On Monday of this week the Gold Coast Bulletin kicked off what it promised in a front-page pointer would be “a new series” exploring the benefits of the Queensland Government’s big Cross-River Rail Project.
The multi-billion-dollar infrastructure project now under way involves a new rail tunnel and stations delivering a second rail link between the north and south sides of the Brisbane River. The extra link will mean the ability to feed extra trains onto rail lines during peak hours which in turn should mean more frequent and less crowded trains servicing the Gold Coast.
The first instalment of the “new series” filled page 3 of the GC Bulletin (at left in main picture) and was badged as “news”. It included a message from Kate Jones — the state cabinet minister in charge of the project — plus a lead story outlining the scope of works, and a picture story featuring a young man who explained how his regular commute would be improved once the project was completed.
On the same day The Courier-Mail in Brisbane ran the same type of content — Kate Jones, the same lead story, and a pic of two commuters whose travel experiences stand to benefit from the project (at right in main picture).
The Courier chose to kick off its CRR series on page 11 and unlike its Gold Coast sister paper it did not run a pointer up front, but did badge the full-page as the start of “an exclusive series” that “continues all this week in The Courier-Mail”.
And so it did. Each day this week both the Gold Coast Bulletin and The Courier-Mail have run the same full-page exploring a different aspect of the Cross-River Rail project (pictured).
They have also both run the same state government quarter-page advertisement for Cross River Rail at the bottom of the page.
Despite the obvious advertorial nature of the page, the Gold Coast paper has run its daily stories under the “news” banner at the top of the page, although the Courier has at least run its page without such badging, just a “Future SEQ” strap applied in both publications.
Both papers identify what is clearly the CRR ad at the bottom of the page as “advertisement”, when that little identifier should really be applied to the whole page if we’re being honest.
Don’t mean to reign on your parade
Sadly, the recent addition to online newsy publications, InQueensland, has not been setting particularly high standards for subediting.
This, from a story on line on Wednesday, about attempts by the federal government to crack down on class actions.
To paraphrase Julia Roberts in 1999’s Notting Hill: “Reigning in, huh?”
Don’t touch that dial
Over the years most newspapers try to localise stories as much as possible, so readers feel that what they read is relevant to them.
Sometimes all it takes is a slight tweak to wording or the insertion of a benign local reference in a story that is also run in publications elsewhere.
A case in point was a story about the last day behind the microphone for veteran broadcaster Alan Jones that ran today in News Corp papers in both Sydney and Brisbane where his brekkie show has been heard on radio stations 2GB and 4BC respectively (pictured).
The story in the Daily Telegraph in Sydney noted that Alan would not be tuning into 2GB come Monday to hear his successor Ben Fordham.
The Courier-Mail ran the same story but decided to localise it so readers were told Alan wouldn’t be listening to 4BC come Monday.
Now admittedly, given the ability to listen via the internet, Alan could tune in to 4BC from his Sydney home if he wanted to hear his replacement who in Brisbane will be Neil Breen not Ben Fordham.
But isn’t it a bit obvious to just swap “2GB” for “4BC”? Are readers really that naive?