Odd one out … the door

All of us at The Bug wish to express our best wishes to the editor of the Sunday Tasmanian newspaper.

We’re not sure who it is this week, but we’re pretty sure they have overseen their last edition of the Liberal Party pamphlet… sorry, News Corp Australia publication.

The Australians in most capital cities who still shell out for a News Corp hard copy paper woke to the same front-page lead – an “exclusive” story foreshadowing a federal funding boost for apprentice wages to be revealed officially in this week’s much-delayed Federal Budget.

We have explained previously in this column that in such circumstances “exclusive” means the handing over of information by a government minister but only on the condition that it gets prominent treatment – usually nothing less than page one – and that no comment is sought from the opposition.

It’s well known that News Corp, as the group controlling most of the nation’s surviving newspapers, demands such lazy and preferential treatment which currently fits nicely with its group-wide anti-Labor editorial policy.   

The Sunday Tasmanian however judged the story worthy of pretty brief treatment on page 3 (pictured) and preferred to run with a front page story about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the state’s housing market.

So, good luck to the paper’s soon-to-be ex-editor in whatever field of endeavour they choose to pursue next.

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We have also previously remarked on how the News Corp online website news.com.au often carries blatantly commercial plugs disguised as real news.

They were at it again recently with a “news story” on an apparently must-have consumer item.

Anyone who visited their site and clicked on the “news story” would have discovered it was an advertisement for a product sold through Woolworths dressed up as a consumer story and positioned among other real news items.

Or as real as news items can be these days on a News Corp site that daily erodes all standards of news selection and placement.

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Our media analysis teams admit to often being sick to death of reading stories that are missing basic information.

A recent ABC Online story about death is a case in point.

The item was all about alternatives to expensive wooden coffins for funeral services.

It canvassed the apparently increasingly popular idea of using cardboard “flatpack” coffins which we are told are more environmentally friendly but also much cheaper.

In fact readers were told many times throughout the story that the cardboard versions were much, much cheaper than the traditional style wooden boxes with expensive handles and other fittings.

These old-style wooden boxes we were informed could cost between $2,000 and $5,000.

But throughout the story there was no estimated average cost for the flatpack coffins, despite the cost benefits being a major element of the story.

We thought that sort of key information might lead the item, but it wasn’t there at all, not even buried later in the story. Sorry – couldn’t resist that one.