Occident Prone

Welcome to Australia’s wild West

Posts Tagged ‘Fairfax’

Here is today’s predictable column

Posted by occidentprone on June 13, 2008

Perth’s whitebread, western suburbs media is a problem. The homogenous viewpoint, particularly in the I’m-so-young-and-cool-I-don’t-need-to-think-for-myself genre. Maybe they think appealing to the masses means writing like the masses (I’m so individual, just like you.)

(NB In Perth Western Suburbs equals Eastern Suburbs in the east, if you catch my drift).

There’ll be no singling anyone out because it’s across the board in mainstream media, even in sections of the street press, but the launch of Fairfax’s WA Today underlined the problem.

Remember: There might be a boom but a lot of people are hurting now, they’re not flipping from your column to the share prices, they’re not making a killing from their investment property and they don’t give a flying whatever that airfares to Mauritius are escalating. But the great unwashed do have good stories to tell and they like to read / hear good stories told well.

Some solutions:

  1. Media owners, editors: Allow your writers some latitude. Even polarising columns / think pieces / colour stories / features are better than BLAND. Or same-same. Or deja vu. Here’s a thought: What about hiring staff who have really lived – not lived backbacking to Tierra del Fuego but lived hand-to-mouth, who had to put in an effort to pay for school or uni, who aren’t offended by Rockingham or Geraldton or Ramadan or poverty or imperfection. Get some diversity up ya.
  2. Writers: Read. Put down the moleskine you’ve taken to the wine bar, really listen and don’t try to make the scene fit the story you think you want to write. 
  3. Readers: Dump the mags / sites / papers / radio shows that offend – or don’t offend when they should be challenging us. 

Wannabe scribes, get in touch with the issues that worry the masses at Worst of Perth.


Posted in Diversions, Media, Perth | Tagged: , , , | 8 Comments »

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? 

Posted in Media, Perth, Politics, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »