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Media Flash - Sept 4 - Website Launch Announcement

Monday, September 4, 2000

Your weekly Australian media industry E-newspaper is giving a web-site a go.
You can find us at http://mediaflash.au.com


E-Mail copies are expected to resume later this month. Let us know what you think with an note to mediaflash@yahoo.com


Regards, Ash Long, Media Flash


Media Flash

and Australian Media Job Directory

Monday, September 4, 2000

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Headliners

* JOHN FAIRFAX implements a lockout of editorial employees ... and it backfires.

* KERRY PACKER answers questions of propriety and prudence.

* STAN GRANT and TRACEY HOLMES tell all on '60 Minutes'.

* MAX NEWTON wrote dud cheques. We tell how we beat the system.

* ASH LONG presents Media Flash - Australia's weekly E-newspaper about the media industry. Ash has 30 years experience in press, TV, radio ... and now the Internet. Media Flash goes to more than 6000 subscribers. It starts this week as a web-site, and soon opens the Media Flash Chat Room for Australia's media people. Read on ...

Fairfax Move Backfires

* JOHN FAIRFAX HOLDINGS' lockout of editorial staffers on Friday, backfired with severe consequences at the weekend, especially in Melbourne. STEVE HARRIS' executive team was unable to generally distribute copies of Saturday's bumper Grand Final edition of The Age, as printers refused to cross the journalists' picket-line at the Spencer Street headquarters. Trades Hall leader LEE HUBBARD used his own car to block a major driveway at the Latrobe Street publishing exit used by delivery trucks. A unsigned Media Release issued by The Age referred to industrial action being taken by staffers as 'illegal'.

* PAT O'DONNELL, MEAA organiser, was quoted to say the picket lines and industrial action was taken after talks failed between the union and management of The Age. The broadsheet reported, at its online site, that Mr O'Donnell said the picket lines would remain in place until 'serious negotiations' commenced. In its Sunday Age edition, it was reported that Fairfax management sought a Supreme Court injunction, on Saturday, to remove the picket line outside The Age building.

Fairfax Implements Lockout

* JOHN FAIRFAX HOLDINGS imposed a lockout on some editorial employees from 3.30pm Friday. Affected publications were GREG HYWOOD'S Sydney Morning Herald and Sun-Herald, STEVE HARRIS' The Age, MICHAEL GILL'S Australian Financial Review, ALAN OAKLEY'S Newcastle Herald, plus The Illawarra Mercury, BRW and other community newspapers. The company said the lockout is in response to ongoing disruptions of the publication of its newspapers and magazines from industrial action taken by the Media Entertainment Arts Alliance.

* FRED HILMER, Fairfax CEO, presides as publishers of each masthead sent this common letter to their respective staffs: 'Dear Colleague, Fairfax is committed to concluding enterprise arrangements with the MEAA at the earliest opportunity. While much work has already been invested by both sides to achieve this result, we regret to report that matters presently appear to be at an impasse. We aim to achieve an agreement which allows Fairfax to enhance conditions for editorial staff while maintaining sustainable cost structures into the future. Our present offer retains profit sharing in a sustainable form with a commitment to minimum bonus payments in each year. Concerns with respect to merit are also being addressed.'

Negotiations Today?

* FAIRFAX management's letter says the company proposed that negotiations re-commence today (Monday, Sept. 4 at 10am) 'provided we had an assurance that there will be no further industrial action, including rolling strikes, bans or limitations on work while negotiations continue. This has been rejected by the MEAA'. The respective publishers, in Friday's letter, continued: 'As you know, work has been disrupted on a rolling basis since Wednesday evening. This has created an impossible, uncertain and unacceptable environment for the production of our newspapers and magazines. The Company is therefore implementing its right to take protected industrial action, and is implementing a lock-out, effective at 3.30pm today. While this is not our preferred choice, the issues involved are of such importance that we are regrettably left with no other alternative given the ongoing disruptions to production of our publications.

* FAIRFAX executives continue: 'It is also important to understand that, as a result of the industrial action undertaken by MEAA, it is unlawful, under s187AA of the Workplace Relations Act of 1996, for us to pay you during the whole period in which any of you may have been engaged in industrial action. We want an immediate return to negotiations and to promptly reach mutual agreement. This is only possible, however, if there is a moratorium on any further industrial action while negotiations continue. We sincerely hope all industrial action will cease and we can return to negotiations with your acceptance of the key condition outlined in this letter.'

