As you can imagine, I’m quite interested in the new readers’ editor at the Sydney Morning Herald and Sun Herald: It’s about you, and I’m on your side:
Each Wednesday I will write about what you consider pressing matters but I will also speak to and email those who raise pertinent questions.
You will ask the questions and I will do my best to answer them by speaking to editors, reporters, photographers and the production team.
I’m not confident though. I worry that instead of “an advocate in the newsroom for our readers”, it will be little more than a column to justify news decisions when criticised by readers.
As I’ve said here before, I’m a Fairfax reader. I’m a Fairfax reader because you couldn’t pay me to read The Australian or the Daily Telegraph. If the ABC or SBS printed a newspaper I’d buy that. Ooh, that’s an idea. An iPad newspaper, so no printing costs and I wouldn’t have to look at the fucking awful news websites that News Ltd and Fairfax have.
But I digress. As an example, let’s look at today’s carbon tax story: Power price warning ‘based on gouging theory’:
THE NSW government’s dire warnings about electricity price rises are based on the assumption that the state’s generators will ”price gouge” by charging households one and a half times the increased carbon costs the power stations incur, the Minister for Climate Change has alleged.
There are two voices in the story: Greg Combet and Tony Abbott. Greg Combet and Tony Abbott being predictable, predictably disagreeing with each other. Two politicians on opposite sides disagreeing with each other. Woop-di-fucking-do.
Where are the quotes from experts outside of politics? Where is the Herald‘s own analysis? Where is evidence that a Herald journo has looked at the modelling they are arguing over? And I’m none the wiser as to who is telling the truth.
So, my criticism of the SMH and SH is simple: make it better than this. If you want balance and transparency – and to raise circulation figures and UBs and PIs – then stop simply repeating what politicians say.
But perhaps I’m being too harsh. Let’s see what happens next Wednesday, eh?