The Age clerical staff, including editorial assistants, walked out yesterday. They were protesting in front of the new Media House building and will be there again today.

The strike has resulted from EBA negotiations stalling. The company wants to cut annual leave by four days a year and place limits on sick leave. The pay offer is a 2.25% per year increase (staff want 3%).

Conroy and his internet filter. The thing you should be exploring is the relationship between Conroy and his religious right constituents who put him into the job — and keep him there — term after term.

There was a “deal” done before the 2007 election to help him and a few of his colleagues in return for his pushing this internet filter — “to protect the souls of we poor dumb Australians” — who clearly can’t look out for ourselves.

In the last days of the Howard era, we had nut jobs on the extreme religious right proposing the same crazy schemes — unfortunately they were taken up by the then-opposition.  Conroy is “very” vulnerable on this — you just need to ask the right questions of the right people.

An example of how companies like Carlton and United Breweries are all talk and no action when it comes to actually doing something to reduce their impact on the environment.

This morning, during Perth peak hour traffic, what was taking up space on the already congested roads, slowing already crawling traffic — one of those highly annoying mobile billboards on the back of a large truck that was carrying no beer or other product – just the billboard. Topping it off, said truck then parked in the drop off zone in my local train station, taking up more space while the engine was running (and nobody was being dropped off).

Please CUB and other companies who roam the streets of the CBD and think these mobile billboards are a worthy advertising channel. I’m one consumer who will deliberately avoid any product advertised in such an environmentally inefficient manner.

Notwithstanding the important role played by ex-Crikey editor Jonathan Green, the ABC’s new journos’ play pen The Drum is a lacklustre affair, which seems to be based on the assumption  that anyone  who can talk can write and vice versa, thus newspaper writers have become broadcasters and broadcasters are writing columns and opinion pieces. Is this the new journalism?

Annabel Crabb, who earned something of a reputation as a perky sketch writer for Fairfax, is now making regular appearances on ABC local radio shows to update listeners on “what’s going on in Canberra”. Clearly nobody thought to give her a few tips on how to be a broadcaster, so her Q&As with such luminaries as Steve Cannane and Richard Glover have been peppered with elongated “ums” and “ahs” and other irritating hesitations to the point where she sounds as dull as the ever-grey Michelle Grattan on Radio National Breakfast show.

It’s sad, but one wonders why those who dreamed up The Drum really thought that ABC online users would want to read the writings of “top” broadcasters such as Tony Eastley, Leigh Sales, Jonathan Holmes, Mark Colvin (probably one of the few who can write) et al. It’s a sort of media junkies’ dump bin that assumes we all want to read what these people have to say — and most of that is about “the future of journalism” — although it seems to be a generation of has-beens trying to prove they are with it.

Time for a generational change, but the ABC has not invested much in training young talent in the arts of writing or broadcasting, so the online venture will remain frumpish and dull . The only place where the real money is going is to is the cutesy Kids TV channel expensively promoted as a funky lolly show with sparky young teeny presenters doing that jump-and-grin thing that was all the go when the Dave Clark Five were trying to oust the Beatles.

There was a time when the ABC was ahead, but as each new CEO  takes over, they behave as if talking up the future and associating the brand with “new technology” as if the ABC really understood it.

Peter Fray

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