From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Times they are are a’changing at News. Crikey was interested to be copied into this email from News Limited’s Queensland editorial director David Fagan to all editorial staff. Sounds like the seamless transition to a “single state newsroom, serving a true seven-day print and digital operation” is going tickety-boo. We were intrigued to learn the new regime has a “Head of Vision”, but it turns out this relates to photographs, not evangelical leadership. Crikey does love a good office email so feel free to cut and paste us in any time.

Similar changes have happened over at Adelaide’s News Ltd HQ, where staff from The Advertiser, The Sunday Mail and Messenger community newspapers are now working together on the same floor on a seven-day operation. An insider tells us that editors sit at a central “superdesk” with reporters radiating outwards and photographers scattered around the place.

This made Crikey reflect on the “mind control” theories of English philosopher Jeremy Bentham, who suggested the Panoptican model, under which the head honchos sit at a central watchhouse where they can see everyone, and the drones fan out from them (without knowing when they’re being watched). Bentham may have had prisons in mind, but the model could work in an Adelaide newsroom too.

Nothing’s freezing in the NT. The NT’s Commissioner for Public Employment has issued an edict on the “recruitment freeze” that the Territory’s new CLP government has instituted. The commissioner, Graham Symons, says the freeze started on August 30, although front-line services and “positions essential to the functioning of those services” are generally exempt. The edict came out on August 31. Seems that the “freeze” doesn’t extend to the Chief Minister’s office though — this ad is calling for ministerial advisers, media advisers, personal assistants and administrative officers. Apparently it went up the day before the freeze started.

Oh dear. Seems like some adult learnders need more learning.

Death by 1000 cuts. A Fairfax insider writes:

“Just how far can the cost-cutting measures go? Once the night staff received a bundle of first editions copies of The Age … a must when checking through the paper to make sure there were no howlers. These days it seems the bloke who delivered them has been cut by the bean counters, so incongruously, the Age office gets copies of The Australian and the Herald Sun delivered but none of its own product. It was always regarded as a real badge of honour by the subs (now called producers) to walk from the building with a copy of that day’s paper under the arm after a late shift … something tangible for your efforts. What next?”

Pollies’ lit picks. We’ve been relying on tipsters to fill us on on what politicians read in their spare time, and we enjoyed this one:

“I was once at an airport reading Ayn Rand’s Fountainhead when I was approached by Wilson Tuckey. I was instantly his new best friend. (Be careful who you read with). Happy to remain anonymous.”

Meanwhile Labor MP Andrew Leigh tells us he’s got Christopher Hayes’ Twilight of the Meritocracy and Alison Booth’s A Distant Land on his bedside table.

Crikey’s literary hankering was prompted by the news that Tony Abbott has a penchant for s-xy literature aimed at women. Last week we mused on which celebrated literary figure Abbott most resembles, and we’ve had two people who think he’s like William Collins, the pompous clergyman from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. One well-read tipster said this: “I can see Mr Abbott making a suitable Mr Collins who has a similar obsession with Lady Catherine’s furnishing arrangements and fireplaces as Mr Abbott displays with the carbon tax”. Another said this: “Religious? check. Bore? check. pseudo-intellectual? check. Sucks up to rich people? check. Has to be Mr Collins, no competition.” Another literatus suggested Abbott put them in mind of Dickensian characters.

Got the inside word on what politicians read at leisure? Drop us a line, and feel free to stay anonymous, especially if you’re Wilson “Iron Bar” Tuckey’s new best friend …

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