New Drum editor with Green’s departure. Jonathan Green is leaving his post at ABC commentary website The Drum for a full-time position at Radio National. Crikey understands the ABC will now advertise for a new editor of The Drum, which has courted controversy and attracted the attention of Senate Estimates hearings for its daily mix of commissioned opinion pieces and analysis from ABC presenters.

Green, a former senior staffer at The Age before moving to Crikey as editor, joined the broadcaster to edit the new website in December 2009. He’s spent time on air at Radio National previously, as a breakfast fill-in for Fran Kelly earlier this year and more recently as the host of omnibus program Sunday Extra.

RN acting head Michael Mason wrote to staff: “Every week I hear Jonathan’s ideas develop, his broadcasting skills sharpen, and his personality shine through. Along with the experienced programming ears and ideas of James Panichi, Jonathan and James are crafting a unique Sunday morning program. I have no doubt Sunday Extra will become an iconic and anticipated part of the Sunday morning media landscape in this country.” — Jason Whittaker

News Ltd quits Sunny Coast market. News Limited is going out of business on the Sunshine Coast, leaving the region to APN and its suite of local papers including the Sunshine Coast Daily. A statement was dispatched to staff and the market early this afternoon:

News Limited today announced that it will cease publication of three community newspapers and a weekly magazine on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

The Noosa Journal and Weekender were acquired by News Limited in 2006 and 2007 respectively and extended to include local editions in Maroochydore and Caloundra subsequently. Next week’s editions will be their last.

News Limited’s managing director of newspapers and digital products Jerry Harris said: “It is with regret that we are closing these titles, but with continuing slow trading conditions on the Sunshine Coast the reality is that they are no longer commercially viable.

“We have begun consultations with affected staff and intend to redeploy as many as we can into News’ other operations in South East Queensland, but inevitably there will be a number of redundancies.

“News will continue to have a strong presence in the region as The Courier-Mail will strengthen its bureau to improve local coverage, and maintain its involvement with keynote Sunshine Coast sporting and cultural events.”

Old media lectures on new media’s future. Only Fairfax Media, and especially The Australian Financial Review, could promote a talkfest on the future of the media (entitled “brave new word”) with no one from that brave new world to put a point of view. But that’s what it is doing today.

CEOs of four old media groups and not one leader of an online business that has stolen the lunch and dinner of the likes of Fairfax Media and others in recent years. Where are the heads of Wotif, Seek, and Webjet who have successfully built businesses online in a very competitive “brave new world” and done so by stealing business from the analogue companies?

Instead the talking heads rounded up include Greg Hywood, CEO of Fairfax Media (debt of $1.1 billion), a company struggling to survive in print and looking to cut $170 million in costs in the next couple of years. It sold 50% of its prime online business Trade Me late last year to raise funds to appease bankers and big investors, who include Gina Rinehart.

James Warburton, CEO of Network Ten (debt $358 million), shares a big stakeholder in Gina Rinehart, and also has a Packer and a Murdoch as well as Bruce Gordon’s struggling WIN regional TV business. Ten is struggling to keep up this year, and despite a small improvement in early evening audiences is so far behind leader Seven that it can write off 2012. And he has to appease an increasingly upset affiliate in Southern Cross.

John Porter, CEO of Austar (debt doesn’t matter; he’s out of here if the ACCC gives the final OK to the takeover from Foxtel). Austar has never been a real competitor in the Australian media landscape anyway, it’s always been a cash management operation for John Malone’s Global group in the US, now it’s planned to help Foxtel over an embarrassing slowdown in subscribers and earnings.

Mark Scott, CEO of the ABC who is probably the most interesting of the quartet insofar as a “brave new world” is concerned. At least it has an online/ internet strategy. It is the biggest source of podcasts and vidcasts in the country, has a working catch-up model for TV called iView. Taxpayer funded, so debt doesn’t really matter; what matters most is the approach to new media with limited resources.

The AFR talkfest is sponsored by Macquarie Group, another business model whose time seems to have come and gone. Fitch downgraded Macquarie’s credit rating this week by two notches. Macquarie would be more interested in any corporate activity from the AFR conferences than supporting the idea of a “brave new world”. Macquarie no doubt hopes the current upturn in global markets continues because it wants to escape a profits black hole.

Meanwhile, the AFR is running a seminar on the media’s future without seeing the irony of such a forum from a newspaper that has fluffed its online business model several times in the past 10 years and failed to build on the market position and reputation it once had, but is now diminished. The Financial Times remains the gold standard for a “brave new world” for the media, especially business publications. — Glenn Dyer

Kony video screens in Uganda, audience flips out

“The event ended with the angrier members of the audience throwing rocks and shouting abusive criticism, as the rest fled for safety, leaving an abandoned projector, with organisers and the press running for cover until the dust settled.” — Al Jazeera

The Doonesbury abortion cartoons

“Garry Trudeau, creator of the wonderful Doonesbury comic strip, caused some controversy this week when he opted for a storyline based on the recent trend of dildonic ultrasound abortion bills. ” — Gawker

FT journos strike over pay

“Journalists at the Financial Times have voted to escalate their action over pay following a breakdown in talks with management.”– National Union of Journalists

Newspapers keep dying but online publishing babies grow

“An analysis of industries in the United States by the Council of Economic Advisors (CEA), the White House agency that advises the president on economic trends, has found that newspapers are America’s fastest-shrinking industry.” — Greenslade blog, The Guardian

Janet Holmes a Court begs to maintain kids TV quota

” [Janet] Holmes A Court urges the Federal Government to retain minimum quotas. “Governments have to continue seeing the value in what we do. Not only for the child audience in watching television, but also in future getting their programmes on all sorts of other media that we haven’t even thought about yet.”
” — TV Tonight

Honda pays bloggers to spruik their cars

“The new Honda Civic is so boring you’d probably have to pay me to write something positive about it, which is exactly what Honda attempted to do via a third-party European company. Welcome back to the world of pay-for-post blogging where automakers desperately try to generate positive social media buzz — and fail.” — Jalopnik

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey