As a vociferous critic of journalists, editors and proprietors over the past seven years, getting a decent run in the mainstream media was always going to be one of the toughest challenges in this forthcoming election. Herald Sun editor Peter Blunden, ABC Victoria news director Marco Bass, 3AW Morning presenter Neil Mitchell and Channel Seven state political reporter Brendan Donohoe are just four key media players who won’t give me the time of day.
As a conspiracy theorist from way back, I’m blaming the hostile relationship with many media outlets for the fact that this joint press release with Nick Xenophon about the Unitab-Tattersall’s merger last Friday didn’t get a run anywhere, even though we were the first declared runners in the election to announce a policy not to renew the pokies licences when they expire in 2012. Summing up the challenges that lie ahead, The AFR’s gaming reporter Eli Greenblat, with whom I fell out back in 2003, replied to the press release as follows: “Kindly take me off your mailing list, I’m not interested.”
Eli wasn’t on any email list – it was just a relevant one-off press release addressed to people covering the Tatts-Unitab merger. I know how Telstra is feeling at the moment – anyone who criticises journalists is always going to struggle to get a fair run based on the merits of what is being said.
While I’m banned in the Herald Sun, it has been a little surprising that The Age hasn’t taken much of an interest in our emergence. Today’s front page lead on its latest poll carried the kicker “Greens to seize balance in upper house”. That’s fine, but why on earth is One Nation still one of the five parties being polled when they are not even registered in Victoria and won’t be standing a single candidate? We’re not registered either yet, but surely Family First should be on the ACNielsen slate as they will be running in the majority of seats. Let’s hope we get included in these polls during the actual campaign.
Perhaps the only way to get around a media ban is to generate your own compelling content. I’ve registered bracksed.com and will attempt to emulate what jeffed.com did during the 1999 Victorian election. We’ve also got a 1200-strong People Power email list which I’m hoping to build to 20,000 by election day. Malcolm Turnbull has the biggest Federal list with 10,000 recipients of his email newsletter that now looks remarkably like Crikey.
All of this will require unique, entertaining and compelling content – but where will it come from? I’ve got one retired media mini-mogul volunteering to do research and his first effort produced this spreadsheet alphabetically listing Labor’s donors over the past seven years. We’ll need heaps more stuff like that over the coming 96 days if we’re going to make an impact.
Feedback to [email protected]