HuffPo shelves Aussie expansion plans. Remember last year when US link-bait portal The Huffington Post sent out an ad seeking a local editor for its apparently imminent Australian beachhead? Well, it seems the search has yet to bear fruit.

HuffPo international tsar Nicholas Sabloff told Crikey last night that a local HuffPo wouldn’t launch this year, saying only that “we are looking at Australia for 2013, and still very much looking forward to launching in the country” when asked about the roll-out. When the initial PD surfaced 11 months ago, some observers cruelly mocked the onerous prerequisites — 10 years editorial experience (with previous experience as an editor-in-chief) and a minimum of five years online experience — which appeared to rule out everyone except David Penberthy. Others questioned the suitability of HuffPo‘s revenue model in a local online sphere already awash with free or nearly free content.

In April, a lawsuit brought by a group of unpaid HuffPo bloggers demanding a chop out from the site’s $315 million sale to AOL was dismissed by a US district court. — Andrew Crook

Francis fans asylum anger. Belligerent Adelaide shock jock Bob Francis, of talkback station FIVEaa, has a long history of causing offence. In 2005 he provided almost a year’s worth of Media Watch content by calling an elderly listener a “dick brain” and a “stupid old lady”, saying a judge’s face should be smashed in, and being found guilty of vilifying or inciting hatred towards Aboriginal people. On Monday night, he was at it again — this time telling listeners that asylum seekers coming to Australia by boat deserve to drown:

“Bugger the boat people, I say,” thundered the 73 year-old commercial radio hall of famer. “As far as I’m concerned, I hope they bloody drown out there on their way over here — in my opinion they are not welcome here.”

Crikey rang FIVEaa station manager Sean O’Brien this morning to find out whether any complaints have been received, but he hasn’t returned our calls. We doubt Bob will get in too much trouble from his DMG masters: he easily wins the ratings each night with a 16.9% audience share. — Matthew Knott

Tele boasts its scoops over SMH. Journos often get narky about who got the scoop. It’s nothing personal, it’s just built into their DNA — and the timestamp-driven online sphere has increased the frenzy to be first. But this latest effort from the Daily Tele takes byline boasting to the extreme, a cavalcade of apparently damning evidence that bitter rivals are well off the pace.

For instance, we learn that Tele readers knew Willy Mason was signed by the Newcastle Knights two hours before the SMH reported it and that Sam Ibrahim was back behind bars 48 minutes before Fairfax got their yarn up. Crikey can recall numerous instances when stories were backdated or pre-written to ensure one outlet had bragging rights. Surely the upstanding Tele wouldn’t resort to such underhanded tactics? We await Fairfax’s riposte. — Andrew Crook

Fashion watch: fancy pants edition. We missed the debut of the Hamish Macdonald-fronted Ten Late News on Monday, so never gave proper credit to the volume of his attire. We applaud Ten for shaking up its bulletin and appealing to a younger generation, we’re just not sure if skinny red jeans is going to do it …

Front page of the day. The Daily Telegraph, representative of rugby league heartland, pulls out the puns to cover the shock resignation of NRL boss David Gallop:

Victoria to introduce shield laws

“Journalists will be protected against naming confidential sources in court under a new ‘shield law’ to be introduced into state Parliament today.” — Herald Sun

Disney bans junk food

“US media giant Walt Disney has said it will ban junk food ads on its TV, radio and online programs.” — BBC News

Why freemium doesn’t work

“It’s common for people to spend $5 on a vanilla latte but to agonise over paying $5 a month for a web service. That’s because a psychological barrier to paying for online services remains, and it’s hurting both consumers and businesses. The solution that’s emerged to address this customer behaviour is the freemium business model.” — Mashable

How Atlantic Media magazines hire people

“Doctoral students on the fence about pursuing a teaching career may have a future at the Atlantic Media Company. Prior journalism experience or a journalism degree isn’t necessarily required for the job of helping launch its newest product, a global business venture called Quartz.” — Poynter

Peter Fray

Get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for $12.

Without subscribers, Crikey can’t do what it does. Fortunately, our support base is growing.

Every day, Crikey aims to bring new and challenging insights into politics, business, national affairs, media and society. We lift up the rocks that other news media largely ignore. Without your support, more of those rocks – and the secrets beneath them — will remain lodged in the dirt.

Join today and get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12.


Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey