real news. This is not a newspaper for me. It’s full of details of the lives of people far richer than me, whom I’m deeply uninterested in, and celeb gossip that’s done better by the magazines. In fact, its content is far too close to that of the evening free sheets for their to be any point in paying for it. — One man and his blog

Ladies’ blog yields a new site for Slate. Slate ‘s new site, Double X , which is set to start publishing Tuesday, grew from a group blog created on Slate in October 2007 called The XX Factor , after the pair of X chromosomes in women. The blog featured commentary on politics, sex and culture from several women who write for Slate , including Meghan O’Rourke, Hanna Rosin and Emily Bazelon. Driven in part by coverage of the presidential election from a woman-centric perspective, the blog consistently ranked as one of Slate ’s top 10 features, leading the three women to propose that Slate turn the site into its own online hub. — New York Times

The survival of journalism: 10 simple facts . One: newspapers did NOT make a huge mistake by giving the content away for free. Duh, look at the internet. Everything except the porn and the dating services is free. Two: Journalism can be done, and done well, without newspapers. It’s okay if you love newspapers, but they’re really expensive to produce and the audience is abandoning them, as are the advertisers, so it doesn’t help us much to go on talking about newspapers. — Mindy McAdams

Peter Fray

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