The ever-changing new media user:

Jeffrey Cole writes: Re. “Web expert tells Fairfax: newspapers have 10 years. Tops.” (16 September, item 4). I appreciate the interest in my talk on “The Ever-Changing New Media User” at Swinburne University of September 15. Our research at the Center for the Digital Future was well covered in the story. Thanks for that. However, there is one item that should be amended and corrected.

In the story I am quoted as saying that Don Churchill of The Age “was at one with me” regarding the future of print. During an informal conversation before my talk began, I mentioned that I had met the day before with the leadership of the Age (including Don Churchill) and felt they were realistic about the serious challenges all newspapers face in a digital era.

I further indicated that they had the ability and knowledge to aggressively confront those challenges and that the Age was better positioned than most newspapers, especially American newspapers, to succeed in that effort.

In my talk itself I never mentioned the leaders of the Age and, neither before or during my talk, did I say that Don Churchill was “at one with me” or anything to that effect.

Thank you for the opportunity to correct an issue in what was otherwise a very well-done piece.

Ron Walker and Fairfax:

Zachary King writes: Re. “Beecher: Walker squabbles while Fairfax burns” (Friday, item 3). Come on now Crikey, fair suck of the sav. I understand that most people/industries are generally most fascinated by their own area of expertise (ever watched ER with a medico? Nightmare) and in the past have tolerated Crikey’s incestual fascination/machination/navel gazing on all things media with bemusement, but your Ron Walker obsession is just taking the piss.

Do we really need four separate stories all talking about Dear Ron and Fairfax, as well as numerous mentions in other stories? That’s about 15% of your total output for Friday’s edition by my calculation. Bit self-indulgent, what? Perhaps Ron could have his very own cage match so I could easily avoid it?

The economy:

Martin Gordon writes: Re. “Australia was on the precipice: RBA” (Friday, item 2). The inevitable spin about how we have been saved from recession sounds like a repeat of a bad movie. International bodies such as the OECD rely heavily on particular nations for input to their publications and the convergence of the OECD and Rudd Government lines are not surprising.

Whilst we have not plunged to the depths that Spain, the US, Taiwan, and others have plunged, things are still grim. Underemployment is rising, workforce participation is deteriorating and the buckets of taxpayer money spewing into the economy are not about economic stimulus but election stimulus. I am increasingly astonished at the level of waste involved in the so called ‘stimulus package’, at the end we will have about $250 per taxpayer pa interest burden (let alone the debt) on the $42b stimulus let alone the other items.

The election stimulus is reinforced daily by the blatant pork barrelling in marginal seats, rather than areas of need, GP clinics, boom gates, unwanted school buildings. The only redeeming thing was the latest federally taxpayer funded hospital operating theatres did not have Chairman Kev with his hard hat for a change!

Fried ice:

Steve O’Connor writes: Re. “Richard Farmer’s chunky bits” (Friday, item 12). To put the arctic ice loss into another perspective, it is instructive to see the difference between the 2007 IPCC projected ice-cover and the actual measured ice-cover (see the below graph, original source from Dr. Ignatius Rigor, Uni of Washington):

As you can see this is far worse than the worse-case scenario envisaged. Sadly, even more dire is the loss of multi-year ice-volume, which is probably a better indicator of changes.

This NASA link shows there was a 40 percent drop in coverage between 2005 and 2007. And the reason we’re not panicking is…?

Send your comments, corrections, clarifications and c*ck-ups to [email protected]. Preference will be given to comments that are short and succinct: maximum length is 200 words (we reserve the right to edit comments for length). Please include your full name — we won’t publish comments anonymously unless there is a very good reason.

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