The Nine Network is set to launch a rebrand of its image. The launch date is said to be the 9th of September (9/9/09).

Local ALP, still wondering what’s happening? Seen in corridors and in the PM’s office yesterday morning was Peter Conway, former ALP Senate candidate. There are obviously moves afoot!

I am an editor at Quest Newspapers and two weeks ago I walked through the door late in the evening and my partner threatened to divorce me. Why? Because I basically have no journalists working for me. That means I work long and thankless hours and hardly see my family.

I have read with interest some posts on Crikey‘s website in the last year — usually journos having a whinge about how they didn’t get an upgrade. Well they can be darn grateful they aren’t editors. Our former editor in chief, Scott Thompson, left last week (Hallelujah!) and his legacy at Quest was one of reducing the reporting staff to the bare bones.

Two of my colleagues (City South News and City North) don’t have journalists any more. That’s right! Papers without a journalist, just an editor.

We can only hope the new EIC Neil Melloy has more understanding of our plight. One of my fellow editors lost his sports journalist and now does it himself while others have been forced to send their staff on holidays by group managing editor Gavin Lauman. As a result they are putting out paper for weeks on end with a skeleton staff. I have not seen morale as low as it is right now.

The NTEU is shaping to call a strike at Sydney University because management want to insert a “flexibility” clause. To get an idea of what university management are up against these days, check Dr Diarmuid Maguire of the government school’s warning about how university management might be planning to move on under-performers and “bully” them. Then check Maguire’s own research output. Perhaps people like Maguire could do with a little bullying?

Latest on the upcoming changes to The Australian. From September 7, The Oz is planning to introduce a new section called “A Plus” which will contain features, opinions, letters, arts, TV, weather and a mind games page. And the paper’s Wall Street Journal pages will increase from one to three.

The battle for business journalism gossip is about to hot up. Fairfax business writer Jamie Freed is getting ready to launch a new column in the Fairfax business sections and websites to compete with the AFR‘s Street Talk, Business Spectator‘s Wheels & Deals and the like. This follows the move by The Oz‘s business editor, Andrew main, to the biz-goss beat.

The Australian on Monday started printing in Tasmania, the occasion observed by a multi-page wraparound and a 40 cent price reduction to $1.50 a copy. What’s the bet that quite shortly we will see A) an increase in the local price for The Age and the AFR which are distributed right through the fair Isle by News Ltd (The Age costs $2 a weekday copy, 50 cents over the cover price) and B) an increased incidence in overnight delivery delays to any “interstate” print media. Don’t start me on the SMH — the first, Friday arvo, country edition is available sometimes on Saturday afternoon, sometimes Sunday morning.

I can confirm the tip in yesterday’s Crikey that, “Despite many assurances to the contrary, Ticketek staff are still using a system known as “grabs” to secure seats to premium concerts and sporting events”, has been going on for years. A friend managing a Newsagency (and Ticketek agency) purchased me and others front row seats to see Jerry Seinfeld (very limited tickets) in Melbourne many years ago. Exactly the system as described above — no queuing, lots of enter pressing a minute before release. The real problem was Ticketmaster had all the good events. By the way, Seinfeld was crap.

After I’d sent a complaint I received my potentially stock standard response from Austereo late last week regarding Kyle and Jackie O. I’m now forced to forward another complaint to ACMA. I’d tried to be technical in my complaint, focusing on the commercial radio codes of practice. Asking how they could justify repeatedly breaching codes 1.5(a) and 1.7 (not meeting contemporary standards of decency and broadcasting content with a s-xually explicit theme between 5am and 9.30pm).

Unfortunately, their response harped on about how they were very sorry that the whole thing had happened and were getting counselling for the girl … the girl I’d never mentioned in my complaint. In fact, I don’t really want to know about the welfare of the girl — it’s none of my business and I think it’s inappropriate for them to be talking about her getting counselling to complainants. It’s a private matter for the family and DoCS to look into.

However the conduct of a publicly available commercial radio station that seems to think they’re above the law — is my business.

While I realise Austereo are bound to have received a heap of complaints — especially considering the official form to use went viral internationally on sites like digg and reddit — I think it would have been intelligent of the management to have at least written a number of types of complaint letter instead of just one. It doesn’t look good.

Meanwhile on a grassy knoll: Who has the pics of a treasurer barking at the moon? In a holiday valley north of Sydney. Too close to home for one news organisation.

Crikey/Media Monitors radio and TV rumour watch reports:

  • Caller, Too Much Crap, says that people wanting to rebuild their houses following the bushfires in the Bendigo area have been told by the local council that they cannot reuse their current septic systems; Coliban Water would prefer residents to be connected to the sewage system. — 7.14am; 3AW (Melbourne)

Peter Fray

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