The fake hipster “Melbourne Man” made up by writer Tara Kenny and Sam Hains for the Street Seen column, then plastered over The Age‘s front page and across the internet, has reared his alternatively dressed head, this time in Overland. Kenny has written a piece defending herself and sledging the rest of the media and Fairfax for the way it reported on the way she lied to her employer and readers:
“When Melbourne Man-gate broke, I was widely presented as the incompetent, scheming ‘Fairfax journalist’; I may well be incompetent and scheming, but I am by no stretch of the imagination a journalist. Fairfax employed me as a copywriter through a third party to churn out event listings and lifestyle and entertainment articles in response to briefs such as ‘lavish children’s birthday parties’, ‘frozen yoghurt’ and ‘beetroot’ (seriously). I am under no misconception that producing content that exists almost entirely to legitimise advertising makes you a news journalist.
“My job was in many ways the holy grail of bread and butter writing gigs: morally inoffensive, well paid, supportive and relaxed work environment, free tickets to media events. More importantly, it provided financial security while I put myself through university and figured out what kind of writer I actually want to be (not one who specialises in fashion vox pops, as it happens). Like many young creatives trying to make it work in a tough economy, I gratefully accepted the pay packet and complimentary champagne and attempted to exercise a level of creativity in return.”
Kenny doesn’t appear to hold any regret over the situation, and the piece is a confusing meander around how the world feels about hipsters, journalistic ethics, and presenting our true selves. Whatever the case, she won’t be working at The Age anymore. Michelle Griffin, state editor at The Age, tweeted yesterday “Hey Tara, you were lazy, you lied, you got sprung. You’re not special.”
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