‘Give me some gossip please’ should be the instruction to political journalists from editors interested in giving readers more of what they actually want to read. A study of news web sites over he last five week days shows that stories about the habits, frailties and foibles of celebrities are what the visitors turn to.

The Crikey Reality check lists the top five stories each day from 10 media sites giving our five day survey a total of 250 stories and a staggering 87 of them were about what can loosely be called celebrities. Of them, celebrities and drugs accounted for 23 stories and celebrities and s-xual exploits another 20.

Crime is the second most read category with 50 stories while federal politics came in third for the week on 45. More than half of those political stories were carried by The Australian (13) and the ABC (12.). The much read news.com site did not have one political story in its top five any day this week.

Top subjects of the week:

Subject Mentions
crime 50
politics – election 45
celebrity – other 24
celebrity – drugs 23
celebrity – s-x 20
right v left brain 13
sport 9
weather 7
accidents 7
war 6
real estate 5
sex – other 4
religion – muslims 4
odd news 4
motoring 4
business 4
terrorism 3
s-x – politics 3
politics – state 3
music 2
health 2
computers 2
shopping 1
sharks 1
holidays 1
environment 1
arts 1
animals 1
Total 250

This morning was another low interest day as far as election coverage went with six sites not having politics in their top five list.

Sydney Morning Herald

  1. Hingis tests positive for cocaine
  2. No regrets as Hiroshima bomber dies
  3. Celebrity estate agent murdered
  4. Howard’s gap wide as ever
  5. Magazine mocks missing Maddie

The Age

  1. Hingis denies ‘monstrous’ cocaine claim
  2. Howard fails to close the gap
  3. Family First flip on candidate sexuality
  4. Costello (Tim, that is) backs Rudd on poverty
  5. Election is Labor’s to lose

The Australian

  1. Secret Haneef plan exposed
  2. Liberal campaign wheels get wobbly
  3. Rudd chases the grey vote too
  4. Howard’s ‘me too too’
  5. UK police guilty over Tube shooting


  • Candidates ‘should declare sexual preference’
  • Father denies Cousins missing in US
  • 36yo fronts court over ‘lawn watering’ death
  • AFL worried about Cousins’ safety
  • Jaques claims opener’s spot

The West Australian

  1. Hingis retires after shock drug test
  2. Ben is receiving treatment in LA, says dad
  3. Irish tourists in fatal crash
  4. Woman charged over high-speed car chase
  5. Cousins faces lots of hurdles: Demetriou

Sydney Telegraph

  1. The Right Brain vs Left Brain
  2. Picture breaks Sydney’s heart
  3. ‘Bra groping and drink spiking’
  4. Ben Cousins mystery blonde
  5. The world’s best bottom

Melbourne Herald Sun

  1. Right Brain v Left Brain
  2. Ben Cousins lying low
  3. Body left in pool of blood
  4. Osama, read it and weep
  5. Hingis positive for cocaine


  1. Heavy falls forecast across SA
  2. Hingis drug shock
  3. Downpours to come
  4. Ben Cousins’ mystery blonde
  5. Commuter anger: Fix it, Pat

Courier Mail

  1. GPS thief easily found
  2. Mason’s exit could spur exodus
  3. Hingis quits after cocaine test
  4. Unleashed: Dannii’s sexy image
  5. Left Brain v Right Brain Test 


  1. Cousins linked to Cameron Diaz
  2. ‘Paul admits wife abuse on tape’
  3. Hingis confesses to positive…
  4. Sick magazine mocks Madeleine
  5. Women ‘groped, had drinks…

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey