In the thousands of
words written thus far in the Courier-Mail about its impending “conversion” to a
more compact, reader-friendly format, not once has this subscriber found the
word “tabloid”. After years of being a tabloid in every respect except its
actual shape, the powers that be at Queensland Newspapers have obviously decided
to dump their previous (albeit pretentious) rationale for the traditional
broadsheet design, but at the same time have read the market research, which
shows most readers equate the word “tabloid” with sensation, smut and cheap
news.

Ironically, a
feature of the new “compact” – according to this morning’s Courier-Mail – is the
expansion of the epicentre of the paper’s tabloid-by-any-other-name reputation,
the deplorable QConfidential gossip page. Usually a filler page edited by
superannuated old hacks with smartar*e prose, QConfidential is nothing more than
a grab bag of cut’n’paste Hollywood trivia, snide political scuttlebutt, and
voyeuristic TV gossip, with obligatory acres of flesh, tans and fauxhawk
haircuts.

The QNP marketing
department has also received specific riding instructions to avoid the “tabloid”
word at all costs, with the PR team already drilling a simple message to media –
it’s a “compact”.

Brisbane media
observers are expecting the new ABC radio morning show presenter, Madonna King,
to give the new Courier-Mail a balanced, fair and impartial assessment upon its
launch next Monday. After all, her husband (Courier-Mail editor David Fagan) has been putting it together for the
past 6 months or more, so she’ll certainly be able to offer listeners a
warts-and-all account of the new paper’s conception and birth.

Peter Fray

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