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Panpa Bulletin : February 2006
HOT FLASHES > We always love how the McPherson Media team at the Shepparton News seem to think beyond the square. Their latest job ad for an advertising artwork practitioner calls for an 'Advertising Style and Accuracy Expert'. > Gene Swinstead, most recently known as Chairman of News Limited's Community Newspapers, appears as Managing Editor for the Melbourne Star and B News gay-lesbian fortnightly newspapers. Not that there's anything wrong with that! Bucking the tabloid trend IT'S seems a weird way to launch a newspaper ... but there have been some curious start-ups in this world of publishing. As the rest of the world is going compact, Rockhampton in Central Queensland has a new weekend newspaper - and it's a broadsheet. Weekend Choice boasts a free circulation of 35,000, and has been pumping out editions of 18 pages. The newspaper has been a commercial job of the presses of John Engisch's Torch Publishing Company in Sydney. Most people don't go that far for their holidays, but the paper makes the weekly trip from Bankstown to Rocky every week. *** These readers have gone Surfing FASCINATING to read between the lines on Victoria's west coast where independent John Stoward seems to be making in-roads with his free weekly Surf Coast Times against the entrenched interests of the Geelong Advertiser, Geelong News and Echo - all run by the News Limited monolith. They must be playing it pretty hard down on the Coast, as the Surf Coast Times was forced to run an apology for running a letter to the editor that it published on December 26. Seems as though the same letter had been published in The Echo on December 22. "Due to the copyright breach, we apologise to the Echo newspaper," the Surf Coast Times said. *** The price is right! WHEN The West Australian paid $16.5 million for the Quokka Weekly free ads newspaper, it may have started a 'perhaps us too' thought in the minds of some east coast publishers, who started the new Melbourne weekly, Trade & Exchange Aus- tralia, last September. Starting with just 12 tabloid pages, and a $2.50 cover price soon reduced to $1, Trade & Exchange Australia is now publishing 48 pages of totally free ads for its readers. Trade & Exchange Australia could have hopes for a multi- million buy-out from the publishers of the 40-year-old Melbourne Trading Post, now owned by Sensis. TEA tells its readers that it makes its money from news- stand sales and business display ads. It enjoys relatively small numbers of each - with a large quota of repeat ads. TEA is keeping up a sustained radio advertising campaign on talk station 3AW. Meanwhile, Trading Post once published the number of private classifieds in each edition. In 2004, this approached close to 40,000. Some 2005 editions were less than half this number, although they have been replaced by better yield display ads - similar to the Recycler commercial model in California. Last month, the Melbourne Trading Post front-page boasted '219,541 Classifieds' - a national Sensis network figure has replaced the local statistic. *** Has Beecher sold out? ERIC Beecher was the media darling of the 1980s as Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax) and Editor-in-Chief for Rupert Murdoch's Melbourne Herald (Melbourne). Late last year, cashed up after the $65 million Text Media sell- out to Fairfax, Beecher warned of the 'dumbing down' of the media, with the caution that "there could be very little journalism of excellence left after another decade or two." Beecher seems keen to be part of this dumbing down process, after buying the Crikey online newsletter for $1 million from Stephen Mayne. Last month, the Beecher e- sheet ("published every weekday in good faith") was picking at the private life of former Consolidated Press boss Kerry Packer, as if Crikey were eye- witness for every alleged bump and grind. Of course, Crikey was not an eye-witness, at all. Reports, repeatedly pumped by Crikey founder Stephen Mayne, can only be speculation ... guess- work .... unsubstantiated gossip. And that's sad. Beecher - one- time media wonder boy, who once offered an Andrew Olle lecture about media ethics - now makes his Crikey bucks from stories more speculative than the Ezra's Norton old Truth. If you want to slip 'THE FLASH' a little note, the absolutely untraceable theflash@panpa. org.au will do 52 | PANPA BULLETIN February 2006 THE FLASH Come on, admit it, everyone love a good tidbit, scandal if we can g Welcome to our new tell-all column from 'The Flash'. Photo: fairfaxphotos