* MEAA members are due to meet in both Melbourne and Sydney at 12.30pm today (Monday).

3AW Top-Rater 'Retires'

* DEAN BANKS, co-host of the 3AW breakfast program, is to 'retire' at the end of this year. Banks, said to be a nephew of legendary 3AW and 3KZ broadcaster NORMAN BANKS, co-hosts the program with ROSS STEVENSON (real name ROSS CAMPBELL). Banks and Stevenson have performed the top-rating shift over the past decade, and once had a third member of the team: DENNIS DONOGHUE (real name DENNIS CONNELL) who this year unsuccessfully sued 3AW in the Victorian Supreme Court for fees and damages alleged from that time. The breakfast shift was previously conducted by BILL TUCKEY, and more popularly with the combination of JOHN BLACKMAN and BRUCE MANSFIELD, with DARREN JAMES.

* GRAHAM MOTT, 3AW General Manager, and STEVE PRICE, Program Director, have a selection for replacements to partner Stevenson. On holiday stints, stand-ins have included DARREN JAMES with TONY LEONARD, Parliamentarian IAN COVER (of Coodabeen Champions fame), Herald Sun sports journalist JON ANDERSON, and sports presenter DAVID HOOKES.

Where Are They Now?

* MARK SKURNIK, skurnikm@optusnet.com.au, writes: 'Dear Ash, A friend recognised my name in Media Flash (Aug. 28) and has forwarded it to me. Please do me the honors, and add me to the subscription list. Re the 'Where Are They Now?' segment, I do indeed recall knowing ROGER JOSEPH back in the 70s, although he was working in Melbourne at that time. Please pass my contact details to him, or vice-versa, his details to me. (Whatever is the norm). I was working in commercial radio then, I'm now with the ABC - still in Melbourne - how I got here is a story for another time. Thank you.'

* PETER BATSON, journalist at The Border Mail, Albury-Wodonga, writes: 'Dear Ash, In response to ROGER JOSEPH'S 'Where Are They Know' query re MARK SKURNIK in Media Flash (Aug. 28). Mark Skurnik presents a regional Saturday morning breakfast program, and a regional Sunday morning (10am-1pm) magazine program (A Country Sunday) on ABC Radio Victoria, heard on ABC regional stations across Victoria and Southern NSW for several years. One of Mark's former stations was commercial broadcaster 3NE Wangaratta. He's based at the ABC's Southbank Centre. Cheers.'

* CHERYL LONG (no relation) of the Ovens & Kiewa Valley Echo (Bright, Vic.), writes: 'Do you include such things as 'Cheerios'? If so, I'd love to send one to STEVE LEVITT, an old friend who was working as a freelance photo journalist 10 or so years ago.'

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Stan and Tracey Tell All ... Yawn!

* STAN GRANT, former Sydney Today Tonight host, and Olympic 'golden girl' TRACEY HOLMES were featured in an ELLEN FANNING segment on 60 Minutes on Sunday night. The spot traced how the pair had fallen in love, and their sacking from KERRY STOKES' Seven Network. A breathless Grant told how he had gone to a milk bar 'under cover of darkness' at 9.30pm, only to be detected by a journalist. Media commentator MARK DAY called Grant 'a mug' for his abusive behavior towards journalists and photographer. Tearful Tracey sobbed as she reflected she was still part of the Olympic dream. The couple pleaded to be left alone - out of the public eye. Holmes starts as stand-in breakfast co-host on low-rating 2GB this morning with PETER FITZSIMMONS. Her wish will come true.

'Without Any Bias'

* LAISENIA QARASE, Fiji Prime Minister, says Fiji's media has an important role 'making sure that the Government is open, honest and accountable'. Ratu Qarase said: 'This is healthy, so long as the information disseminated are (sic) accurate, truthful and without any bias'. His office underscored this with a Press Release dated August 22 - 'The Real Chaudhry - So Now We Know'. http://fiji.gov.fj/core/press/2000_08_22_2.html

* 'After talking of forgiveness and reconciliation in Fiji, MAHENDRA CHAUDHRY has revealed the truth in India. He will not forget and he will not forgive. In short, he says he will fight, and fight to the bitter end. Now Fiji knows what it is to expect from him and his FLP. Hence he has been pushing for sanctions, for trade bans as he finds smart sanctions inadequate. In his fight he is asking for the support of India against Fiji and its people - 1.2 billion against 0.8 of a million.'

