Vale John Motion, a publishing mentor. In 1989 I was 23 and in my first management role when I met the man who would become my first career sponsor. John Motion was general manager of Kerry Packer’s Australian Consolidated Press when I was appointed editor of Dolly. John passed away this week from cruel and incurable liver cancer. I was informed of the terribly sad news by former That’s Life editor Bev Hadgraft. We worked together for John in the late 1990s when he was CEO of Pacific Publications and I was publishing director there, a role to which he appointed me.

The story behind Pacific’s move from its head office in Melbourne, once famously run by publishing icon Dulcie Boling, is perhaps the one that best defines John Motion’s contribution to Australian publishing. He left ACP following a restructure and was quickly in discussions with PMP chief executive Ken Catlow to join the enemy. The problem was that John wanted to remain in Sydney and the Sydney office at the time was purely a sales office. So he was given the challenge of finding a magazine business that Pacific could purchase and he would run. That business was Attic Futura, a tiny, cash-poor publisher of teen titles that included GirlfriendTV Hits and Hot Metal. The purchase would make multimillionaires of owners Deke Miskin and Steve Bush. Deke Miskin would later buy the Point Piper waterfront mansion Altona from Fiona Handbury, the former wife of Rupert Murdoch’s nephew Matt Handbury, while Steve Bush would invest in art and businesses in Coffs Harbour.

As part of the deal Pacific and the Attic Futura founders would work together to launch successful young women’s magazines, Sugar, B and Shine, into the tough English market. They would also launch one of the most significant weekly women’s magazines in Australia. Backing the launch of That’s Life in 1994 was just one of the inspired decisions John made. It was the first reality-based weekly to launch in Australia, and I recall many industry leaders quietly talking it down at the time. John once told me that his gut instinct told him the genre would work here. — Marina Go (read the full story at Women’s Agenda)

Customary photoshopping. Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey, New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell and Prime Minister Tony Abbott have swapped their usual suits for Customs gear in a weird Photoshop job, complete with word balloons, in The Daily Telegraph this morning …

Daily Telegraph photoshop

They’re striding down a digital tarmac to accompany a story saying most Sydneysiders support the creation of a second airport. We especially like the punny caption: “It’s a dogfight over a second airport at Badgerys Creek, with Tony Abbott caught in holding pattern, Joe Hockey piloting a take-off and Barry O’Farrell wanting it grounded.” This one’s got wings.

Hearing crickets on the sports pages. Readers of the Sydney Morning Herald this morning could be excused for thinking that the first cricket Test between Australia and South Africa, in South Africa, is a mirage. There was only one story in the sports pages and that didn’t have a score, focusing instead on how many balls Shaun Marsh had left in making 122 not out on the first day. Contrast that with The Daily Telegraph, which had a picture, a scoreboard for the entire Australian first innings and a report. The Australian was more up to date with a pic, match report on the start of the South African innings and a comment piece.

So why did the SMH ignore the match in its print edition this morning? Well, it looks as though the paper’s deadline was around 8pm, which is when play was due to start. The Tele and the Oz‘s deadlines look like they were at least two to three hours later. That doesn’t excuse the SMH’s lack of coverage of the first day. Or did editors think that with extensive coverage online yesterday, they didn’t have to do it again in the paper? — Glenn Dyer

Front page of the day. The United States is reeling under the icy weight of Super Storm Pax, with Atlanta brought to its knees by snow. Hundreds of thousands have lost power, and commuters were sleeping in their cars as roads became impassable …

Atlanta Journal Constitution

Peter Fray

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