Mere days after being handed the reins of The Public Apology, interim chief editor Ben Shine has signalled a change of direction for the esteemed online journal.
The pivot includes an aggressive push for online market share through the publication of clickbait articles, the exploration of a lucrative corporate partnership with the NBL and an exclusive online advertising partnership with Shane Warne’s underwear brand, Spinners.
The Public Apology’s critically acclaimed podcast, TPA Live, will also be renamed “Sports Time with Dave-o and the Badger” to better appeal to 20-29 year old male listeners.
“F*ck ‘business as usual’. I’m making some changes ’round here,” Shine said.
“Rather than cynical articles with big words in them, I want content that takes an uncritical look at sport and promotes wholesome values and messages like ‘Go Australia’, ‘Isn’t Channel 9’s coverage of rugby league fantastic?!’ and ‘Ten reasons why Paul Gallen is my favourite Australian’,” he said.
Shine has been handed the reins for 12 days while chief editor and founder of the Public Apology David J. Edwards is on international business. It is understood Edwards, who at the time of publication was en-route to Beijing, is unaware of changes to the masthead’s policies.
“Dave’s gone on holiday or something or rather, so I said to myself, why don’t we shake things up a bit? You know, make a bit of cheddar while the big dawg is away?,” Shine rhetorically asked a room of reporters.
“For too long The Public Apology has taken a high moral ground by not accepting lucrative commercial deals, but guess what, there’s no money up there on that pedestal.”
HSBC analyst Steven Stephenson said any departure from the Public Apology’s traditional brand could actually have a negative impact its quarterly results.
“This could really hurt TPA’s reader numbers. They’ve built a loyal readership in Australia, and in places like Iraq on the back of their unique, esoteric perspectives on modern sport, and changing that formula could scare those readers away,” he said.
“These changes will be perceived as brash and may spook investors. Instead of making money, TPA could blow it all away rather quickly.
“What’s worse is all of these changes are being done without the imprimatur of David Edwards, who would not have seen this ambush coming, especially given the Internet censorship policy in China.
“Make no mistake, this is the corporate coup of the decade. It would even make Machiavelli blush.”
By staff writers.