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Jul 26, 2013

Hold the sink: Col Allan returns to Oz to advise Kim Williams

Here's one no one saw coming: colourful New York Post editor-in-chief Col Allan is returning Down Under. But what will News Corp Australia chief Kim Williams make of his new adviser?

One of Rupert Murdoch’s most trusted and colourful lieutenants, New York Post editor-in-chief Col Allan, is returning to Australia. Allan will spend the next two to three months at News Corp Australia’s Holt Street headquarters advising CEO Kim Williams on editorial strategy.

In a memo to staff this morning, News Corp CEO Robert Thomson said he had requested Allan make the move.

One News insider suggested part of Allan’s mission would be building bridges between Williams and key editors, including Chris Mitchell at The Australian and Paul Whittaker at The Daily Telegraph. Both men have had an at-times testy relationship with Williams, and have fought vigorously to maintain resources and editorial control at their papers.

Williams and Allan are expected to be an odd couple. While Williams is an urbane opera-lover, Allan is best known for urinating in a sink during Tele news conferences and for visiting a New York strip club with Kevin Rudd. He was nicknamed Col Pot for his domineering management style during his editorship of The Daily Telegraph.

There has been speculation for years that Allan would return home to run News’ Australian papers. But Thomson insists in his memo this is only a “temporary” assignment and Allan will return to edit the Post. It’s unclear what the assignment means for News Corp Australia’s editorial director Campbell Reid.

Allen lifted circulation during his time at the Tele and became legendary for his ability to turn relatively minor stories into front-page splashes. He ran a survey on the number of children born out of wedlock on page one under the heading “A NATION OF BASTARDS”, as Stephen Mayne recalled in a 2000 Crikey profile. He also ordered the Tele‘s New York correspondent to fly to Washington, obtain a sheep, and tie it to the White House gate to protest US import quotas on Australian lamb.

Since 2001 Allan has been editor-in-chief of the New York Post, an unprofitable tabloid that is impossible to ignore because of its often outrageous front pages. Allan’s memorable cover splashes include “AXIS OF WEASEL” (accompanying a story on Germany and France’s opposition to the Iraq War) and “V-D DAY: Paris liberated, bimbos rejoice” on Paris Hilton’s release from jail.

There have been slip-ups though, big ones. In 2004, Allan ran a front-page story announcing Missouri Congressman Dick Gephardt would be John Kerry’s running mate (he wasn’t). And the Post was ridiculed for its error-prone coverage of the Boston bombings — two men, who featured on the paper’s front page, are suing over an article that made them look as if they were suspects in the case. The paper was accused of racism in 2009 for publishing a cartoon depicting Barack Obama as a crazy chimpanzee.

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15 comments

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15 thoughts on “Hold the sink: Col Allan returns to Oz to advise Kim Williams

  1. drmick

    A big rat jumping on a sinking ship from another sinking ship? The rags couldn’t get any worse could they? They don’t even make decent toilet paper. Crooked fuzz,the LNP and Rudd must have asked for a wage rise. Did a great job helping Obama get re-elected while supporting romney. This should be good.

  2. klewso

    He’s finished playing with his Weiner?

  3. klewso

    “News Corpse – What’s left of the truth, hanging outside the Murdoch Limited News Shambles”

  4. drmick

    Nice one Klewso. The Teflon Turds Empire built on bullshite & killing the truth one lie at a time

  5. john willoughby

    Col must be out here to sloganeer Tones into the Lodge…

  6. AR

    Loathe as i am to defend the unspeakable NYPost, the cartoon did not depict Obama as a chimp but was about the shooting of an escaped pet chimp which had torn off its owner’s face. It was the bien pissants who claimed it was anti BO because the sensitivity of the his election and amerika’s unresolvable Originating Sin.

  7. CML

    Got it in one, John W!
    Col has obviously been brought out here especially for the election, to further savage Kevin Rudd and the Labor Party (if that’s possible). I bet the ‘temporary’ assignment will end the day after the election.
    Pity Limited News doesn’t realise they are already preaching to the converted!!

  8. Kevin Herbert

    A dinosaur visits Oz to advise another dinosaur on a dying industry.

    Sounds like fun….

  9. rob oxford

    Kim Williams urbane!Oh, dear. They will be toe to toe, a pair of barking gargoyles.

  10. Liamj

    Allen is fleeing natural consequences & the Sandra Guzman suit, “accusing editor Col Allan of racism, sexism, and all-round dickishiness of the highest order”. He should fit right in at News Corp(se) Australia, motto: No to Refugees .. unless they’re white male throwbacks.