Introducing The FitzShameless Awards. Bandanna-wearing author and The Sydney Morning Herald columnist Peter FitzSimons apparently irritated some SMH readers pre-Christmas with his constant name-dropping of his new book in his columns. From December 3rd:

“Meantime TFF was honoured on Thursday night in Hobart to have the Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, launch the very book you will shortly (hopefully) have in your Christmas stocking, Mawson, and the Ice Men of the Heroic Age: Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen. After much consideration, the only thing with a sporting angle I could find to justify this gratuitious self-plug was an excerpt from Scott of the Antarctic’s last letter to his wife…”

Judy Prisk, reader’s editor of The SMH, addressed reader’s concerns in her column today. She gave a gentle chiding to FitzSimons — “I think even he was embarrassed about it sometimes …” — but ultimately cleared the author of any wrongdoing. “FitzSimons was brazen, yes, but not unethical,” writes Prisk. “This was not an underhanded attempt to hide his intentions — they were there for all to see. And he is only one of many journalists in this newspaper and in newspapers all over the world who sometimes cut to a commercial break.

Although Prisk did note that while FitzSimons wasn’t too blame, perhaps his editors were: “Perhaps the various editors involved — and there are a few because each of the sections in which these were published have different editors — should have objected to or queried the references. However, without a guideline to follow, they would have been hamstrung.”

In honour of FitzSimons and the many other journos shamelessly attempting to spruik their latest tome in articles and radio broadcasts around the country, Crikey‘s starting a new semi-regular series called The FitzShameless Awards. Every time you see a writer devote column inches or hear a radio TV journo mention “as I wrote in my book …” in the middle of something that’s not actually an interview about their book, nominate them for a FitzShameless. We’ll make sure their gratuitous attempts at self promotion get the full attention they deserve.

Did you really write that Confidential? An odd line in this Sydney Confidential article from The Daily Telegraph about hip hop superstar Kanye West going shopping in Australia:

“While his contemporaries tend to head out for a fried chicken feed, Big Day Out headliner Kanye West made a beeline for Sydney’s fashion hub within hours of landing.”

Because only black people like fried chicken, right?

Silence is golden in Oscar nominations. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced this year’s Oscar nominations Tuesday morning, LA time. The film widely tipped to collect the most — French silent feature The Artist (which will be released in Australia on February 2) — was trumped by Martin Scorsese’s enchanting all-ages love letter to the cinema Hugo, which leads the pack with 11 noms. The Artist received 10.

In hindsight a leading position for Hugo seems a no-brainer. It’s a near universally acclaimed feature from one of America’s master filmmakers, with an uplifting story celebrating the medium itself — always fertile ground for US awards ceremonies. However, given the hoopla and scuttlebutt that pervades the Oscars race it can be hard to keep a clear head, and the academy is prone to dish out some surprises.

Among them this year is the inclusion of Stephen Daldry’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close as a Best Picture contender. Due to changes in the academy’s voting system, five to 10 films can now be nominated for the top gong. This year there were nine: The DescendentsMidnight in ParisThe Tree of LifeMoneyballWar HorseThe HelpHugo, The Artist and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. — Luke Buckmaster (read more at Crikey blog Cinetology)

Bottoms up at the Leveson inquiry

“When Lord Justice Leveson launched his inquiry into the ethics of the press he may not have expected to be confronted with an enlarged photograph of near-n-ked bottoms. Or to be presented with evidence deemed so explicit it was censored before being circulated to other witnesses.” — The Guardian

Julian Assange to launch TV show

“Assange, who has made headlines with his disclosure of government secrets along with allegations of s-xual misconduct, will host a TV series comprising ‘in-depth conversations with key political players, thinkers and resolutionaries from around the world,’ WikiLeaks said late Monday.”Reuters

Wife of DSK set to take helm at French Huffington Post

“The wife of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Anne Sinclair, returned to public life before more than 250 journalists in her new role as editorial director for the French version of The Huffington Post news Web site, which had its debut on Monday. New York Times

BBC used private investigators over 200 times across six years

“The BBC spent 310,000 pounds hiring private investigators on more than 200 occasions during the past six years, its Director-General has revealed. It also pays for out-of-court settlements in up to six cases of alleged defamation each year, Mark Thompson told the Leveson inquiry yesterday.”The Australian

McDonald’s Twitter campaign hijacked

“Critics of McDonald’s have turned the fast-food chain’s ad campaign on Twitter against itself, unleashing a torrent of abusive tweets, in the latest example of how social media marketing can backfire.” The Financial Times

PCC rejects Julian Assange’s complaint against the New Stateman

“The Press Complaints Commission has rejected a complaint lodged against the New Statesman by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The complaint related to a review of Assange’s so-called ‘unauthorised biography’, which was ghost-written by journalist Andrew O’Hagan and published by Canongate last year against Assange’s wishes.