Is a song about suicide appropriate for summer fun phone advertising? The Spanish arm of telecommunications company Orange has taken an interesting advertising ploy and adopted the Aussie anthem Waltzing Matilda for its summer fun commercial:

The Punch reports:

“We listened to quite a variety of songs both from Spain and abroad to accompany this spot,” an Orange spokeswoman in Madrid said yesterday.

“From the moment we heard the song Waltzing Matilda and this version by the Countdown Kids we knew it would fit perfectly with the visuals. We liked the tune very much since it is fresh, happy, and very catchy. This music accompanies the images very well from beginning to end.”

The advertisement was shot in Barcelona and features character Alvaro using the 6pm to 8am mobile phone plan to call friends from across the city to throw an impromptu roof top party.

His friends are then seen carrying Australian-style summer gear from beach umbrellas and surf boards to a rubber swimming pool and blow up rings.

Okay so when the kids sing it, “Waltzing Matilda” sounds cute and catchy — but does anyone remember what this song is about? The lyrics describe a sheep thief who drowns himself rather than be arrested by police. Okay so Australians love the song too for its rebellious anti-authoritarian sentiment and primary school children sing it all the time, but seriously — suicide = “fresh, happy and catchy”?? Only in Spain. — Eleri Harris

The Oz’s media editor resigns. Media editor at The Australian Jane Schulze last week gave editor Chis Mitchell her notice after two years in the role and seven years in media section of that paper. Prior to her work at The Australian Schulze wrote media news at The Age and the Herald Sun. Schulze told Crikey, “I am leaving to start my own business. Obviously, this is not an impromptu decision and I have been developing this idea with a business partner for some time. After being a journalist for 19 years it’s time for a change. I’m really excited but can’t say any more at this time.”

Fairfax scams gullible young journos. This email was sent to journalism lecturers at universities across the country. Not a penny in it for young journos, but boy, they get a colour PDF!

Megan Byrne 06/10/09 4:25 PM

Hello everyone,

I’d like to let you all know about a fantastic opportunity for your journalism and communications students.

As some of you may be aware, the MyCareer section, printed in both The Age and the SMH, has a weekly column called “The Office” which provides a light-hearted, humorous account of office issues and absurdities. I have enclosed a couple of recent editions for those of you not familiar with the column.

We are currently seeking submissions to “The Office”, and would like to offer your students the opportunity to get their by-line in a major newspaper — a valuable thing in such a tight job market.

Submissions should be no longer than 550 words, attached as a Word document to an email including full contact details, and sent to [email protected] . Please note, there is no remuneration for reader submissions. However, I can organise for a colour PDF (like those attached) of any published works to be sent to the writer — as you know, these always look great in a folio.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me as per the details below.

Kind regards,

Megan Byrne
My Career
The Age

Slave labour much?

Postmodern spruiking overload at The Age. Whenever someone’s spruiking a book or show, they get lined up to do a ’20 questions’ ‘day in the life of…’ etc type piece of filler. Subtly, one works one’s mealticket into the answers about favourite foods, first pet’s name etc.

How not to do it was exemplified by cabaret singer Melissa Madder Gray, aka ‘Meow Meow’ in the Sunday Age’s “My Week” last week. Gray is doing three evenings of Australian postmodernist interpretation of German high modernist art songs by Schoenberg, Schumann et al (form an orderly queue).

Her answers to: “what are you reading?” “Notes on Schoenburg, Schumann et al for my upcoming show…”; “last theatre show attended?” “last week performing at the Hippodrome London with La Clique”; “last film I saw was” “the inflight movies on flight from London while learning texts by Goethe and Heine for my show, with songs by Sch-” etc. Yeah Mel, we get it. You’ve got a show. No class, but a show. — Kim Serca

Seven loses it. Last week I asked Seven if Sunday Night would go to allow Dancing With The Stars to switch to 6.30pm on Sundays, and got the usual guff about how they don’t comment on their schedule more than two weeks out. I also got a lot of guff about how Seven was committed to Sunday Night, especially in Seven programming and its head scheduler, Tim Worner.

