This is probably a little overdone but two correspondents have really given it to some of Adelaide’s best known journalists and then Catherine Spence has stepped in to defend them.

“Hey Stephen,

I note with interest that a couple of Adelaide correspondents have decided to come out of their burrows and criticise a couple of refugees from the 8 long, dark years of the Brown/Olsen governments.

Yeah, sure, Terry Plane was a presser in the Bannon government but let’s not get too precious. El Tel was a lone figure highlighting the Libs attempts to do a Kennett in SA. He hired Matthew Abraham after he was shafted by the ABC under Jonathon Shier. Matt exposed the ETSA deal, the Emergency Services Levy and coined the “Liar, Liar” defamation case. Meanwhile over at the Tiser and (god help us, the Sunday Mail) couldn’t bring themselves to bag the Libs. If that wasn’t bad enough out the Nine bunker in Tynte St, Chris “Hindmarsh Island Bridge” Kenny religiously sucked up to Libs nightly at 6. His offsider, Ray “Survivor” McGee was even worse.

Even at the ABC, Alison Rogers (“I’ve got a 50 minute program and it takes 5 hours to prepare!) was losing listeners by the bucket-load and eventually was given the flick. She’s now Britney’s minder.

Eventually, of course, the SA electorate woke up to themselves and tossed the Libs out on their ear. Kenny went to work for Foreign Minister Lex Loser.

Criticism of Greg Crafter is totally out of order. Sure, he was sort of a Centre Left supporter, but really Greg is Greg. He is a respected solicitor, company director and Australian director of the International Baccalaureate, an international secondary school system.

The racing industry needs clear heads. After the Libs sold the SA TAB for a bag of lollies it needs some real help. The Libs relied on Ingo, Oswald and Armitage to provide them with the “inside running”.

Hopefully, SA nag lovers will eat their own hay and watch Greg and co stream down the straight to the winning post.

Gibbon Lane

North Adelaide

The problem with journalism in SA

This is a highly provocative attack on the collective efforts of South Australian journalists but “JF Smith” has been an accurate and insightful contributor in the past so we give him a go but warn the attacks on people like the ABC’s Matthew Abraham seem harsh in our estimation:

“Dear Crikey,

Gibbon Lane (North Adelaide) makes a number of reasonable comments regarding the pathetic state of media reportage in SA – particularly when it comes to do with anything political.

Adelaide is a provincial place that makes great wines, has a number of good industries and is dogged by an incredibly limited and incestuous collection of politicians and “decision makers” – subject to little or no turnover.

Oh, and the same applies to the media. Perhaps this lack of change contributes to the problem.

For example, (how long Oh Lord, how much longer?) consider the following all too familiar faces …. (it’s not just the weird murder capital – the whole time continuum seems to have slowed in Adelaide):

Phillip Satchel

Carol Whitelock

Kevin Naughton

John Kenneally

Tony McCarthy

Matthew Abraham

David Bevan

This is just the line up at the local ABC station (according to their web site). Average time spent in that sheltered workshop must be nudging 30 years. It never changes. I get to Adelaide about 5 or 6 times a year. It’s like I never left!

And you wonder why the reporting standard in the home of NewsCorp is so bad? I haven’t even looked at the likes of Jeremy Cordeaux at 5DN or others (he’s as welded to that place as Phillip Satchel is to the ABC).

It’s sad really because it looks as if they all start out like Matthew Abraham – initially promising start to the career, peaks (not terribly high) and then begins a long, drawn out decline to retirement and pension. And Matthew is a good example. Not quite sure where he is on the decline but he’s down there.

This might be a reasonable list for Crikey to put together – the average length of service at any single media outlet by our so called “diverse” media. The lack of turnover and exposure to anything outside the ordinary must surely contribute to our poor standard of journalism.

Oh – and on things Adelaide – what about Kevin Crease. If you took him out of Channel 9 the poor guy wouldn’t know what to do. Same job…40 odd years. And in that industry!

We might also apply the same critique to the Australian Tax Office. Now, if you were expecting tax reform you’d likely look for it to be delivered by someone with at least a little get up and go – and perhaps some experience of the real world.

It would be unlikely that such would be forthcoming from someone with the imagination to work for the ATO – their only employer – for 39 years.

For example, Michael Carmody.

Makes you think.

Regards, J.F. Smith”

Feedback: we’re not that bad

Dear Editor,

I’ve only just caught up with the correspondence from Adelaide regarding the local media and felt it worth tossing my few cents in.

JF Smith and Gibbon Lane both make some “reasonable comments” regarding political reporting here and the line-up on the local ABC station, 891.

Not all their points, however, make sense.

Matthew Abraham (ex-Advertiser, Australian) had one short stint on ABC radio before returning in the morning timeslot with TV/radio political reporter David Bevan – hardly a tired face.

The duo’s first ratings were over 11 per cent – the highest I believe of any morning radio show on ABC radio in any capital city.

While the ratings settled back a few points in the next round, I believe they’re still at a healthy 10-plus per cent.

Seasoned political reporters/commentators, Abraham and Bevan know where the bodies are buried and have instant recall of contemporary political history in this state – what is the alternative?

Someone like Susie O’Brien at the Advertiser who has to use pop references (eg Shania Twain) in order to write her Saturday column. Do spare me!

Michelle Grattan (who has recently gone back to The Age) has done little else but cover Canberra in her very long journalistic career – what about Laurie Oakes for that matter? Does their “lack of turnover and exposure” reduce their reporting to a poor standard, as JF Smith would have us believe?

Broadcast aside, the Fairfax and News Ltd press interstate are full of political reporters who have done little else for a long time.

Sure, political reporting in Adelaide could be tougher and benefit from alternative voices – the Adelaide Review can’t afford to pay decent writers and is a tired old thing (the ads aren’t even enticing anymore) and the Australian misses former political correspondent and bureau chief Carol Altmann terribly (SA’s loss is Tassie’s gain) – but what makes our case any different to anyone else?

As someone who chooses to live in this town, I have learned to be patient when it comes to our local politics. Eventually the shit rises to the surface.

**Two final points: ABC 891 tried the youthful tack by bringing Richard Margetsen over from JJJ several years ago to do the breakfast show, after the fantastic and gutsy Julia Lester bowed out, and he bombed badly. Listeners just couldn’t warm to him.

And, while I agree with JF Smith’s comment about Kevin Crease – but what about Brian Henderson – the man still dye’s his hair (what he has left) for god’s sake!!

Think about it.


Catherine Helen Spence