Gone but not for long. The Age’s Short Story Competition, which has been running since 1979, is not to be, at least, not in 2014. Crikey has learned of authors who made inquires about submission dates and the like, and were told not to bother. But literary types can rest assured the Melbourne institution isn’t dead, as Age literary editor Jason Steger says the change is not permanent. “For organisational reasons it is not taking place this year,” he said this morning. “It will be back next year”.

Earlier this month, Fairfax cancelled another iconic add-on after it was revealed it wasn’t printing its 2015 Leunig calendar. But a public outcry convinced it to reverse the decision. — Myriam Robin

Get those rappers off Q&A. The Australian has stepped up its campaign to oust ABC managing director Mark Scott, writing in its editorial today:

“Scott often portrays this newspaper as his ideological or even commercial opponent. On the contrary, Mark, come back. We want the ABC back in the fray, reclaiming prominence so that we feel compelled to watch. We want to argue with it, we want to agree with it and sometimes we want to be forced to follow ABC stories, the way it so often follows ours. We want the great debates of our time — such as climate policy, national security, immigration, tax reform and workplace relations — to be kicked around from every angle by Aunty the way they are in our pages. If Scott does not have the intellectual heft or passion for the cultural, political and social debates of our time, then he should let such a person take the reins.”

Who is this man? The Crikey bunker has been scratching our heads over who appeared in Mike Baird’s place in the Australian Financial Review yesterday. It doesn’t look like the NSW Premier, but today’s edition of the Fin didn’t carry a correction or any further revelation as to the mystery-man’s identity. Recognise him? Or is it indeed Baird on a weird angle? Get in touch.

More gloom for US newspapers. USA Today remained the top US newspaper by total average daily circulation, including digital readers, but News Corp’s The Wall Street Journal still has the largest print circulation, according to figures for the six months to September 30, released overnight by The Alliance for Audited Media. USA Today had a total daily average circulation of 4.1 million. The print edition count comprised roughly 1.1 million, or about 26% of the total circulation. Those figures include the paper’s so-called “butterfly” program, launched last year, in which a version of USA Today is inserted in some of Gannett’s regional papers. The two measures have boosted the paper’s overall figures, allowing it to more than offset a nasty slide in paid print sales.

The Wall Street Journal reported a total average circulation of 2.3 million. The print edition comprised 1.4 million, or 60% of the total. There was a small rise of around 3700 copies in its paid print sales, a rarity for the paper in recent years.

The New York Times’ total circulation was 2.1 million, with print circulation of 639,887 or 30% of the total. The Times’ Sunday edition had paid print sales of 1.18 million, making it the biggest selling Sunday paper. But that was down 3.5% from a year earlier. With a paywall on its main site and a slate of mobile apps requiring monthly subscription, the paper’s digital circulation totalled 1.38 million. The Times’ Monday-to-Friday paid circulation fell from 676,633 a year ago to 639,887 in the latest report.

The Los Angeles Times (owned by the spun off Tribune newspaper company) recorded continuing losses for its weekday and Sunday editions. Its average Sunday print circulation fell 6.5%, to 685,473 from 733,101 in September 2013. Its average Monday-Friday print circulation fell nearly 7% over the same period, to 370,990 from 398,202. 

One day we could wake up to find a newspaper has all but ceased to exist in its current form with thousands of differing versions of the core paper being churned out, sold, given away, inserted or paywalled. But to what end if that core print run is tiny and heading for extinction? — Glenn Dyer

Video of the day. John Oliver advises New Yorkers to not eat mystery mucus in the street until this Ebola panic is over …

Front page of the day. One for the history books (or the defamation lawyers) …

Peter Fray

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