* PRIME MINISTER QARASE'S office Press Release continues: 'He has told India and its political leaders that Fiji Indians see India as they mother country. So what was he doing trying to be Prime Minister in Fiji when his real loyalty lay elsewhere. Even if CHAUDHRY were correct on his claims, and we have doubts, no more than 30 per cent of Fiji's population see India as their mother country - that is a generous estimate, Fiji's Indians know their future lies here in Fiji, with Fijians. Interestingly, thoser Fiji Indians who wish to emigrate, queue in front of the doors of the High Commissions of Australia and New Zealand or at the entrance of the United States Embassy, and not besiege the Indian High Commission. so much for mistaken loyalty CHAUDHRY given his rapturous welcome on Haryana should leave Fiji alone and try his political fortunes in motherland. His talents and its democracy could make him Prime Minister again, there!'

Queensland Quips

* BRAD SMART, b.smart@bigpond.net.au, writes: 'Dalby, Queensland, now has its own commercial radio station following the launch of Radio 4DB on August 14. 4DB is believed to be Australia's first commercial radio station to go to air in the expanded AM band and the station covers Dalby, Chinchilla, Tara, Oakey and Toowoomba. The expanded band operates between 1600-1700 kHz. 4DB is on 1629 kHz. Early fears that many listeners may not be able to tune the station have proven incorrect, with all dial-type radios being able to receive the station and many digital car radios and home stereos also covering the band up to 1629. 4DB plays a mix of country rock and classic gold and is targeting the 18+ market with an experienced line-up of on-air talent. Local tracking indicates that in its first two weeks of operation 4DB has attracted close to 20 per cent of the local market, which has previously been served from Toowoomba.'

* TONY BOURKE'S complaint to the Press Council about The Toowoomba Chronicle has been dismissed. Bourke, former Mayor and defeated Councillor, complained the paper had a 'consistent policy' against him and another. 'The Press Council endorses newspapers' freedom to determine the presentation of news stories. Several of Mr Bourke's examples of alleged bias against him appear to the Council to reflect nothing more than a legitimate news angle, and The Chronicle was under no obligation to report his participation in particular community events.'

Sydney Siders

* BOBBI MAHLAB and ALEX CRAMB, publishers of The City News, have published a gloss color depiction of the Sydney skyscraper vista, which have searchlights and lasers placed on the rooftops, to provide a giant light show high above the CBD skyline, with 54 performances, at 10pm, 11pm and Midnight between September 14 and October 1. The City News has included an 'Olympic Survival Guide' in its September issue. Many Sydney venues are staying up way past bedtime, with many restaurants having the option of 24-hour trading. The City News says eight million people are expected in the CBD during the two weeks.

* MICHAEL KAY'S complaint against The Sunday Telegraph has been dismissed by the Australian Press Council. The paper had described Mr Kay as a 'gun-toting' prison guard. The officer had been under investigation by the Corrective Services Department for publishing riot pictures on a pro-gun website. Mr Kay was said to be pictured on another site, posing with a .357 Magnum pistol. The article, printed after an interview with a reporter from the paper, was a matter of public interest, the APC judged. 'The Sunday Telegraph might well have considered that Mr Kay's letter of response also raised matters of public interest and could have been published in some whittled down form.'

* MARK HOOLE'S complaints against The Daily Telegraph and The Newcastle Herald have been upheld by the Press Council. 'The complaints relate to the way in which the newspapers reported action taken by a group of students enrolled at Rutherford Technology High School who protested against alleged discrimination in enforcement of the school's conduct requirements. Mr Hoole is the father of one of the student protesters ... the students assert that they said to the journalists that their concern was with the unequal application of these rules, not the rules themselves.' The APC found the papers added their own 'spin' with headlines such as 'Kiss and Tell', 'Pupil Strike', 'Rutherford High: This Is Your Education Dollar At Work'.

Melbourne Memo

* PATRICK SMITHERS is the byline for the Sunday Age front-page Grand Final report. Very close to the name of the reporter PATRICK SMITH who was scooped up by The Australian. With management writing and printing the paper, it enlisted DERRYN HINCH for a front-page analysis on JOHN LAWS (Laws is currently suing Hinch); it dropped the Escape and Property sections; it cocked up an ELLE McPHERSON photo caption (there's probably a better way to say that).

