Readers of The Bug will be aware that just a few weeks ago News Corp Australia killed off the print editions of more than 100 of its regional newspapers.
It said the move was necessary because in the internet age and competition from digital advertising platforms it was all too difficult to keep them going and turn a quid. We do suspect, however, that the advertising sales reps right across News Corp would have been spruiking to would-be advertisers the wide reach of their publications right to the day the end of hard-copy versions was announced, just as News Corp papers themselves had always trumpeted to their growing “readership” to ad buyers.
Nevertheless, the papers are now consigned to history. So we thought it was fitting that one of the very few paid adverts carried recently by one of the few remaining News Corp hard-copy papers, the national broadshit The Australian, was for the job of editor in a hard-copy newspaper (pictured) .
There it was in The Weekend Australian last Saturday — an advert for an editor at The Courier newspaper circulating in and around the NSW regional centre of Narrabri.
For some years now The Oz has hardly ever carried any significant level of paid advertising, certainly not enough to outweigh its printing and distribution costs. It is indeed a true vanity publication for its wealthy American proprietor Rupert Murdoch.
The Courier, which celebrated its centenary of publication in 2013, describes itself as being locally owned and independent.
Maybe that’s the business model News Corp should have been following for The Oz and its other struggling or now-defunct publications instead of shrinking them into being strident mouthpieces for the right-wing political views of its owner and his acolytes.
Speaking of The Courier — not the busy little Narrabri version, but the News Corp turdbloid that each morning lands on fewer and fewer front lawns in Brisbane — readers of The Bug will not be surprised that it and its sister paper the Sunday Mail are continuing to campaign heavily for LNP leader Deb Frecklington in the lead-up to the 31 October Queensland state election.
In recent months the papers have used any excuse to build up Ms Frecklington while attacking Labor Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
It has been the same in the previous three elections in which The Courier-Mail was not reporting but campaigning for the LNP. The blatantly skewed coverage is easy to detect.
The LNP has obviously decided that crime, especially youth crime, is an issue it might exploit for the coming election. Last week The Bug showed how the party received a bit of assistance from News Corp whose four remaining daily papers in the state all coincidentally placed the LNP’s new youth crime policy on their front pages (pictured).
At the weekend the Sunday Mail obliged with a follow-up story (pictured right) which said Ms Frecklington had already ruled out any thought of raising the age at which children are deemed to be criminally responsible.
Currently the age is set at 10 in the laws of the Commonwealth and in all states which means kids of that age can theoretically land in jail. This is a very complex issue and the question of whether jail time is the best solution for very young offenders has been the subject of debate among federal, state, and territory governments which are currently waiting on an expert report commissioned by their attorneys-general.
But there’s an election in the air and Deb Frecklington isn’t worried about complexities, nor is News Corp. She has trumpeted the fact that she won’t raise the age limit and the Sunday Mail helped her along with its story claiming the state Labor Government wouldn’t answer about where it stood.
Well, maybe it can’t answer definitively right now because the incredibly complex issue is still the subject of that in-depth examination commissioned by all Australian governments, which is basically what state Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath was trying to get across in the single line she was given in the story.
The pro-LNP campaign by News Corp in Queensland was also evident in the Sunday Mail with a big story and lovely picture of Ms Frecklington in high-viz vest and hard hat previewing her party’s new policy to stimulate $1 billion in infrastructure projects by 2024 (pictured).
Unfortunately the story contained very few details of how this would be achieved, except for the usual buzzwords about the government “working with the private sector” to deliver new public-private projects, streamlining assessment and approval processes, and pushing “construction not obstruction”.
But there was no analysis of what the $1 billion figure comprised — how much if any of it would come from the pockets of taxpayers or whether it involved incurring more state debt.
These are the type of questions the current state government faces when announcing big initiatives, especially in the current financially constrained pandemic environment.
We can’t wait for more coverage of LNP policies by The Courier-Mail and the Sunday Mail, especially its school literacy policy given that the weekend story spoke of a Frecklington government giving early “in principal” support for new major projects.
Yesterday’s Sunday Mail in Brisbane carried a small item letting readers know that the Nine Entertainment-owned Brisbane AM radio station 4BC had secured the services of former state LNP MP and cabinet minister Scott Emerson as its new drive-time host.
Mr Emerson is well qualified for the role given his background in journalism and a lengthy stint working in radio current affairs for the ABC.
It was not his background that worried us about the story (pictured). No, it was the reference to him getting ready to “man the microphone” — not really the right way to put it in this day and age is it? Maybe ask one of the many female radio presenters around the nation about that.
Also the last paragraph in the story was a mystery to us. It appeared peppered with quoted comments without attribution: “A ‘proud Queenslander’ and former Indooroopilly MP ‘who lives and breathes Brisbane’ Emerson’s ‘impressive resume’ was the perfect for 4BC’s afternoon show.”
The perfect what is left unsaid, just as we don’t know who was saying all those nice things about him.