Veet 1, news editors 0

Oh goody, another “study” from a company with a product to flog is considered news: Body hair linked to women’s confidence and body image, study reveals:

ONE in three Australian women have knocked back going on a date because they are embarrassed by their own body hair, according to a recent survey.

The study found – somewhat obviously – that women avoid baring hairy legs and armpits but some 40 per cent still go longer than a month without getting rid of the stubble.

If it’s so obvious, then why bother reporting it in the first place?

Helen Davidson is a good young journo, so why is her editor wasting her time with stories like this? More importantly, why does a media release re-write get a byline? That is a major journalism no-no.

Bylines are used for original reporting (unless you write for The Economist, but they have their own reasons for not using bylines). News.com.au isn’t the only one using undeserved bylines. The Sydney Morning Herald gives bylines to journos who re-write AAP copy. I guess the thinking is that if readers know your journos, they’ll be more likely to go behind the paywall. But who wants to pay for re-writes of wire copy and media releases?

(The study was, also somewhat unsurprisingly, commissioned by a hair removal company.)

Acknowledging the source of the “study” (term used loosely) doesn’t change the fact that you still fell for it and gave that company a free plug. And no, it’s not “ironic”.

I was once told to write a story about limited edition Coke bottles. I pointed out that a) Coke releases limited edition bottles all the time so it’s hardly news, and b) it was simply free advertising. So the editor told me to call an ad person and find out how much that sort of coverage would be worth. To put in the story. I’ll just leave that with you.

6 responses to “Veet 1, news editors 0

  1. That has a ring of McCrindle research* about it, I wonder if it really was 1,000 women. Was it an online survey. The original article doesn’t site it.

    * See the latest Media Watch http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s3341830.htm

  2. Some of the comments are pretty disturbing.

  3. I did sense ever so slight a tone of sarcasm in that article.

    Although that could be me putting the sarcasm that I would have approached such a “story” with if I was told to write it.

    • Yes, I got that too. However, there are smarter ways to indicate you think the research is nonsense but you’ve been forced to write the damn thing up. Like interviewing someone – that basic journalism skill that is surprisingly not used very much, particularly in online newsrooms. As an added bonus, that would constitute original work and then you could legitimately put your byline on it.

      The problem with relying on just a hint of sarcasm is that a) it’s often removed in the subbing process so the article presents the “view from nowhere”, and b) the sarchasm can be very wide.

  4. Pingback: Do we need the mainstream media? | the news with nipples

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