Following last night’s debate between Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington, The Bug returned to the Bowen Hills office of Chris Jones, editor of The Courier-Mail, to discuss his paper’s coverage of the event.
The Bug: Thanks for sparing a few moment in what must be a busy few days for you leading up to Saturday’s election.
Jones (pictured): Not at all. It’s all done and dusted as far as we are concerned. As The Bug correctly reported yesterday, we’ve settled on all our major stories leading up to Saturday’s election so it’s all a bit quiet around here.
The Bug: So not much for you to do?
Jones: Just waiting really, waiting for the voters of Queensland to make their choice of an LNP government led by Deb Frecklington – just as we’ve instructed them to do over many months, if not years.
The Bug: On that topic, can you explain how your so-called political experts awarded a victory to Deb Frecklington in last night’s Courier-Mail leaders’ debate when the majority of the audience of allegedly uncommitted voters declared the Premier the clear winner.
Jones: It’s a timing thing.
The Bug: How so?
Jones: I’m guessing here, but perhaps because of our early deadlines some of our political reporters had to write their analysis yesterday arvo to make it into the paper.
The Bug: So that’s why Steve Wardill said the Premier “couldn’t get her aim right or Frecklington moved too fast” to justify his score of eight out of 10 score for the LNP leader and the six he gave to the Premier?
Jones: Yes, Steve is a very experienced reporter and he really knows his stuff. He is always spot on.
The Bug: This would be the same Steve Wardill who emphatically predicted the Labor Party would win just 25 seats out of 89 at the 2015 election, but instead went on to form government?
Jones: Before my time really.
The Bug: But all your other so-called expert reporters and columnists gave the debate to Frecklington yet the “voters” didn’t.
Jones: They got it wrong, obviously.
The Bug: Your reporters?
Jones: Don’t be silly. The voters.
The Bug: Any reason for you to run a front-page photo of the Premier (main picture) that has been obviously coloured to give the impression she was angry and out of control with a face that was almost fire-engine red during the debate?
Jones: Let me correct you there on terminology, we no longer refer to a front page.
The Bug: Oh? Is that because of the predominance of online news? You no longer emphasise your hard-copy printed edition?
Jones: No, no, nothing like that. We now refer to it as our front Dore.
The Bug: In honour of former editor Chris ‘Show Quality Journalism The’ Dore?
Jones: Yes. You’re right.
The Bug: Who was notorious among Courier staff, many of whom suspected he settled on a front-page graphic before commissioning the story to support it?
Jones: I’ve heard that.
The Bug: Was he right to do that? If indeed he did?
Jones: Well he was Right and that’s all that matters really, isn’t it?