Schoolgirl Natasha Ryan had risen from the dead. Days into serial killer Leonard John Fraser’s trial for her murder, police discovered Ryan hiding in a cupboard. She’d run away from home, and stayed away for almost five years. Her family, and the authorities, presumed her dead. So when she turned up, alive, the race was on to cover the story. And to make some money from it.
Wherever there is a media scrum -- reporters, camera operators and soundos jostling against each other for up to $2000 a day each -- there’s someone looking to get a return on their investment. At the very centre, interviewees are also often paid. The news outlets telling their stories profit in ratings -- which they can in turn boast to their advertisers; there's dog food that needs to be sold, and this informs a chief of staff’s decision-making about resources, stories to chase, and cheques to write.