* JACK HERMAN of The Australian Press Council passes on the adjudication which partly upholds a complaint relating to a review of the Sassi Bistro-Bar, a restaurant in Port Melbourne, published in The Sunday Age on March 5, 2000. 'Newspapers have traditionally included reviews of restaurants. Such reviews can have great significance for the business of a restaurant. Put simply, the nature of the review has the potential to make or break the business.' The adjudication concluded 'there were aspects of the review that in the Council's judgement gave a false impression of the quality of the restaurant. At two points the reviewer referred unfavorably to the quantity of the serves. That the risotto entree was 'a tad meanly presented' and, of the meal overall, that 'only one of us could have dined satisfactorily on what was brought to the table'. The reviewer failed to disclose that the two parties dining had opted to share the entree.'

* 'The reviewer was also critical of a sauce as being too salty. However, the sauce was meant to be salty and the complainant says that the reviewer was advised at the time of ordering of its nature. (The reviewer also failed to disclose that he was drinking Diet Coke with his meal which would have influenced the taste of the sauce. Indeed the review gives the impression that he was drinking wine. The review in other respects commented favorably on the restaurant and the Council does not make any finding on the reviewer's overall assessment of Sassi. What the Council is saying is that a restaurant reviweer must be fair about all aspects of the matters that are being criticised. In this case the Council considers that the reviewer did not disclose to readers of the review all matters relevant to the circumstances that led to the adverse comments. To this extent the complaint is upheld.'

Capital Ideas

* PETER MAHER, of Rehame, the electronic media reporting and analysis agency. is opening a Parliament House bureau in Canberra. PETER de GROOT of the company tells Media Flash that the establishment of the sister-bureau to the existing State Circle office will accelerate the delivery of breaking political news and comment to ministerial and parliamentary clients. 'Located in the press gallery, the high-tech news centre is linked 24 hours a day to Rehame's national network extending to all capital cities and regional areas. Rehame covers thousands of news and current affairs programs and internet sites. It electronically delivers custom news alerts, audios, videos, transcripts and media analysis to government and corporate clients.' LIZ LOPA, Rehame's Canberra Manager, will lead the Parliament House team.

* H.K.J.R. BANDARA, Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to Australia, has had one element of a complaint against The Canberra Times upheld by the Australian Press Council. Another complaint was dismissed. Mr Bandara said a report 'Tamils Pay High Price For Failed Bids At Better Life' was unfair, and that three attempts to have a response published had failed. The APC agreed that two contributions-in-reply were far too long, but a 250-word reply from the Commissioner was reasonable. The paper's argument that the three week time lag was 'too late' and 'that the issue had completely lost topicality' was rejected.

Adelaide Agitator

* NORM BARBER, political agitator, is forwarding news releases to Australian media, about a 'joke resumé' that he sent during the Adelaide Festival to Speakman and Associates, an Adelaide-based employment agency. He claims that company forwarded the resumé to Centrelink, which stopped Barber's benefits. The Appeals Tribunal reversed the decision. Barber alleges Speakmans.com.au advises that material sent to them won't be forwarded to third parties without the sender's permission. Barber is seeking a Speakman-Centrelink letter via an AAT Conference to be held on September 26. Barber is at standardoil@hotmail.com

This Week In Byron Bay

* BYRON BAY FOLLIES: Fast Buck$ alleges fatal flaw in general manager selection process; Visitor Centre’s former manager claims report ‘a lie and a total misrepresentation of the truth’; Underage drinking on increase, say police; Editorial: Howard’s vision – the army vs the people; MUNGO MacCALLUM on the economy – ‘Success is an act of Howard, failure is an act of God’; DAVID LESER joins BayFM community radio. THE BYRON SHIRE ECHO is an independent locally-owned free weekly covering Australia's most sophisticated rural market. Check it out on www.echo.net.au. Advertising enquiries to geoff@echo.net.au or ring 02 66841777. (Advt.)

Asia-Pacific Wire

* LAISENIA QARASE, Fiji Prime Minister, has launched Fiji's second Hindi newspaper, Ramneek Post. The paper is a product of the Fiji Daily Post Company Limited, with Publisher THAKUR RAJ SINGH saying the paper plans to promote cross cultural understanding by promoting the learning of Fijian language, culture, traditions and legends to the Hindi readers. 'Our launch shgows our optimism in the nation-building process. All who call Fiji home should pitch in to build bridges and promote cross cultural understanding for a better future for our children.' Editor is TEJ RAM PREM, described in a government Press Release as a 'former journalist'.

