A Media Watch segment on APN’s new paywall has ruffled feathers in regional Queensland, with a subeditor at the Mackay Daily Mercury taking the blowtorch to the “twats on Media Watch” who, she says, sneered at the coverage provided by APN’s regional Queensland papers.
Last Monday, the program explored APN’s announcement that it would put paywalls around its 12 Queensland regional dailies. Contrasting a number of hyper-local headlines with reader backlash about the paywall, the segment ended by remarking that if readers couldn’t stomach paying for APN’s papers, they could always read them at the local dentist.
Mackay Daily Mercury subeditor and designer Cas Garvey was having none of it. She wrote in a post first shared on Facebook:
“I find it a very sad day when stories that small daily newspapers work so hard to bring to their communities every day are mocked like a lot of ours were the other night on Media Watch. Despite the sarcastic report by our national broadcaster, these stories matter. They matter to residents, business owners and workers, community leaders and members and also to the hard-working reporters in our newsrooms. Whether they seem important to those turning their noses up in the air thinking they know what stories should be in our papers is not the point.
“Despite what Media Watch are suggesting, local newspapers and local stories matter. Every single one of them. And I’m proud to say I’ve been a part of that world for eight years. Twats.”
In a public response to Garvey, Media Watch‘s producers said they certainly weren’t intending to have a go at regional journos, “especially as those people are an ever smaller bunch”.
“We definitely weren’t suggesting that local papers and local coverage don’t matter … we believe the exact opposite. The stories we mentioned as only being found in regional papers were examples of stories that are, of course, of interest to local communities.”
Responding on Twitter, Garvey was skeptical. “Sorry, but I believe the host’s inflection of ‘unique’ coupled with a condescending eyebrow says otherwise.”
Ah, Media Watch. As the tagline goes, everyone loves it till they’re on it.
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.