Bureau rules on paper circulation… The Audit Bureau of Circulations has left the door ajar for changes to its circulation definitions that would allow for greater transparency for advertisers. Following Crikey‘s revelations in September showing The Age was channelling 40,000 copies, or 20% of its official circulation through universities and schools — but not declaring this amount to advertisers — the ABC launched an investigation into whether Fairfax was deliberately flouting the rules. Further claims by industry website Mumbrella and former Herald Sun editor Bruce Guthrie in his book Man Bites Murdoch suggested the strategy to keep nosediving newspaper circulation afloat through cut-price education copies was entrenched within Fairfax and News Limited.

According to deputy chair of the ABC Tracie Michael: “The investigation has highlighted the potential for greater transparency in the reporting of subscriptions and in particular those delivered to third-party addresses.” And ABC chairman Stephen Hollings said that while the existing rules “had been adhered to”, questions remained over whether “we can develop rule changes that enhance further the transparency around paid sales”.

The sub-committee is scheduled to meet on a weekly basis with a view to revising the rules, with the distinct possibility the regulator will move to break out the discounted copies into a separate “bucket” under the current average paid net sales figure. — Andrew Crook

…and the Tele gets slapped for lie. With total newspaper circulation continuing its seemingly-endless decline — we’re up to 19 consecutive quarters now — any good news is worth trumpeting. And over at the Daily Telegraph, they were crowing about a 1.9% increase in sales for the paper’s Saturday edition.


Last week, News Limited issued a press release declaring the Saturday Daily Telegraph was now outselling The Sydney Morning Herald for the first time. They even ran a page two banner bragging about the win:


But if you’re going to take a shot at your rival, perhaps it’s best to get your figures straight. As Crikey reported last week, the Saturday Tele only beats its rival when sales from “bundled, event, education, accommodation and airlines distribution” are excluded.

According to today’s SMH, News has been forced to issue a retraction after the Audit Bureau of Circulations stepped in to enforce the rules. In what it called a case of “creative counting”, Fairfax then said the Tele had included bundled, event, education, accommodation and airlines distribution when promoting its weekday lead. Creative counting indeed. — Tom Cowie

AFL draft — no. 1 for media blunders. This video has been accidentally published from Windy Hill — and it’s a beauty. Obviously clubs prepare the media releases about their chosen players before the big day, as eager fans await any news about the prospective future champions of their club. In this case, Essendon list manager Adrian Dodoro has made a pre-recorded video about “new recruit” Shaun Atley:


“Bombers fans, we’ve just had our first pick in the national draft and I’m pleased to say it’s Shaun Atley…”

The problem is that Atley wasn’t the Bomber’s first pick — that was Dyson Heppell. Atley was picked up by North Melbourne at pick 17. And as Dodoro said about Atley: “…he’s got a bit of Chris Judd about him…”

Heppell ended up sliding to Essendon’s  first pick — and I think Essendon fans would be ecstatic at this selection — as Heppell has all the hallmarks of being a fine player. So the Bombers got their man — Heppell — not Atley. And I’m Michael Rowland. — Leigh Josey (you can find more AFL draft media gaffes on the Crikey sports blog)

NT News watch. You could never accuse the NT News of being backward in coming forward. Here they let readers give their ideas for a Territory-style royal wedding — complete with a very dodgy pun. Good luck guys, but on this form the honeymoon may not make it to Humpty Doo.


An exposé … and free beer. What’s the difference between Melbourne’s Herald Sun and The Age? These promotional posters from Tuesday may explain…


The truth is out there. This just in from News.com.au, apparently Hitler was planning to invade the UK with UFOs. You know, just in case you were interested.


Stokes: with the ABC, paper paywalls won’t work

“West Australian Newspapers chairman Kerry Stokes says newspaper publishers will struggle to charge for online content.” — The Australian

A cheesy NY Times scoop they got wrong

“On November 7, The New York Times ran a front-page story by Michael Moss exposing what appears to be yet another sinister example of bureaucratic hypocrisy in the tainted world of food regulation… In the case of this cheese story, though, Moss obscured an important point, one that dampens the outrage you might have felt if you’d received Michael Pollan’s tweet that ‘our tax dollars [are] at work promoting Domino’s Pizza’.” — The Atlantic

Palin’s book reveals: she hates reality TV

“Well, look what popped up five days early: leaks from Sarah Palin’s forthcoming memoir/manifesto, America By Heart, in which the reality TV matriarch rants against “talent deprived” reality TV stars, lauds daughter Bristol’s chastity, and celebrates not aborting Trig.” — Gawker

Fox boss sorry for public broadcaster’s ‘Nazi attitudes’

“Roger Ailes has apologized to the Anti-Defamation League for his use of the expression “Nazi attitudes” to describe NPR executives in an interview with Howard Kurtz, and the ADL has accepted his apology.” — Politico