Top five issues in the Australian media: 28 July — 3 August, 2016
All five of this week’s top five stories broke in traditional ways, via journalists, politicians or central bankers using established media outlets — nothing like the greyhound racing ban announced via Facebook, but that’s becoming more the exception than the rule.
The couple of weeks before an Olympics is traditionally that time when sports journalists are forced to do human interest and sometimes even news pieces to fill in the time between them arriving and the games actually starting. They’ve had absolutely no problem finding content this time, with fires, theft, ramp collapses and very dirty water saving them from actually having to talk about the tumultuous political situation in Brazil or indeed whether anything at all should have been spent on the Olympics given the state of the economy.
Some media self-examination has been occurring in the wake of Four Corners expose of NT juvenile detention practices and the swiftly announced royal commission. The story had been widely reported through both print and broadcast channels, but had not garnered any kind of outrage or follow up until the vision was seen on a national current affairs program. The power of images over words in 2016 seems pretty much absolute.
There was very little coverage of American politics while the Australian election campaign was on, but our media have dived straight back into it with both conventions, the Republican one as rowdy as anticipated, but nevertheless giving Donald Trump a significant bump in the polls, while this week’s DNC was far more controlled, despite a few still desperate to feel the Bern. It was the speech by the parents of Captain Humayan Khan that once again made Donald Trump the issue, as he started a Twitter war with them. The next three months will be the classic decider of whether there can be such thing as too much publicity in these deeply fragmented media times.
The Reserve Bank surprised few when it announced a drop in the official interest rate to 1.5%, a new record low, with the financial media coverage swaying between concern over the state of the general economy, whether monetary policy was having any stimulatory effect at all any more or whether it would continue to fuel a property bubble in Sydney.
Hard news had a big win over the soft stuff this week, even the long awaited and breathlessly anticipated latest Harry Potter novel couldn’t make much of a dent in the media volumes of the top five.