tip off

Media briefs: beard fetish … Oz self-reflects … Fairfax deadlines …

The Australian media just can’t get enough of beard stories. And other media tidbits of the day.

Beards are out … but stories about them aren’t. A university study has sparked a flurry of pieces about beards — and we wonder when they’ll stop. In a piece republished in today’s Australian, first published in the Sunday Times, we’re told that beards, alas, are on the way out.

According to research carried out by­­ the University of NSW, hairy men must be wary of reaching ‘peak beard’, a scenario whereby their attractiveness to potential­­­­­ partners fades as facial hair among the wider population becomes more prevalent. When potential mates are bombarded by a parade of brist­ly guys, the appearance of a lone, clean-shaven man — his cheeks smoother than a pick-up line sung by Michael Buble smothered in edible white chocolate — is like a thunderclap of sexiness.”

The Guardian also got the memo. It first reported on that study on April 15, but today, recaps the endlessly fascinating issue in another piece, currently the most-read on the website. And no wonder — it got 28,000 shares on Facebook alone, showing a healthy interest in all things male grooming (the piece itself also covers the decline of the hipster and the rise of “normcore”, but we’re betting getting beards into the title helped traffic).

Fairfax has also covered off on the issue — in a June 10 think piece by journalist Richard Hughes in its “Executive Style” section.

Your correspondent lives in Brunswick, arguably the epicentre of Melbourne hipster fashion, and counted five bearded-but-otherwise-grown-up hipsters (in suits and perfectly matched shoes) on her morning commute. But maybe this is the beginning of the end. Stay tuned … — Myriam Robin

Mark Day gently warns on priorities at The Australian. Oz veteran media columnist Mark Day uses his column today to reflect on trust and journalism, and how to build it:

Another element in the trust equation revolves around the way we report ourselves. We are often too quick to snipe or sling off at each other, pointing out each other’s mistakes or trying to get a rise out of rival columnists’ predilections. We tend to think of this as hugely entertaining, and it may be to insiders — but among the great mass of readers, nobody really cares.

Outbreaks of open war, such as the stoush between the Mail Online and News Corp over stealing of stories, ultimately does no one any good even if they give rise to a spot of excitement in faraway ­places like Cannes, where Media’s Darren Davidson was banned and had his iPad stolen as he pursued the story.

Perhaps if we were to put these energies into better meeting our readers’ demands we would be held in greater esteem.”

It’s the first time a News Corp columnist or reporter has strayed from campaigning line on the Mail Online issue. Day is highly respected within Holt Street, making this a very interesting development … — Myriam Robin

Early deadlines at Fairfax cause havoc for sports pages. In Sydney’s eastern suburbs yesterday morning, The Sun Herald had no football results from the Saturday night NRL and AFL games in a copy bought in Paddington at 6.30am. The edition of the rival Sunday Telegraph, owned by News Corp, did.

Don’t expect things to get better. In its first negotiating proposal to journalists for a new enterprise bargaining agreement, Fairfax managements want to change the way people are paid for the hours worked — for example, paying people less money if they work after 6pm. Allen Williams, managing director of Fairfax Media’s Australian Publishing Media, said this in the company’s first-round negotiating statement sent to staff last week:

We now operate in a 24/7 news cycle and our newsrooms need to reflect this. Our audience now demands much more than ever before and we need to become much more customer centric … We propose to review the hours, shifts and overtime clauses to better reflect the realities of the digital newsrooms, and the need for flexibility. Specifically we propose to adjust the span of ordinary hours from 7am to 8:30pm.”

Well, if 8.30pm is the cutoff, then the last NRL and AFL games on Saturday night won’t be covered in the Sunday papers, and perhaps late-finishing rugby union games and Test cricket will miss out. That means there will be even less reason to buy the fading Sun Herald. The results will be on the website, but it all means Fairfax is retreating from news to a life as comfortable, low-cost newspaper-owner whose business hours are limited to daylight. — Glenn Dyer

Bolt’s confected ‘holy war’. Andrew Bolt has returned to favourite topics Muslims and immigration in this morning’s Herald Sun, stating:

Muslim immigration has exposed Australians to a level of danger — including extraordinary gun crime in Western Sydney.”

But when was this supposed spike in Muslim gun violence? Overall, violent offences have fallen in western Sydney. Dr Don Weatherburnfrom the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research said in a recent media release, “the total number of non-fatal shooting offences in NSW peaked at a six-month average of over 40 incidents in a month in November 2001 and then began to fall”.

More recently, NSW Recorded Crime Statistics show violent offences have fallen by 3.6% in the inner west, 5.3% in the outer south-west and 2.3% in the outer west between January 2012 and December 2013. The instances of robbery with a firearm have remained steady between January 2012 and December 2013 in all western Sydney areas.

Recent crime data does show an increase in violent crime in Sydney — there was a 73.8% increase from January 2012 to December 2013, however this occurred in leafy Hunter’s Hill in northern Sydney. This doesn’t quite fit the narrative of gun-toting Muslims shooting up western Sydney.  — Rachel Clayton

Video of the day. Normally we love the use of musical montages on Insiders, which leavens all that dull political material when you’re still in your PJs of a Sunday morning. But did the ABC get it wrong yesterday? Insiders played an excerpt from veteran Nationals Senator Ron Boswell’s farewell speech to the Senate after 31 years, a serious speech in which he reflected on his time in politics, his commitment to the Nats, and his battles with the environmental movement, fighting back tears. So why set it to ragtime music with a kooky clarinet, ABC? Trying to imply Bozzie is some kind of bumbling clown? Watch from 29 minutes 20 seconds and judge for yourself …

Back page of the day. Australian journalist Peter Greste, as well as his co-accused, face their verdict tonight in Egypt. The back page of Sunday’s New York Times

6
  • 1
    The Pav
    Posted Monday, 23 June 2014 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Regarding the back page of the NYT

    Pity The Oz doesn’t do the same…every day for every page

    It would certainly improve the quality of the Oz

  • 2
    Pedantic, Balwyn
    Posted Monday, 23 June 2014 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Trust the Bolter to jump on the “anti-muslim” bandwagon, following the bigoted actions of the Q Society in Bendigo. And true to form he isn’t letting the facts get in the way of his argument.
    The Bolter is entitled to his opinions, however misguided, but it was to be hoped that he would curb his habit of misrepresenting facts to support his viewpoint.

  • 3
    klewso
    Posted Monday, 23 June 2014 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    re “Blot on the Political Landscape” - Blotistics prove he’s Right.

  • 4
    klewso
    Posted Monday, 23 June 2014 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    And Day isn’t like most Murdoch employee/trolls - he’s a journalist isn’t he?

  • 5
    fractious
    Posted Monday, 23 June 2014 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    @ Pedantic re: “it was to be hoped that he would curb his habit of misrepresenting facts to support his viewpoint”

    It’s his (and that of DevineRight, The Parrot et al) stock-in-trade. Except in the most extreme cases, even the most thoroughly-researched and cohesive cases presented fail to wake the APC from their slumbers. Self-regulation my hairy ar$e.

  • 6
    a commentator from earth
    Posted Monday, 23 June 2014 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    Re Fairfax and lack of sports results. On Abc 774 a few days ago, listener queried Age guest (possibly editor?) on that very topic. Answer was along lines that as they now print in Ballarat they can’t do a second edition and so n8ght games won’t maks it into paper.

    FFS! Not much reason to buy paper if it can’t get footy results. And printing in Ballarat! Why bother to even print at all?

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