Air Waves

* COMMENT. One has to admire Melbourne radio station 3AW GM GRAHAM MOTT and Programmer STEVE PRICE on their ability to generate publicity over the performance of on-air broadcasters. Their public rebuke of their presenters over minor misdemeanors are a powerful publicity device in a market that loves the drama. (The best such promotion of recent years however belongs to FOX-FM when it suspended PETER 'GRUBBY' STUBBS for accidently giving away a $50,000 listener promotion prize. And former 3AW chief BRIAN WHITE was brilliant at milking PR with every one of DERRYN HINCH'S stunts.) The latest incident sees major Herald Sun publicity with midnight-dawn host KEITH McGOWAN rapped on the knuckles for playing the risque Dickens Cider clips. (Check your Search Engine to play.)

* CLAIRE HEANEY wrote in Saturday's Herald Sun: 'Speculation was that Price would suspend McGowan - but that did not happen. Price was told evening host DERRYN HINCH also had played the advertisement, which was downloaded from the Internet. Price said he had told McGowan the advertisement was not appropriate and he would do the same when he next saw Hinch.' If one accepts the proposition that Price - as Program Director - was unaware of the oft-repeated Dickens broadcasts, it begs the query of what monitoring system is in place at the station? Mott and Price gave evidence to the Australian Broadcasting Authority inquiry that they were unaware of the precise nature and effect of former Nightline host BRUCE MANSFIELD'S 'contra-for-comment' credits over nine years. Is this similar to a newspaper publisher pleading ignorance of what was published in his columns? Is a better system required for monitoring broadcasters? Or does self-regulation require regulation?

So, This Is Showbiz

* KIRSTIE ALLEY, American actress, is shooting the CBS-TV mini-series, Blondie, in Newport (Vic.), as part of a Crawford Productions - ROBERT GREENWALD production. The Melbourne shoot is scheduled for 4½-weeks, with another 2½ weeks organised for California. CHRIS SCOTT, Williamstown Advertiser photographer, scooped a front-page pic for his weekly.

Smaller Names Dept.

* WAYNE BROWNE, well-known Melbourne broadcaster and radio producer, is winning publicity in BRIAN STAGMAN'S Emerald Hill Times for Kids Under Cover, a charity that supports abused children. A function is being held at 6pm this Thursday (Sept. 7) at Crown Towers River Rooms.

Movers And Shakers

* TREVOR WEEDING, Advertising Sales Manager at Victorian Country Press Association, has moved on, we are told.

* AMANDA HURLEY leaves the one-year-old Metro News (inner Melbourne) this month for Scotland.

The Local Report

* MICHAEL RAY, Publisher of High Country Times, Mansfield (Vic.), might have an interest in the latest edition of the Victorian Country Press Association Rates & Data Book. All his VCPA member colleagues state they have verified circulations through ABC, CAB or a Statutory Declaration ... with the exception of his commercial opponent, The Mansfield Courier, which prints that it relies only on a Publisher's Claim. His Times has 3500 circulation, his opponent claims 2890. The Times has a cheaper rate card. Media Flash hears Ray has been making noises to PROFESSOR ALAN FELS' ACCC: Ray wants to know why he hasn't been getting Federal Government ads.

* RAELENE HAWKINS, wife of AFL football great DOUG, tells MELISSA HEAGNEY that she is 'absolutely filthy' over a front-page report in Melbourne's Herald Sun that her husband was arrested, after she lodged a complaint with local police. Heagney, writing in the Werribee Banner, says an intervention order against Mr Hawkins was withdrawn in Sunshine Magistrates' Court.

* BEVERLY and VINCE SCANLAN'S complaint about The Collie Mail's coverage of a motor accident in which their 21-year-old son GERARD died, has been acted upon sensitively by the Australian Press Council. The paper was found to have balanced its responsibility to respect the privacy and sensibilities of individuals with its duty to present news to its community in an honest and fair way. Three subsequent reports, monitoring the condition of friend TEAGUE THOMSON, were judged to have appropriately brief and informative.

Glass House Dept.

* DAVID NIELD, Customer Relationship Manager of Wilke Color, e-mails contacts that 'the recent restructure within PMP Communications print division has now been completed', with an amalgamation of separate brands into one print company, now known as PMP Print. His E-Mail, rather than using the 'BCC' Blind Carbon Copy format, contains classidied information: dozens of client e-mail addresses. But crikey, Media Flash isn't in the business of compounding the error!

