Australia

Mar 18, 2014

A March in March media blackout? How to get your protest covered

A few short stories, a few snarky ones. March in March didn't rate, according to the nation's media. How come, and how can activists make sure their voice is heard?

Myriam Robin — Media Reporter

Myriam Robin

Media Reporter

Over the past three days, at least 50,000 people rallied in cities across Australia in opposition to Tony Abbott’s government. At home that night and the next morning, they eagerly waited to see how they’d be covered by the mainstream press. For the most part, they got nothing. The protests made no front pages and led no bulletins, and while they were covered, they certainly weren’t covered prominently.

49 comments

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49 thoughts on “A March in March media blackout? How to get your protest covered

  1. klewso

    “Biased : anyone who disagrees with Murdoch’s.”?

  2. Jackon Taylor

    Oh, surprise! Former News Ltd journo says March showed ‘scary’ and ‘extremist’ views of participants. When the two major parties overlap significantly anything that differs is ‘extremist’ – especially to a former Rupert footsoldier.

  3. paddy

    LOL
    The “trick to getting news coverage” eh.
    I guess that’s the job of highly paid spinners.
    Unfortunately, their traditional employers are looking down the barrel of irrelevance, so they’re sounding a tad defensive.
    Then again, I suspect summarising why 30K+ people marched in Melb, for a wide variety of reasons, is probably well above these spinners pay grade.

  4. puddleduck

    Ha. A journo for the Australian tweeted a request for pictures of “offensive” banners and signs from the march. Great research, and an unbiased approach, all in one.

    I was at the Melbourne march, and it was huge. Far more than 30,000 people, and a wide range of ages, races, walks of life and issues represented. As they dismiss bloggers and citizen journalism, I suspect the mainstream media just doesn’t know what to make of it, and perhaps consider themselves above it. But it was no rabble out there. The failure of the MSM to adequately report the marches suggests they are ‘in bed’ with the powers that be. Not deliberately, but because they no longer identify with real people.

  5. Richard

    Ugh, these PR flacks. 30,000 people at a protest is hugely significant in a usually-apathetic polity. Imagine how much coverage the Convoy of No Confidence would have received if 30,000 had turned up.

  6. Grumpy Old Sod

    I’m sorry but this is absolute crap! Could any of these worthies quoted say how a protest of about 1,000 3 years ago with posters stating “Ditch the Witch” and “Bob Brown’s Bitch” get such media saturation while nation wide protests at the (lack of) quality in Abbott’s leadership get none?

    The arguments that the protestors were ‘extremist’ is just a tad rich with the head of the 2011 protest wanting the sitting prime minister stuffed in a sack and dumped at sea. Just how extremist is that compared to what I saw in the Canberra protest?

    I was tempted to make up a poster of “Flick the prick” (an obvious play on “Ditch the Witch”) but thought that argumentum ad hominem was not helpful and would have played into the hands of those quoted here.

    No, this bunch of interviewees are using all manner of inconsistent and hypocritical arguments to justify why their compatriots in the MSM turned a blind eye to a significant political protest. No wonder the MSM is dying with this type of witless argument being presented.

  7. Suziekue

    First up Myriam, I understand it was over 100,000 who marched, and the majority were not what you have labelled “activists”. They were ordinary people expressing their discontent with the current government’s many policies that appear to be driven by corporate rather than community interest. Collectively I guess these people feel betrayed and let down, and feel so strongly about it that they are getting off their backsides and marching to say so publicly.

    You say “When there’s a lot of issues prompting a march, journalists will focus on one of two things: violence, or the signs.”. Well, to be honest, that’s just lazy journalism. A good journalist would try to get to the overall “vibe”, to distil the issues into some coherence.

    But of course, where the media is driven by their own ideologies and values, no such attempt would even be made.

    Wasn’t it Mahatma Ghandi who said “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” We just haven’t got to the fighting bit yet. Give us time.

  8. Elvis

    In the world according to News Ltd the recent vigils for Reza Berati and asylum seekers in detention centres on 23 Feb virtually never happened either.

    How can the coordinated gathering of tens of thousands in across urban, region and rural centres across the country possibly not be news worthy?

  9. Wayne Cant

    So in this we see three basic reasons the protests weren’t covered.
    1)It was a weekend and there were no staff.
    2)It was too hard
    3)The Murdoch press wouldn’t rate it
    Pretty pathetic really!

  10. David Camfield

    I was at the rally in Sydney and for the most part the organizers were doing their best to voice a genuine concern about the direction of our democracy. Sure they were inexperienced, but there was a real feeling of genuine motivation. And it’s been my experience that people who are genuine attract a surprising groundswell of support, because it’s just so rare in our cynical 24-hr spin cycle culture.

    If you wanted to understand the March in March protest better then perhaps you should have actually attended Myriam instead of just interviewing PR ‘experts’

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