Saturday, December 06, 2008

How the papers covered the Kirk story

Reading the main papers today on the Fairfax story it's fascinating to see how the four broadsheets (including the AFR) have treated it. It says a lot about their current focus and strengths.

The Australian has done a fairly predictable Oz-type job: a "we told you so", chest thumping editorial, but also some really strong reporting from Andrew Main (currently not online), Jane Schultz and Nick Tabakoff who has led the way in covering the Kirk story for some weeks.

The SMH coverage is truly woeful. I can understand why they might be so timid on this issue, but it just looks pathetic given the scale of the story, its context in a tumultuous week (and year), and the competition from other publications, including within Fairfax.

The AFR does a pretty good job in print (tho of course not online) thanks to the steady hands and experience of Chanticleer's Alan Jury and the dean of Australian media writers Neil Shoebridge.

But my vote goes to The Age. They've gone hard - as they should have - but kept a good balance. They have a solid piece by media editor Matthew Ricketson, and a typically astute piece by the ever reliable Malcolm Maiden. Their straight business report doesn't add much that hasn't already been said, but I think the point about The Age's coverage is that it's bold and it shows that they are putting reader interest ahead of Fairfax politics.

Interestingly, there hasn't been anything from Businessspectator today despite a summary piece from Bartho yesterday. Gottliebsen's piece on the current Fairfax debt woes a few weeks ago pricked up a lot of ears but there hasn't been any more from him on this since.

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