Some of Australia’s greatest ever journos …… were probably watching …. when Virginia Trioli, Mary Gearin and Mike Smith wrung their collective hands over the future of the printed newspaper on Friday’s what-the-papers-say segment on ABC TV’s News Breakfast program.
It was the final appearance on the show for Smith, who has spent 25 years as a print-media journalist, including a long stint as editor of The Age, and then 25 years in PR in an era when both were distinctly separate things.
Lamenting the public’s growing dissatisfaction with media generally and the printed newspaper in particular, the trio reminded The Bug of three kids caught, crayons and textas in hand, in a room where all the walls and furniture have multi-coloured scribblings all over them.
And a bit like kids trying to blame one another for the disaster – if not the walls and lounge suite for being there in the first place – the trio saw all sorts of simple if vacuous solutions. Smith mentioned the silly mistakes that have crept in from using OS subbing hubs. All nodded wisely to the need for the papers to admit their mistakes, although La Trioli did add a helpful “we stick by our story”.
They all skillfully avoided the elephant in the room that should have had been scribbled over horribly: that a majority of Australia’s printed rags now pump out risible right-wing rubbish.
And that a sizeable percentage of the old buggers who still read them in God’s waiting rooms all over the nation fondly remember when those mastheads acted professionally and gave both sides of politics a more or less fair shake.
Old, decent folk more than just a bit pissed off that those times have long gone and pondering whether to cancel subscriptions while they still can.
It’s kinda sad that only people still reading printed newspapers are old folk on death’s door ‘cos The Bug still believes the traditional hardcopy paper still provides fantastic factual information if the younger brigade would only pick one up and give it a read.
Take today’s weekend edition of The Sydney Morning Herald.
Any youngster out there wanting to get a handle on the state of play in the current United States-China trade wars – and who knows, there could possibly be one somewhere? – need only turn to page 9 news on the G20 in Japan to learn much from just one par: “But yesterday the US raised tariffs on US$200b of Chinese products from 10 per cent to 25 per cent.”
Just a handspan away in a separate article, David Crowe writes: “Trump appears to have pulled back from imposing 25 per cent tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese imports to the US but has the option of going ahead at anytime.”
See, kids. You’re never going to get accurate assessments of anything going on in this wonderful world of ours if you rely all the time on Wikipedia.