Feb 11, 2014

Media briefs: big news day … Indonesia’s take … free fires …

What's the lead on a big news day? ... Bushfires and news website paywalls ... Schapelle Corby the "marijuana queen" ...

What's the lead on a big news day? In Victoria the decision was easy: the closure of a significant employer and bushfires ravaging the state. But there was still the royal commission into unions and an extraordinary purge of directors at a major retailer. And of course a certain drug smuggler in Bali. What a news day. And the priorities of news organisations make for an interesting study. The Age splashed with Toyota; the Herald Sun with the fires. The Sydney Morning Herald crammed Schapelle Corby, the royal commission and Toyota onto its front page (though left the Bali saga spill to page 6-7); The Daily Telegraph ignored the lot to try and catch a crook. The Australian had it all, but led above the fold with its own Newspoll result ...

In Melbourne, according to data from iSentia, the TV news bulletins hedged their bets. The ABC, the official emergency services broadcaster, dispatched presenter Ian Henderson to Kilmore to report on the threat, with numerous reports ahead of the news from Toyota. Both Nine and Seven ran with Toyota/fires/Schapelle; Ten put Schapelle ahead of the fires (and to be fair, Toyota was only just breaking when Ten's news went to air at 5pm). In Sydney the choice was clear: Seven, Nine and Ten all led with coverage from Bali; only the ABC put Toyota and the royal commission ahead. Nine even employed the rather trite "FREE AT LAST" to brand its coverage (and wouldn't Martin Luther King Jr be proud) ...

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