This is the main story on the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald today: Abbott opens fire at ‘low’ PM:
Tony Abbott has accused Julia Gillard of “low bastardry” in disclosing that he had declined her offer to travel together to Afghanistan to visit Australian troops.
As the Australian officer in charge of the Afghanistan deployment warned it was “not the time to get the wobbles”, the Opposition Leader – at the end of a full-day visit to the coalition base in Tarin Kowt – said he had personally told the Prime Minister weeks earlier that he planned to visit separately.
The only voice in the story is Tony Abbott’s. It’s not even ‘he said, she said’ journaliam – it’s essentially a 644-word opinion piece from the Opposition Leader calling the Prime Minister names. And the SMH calls this ‘reporting’. Really? How is this ok?
In July, I wrote about how I still read the Sydney Morning Herald every day. About how newspapers are put together by experienced editors, whereas news websites are put together by relatively inexperienced editors who let the ‘most popular’ list dictate their news sense – the fastest way to lose credibility as a news source.
Why do I care so much? Because newspaper reading is still the best way to raise awareness of public affairs, because they are structured to lure readers to stories they may not have been interested in (Schoenbach et al, 2005). There is no evidence that news websites increase this awareness of public affairs (Lee, 2009). And isn’t the whole point of news about telling the audience what’s going on in their world?
Lee, C (2009), ‘Pixels, paper, and public affairs: a comparison of print and online editions of The Age newspaper’, Australian Journalism Review, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 91-104.
Schoenbach, K., de Waal, E., & Lauf, E (2005), ‘Research Note: Online and Print Newspapers: Their Impact on the Extent of the Perceived Public Agenda’, European Journal of Communication, vol. 20, pp. 245-258.