Well, it seems Tim Worner is committed: he just wants it to take a rest for three months while he slots in Dancing With The Stars at 6.30pm instead of 7.30pm where the series last year ran in the back half of the year. The one thing that is essential in trying to embed a new program in viewers’ thinking is continuity: leave it there if you think it will work and keep promoting it. Programs like Sunday Night take time to click with viewers and if they are successful, will return stronger in the second season.

It’s what Kerry Packer and Sam Chisholm did with 60 Minutes. Seven management knows it, but for the sake of some obscure programming ambition, Sunday Night has turned into a fair-weather current affairs program; just like The Force, The Zoo etc, a short series currently affairs/reality program. A new genre of TV, it seems.

Sunday Night has built an audience of around 1.1 to 1.2 million at 6.30pm. It was working slowly. It needed to get a bit more pointed in news selection, it was making 60 Minutes look, old, flabby and slow, as it is. Now Seven has handed bragging rights to Nine about how another one has bit the dust.

Now Seven needs Dancing With The Stars switched away from Tuesday nights because of the success of Packed To The Rafters. Last year Dancing started poorly at 7.30pm on Sundays, but finished strongly and helped Seven get on par with Nine on the night. Dancing With The Stars could easily start at 8.30pm and run for 90 minutes, instead of two hours, as it does for the early episodes. The quip about Seven is that it’s the only network that can snatch defeat from the jaws of a programming victory.

The funny thing is that by resting Sunday Night, Seven has given John Westacott a goodbye triumph. He said in his amazing story in The Australian on Monday that 60 Minutes had seen off Sunday Night, and he was right. — Glenn Dyer

Time to go: ABC forced out of Iran. Today we were told by the Islamic Guidance Ministry and its agency that looks after the press that our press cards have been revoked. They still have, I think, about 12 days to run. But all foreign journalists have had their credentials cancelled. We’ve been told that we can’t go onto the streets to report on any unauthorised activity, which is just about anything in the city at the moment. In fact, we’ve basically been confined to our hotels and when you add to that the regular shutdowns of mobile telephone networks, internet communications and satellite television, the message was very, very clear. — Ben Knight @ ABC Online

Ten does food nightmares, Nine does travel nightmares. The Nine Network has joined the “synergy programming” approach to TV scheduling that has been dominated by the Ten Network. Ten is currently fattening us up this winter with MasterChef Australia (with an afternoon assist from Ready Steady Cook and Huey’s Cooking). Late next summer it will start another series of The Biggest Loser, where we can sit and watch others losing our weight for us, and the Dance Australia program which will portray what fit, healthy young people can really do when they don’t watch cooking programs.

Now the Nine Network has programmed its new show Trouble in Paradise on Thursdays at 8.30pm, right after Getaway. Nine says the new program is “a gripping new docu-drama series that tells the stories of Australian travellers who have been subjected to terrifying experiences while on holidays in different parts of the world before escaping with their lives.” Will Getaway survive this trip to the dark side of travel? I bet trips recommended in a Getaway item won’t be mentioned on the new program. Will Nine go the whole hog and do a quasi legal reality show: ‘How I was stuck in hell when I tried to get my money back from Qantas?’ Would working for the Nine Network qualify as a Trouble in Paradise story? — Glenn Dyer

Tweeting the revolution. Even before the ridiculously lopsided Iranian election results were released, opposition headquarters were sacked, dissidents arrested. The government of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wanted to minimize the threat of any opposition leaders organizing a revolution against it. Unfortunately for them, this movement did not need figureheads to lead it.Through the power of social networking, individual Iranians were also able to mobilize each other. Twitter hashtags created an instantaneous collectivity that could never be created by mainstream media. When the government realized what was happening, it tried to shut it down. — Salon (Keep abreast with Crikey’s live Tehran Twitter compilation here.)

Creepy cookie ad now with added udder. This American advertisement for Oreo cookies is not for the average city slicker — animated udders, WTF? How does this make anyone want to buy cookies? Via Ads of the World:

CBS walls off neighborhood for reality show. In the latest reality show “social experiment,” CBS has walled off eight homes in an Atlanta suburb, forcing the neighbors inside to spend time with each other. Tentatively called Block Party, the families in will be trapped inside the 20′ maximum security-looking wall for about three weeks for a cash prize. The idea is almost like a real-life version of The Simpsons Movie, where the town of Springfield was sealed under an impenetrable dome. — The Live Feed

David Letterman apologises for ‘flawed’ Palin joke. David Letterman, an American late night talk show presenter for CBS, has apologised to Sarah Palin for a joke about her daughter. The former Republican vice-presidential candidate has accepted the apology. Palin said in a statement today: “On behalf of all young women, like my daughters, who hope men who ‘joke’ about public displays of s-xual exploitation of girls will soon evolve.” The statement by Alaska’s governor brings an end to the feud that started last Monday when Letterman joked about the Palin family’s trip to New York. The comedian quipped Palin’s daughter was “knocked up” by New York Yankees baseball player Alex Rodriguez during a game. — Guardian

What do GM and the NY Times Co. have in common? Newspapers aren’t innovation studios. They’re factories assembling parts (news and advertising) into products. While newspaper people sometimes say the Daily Miracle is a new product every day, in reality it’s not that at all. Five days’ worth of newspapers are no more “new products” than five consecutive Hummer SUVs rolling off an assembly line. And as autoworkers are now discovering, the efficient operation of the factory and the build quality of the car are unquestionably essential, but can’t deliver success if the product is a great big mistake. — Yelvington

Battle for the Globe. The Boston Newspaper Guild president made clear yesterday that the union has not dropped its unfair labor practice charge against the New York Times Company for declaring a bargaining impasse and imposing a 23 percent wage cut to union members, effective this week. That cut was imposed after Guild members last week narrowly rejected a contract proposed by the company. That contract would have effectively cut members’ salaries by more than 10 percent, slashed a range of benefits, and eliminated lifetime job guarantees for about 190 members. —

Yet another delay (or extension) in Canwest’s increasingly dramatic attempts to stave off collapse and bankruptcy. The Canadian media group says the new deadline is June 30, after no deal was announced by the previous deadline of June 15. Canwest said:

The holders of the new 12% senior secured notes of CMI and Canwest Television Limited Partnership as well as CIT Business Credit Canada Inc., the provider of a senior secured revolving asset-based loan facility to CMI, have agreed to extend to June 30, 2009, the date by which CMI must reach an agreement in principle with members of the Ad Hoc Committee in respect of a recapitalization transaction, as well as certain other milestones that were to be achieved by June 15, 2009.

CMI and the members of the Ad Hoc Committee have also entered into a further extension agreement and forbearance to June 30, 2009.

June 15 was the deadline given three weeks previously. It was the 5th or 6th extension this year (there have been a couple of quasi extensions later formalised. That saw Canwest slipped $190 million in extras from a US buyout fund and the Canadian arm of a commercial finance company. That has enabled Canwest to remain operating.

The bondholders (now being paid 12% a year, upfront I hope) of this bailout package, demanded and got security over the 56% of Network Ten in Australia, meaning Canwest has no more silver to sell. Obviously there’s still some cash in the business from the bailout package and normal cashflows that allows the Asper family to continue to resist the incredible pressure on them to give up control.

But once reality breaks through into the bunker in Winnipeg, the Aspers control will ne gone and quite a few people will be very upset, including big shareholder, Fairfax Financial, who may still emerge with a role It won’t be long now, unless some more bunnies are found to finance this mad attempt to avoid reality. — Glenn Dyer

Sorry, there’s no way to save the TV business. The traditional TV industry — cable companies, networks and broadcasters — is where the newspaper industry was about five years ago: in denial. There are murmurings on the edges about how longstanding business models will come under pressure as internet distribution takes over. But so far, the revenue and profits are hanging in there, so the big TV companies don’t really care. — Advertising Age