Around this time of year, just as the summer fiction and the “best of”
lists begin to fade, there’s one classic story that can save a
newspaper editor’s skin: the great Aussie shark attack. Jellyfish and
crocodiles are good, but the shark is king when it comes to filling
pages and selling papers.

Sharks – or “man-eaters” as the Daily Tele calls them – have been front page news since the fatal weekend attack on a 21-year-old woman at Amity Point on North Stradbroke Island.

And the Tele isn’t the only one playing it for gore. London’s Daily Mirrorreports that Sarah Whiley died “after the beasts left her with no arms and one leg hanging off,” the Glasgow Daily Record says she was “torn to pieces,” and “animals go bad,” is how the Philippines Journal puts it. Not to be outdone, The Ozssubs ran with “Killers on the loose.”

Although
the shark attack took place in Queensland, other states’ media have
been quick to localise the shark menace. In Sydney, experts are
predicting beach attacks, says the Daily Tele. In Tasmania, a popular beach was closed when a large shark was spotted just 500m offshore, according to The Mercury.
And in Victoria, a leading shark expert said the deadly predators may
be out of sight but they are definitely out there, so “don’t relax”
says the Herald Sun.

Meanwhile, debates are now firing up across the states about how best to keep the sharks at bay, from steel mesh to greater aerial patrolling. To elucidate matters, The Oz is providing diagrams of the different methods.

Less
has been made of the jellyfish attack that killed a young girl in far
north Queensland, although that too drew bizarre comments in The Oz
from experts who revealed that getting stung is like “being put in
boiling oil” and further, “if this girl had been wearing a full-bodied
lycra suit or her mother’s pantyhose or her own pyjamas she would have
been saved.” Perhaps keen to establish a point of difference – and
giving the crocs a rest – the NT Newstoday leads with the story of a boy stung by a jellyfish.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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