Apr 2, 2014

Stop press! The Herald Sun front page that never was

There was drama at the Herald Sun last night when a court ordered it to ditch its front-page story at the last minute. What happened and why?

Cathy Alexander — Freelance journalist and PhD candidate in politics at the University of Melbourne

Cathy Alexander

Freelance journalist and PhD candidate in politics at the University of Melbourne

It's not often you hear "stop press" rolling out over a newsroom in these days of online media, but that's exactly what happened at the Herald Sun last night. The first edition of the paper was going to the printing presses just after 8pm with a prominent story about the case of a person the paper has dubbed "Lawyer X". But at the same time, the Chief Commissioner of Police was in the Victorian Supreme Court trying to stop the story. At the last minute the court issued an interim order prohibiting the Herald Sun "from publishing any information that would tend to identify Lawyer X". So the story had to go, and the first edition had to be scrapped. Editor Damon Johnston told Crikey: "Our deadline is 8pm, we were injuncted about 8.15. The plates were being made, and the presses were being prepared. But we complied with the court order, and the original first edition was not actually printed." This is what you got instead on your Melbourne lawn this morning:

Herald Sun

It's a story that tells you pretty much nothing, as the law demands (read it online). So you want to know what this is all about? Well, we legally can't tell you. The Hun ran stories on Monday and Tuesday (front page both times), so if you can get hold of a paper edition, as Crikey has done, you'll know. But all the online stories have been taken down. This is what you'll see:

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