* FABIAN WILLMORE, 'Publisher', features in a website at www.nationreview.com which promotes that 'Australia's most famous liberal commentary magazine is preparing its return' after a 20-year hiatus. 'With a new Asia/Pacific focus, Nation Review will again offer challenging views, reviews and news: regional politics, business and security; corruption, collusion and nepotism; media and culture; bright young columnists and old favorites'. Address - PO Box 13121, Law Courts, Melbourne - seems to be the same as that operated by GEOFF GOLD (see Media Flash, Aug. 28). Unfortunately, potential advertisers and sponsors are asked to contact the 'publishing office' before September 30, 1999 ... a year ago.

* PETER MOBBS replies to ANDY GRACE about attending the RAWARDS night, at the aus.radio.broadcast Usenet forum: 'I have never bothered. Geez, working in this mad biz is enough without sitting in a room with a heap of us, pissed!'

Absent Friends

* RAY JAMIESON, late Melbourne western suburbs reporter, has been honored with a Memorial Medal to the Fairfax Community Newspapers - Western Bulldogs footballer of the year. FCN Assistant State Manager BRENDAN LAWLEY presented the medal to Brownlow runner-up SCOTT WEST, in the presence of Jamieson's widow, GRACE. Journalist STEVEN MILNE and photographer TED KLOSZYNSKI caught the event at the Footscray headquarters of The Mail newspaper.

* RON CASEY, late HSV-7 stalwart, was well remembered at Saturday's AFL Grand Final Breakfast held by the Kangaroos Football Club. With a video clip showing 'Case' with the late legendary radio-TV character DOUG ELLIOTT, Coodabeen Champion IAN COVER presented an 'Unca' tribute in verse.

It's A Date

* THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 7. Multimedia Gallery Night at Mt Sierra College. 6pm. Students, parents, public welcome. 'Mt Sierra graduates are earning an average $47,000 yearly salary to start.' http://mx01.opt-in-net.net/mtsierra1/6.html Contact: WILLIAM CHAN.

* FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 8. NELSON MANDELA at Melbourne Colonial Stadium. Recorded appearances from HENRY KISSENGER, JESSE JACKSON and GEORGE LUCAS. Presented by the ISIS Foundation.

* FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 8. Australian Suburban Newspapers' Association National Awards. Crown Entertainment Centre, Melbourne.

On This Day

* MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 4. DARRYL COTTON, entertainer, birthday, born 1949.

* TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5. GEORGE LAZENBY, actor, birthday, born Goulburn (NSW) 1939. JOAN SYDNEY, actress - known for A Country Practice, birthday, born London 1938.

* WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6.

* THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 7.

* FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 8. RONNIE BURNS, singer, birthday, born Prahran (Vic.), 1946. JAMES PACKER, businessman, birthday, born 1967. LACHLAN MURDOCH, businessman, birthday, born 1971.

* SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 9. ARTHUR DIGNAM, actor, birthday, born 1939. PETER CUPPLES, singer, birthday, born Yarram (Vic.), 1953. FAMILY CIRCLE magazine, first published 1932.

* SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 10. LYNDA STONER, actress, birthday, born Adelaide (SA) 1953.

Writers' Block

* ANNIE COULTHARD from Random House Books writes to Media Flash that ARMISTEAD MAUPIN'S new novel, The Night Listener, will be the first book ever broadcast in its entirety as a spoken-word serial on the Web, prior to its publication in hardcover. A new instalment will released each weeknight from tomorrow (Tues., Sept. 5) at www.salon.com/books/maupin Annie says the hardbook releases in Australia on October 6 for $43.85. Maupin had the Tales Of The City serial in the San Francisco Chronicle. Media interviews may be arrangements: acoulthard@randomhouse.com.au

Members' Mailbag

* Welcome to the Media Flash Subscribers Dept.: CAROLYN BATT, The Age; KEN PEDERSEN, Cairns (FNQ); KAREN MULHALL, Marketing Manager, Live & Direct Solutions - 'The Advertising Agency With A Print Focus'; GUA BISU; DAN KAUFMAN; BRAD SMART, Radio 4DB, Dalby (Qld); MELANIE HARDIE, Sales Manager, Australian Financial Review/CNBC Market Wrap.

* New subscribers also include BILL FENTON; GLYN MAY, journalist/public relations consultant; GREGORY JACKMAN at Jackman Consulting; SARAH-JAYNE GREENTREE.

Fan Mail

* BRENDEN CALIGARI, Assistant Advertising Manager at The Geelong Advertiser, writes: 'A friend has just mailed your page address to me ... I love it! May I please have a subscription.'

* KERIN GRUBB, Publisher, Eastern Suburbs Messenger (Sydney), writes: 'I have enjoyed the last two editions of Media Flash and would like to subscribe myself.'

