Occident Prone

Welcome to Australia’s wild West

Fairfax or fair go?

Posted by occidentprone on June 10, 2008

Fairfax Digital is giving The West Australian a run with the launch of WA Today. And Alan Carpenter, despite claiming he has no untoward relationship with Fairfax, lent his name and clout by launching the website.

There’s gold in them thar advertisements for a quality news website in WA. Money is flying thick and fast in the west and the masses are hungry for a proper website with proper news and proper online classifieds. The West has just realised what it could lose and this very week re-launched its own site which visually at least now resembles a real news site. But too little too late.

WA Today says it will feature scribblings by Fiona Stanley, Patti Chong and … Howard Sattler. Stanley and Chong are beloved by West Australians and will draw the high-end readers but it’s a bit rich to describe verbal thug Sattler as a social commentator.  He’s in the Fairfax stable so I guess they had to find a use for him. They also list blogs that cover the usual ho-hum ground – “a wry look at the week’s news” and what appears to be a Sex And The City wannabe, Daile Pepper. 

At first glance it’s good to see space and emphasis on the front page given to the regions – Albany, Kalgoorlie, Busselton etc. Fairfax’s Rural Press cohorts are no doubt having more blood squeezed from their stone – they’d be used to it by now and at least they are getting a wider readership (and more importantly better exposure for their overworked, underpaid bylines).

The Australian, pretending to be an unbiased observer, details the West-Carpenter stoush and how Fairfax will warm the Premier’s toes in their new relationship:

An internal memo obtained by The Australian referred to a meeting late last year at the West Australian Government offices between senior Fairfax Digital executive Pippa Leary, and officials from the WA Government, a key potential advertiser on the site.

The memo — written by Paul Giles, then acting manager of strategic communications for the WA Government’s Media Office — stirred controversy by mentioning that the meeting would discuss “news format, editorial stance and media mix along with advertising opportunities, promotional activity and other matters of interest”. 

Mr Giles’ note to his staff also stated, in clear reference to The West Australian: “Perth deserves a reputable, fresh and unbiased news service, so your input will help ensure it provides all that is lacking.” 

However, at the time, the head of Fairfax Digital, Jack Matthews, denied the memo meant Fairfax’s views were for sale to the WA Government. “If there is anything Fairfax Media has stood for over 175 years, it’s that nobody buys our editorial position,” he said.

Did we mention there’s an election this year? 


4 Responses to “Fairfax or fair go?”

  1. Sunili said

    I’m sad Patti and Fiona ended up writing for TWAToday/WAToady. They are awesome ladies but to be associated with such boring drivel… bah. Waste, waste waste.

  2. I can’t see that half arsed attempt by fairfax getting two cents worth of advertising. The fact that they didn’t even try is such an insult. Howard sattler is only a heartbeat away from being WA’s crappiest journo while Paul Murray lives (if that’s living). How utterly galling to have to write that The west’s online version is superior to the fairfax toss off.

  3. occidentprone said

    Yes, I’m not sure how hard running a website and getting quality copy would be but if they’re based in 6PR you’d think they’d at least be prompt with the news.

  4. Rolly said

    Frankly, with all the other quality on-line services from the likes of the ABC(AUS) ABC(US) BBC CNN and so on down the alphabetical order, I can’t see the value in accessing another regurgitation of the same material.
    The opinions of newspaper pundits are generally worthless as, in the main, as they rarely interact with the life that exists beyond their small orbit of experience.
    The likes of Fiona Stanley, someone who really knows what she is about, contributing to the newspaper merely serves to “….add artistic versimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative.” (The Mikado: G&S)
    A truly local news source would, of course, be panned for being too parochial, and one that focussed on all the great and good in daily life would be deemed “boring”.
    “It’s people wot’s the problem.” (Dickens – but I can’t recall where ;b )

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