From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Changes at The Crimes. We’re hearing reports this morning of a job reshuffle (and some roles being cut or downgraded) at The Canberra Times, Fairfax’s daily for the national capital. It seems local food and wine coverage is to be demoted, with the editor of the Food and Wine supplement, Kirsten Lawson, being reassigned to local political coverage and not being replaced. There’s a rumour the editor of the popular music lift-out Fly is not being replaced (although the supplement will continue — the editor’s role was part-time and was done for a time by Andrew Benson), and we hear the social pages — with lots of pics of people at local events, put out by Canberra stalwart Lyn Mills, a fixture at social events with her ever-present camera  — may have been downgraded.

It sounds like a few of the paper’s journos are leaving of their own accord, including Peter Jean. Political veteran (and press gallery fixture) Ross Peake has had his role tweaked and becomes the editor of the Forum lift-out. Longtime general manager Ken Nicholls has recently left, as has been known for some time. It’s understood Fairfax management says the headcount at the paper has not changed, and it is more of a reallocation of resources.

The paper’s editor, Rod Quinn, said this to local ABC today:

“A number of staff moves are occurring at The Canberra Times, as happens in all newsrooms from time to time … The Canberra Times remains committed to leading the news and content agenda in Canberra. This includes providing excellent social photographs covering a wide range of events. Staff numbers remain unchanged (in fact, we are recruiting new reporters).”

However, some Canberra types are worried the paper’s coverage of local events and trends, especially food and wine, will suffer. The proof will be in the pudding … like many newspapers, there have been cuts to sections and roles in recent years. The loss of the experienced trio of literary editor, features editor and arts editor in 2012 was felt by some readers.

CORRECTION. The original version of this tip said “it sounds like a few of the paper’s journos are leaving of their own accord, including the valued pair of Peter Jean and Noel Towell”. This is not correct. Noel Towell is relocating from Canberra to Melbourne, but will continue to work for The Canberra Times. Crikey is aware of other Canberra Times reporters who are leaving, so the use of the plural still holds.

Murdoch reading your rental form? Rental application startup 1Form was bought up by REA, which owns rental portal giant realestate.com.au, in mid-January. 1Form allows you to avoid having to fill out a new rental form every time you apply for a property (though you have to cough up $30 if you submit a form more than three times; otherwise your details are deleted and you have to start again), and REA’s website is one of the key ways people find things to rent in the first place, making the deal horizontal integration at its finest.

But is that all there is to it? REA is independently listed, but one Crikey reader is concerned about REA’s majority-owner, News Corp. “Rupert’s minions will now potentially have access to the personal details of millions of Australians,” our reader said.

Was the acquisition more about data than software? Should renters be worried? 1Form’s terms of service contain no mention of whether or not the company collects the data submitted on its forms, or how that data will be used. However, REA has a comprehensive privacy policy, which says data collected from users “is used only for the purpose for which it is submitted or for such other secondary purposes that are related to the primary purpose”, unless users are otherwise told.

If that’s not enough to reassure readers, know that from March 14, Australians will be legally empowered to see what personal information large corporations keep on them, as part of a sweeping set of changes to the Privacy Act. 

Bottom up for Bill Glasson! LNP candidate Bill Glasson faces an uphill battle to win Saturday’s Griffith byelection (that’s Kevin Rudd’s old turf). He’s drawn the last position on the ballot paper of 11 names, and a mole passed on this:

“Overheard at an early voting booth was a Liberal worker handing out cards to people and saying, ‘Bottom up for Bill’. Other variations quickly emerged. Bit awkward.”

Super Bowl Down Under. Those brave bureaucrats at the US embassy in Canberra are marking the Super Bowl (which is on right now) with a chili comp …

But don’t get too carried away — we’re assuming this is the US version of chili (red or black beans, often with meat, cheese and sour cream) and not the Australian version. A large pot of actual chilis would certainly rev you up for the game … and we hear Canberra Times journo Natasha Rudra is at the game, so watch out for epistles from the front line. Fave Crikey pollster Nate Silver is there and tweeting

SA a dangerous place. We’ve been bringing you some pics of noteworthy graffiti, as sent in by our readers. A tourist sent us this one from SA …

“I snapped this sign on the side wall of a butcher shop in Crystal Brook in SA while passing through recently. Contract killings? Interesting way to diversify!” our stringer said. Please send us pics of any interesting graffiti in your ‘hood.

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