New Melbourne newspaper? Inside observers predict there could be a new independent Sunday tabloid in Melbourne from September. Nothing firm yet but it might be printed as a COD commercial job on the Fairfax presses at Tullamarine.

The Age will be free — except on the iPad. The Age editor Paul Ramadge told staff, in regards to the release of the paper’s iPad application, it will be free at first but then they’ll charge for it. But he reiterated they’re keeping the website free. More pressure on journos to multi-task, filing multiple reports for online and doing videos as well as filing for paper. Sold under the guise of ‘we’re investing more in training’. Journos miffed about working three times as hard and moving further away from roles as trained print journos. You can smell the fear coming from management. More to come…

Hopwood dumped by the Right. Our excellent local MP, Judy Hopwood, will not stand for election because Barry O’Farrell has failed to protect her from the NSW Liberal Party hacks and stacks. Our mayor Nick Berman will probably be pre-selected. Alan Jones and the Daily Telegraph are spruiking Berman’s wares; I wonder who is paying the spruikers?

Battle of the department stores 1: Myer had a good, but not great, start to the winter Stocktake Sale yesterday. Principally because the discounts offered at the end of season clearance sale were only marginally above the offers the ‘discount’ department store has been pushing for months. Used to be that the Stocktake Sale was a massive season end clearance, with thousands of people bashing down doors to get to the bargains. Now it’s just more ho-hum 20, 30 or 40% off, which customers are increasingly seeing all through the year. Customer numbers yesterday were well down on sales of 3, 4, 5 and more years ago when Myer was not stuck in its current discounting spiral. Expect more panicky ‘One Day’ offers and promos.

Battle of the department stores 2: Overheard in David Jones, Bourke St Melbourne, last night: Sales assistant to sales assistant — complaining about how dead it was. And they were right; 5.30pm and the ladies designer wear racks were bulging with stuff 40% off … but you could’ve heard a pin drop — save for the squeaking escalator that is. Need to get the maintenance man on to that, stat.

Westpac is wired. Westpac has a little problem with funds that were wired in the last day or so from overseas. The money was in the account on May 31/June 1 but then all record of it, including the positive balance, has been removed. I, and I imagine a whole lot of people who got money wired yesterday now, like me, have huge holes in their account where the payment was. I can only hope they don’t try to charge us overdrawn account fees. As at 6pm yesterday the problem has not been resolved.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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