* TINA LARGE writes: 'I have just been e-mailed your Media Flash and have enjoyed the read. Could you please include me on your Media Flash subscription list for future editions. I am a Media Specialist for Recruitment in Sales and Marketing and work for Lyncroft Consulting Group.'

* NOEL PASCOE, at The Post-Courier, Papua-New Guinea, writes: 'To Ash Long, have received your address from a mate in Brisbane and am delighted to see the sort of gossip and name dropping that you indulge in. Sad to see REX LOPEX died, he was a nice bloke; happy to see REX GARDNER has made it to 50 in freezing Hobart, etc. I'm subbing away on the Papua New Guinea Post-Courier, a News outfit. Regards, Noel Pascoe. E-Mail to npascoe@spp.com.pg

Stix And Stones

* STEVE STICKNEY, Editor at The Manly Daily, (usually) presents the unusual in print. Where are ya, Stix?

The Trewistle Files

TREWISTLE VANISHES

* From Milton Barraclough

Billionaire technology wizard MILTON TREWISTLE has disappeared from his 30th floor penthouse. He has not been seen for three days by his domestic staff or employees at Trewistle Technology's Bondi headquarters.An intensive search has been mounted for Dr Trewistle, architect of many revolutionary applications of information technology. At this stage police have found no suspicious circumstances."His peripatetic agenda and volatile personality mean that virtually no corner of the globe can be excluded from our enquiries," said Sen. Constable Jones from Missing Persons.Dr Trewistle is in his fifties, and in good health. His wife and three children live in a number of tax havens, and could not be reached for comment.Trewistle Technology shares eased markedly on world bourses as news of the brilliant entrepreneur's disappearance spread.From Johannesburg, TT Deputy CEO MOSHE MULBACH commented on the wilting share price: "Dr Trewistle's absence, coupled with a temporary liquidity difficulty, are bound to affect speculators. Longer term institutional investors have no reason to be concerned."At the time of his disappearance, Trewistle was working on Spacewistle, a project involving interplanetary communications. At the Cape Kennedy plant, Spacewistle executives declined to comment."I just hope he's ok - we had a few bob on the little beggar," a News spokesperson observed.

Media Money

* BARRY STOFBERG of Rural Press Ltd informed the Australian Stock Exchange this month that Directors took up additional shares, in lieu of participating in the $40 million special dividend to sharehholders. 'The company wishes to clarify certain recent reports in the media that may have left the impression that Directors had conducted on-market purchases of the company's shares, when in fact, it was solely trhe shares they had taken up through the DRP (Dividend Re-investment Plan).'

Bottom Line

* 100,000 SUBSCRIBERS have been signed for C7 - KERRY STOKES' two Olympics channels, to be delivered via Austel, Optus and Foxtel. SHANE WOOD, Seven's Olympics Director, told The Australian's FINOLA BURKE that the benchmark was exceeded this past week. Subscriptions for the gold and blue channels cost $54.95, with the price rising to $76.95 from last Friday.

* $34 MILLION gambling losses at Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas, have been denied by magnate KERRY PACKER, who meant the message so much that he gave an interview to DENNIS SHANAHAN at The Australian: 'I pay a lot more tax than they give me credit for ... whatever the accountants tell me that I've got to pay, I pay it.'

* $55.73 MILLION - an increase of 33.6 per cent - is the net profit for 12 months, announced for Rural Press Ltd by its chairman JOHN B. FAIRFAX. Revenue was $438.03 million. RUSSELL SKELTON of The Age says a net gain of $2.7 million accrued from the sale of Queensland regional publishing assets.

The Last Word

* KERRY PACKER summed it up this week in The Australian: 'My motto basically is, never complain, never explain. But this has now become so absurd that I have to answer it myself.'

P.S.

* KERRYN PHELPS, who has just resigned as Chair of gay and lesbian Satellite Media after boardroom defeats, has just received a knockback from the Australian Medical Association whose Board rejected her bid to have partner JACKIE STRICKER appointed as a $100,000 Personal Assistant.

A Long Story - Part 5

* Ash Long looks back at some of the various people of his media career.

