Col Allan is gone, again, from the ‘Post’ newsroom

Col Allan. ()
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Is Col Allan on another hiatus?

The feisty New York Post editor-in-chief raised eyebrows when he took a temporary assignment at News Corp's struggling Australian papers over the summer.

Many Post journalists saw the trip as a sign that Allan's days at the tabloid were numbered and that his heir apparent, Post publisher Jesse Angelo, who was running the newsroom while Allan was away, would soon claim his seat atop the editor's throne.

Things haven't worked out that way just yet: Allan returned as promised in early October.

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But now sources tell Capital that Allan has once again vanished from the newsroom.

"No sign of Col in more than a week," one insider said, adding that Angelo "is back seated in the middle of the newsroom overseeing the operation. Col is apparently back in Oz. Doing what and for how long, who knows?"

Another source said Allan left for a vacation in Australia on Oct. 24 and that Jesse has indeed been the guy putting the paper to bed every night.

"He just kind of went away," said a third. "It's a mystery."

And it has the newsroom once again playing parlor games about whether Allan's role within the Post and its parent company, News Corp., is evolving in some way.

When Allan returned from his two-month Australian detail on Oct. 8, he seemed to be getting back to business as usual. Rupert Murdoch even poked his head into one of Allan's editors' meetings to say hello, something the News Corp. chairman hadn't done in awhile, according to one of our sources.

So the rank-and-file was surprised when Allan was suddenly no longer around just two weeks later.

"It's definitely strange timing," one of the sources observed.

Allan did not respond to an email Tuesday afternoon (New York time) inquiring as to his whereabouts. A Post spokesperson declined to comment.

Word of Allan's absence is trickling out just days after a U.S. District Court judge rejected a motion to dismiss a former Post employee's lawsuit charging that Allan and Post brass harassed and fired her in retaliation for speaking out against a cartoon in the tabloid that was widely perceived as being racist.

Next week, News Corp. will report its first quarterly earnings as a publishing-focused company in which money-losing papers like the Post are under increased pressure to stanch the flow of red ink.

UPDATE: Via the "Murdoch Here" Tumblr feed, here's Allan hanging out with his boss in Sydney on Oct. 29 (hat tip: James Fanelli):