From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Good news week at The Advertiser. No news is bad news in News Limited’s Adelaide newsroom, apparently. A spy reports that court reporters at The Advertiser and The Sunday Mail have been told that “there were too many depressing stories coming out of courts”. Find more positive, uplifting yarns, they were told. Says our mole:

“The new ‘good news’ approach is said to be based on research and the seven-day desk editors are rating stories against a set of key performance indicators developed from the research. This might explain why BHP’s decision to cancel its ‘economy-transforming’ $30 billion expansion of Olympic Dam was met with an offer to advertisers of a free strip ad on anything they wanted to pitch and yesterday’s front page claiming the expansion project was still alive. In Adelaide, every week is now Good News Week.”

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Sexton exit adds to Age departures. Respected Victorian state politics scribe Reid Sexton has taken a redundancy from The Age. He told Twitter of the news this morning and will be missed by Spring Street aficionados accustomed to opening the paper each day to another cracking scoop. On Black Saturday, Sexton — on holiday at Apollo Bay — was a machine on the mobile, checking in with the newsroom and contributing information well into the night.

Finance media wheeling and dealing. Custom media house Sterling Publishing — which produces titles The Adviser, Real Estate Business and Smart Property Investment — is apparently looking at buying into investment research firm Morningstar. Our tipster says while nothing is for sure at this stage and both companies are keeping their cards close to their chests. We contacted Phillip Tarrant, of Sterling Publishing, who would only say that “a lot of opportunities land on [their] table” and they’re considering options. Morningstar’s Phillip Grey phrased his “no comment” more explicitly.

Fortescue’s ‘difficult decisions’ explained. Falling iron ore prices forced Fortescue Metals Group to cut staff numbers and defer projects yesterday. In the staff memo sent to us, CEO Nev Power said they were “extremely difficult decisions but ones that need to be made in light of market conditions”.

Newman fires, then hires. A Crikey correspondent reports that a relative lost their job on June 30 with Queensland Health as part of the punting of all temporary contracts. But unemployment didn’t last long: “He was out of that job for less than two months, when he was re-employed on the same terms as those on which he left — up until June 30, 2013.”

Spruiking in Newcastle. Federal Labor MP for Newcastle Sharon Grierson held a ceremony to recognise local volunteers on Friday, and according to one discontented attendee, “her opening remarks became an ad for the event’s MC Nuatali Nelmes, the ALP’s lord mayoral candidate. Completely unapologetic and completely inappropriate. I am sure no other candidates were invited to what was made out to be a community ceremony and not an ALP event.”

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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