Encouraging kiddies to spell correctly is a laudable objective. But unfortunately, the way News Corp has approached its latest pet project is almost laughable.
The Prime Minister’s Spelling Bee starting in March will see children in grades three to eight across the nation participate in spelling bees with the aim of finding state and territory winners and then an Australian national champion speller.
News Corp will be running and promoting the event through its publications and specialised Kids News website.
No doubt Rupert Murdoch’s outfit will also be receiving some, perhaps a lot, of financial support from the federal government to run this project to help shape and improve young minds.
Naturally the government might be expecting some return for this largesse.
They got it today in several of News Corp’s Sunday metro papers.
In their stories promoting the spelling bee (main picture) the Sunday Mail in Brisbane, the Sunday Telegraph in Sydney, the Sunday Mail in Adelaide, and Hobart’s Sunday Tasmanian, all used a quote from Mr Tehan in their stories that proclaimed: “The Coalition and the Prime Minister were committed to helping students improve their literacy skills.”
Presumably the Labor Party and the Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese are not committed to such a glorious goal.
Only the Herald Sun did not use this line in its puff piece.
But, to underline the government’s support (using your money), four of the five papers used a nice big photo of the Minister with some very clever looking kids.
It’s a pity that in a story about a spelling bee the Education Minister was quoted in Brisbane’s Sunday Mail as saying: “In doing your practise (sic) for the Spelling Bee, one of the best things to do is to make sure you’re reading lots of books.”
Unfortunately, the same edition of the Brisbane Sunday Mail showed that perhaps some staff from News Corp’s HQ at Bowen Hills might benefit from participating in the spelling bee.
On page four the paper ran a story about internet comedian Celeste Barber and her current problems in having the money she raised for bushfire victims swiftly distributed.
But on page 20 a colourful pointer reminded readers that “Celest” was featured in the paper’s lift-out TV guide (pictured) for her part in a live fundraising concert being telecast today.