Do Miracles Still Happen In Australia?
A Special Edition
Tuesday, November 14, 2000
(Normal Transmissions Resume Later This Week)
Published by Ash Long. Phone/Fax: 1-800 231 311.
My Most-Important Editorial ... For You
More than 6400 people receive Media Flash every week. I prepare it and send it, free of charge, with the aim of presenting to you the latest news within our very competitive media industry, earning a few dollars from the paid advertisements.
It's no fortune, but it is probably one of the few online businesses in the world that actually runs at a small profit!
There will be many of our 6400 who may giggle in delight at what they may regard as what they see in this editorial as an ultimate surrender. Let them mock.
There will be a handful who feel empathy with the very real story being related ... and there will be just a few who will truly know what I'm talking about, and the question that comes with it.
This question is for You.
The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing But The Truth
Since Media Flash started, I have tried to present the absolute truth about our media craft. This weekly newsletter is about the foibles, successes and failures of the people working within the Australian media - a people who delight in applying the blowtorch to all others.
In providing such full disclosure, I have been obliged to peel the masking layers from my own veneer.
In our weekly columns, I've told you about my own business and personal failures.
Shame, Ash, Shame
After leaving a successful senior executive's post at Melbourne's Leader Newspapers in 1983, I went on to be Managing Director at Victorian Media Corporation - a company that failed gloriously just 18 months later.
Put simply, we weren't very good at it. Total debts were more than $350,000, and of the nine partners, only two (my wife Fleur and me) stayed around to face the music in repaying the debts.
Our company had been encouraged by the money lending operation (charging more than 48 per cent per annum) to furnish 27 dud invoices. This led me, and only me, to be placed on a 12-month good behavior bond more than a decade ago.
The Recession We Had To Have
In 1985, I voluntarily put our family home and cars up for auction, with all the proceeds going to re-pay the creditors of the company. For the next nine years, Fleur and I each worked seven-days-a-week, to re-pay more than 90 per cent of all the remaining moneys owed.
Then came Paul Keating's 'recession we had to have'.
Only people who have lived in a country district will understand what happened next. We ran a small weekly country newspaper, and ended up funding the many small family tradespeople who could not afford to pay for their ads over the hard times.
We ended up with a town ledger of $110,000 owing to us ... and no option but to sell a profitable company, with every cent to pay out the remaining debts.
Blowing The Whistle
By 1995, we had returned to Melbourne, to start a small local paper operation.
Within a couple of years, this expanded to TV and radio production ... only to suddenly call it quits as a whistleblower-of-sorts in the 'cash-for-comment' enquiry.
Blowing people out of the water meant blowing ourselves out of the water too. It also meant bankruptcy, and the 'establishment' closing its doors on us.
Our Troubles ... And An Opportunity
The Ash Long bank is now running on empty. In fact, about $85,000 in debt (including GST). We have a small business - two successful TV programs, this online E-newspaper, and other odd jobs - that have a track record of being quite successful. But, after 17 years in small business, we have simply run out of chips.
One motivational book encourages us: 'Don't Keep Your Troubles To Yourself'.
And with that faith, but perhaps commercially unwisely, I open myself to you ... warts and all.
My 30-year media career includes achieving the best, and working with the best.
I have been a Senior Executive with a large company. I have been the successful proprietor of a newspaper company over a 10-year period. I rescued a 112,000-circulation newspaper - which had been losing $20,000 a week for that company - back it back into profit. I was named Winner of Victoria's Best Local Reporting Award. I have fostered many careers. For community works, others awarded me with as a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow.
There are thousands of favors that I now seek to call in.
My Vision: Putting My Difficulties To Work
With all these knocks; having voluntarily sold all our assets; having been Bankrupted by my own application; I still have a faith to practise, encourage and foster honest media in the Australian community.
I am energetic, talented, visionary, able, skilled, loyal, honest and hard-working.
But will that be enough?
A Final Question
I reckon I am a good enough family and community man, keen and eager to do the right thing.
But, at just 44, this week brings with it the danger, of being put on Australia's media scrap-heap forever.
What a waste of a man - and the enormous media experience that accompanies!
So this letter blindly seeks a few good folk to help me with my endeavours.
I am trying to raise $85,000 - either by repayable loans or gifts - by 5pm this Wednesday. Otherwise I'm being put out of the picture.
I will use these funds to re-pay all outstanding debts and taxes, and get on with the business of honest media. I will re-pay these loans and gifts (whether directly, or to charities) as quickly as I can.
You will receive a receipt promptly.
Will you help me please - if you can?
(Yes, I'll do interviews if you think it might help. But please bear in mind that I'm nervously exhausted and that my wife has just had MRI brain scans)
Ash Long, 30 Glen Gully Road, Eltham, Vic. 3095
Telephone/Fax: 1-800 231 311
Mobile: 0417 123 094
E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (Yes I expect plenty of abuse from the idiots)
Bank Deposit: Please Deposit Funds Directly by 5pm Wednesday To 'Ash Long'
Westpac-Bank of Melbourne, Eltham (Victoria)