Abbott buys fridge, media goes crazy. The Australian today dismissed BuzzFeed as one of one of a series of “unprofitable free news websites” that have become “a casualty in the race for cheap digital traffic as vast audiences produce limited revenues because of ever decreasing digital advertising rates”, but the paper is certainly happy to take BuzzFeed’s journalism and run with it.
Yesterday, BuzzFeed had an exclusive on Tony Abbott using Gumtree to buy a second-hand fridge, complete with an interview with the young woman who sold it. There’s not much more to the story than that, but sure, it’s not bad gossip item. Both the Oz and the Sydney Morning Herald have lifted BuzzFeed’s story with attribution and quotes from the interview BuzzFeed did, though only the SMH has linked back to the original source. And the Oz’s piece is behind the paywall — go figure. Just remember that the next time someone dismisses online news sites as merely aggregators of the journalism done by legacy media outlets … — Myriam Robin
Working around masthead bias. In The Guardian, Jim Buckell, a former reporter and editor at The Australian, writes his reflections on working for Chris Mitchell …
“As a reporter you learn how to navigate your way around masthead biases that don’t fit with your own values or approach to news gathering. It’s a survival technique you have to master to balance the demands of editors with the fragile trust you build with your sources. You have little choice — your reputation is at stake. You learn that if you give a nod to your editor’s views and then proceed more or less as you had planned you can keep everyone happy. If you maintain a strong supply of copy it helps keep the editors off your back.
“On a good day, this means you can deliver a cracking story, with all the facts checked, with the sources verified that you have dug up on your own and that they can run with some prominence.
“Trouble is, this becomes increasingly disheartening when your stories touch on or flesh out some unsatisfactory implications of policies or directions the editors support. Editors commission stories countering the thrust of your own and running them upfront under 60-point headlines. At some point you start to question whether you might be better off elsewhere.”
Video of the day. “I fixed it,” says Christopher Pyne as he tries to take home David Speers’ Walkley …