* MAXWELL NEWTON'S publishing days at the Sunday Observer in Melbourne were often accompanied by repo. agents. In a 1976 National Times article by CHRISTOPHER WEBB, Max put in bluntly: 'Every now and then people come around with a crane to repossess something. In fact that's the resort of the finance companies - the crane. They came around the day before yesterday and I gave them $9000 to get rid of them.' Cash was always short, and marketing man JIM MARRETT was sent out to arrange 'contra': advertising space in the newspaper in exchange for products. On one occasion, Jim took possession of some large American cars, in return for full-page ads. He sold the cars to another dealer, and the cash paid the wages bill. MAX was constantly seeking cash, grabbing the folding money that accompanied mail orders from readers for products such as R-certificate T-shirts, Bedside Pleasure ('the magazine you can read with one hand'), Sexsense, Eros and Cocksure. Other subs money came from orders for the Sweet and Scream mags edited by ALLAN WEBSTER, and the short-lived National Tattler, edited by GRAHAM SIMPSON, then-husband of cabaret singer SAMANTHA SANG.

* ASHLEY McKEON of The Australian Financial Review reported in 1976 that Newton traced his liquidity problems back to 1971 when he started publishing The Observer. Within a year, circulation had risen above 60,000, with a high of 90,000 (at 20 cents a copy) when GOUGH WHITLAM swept to Prime Ministerial office in the December 1972 Federal Election. A Midweek Observer edition, under Editor JOHN SORELL, was terminated after just eight weeks, when KEITH MacPHERSON of The Herald & Weekly Times Ltd and RANALD MACDONALD of David Syme & Co Ltd combined to produce the jointly owned Sunday Press. The new paper did not affect sales, but the suburban newspaper printers being used were unable to provide 'secure and specific contracts'. Newton's firms purchased Regal Press from DERN LANGLANDS, creating a severe liquidity problem, simultaneous with black market prices (up to four times more) having to be paid for newsprint. Finances had been arranged in a dodgy deal with LES SMART, accountant for the Co-Operative Farmers & Graziers Direct Meat Supply; Smart ended up in jail for a while! Production men at Newton's works included future Standard Newspapers boss IAN METCALFE, future H&WT print man TOM GARDINER, and future Sydney Morning Herald chief MARTY DOUGHERTY. A young ASH LONG, studying Commerce and Economics (badly) at Melbourne University, was given the job of 're-marketing' the collection of Marvel Comics, for which exclusive rights had been obtained, keeping presses rolling during the week. Max was over-supplying the market by about 100,000 comics a week - after 15 cents each!

* Part of the casual laboring team, moving close to a million comics in the old Richmond Brewery grounds, included my Uni student colleagues: JENNIFER GRIMWADE, today a prominent publicist; lawyer-to-be STEVE NANKIN, and writer-photographer MARTY MERZ. All were paid by Max's cheques to process the 'Heritage Series' ... but all the cheques were bouncing, as they were for all pay packets at the company. I struck a deal with Max, citing an eloquent economic argument about 'survival of the fittest': he was either impressed with the logic or the chutzpah! He'd pass over the cheques half-an-hour before those given to rest of the company's staff ... and we'd 'high-tail' it to whatever bank and branch was being used that week. CHRISTOPHER WEBB, in 1976, wrote: 'Even his bank account has got the chop, 'I shut that - it was getting a bit tedious,' says Max.'

NEXT WEEK: Long Shots - Part 6. University Blues: What They Were Like Then. Our mob included lawyer-TV entrepreneur STEVE VIZARD, Federal MPs LINDSAY TANNER and MICHAEL DANBY, writer ALAN ATTWOOD, SMH columnist IMRE SALUSINSZKY, BOB HAWKE'S offsider STEPHEN MILLS ... and most importantly, the Football Record's Production Manager CAMPBELL SMITH.

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PR Consultants

* WILL HARRIS of IT&T Marketing People has several opportunities for PR consultants with experience in the IT business. He is seeking people with good IT media contacts, and experience with public relations. For more information please contact WILL HARRIS on (02) 9929 2065 or email will@itmarketingpeople.com

Employment

* GRAHAM STORER, Editor, The Border Mail at Albury-Wodonga, is advertising for a Journalist to join the tabloid's team covering north-east Victoria. graham_storer@bordermail.com

* Is TONY HITCHIN leaving as Editor of the New Home magazine at Melbourne's Herald Sun? JULIAN CLARKE'S Herald & Weekly Times Ltd is notifying of a vacancy for the position, noting that the supplement has a circulation more than 400,000. The task inclides 'leading a proposed revamp along with the development of new sections and major initiatives'. narduzzoj@hwt.newsltd.com.au

* PHIL MARTIN, Director of News and Current Affairs at SBS-TV, is recruiting an executive Producer for the Insight program.

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