Occident Prone

Welcome to Australia’s wild West

Posts Tagged ‘The West Australian’

Stokes like a kid in a toy shop

Posted by occidentprone on September 16, 2008

Some blokes play train sets as they chuff into retirement, some buy the sexy sports car they couldn’t afford 20 years before when they would have looked good in it. Kerry Stokes’ preoccupation into his autumn years is The West Australian.

After a failed tilt earlier this year, Stokes is finally getting his train set.

Seven Network chairman Kerry Stokes and his deputy Peter Gammell have been invited to join the board of West Australian Newspapers, WAN chairman Peter Mansell said today.

The Seven Network is WAN’s largest shareholder with about 22.4 per cent of WAN’s ordinary shares.

The move comes five months after Seven made an unsuccessful bid to oust members of the WAN board, including Mr Mansell, in favour of Mr Stokes and Mr Gammell. (Source: WAToday)

The West tells it like this:

Less than five months ago, Mr Stokes lost his bid to win two seats on the WAN board.

The move to appoint Mr Stokes and Mr Gammell was rejected by a shareholder vote at a meeting in Perth of 800 investors.

The billionaire had then argued that the WAN board needed to be “refreshed”, citing the company’s recent financial performance and newspaper distribution problems.

Does this mean the writing is on the wall for The West‘s Little Editor Who Could, Paul Armstrong? Stokes has made no secret of his desire for a different kind of newspaper and now he has the shares and the board influence to start cracking skulls.

Crikey says: 

The West Australian’s editor Paul Armstrong might have finally prevailed over his bitter political enemies Alan Carpenter and Jim McGinty with the defeat of the Labor state government, but it will probably be a short-lived victory as Stokes and most independent observers clearly believe he should go.

The fate of Armstrong will be the first big test of whether Stokes is exercising control, because Armstrong ran quite a partisan campaign against the billionaire during this year’s proxy battle.

Then there’s the issue of Seven being more than $100 million under water on its 23% stake in WAN and the stock is down another 23c at $8.52 this morning.

Stokes will want some fast action on things like The West’s lame website, falling circulation and the ongoing disputes with newsagents.

Posted in Media, Perth | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Force eight on the bogan scale

Posted by occidentprone on June 11, 2008

Bogans and other Rockingham residents have been blown away by the impertinence of cartoonist Dean Alston. Alston commented in Tuesday’s West Australian on the tornado that whipped through Rockingham by saying it was force eight on the bogan scale.

The page 20 cartoon showed debris flying past a window in the sunny southern outpost –  suffice to say ugg boots and ciggies featured prominently. Rocky residents past and present flew into action, calling talkback radio and having their two bobs’ worth.

But it could be worse, they could live in Girrawheen, subject of another famous Alston treatment.


Posted in Diversions, Media, Perth | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

Fairfax or fair go?

Posted by occidentprone on June 10, 2008

Fairfax Digital is giving The West Australian a run with the launch of WA Today. And Alan Carpenter, despite claiming he has no untoward relationship with Fairfax, lent his name and clout by launching the website.

There’s gold in them thar advertisements for a quality news website in WA. Money is flying thick and fast in the west and the masses are hungry for a proper website with proper news and proper online classifieds. The West has just realised what it could lose and this very week re-launched its own site which visually at least now resembles a real news site. But too little too late.

WA Today says it will feature scribblings by Fiona Stanley, Patti Chong and … Howard Sattler. Stanley and Chong are beloved by West Australians and will draw the high-end readers but it’s a bit rich to describe verbal thug Sattler as a social commentator.  He’s in the Fairfax stable so I guess they had to find a use for him. They also list blogs that cover the usual ho-hum ground – “a wry look at the week’s news” and what appears to be a Sex And The City wannabe, Daile Pepper. 

At first glance it’s good to see space and emphasis on the front page given to the regions – Albany, Kalgoorlie, Busselton etc. Fairfax’s Rural Press cohorts are no doubt having more blood squeezed from their stone – they’d be used to it by now and at least they are getting a wider readership (and more importantly better exposure for their overworked, underpaid bylines).

The Australian, pretending to be an unbiased observer, details the West-Carpenter stoush and how Fairfax will warm the Premier’s toes in their new relationship:

An internal memo obtained by The Australian referred to a meeting late last year at the West Australian Government offices between senior Fairfax Digital executive Pippa Leary, and officials from the WA Government, a key potential advertiser on the site.

The memo — written by Paul Giles, then acting manager of strategic communications for the WA Government’s Media Office — stirred controversy by mentioning that the meeting would discuss “news format, editorial stance and media mix along with advertising opportunities, promotional activity and other matters of interest”. 

Mr Giles’ note to his staff also stated, in clear reference to The West Australian: “Perth deserves a reputable, fresh and unbiased news service, so your input will help ensure it provides all that is lacking.” 

However, at the time, the head of Fairfax Digital, Jack Matthews, denied the memo meant Fairfax’s views were for sale to the WA Government. “If there is anything Fairfax Media has stood for over 175 years, it’s that nobody buys our editorial position,” he said.

Did we mention there’s an election this year? 

Posted in Media, Perth, Politics, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »