From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …
Journo movements. Breaking news from the Canberra press gallery — social media queen Latika Bourke is moving from the ABC to Fairfax (and presumably taking her 73,000 followers with her). Bourke used to be with radio 2UE in the gallery then moved to the ABC, where she’s a political reporter. Bourke is a prolific tweeter who writes for online and sometimes appears on ABC24. She’s well-known in Parliament House for being glamorous and keeping people posted on her life, car, etc, on Instagram.
But don’t underestimate Bourke just because she makes an effort to frock up for big occasions. She’s smart, and she’s very well-connected; she’s got mobile numbers for everyone who matters, and they do talk to her. True to form, she’s been tweeting about the move:
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(She’s tweeting someone from the ABC whose partner works at Fairfax, FYI). Crikey spoke to The Age’s news director Mark Forbes, who said Bourke would remain in the press gallery, where she would focus on breaking news and use her social media reach. In an all-staff email seen by Crikey, Fairfax honchos said they were “delighted” with the appointment. Bourke starts at the end of July.
Meanwhile The Guardian’s new editor in Australia Emily Wilson has begun her stint by announcing the line-up for the website’s Melbourne office, with former Sunday Age editor Gay Alcorn to head up the outpost. Melissa Davey, another former Fairfax journo, will move down from Sydney, where she has been reporting on health and medical news for The Guardian. This brings the company’s Melbourne staff up to four, including environment reporter Oliver Milman and cartoonist (and Crikey alumnus) First Dog on the Moon.
What happened to WA whistleblower? In another blow to the still unopened Fiona Stanley Hospital in Perth, the WA Auditor General announced yesterday that the state government had wasted $6 million on an IT system that delayed the hospital opening by six months before being dropped. Serco was contracted to deliver the project as part of its $4.3 billion deal to provide all non-clinical services to the hospital, but has already had some roles taken off it and re-allocated to WA Health. The project, which was to deliver an almost paperless hospital, was dropped at the end of last year, two years after starting. But it didn’t have to be this way, according to a mole from out West …
“What is interesting is that a contractor was dismissed from the project when he raised these possibilities when the project was being planned. I expect he now has the satisfaction of saying ‘I told you so’.”
We contacted Fiona Stanley Hospital for comment but haven’t heard back yet.
Sharri trawls Tinder. The Crikey bunker loves opening The Australian’s Media section of a Monday morning — the blend of bizzarro stuff and non-media-related content, curated by trained Murdoch attack bot Sharri Markson, is a constant thrill. But even for Media, this was a new low. Yesterday Markson noted that arch-rival Joe Aston, the AFR’s gossip columnist, was — shock horror — on Tinder! (That’s a dating site for young persons, if you’re not on the scene yourself.) The Oz rewrote Aston’s profile. We can’t reproduce it in full because, well, it is so very lame. This is all we can bring ourselves to show you:
Now, rumour is that this little gambit was Oz editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell’s idea. Is it true he met his wife on RSVP — and if so, why sign up to a Fairfax-owned dating site, Chris? Tut tut.
As for Ms Markson, it may be that she is single herself and has recently used dating sites. It would explain how she stumbled across Aston’s profile … we wouldn’t normally note these kinds of details, but according to The Australian, this is all fair game.
And memo for ageing editors — almost everyone under 35 who is not in a relationship is on Tinder. So calm down.
Canberra Labor movements. Tips has had a go at ACT Young Labor recently at rumours it was a bit of a blokefest— we can now report ACT Labor has a new president, Louise Crossman (@louisecrossman). She’s a young lawyer who used to work for Labor MP Ed Husic, seen as a rising star. Meanwhile we hear ACT Labor secretary Elias Hallaj “has developed a bit of a following as a food blogger and told Facebook this week he will soon apply his blogging skills to a new more career-focused project”. In other news from the national capital, Labor MLA Mick Gentleman has been made a minister (that’s an inspiring name for a pollie). Wasn’t he a comcar driver for Paul Keating?
More on #palmgore. Al Gore flew into controversy when he stood next to Clive Palmer at that press conference last week. Check out this video interview he did with Vice the day after, in which he defends his decision to endorse the man who announced he’d can the carbon tax. Gore describes Palmer’s presser as “a very positive step … it doesn’t do everything that I would want, but it’s so much better than would have been the case”. Gore also says of Palmer: “First of all I like him, he does have an unusual style for sure.” He’s less complimentary about Direct Action, which he describes as “a dodge”.
It’s all Greek (or Latin) to me. Following yesterday’s tip that a Victorian RSL’s website had advertised childcare with pictures of people boozing at the pub, a reader pointed us towards Net to Net Solutions. The web design company advertises the RSL website as one of its recent projects, along with this childcare website. It seems that Net to Net are serial offenders at making websites live before they’re completed — this is from their “our team” page — filler text on their CEO “Jonh [sic] Doe”.