Monday, March 30

A new face delivers the Strewth!

Perhaps I missed it, but I don't think so. I collected my Australian from the flower bed well before dawn this morning and pulled out the Media section. Scanned it quickly for any reference to the summary retrenchment of The Australian's veteran columnist, D.D. McNicoll. Nothing.

Turned back to the Strewth! column [1] . There's a new face in the logo (above). Instead of McNicoll, it's James Jeffrey, who normally writes the longer – to my mind, too long – Strewth! in The Weekend Australian. In this morning's column, there's still no mention of what happened to McNicoll.

In my previous post, I said that if Media did not publish something about McNicoll's sacking, it would damage the reputation of the newspaper and of the section.

I have no doubt that if McNicoll had worked for The Sydney Morning Herald or The Age, and his employer “disappeared” him as The Australian did, the Oz would have reported it with relish.

With relish? Yes indeed. The Australian keeps up a regular sneering and jeering at its rivals, to a level which seems just plain childish. It does more to diminish its own standing than it does damage to the SMH and the Age.

Today's Media section did run a prominent inside page lead on the sacking of Lachlan Colquhoun as editor of The Adelaide Review [2] , a story which may have been of less interest to most of the Oz's national readership.

And Amanda Meade's Media Diary [3] did run a short piece about the exit of Age columnist Sharon Gray, but without answering the obvious question – did she go because she wanted to, or was she another victim of the cost-cutting now decimating Australian newsrooms?

Amanda Meade also ran an amusing par about the comic strip character Brenda Starr's being retrenched, because, as her cigar-chomping boss B. Babbitt Bottomline said, “I can't afford to pay you any more.”

But of the departure of The Australian's iconic D.D. McNicoll, not a word [forgive my misuse of “iconic”, but you'll all know what I mean].

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