Correction:

CRIKEY: Re. “Tips and rumours” (yesterday, item 7). An item appeared in Tips and Rumours yesterday about John McTernan and Nick Reece. McTernan has told us that the story is completely untrue. We are happy to correct the record.

Clarification:

CRIKEY: Re. “Fairfax: impairment losses a major deficiency in statement” (yesterday, item 18). Fairfax tells Crikey it has been “very clear” about its debt covenants. “There is no relationship between book asset values or impairments and covenant compliance,” a spokesperson said.

Fairfax:

Jim Hart writes: Re. “Fairfax cuts deep: papers to tabloids, 1900 staff axed” (yesterday, item 1). Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood understood that a problem shared is a problem halved, that he had a problem with the broadsheet and now it’s going to be halved to a tabloid. Which he prefers to call “compact” to avoid sounding too down-market.

The tabloidisation in itself isn’t really the issue because for years now The Age has been a collection of tabloids inserted into each other and wrapped in a veneer of broadsheet pages. It’s not the page size that matters, it’s finding the section you want. You might start flipping through the business section when you run into the start of motoring, which in turn holds employment (a very thin section), which holds the Moonee Valley form guide, which is wrapped around football. And so on, and did I mention real estate (sorry, Domain), or the Greenish Guide and EG?

The format change will, however, make perfect sense for The Sunday Age, which has always been a tabloid masquerading as a broadsheet.

Niall Clugston writes: Fairfax’s plight has wider implications. The spread of the internet has unleashed the dieback of a swathe of media industries. And while the old world is dying, the new one has not yet been born. Successful online businesses can be numbered on the fingers of one hand, and, no, even the dirty end of the industry cannot lure the nibbling mouse away from the plethora of free products.

The media is Australia is smaller than it was when the population was half its size — fewer newspapers, and the same number of TV stations.

We were promised an information age but were led into a desert of mirrors …

Pádraig Collins writes: Neither The New York Times nor The Guardian are published in compact formats. The NYT is, and always has been, a broadsheet. The Guardian is published in a Berliner format, which is not a tabloid or compact. It published as a broadsheet before September 12, 2005.

Kim Lockwood writes: Greg Hywood is quoted thus: “This is an historic day for Fairfax Media. We are making the biggest changes to the business ever made and none of us under-estimates the enormity of them.” I assume Hywood checked the original and for many still the only true meaning of “enormity”: monstrous wickedness.

Greece:

Richard Barlow writes: Re. “Rundle: Greece where the protest will become more militant” (yesterday, item 4). Greece may well opt for the drachma over a depression without end, they might look to Iceland and think it can’t be all that bad. I suspect they would not be alone for long , as the pressure would come on the other the other euro weak-link nations.

Maybe they should create a “euro lira” for those countries in the economic second tier? Imagine a euro that reflected the actual strength of the northern euro economies and the imbalances with the south, it would stop the nonsense of cheap Volkswagens and expensive Fiats. I bet the Germans will never agree.

Alan Jones:

Alan Speers writes: David Mendelssohn (yesterday, comments) got it right with his comments on ACMA and Alan Jones’ behaviour behind the microphone whenever he speaks of the PM?  But should we be  surprised? Chris Masters’ unauthorised biography, Jonestown, on the former schoolteacher-cum-Wallaby coach, was enlightening in the extreme.

And has there ever been a more appropriate radio pairing than Jones and Ray Hadley, whose articulate performance at the Athens Olympics in 1994, deriding a 2GB colleague, when he imagined he was off-air, still gets an occasional run via YouTube?

Federal independent Rob Oakeshott, the target of continual personal, rather than professional, attacks by the same Hadley, should not feel too badly.

Peter Fray

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