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Can we have Canberra’s airwaves back please?

By I-filed - 20 August 2011 21

I am dismayed by the indulgent mawk-fest that the ABC has engaged in on the Canberra airwaves since 6 this morning regarding the sad deaths of three ABC staff.

About half an hour of Breakfast on RN this morning – OK, I share the sorrow and sympathy.

But then through the day more than half of ABC News Online was devoted to the deaths. And more than half of Radio National’s PM.

Get a grip, ABC staff!

I tuned to ABC to catch Canberra’s excellent 7.30 – and the ABC had decided to broadcast Sydney’s half-hour tribute to the employees nationally – on both ABC2 and ABC1.

Like many Canberrans I have been a rusted-on ABC viewer and supporter for years, and the local ABC is brilliant – but today’s coverage has been so self-indulgent as to be unprofessional.

Is our broadcast culture being Americanised? This is talk-show-esque.

[ED – While feeling their pain I too thought devoting most of the 7pm news and and all of 7.30 to this subject was self-indulgence at the expense of their audience]

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21 Responses to
Can we have Canberra’s airwaves back please?
madamcholet 6:02 pm 20 Aug 11

I agree. I awoke on Friday morning to hear the this news at 6.10 – catching the end of A.M. This seemed to be all but devoted to the subject. Moving on to the 666 Breakfast show, it was ENTIRELY devoted to thise news, and at that point barely half an hour into the mornings listening I commented to Mr Cholet that, (and not to detract from the saddness ), it was a bit over the top even at that stage. I think the most over the top bit was the 7.30 report in which Leigh Sales asked questions such as “..and what did they seem like to you…” – I’m not sure what sort of answers they were hoping for.

It is incredibly sad, and I must admit the final words on the screen after the 7.30 report were heart wrenching, but I’m just not so sure it requires days of media devotion.

smont 5:57 pm 20 Aug 11

Completely agree that ABC’s coverage of the deaths of the three newsmen has been over the top and completely out of proportion to the significance of these three men to the broader viewer base. Yes, a sad and tragic accident, and no doubt a very emotional time for the news staff at ABC. But to dedicate the first five minutes of last night’s 7pm ABC news to this accident, followed by a full edition of the 7.30 Report, implies that ABC somehow believe this event was as significant to all of us as what it was to their own staff. They shouldn’t be allowing emotion to cloud professional judgment like that.

2604 3:35 pm 20 Aug 11

creative_canberran said :

And speaking of free publicity… Alan Tongue… retirement coverage… basically advertising he’s up for a lucrative commentary job… FFS!

Wow, the whole Alan Tongue thing obviously really stuck in your craw.

Why didn’t you take some of your own advice and

creative_canberran said :

damn well change the channel

?

johnboy 3:10 pm 20 Aug 11

Gosh CC, someone with a different opinion to yours? how very dare they!

creative_canberran 3:05 pm 20 Aug 11

I-filed said :

Herewith the list: 6 of the top ten stories 3 pm on 19 August. And these are listed in the same order as they were prioritised on the ABC online news site. I rest my case. nb The Drum is an opinion site, not a news site.

The Drum is produced by ABC News and Current Affairs so if we’re measuring content, it’s in.

Regardless though, at least we’re starting to filter the BS you’re spouting.

6… of the “Top Stories”.
Which is to say 6 of the stories under the heading “Top Stories”.

Scroll down and you’ll see tabs for “Just In” and then news for each state,
Scroll down even more and you’ll see sections for business, arts, sports, international and your own city.
Click on the heading along the top and you’ll find whole sub sites dedicated to subjects like business, arts, sports, world news and so on.

So 60% of their website… BS. Shutting down in mourning… BS.

And given that the list of most popular stories from today shows 5 of the 12 were about the deaths of 4 people yesterday, it looks like the coverage is what the people wanted. And given it was only 5 out of 12 stories, it in no way made the majority.

I-filed 2:26 pm 20 Aug 11

creative_canberran said :

Not even close to 1%. You need to scroll down more. And then there’s The Drum too which is part of ABC News. But don’t worry, keep making up as many statistics as you like.

.

Herewith the list: 6 of the top ten stories 3 pm on 19 August. And these are listed in the same order as they were prioritised on the ABC online news site. I rest my case. nb The Drum is an opinion site, not a news site.

Top Stories

* Investigators head to ABC chopper crash site (video)
* Tributes for three of the ABC’s finest
* Paul Lockyer: one of the best
* John Bean: the man behind the lens
* Gary Ticehurst: high flier’s long legacy
* Flood town mourns ‘true, fine’ ABC friends
* Australian market slides on overseas dive (audio)
* Brothel call claims heap pressure on Labor MP
* Scott to direct Blade Runner follow-up
* Hilditch gone

creative_canberran 1:52 pm 20 Aug 11

oops, spoke to soon. Kim K isn’t a feature anymore.

News.com.au has this as their top featured story: http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/celebrity/geoffrey-and-brynne-edelsten-set-to-buy-double-island-off-cairns/story-e6frfmqi-1226118638082

creative_canberran 1:50 pm 20 Aug 11

I-filed said :

deaths of three people who were not public figures to have swallowed up 60 per cent of ABC News Online for two days

Working for the public broadcaster, appearing on the public broadcaster, doing work in public.
Not public figures? Sure…. what you mean is they didn’t kick a ball, or train a race hoarse, or play a guitar.

I-filed said :

public figures to have swallowed up 60 per cent of ABC News Online for two days, plus all the aforementioned. A memorial service for the three is still the no. 1 news item on Online, and it is actually the longest item, words-wise, that I have ever read on News Online.

Not even close to 1%. You need to scroll down more. And then there’s The Drum too which is part of ABC News. But don’t worry, keep making up as many statistics as you like.

As for the “longest item”, if you’d bother to read, you would have seen that all but the most recent paragraphs are just copied from the two previous stories written. It’s no new. It’s a summary.

BTW, News Ltd also had the chopper as top story most of yesterday and has featured article today about it. But don’t worry, they also have a story about a public figure to balance it… a feature about Kim Kardashian’s wedding dress.

I-filed 1:26 pm 20 Aug 11

creative_canberran said :

John Moulis said :

This is indicative of the vanity, superficiality and navel-gazing the ABC regularly indulges in.

Ten News did weekly stories about Masterchef, sometimes more than one a week.
Seven did a lengthy promo about 7Media buying West Australian.

10 and 7 are commercial channels, not taxpayer funded, so they can spend their advertising revenue however they like. You still haven’t explained why you think it is appropriate for the deaths of three people who were not public figures to have swallowed up 60 per cent of ABC News Online for two days, plus all the aforementioned. A memorial service for the three is still the no. 1 news item on Online, and it is actually the longest item, words-wise, that I have ever read on News Online. That is a big indictment of their editor. I think you haven’t explained your stance, other than drawing false comparisons, because it’s actually indefensible on professional grounds. ABC has a myriad of internal communication channels where colleagues can grieve amongst themselves.

creative_canberran 12:48 pm 20 Aug 11

John Moulis said :

This is indicative of the vanity, superficiality and navel-gazing the ABC regularly indulges in.

Ten News did weekly stories about Masterchef, sometimes more than one a week.
Seven did a lengthy promo about 7Media buying West Australian.

John Moulis said :

but to virtually shut down a whole media organisation and go into mourning just because one of its employees has died demonstrates a detachment from the mainstream and a desire to elevate their affairs into topics of national significance.

It was three employees, plus a fourth later in the day from natural causes.

As for shutting down, what the hell were people watching? It was far from shut down, in fact News 24 was business as usual doing heaps of coverage of business developments in European markets and sports reports.

John Moulis said :

Anybody who has suffered the loss of a sibling or loved one such as myself and borne the cost of death and funeral notices in newspapers can only shake their heads in disbelief at whole sectors of the media giving thousands of dollars of free coverage to somebody’s death just because they worked in the industry.

And her we finally get to the real reason behind these comments. Tall poppy syndrome.
A respected journalist, a talented videographer and world renowned pilot get some respect and your bowels turn to water because people you know didn’t get the same and likely you won’t either.

Absolutely sickening. Next you’ll be saying how bad it is the kids who survived the Norway shooting are getting all this free publicity for their resumes.

And speaking of free publicity… Alan Tongue… retirement coverage… basically advertising he’s up for a lucrative commentary job… FFS!

John Moulis 12:35 pm 20 Aug 11

This is indicative of the vanity, superficiality and navel-gazing the ABC regularly indulges in. I acknowledge that Paul Lockyer was one of the best journalists in Australia who was fair and impartial and refused to go along with the left wing ABC pack, but to virtually shut down a whole media organisation and go into mourning just because one of its employees has died demonstrates a detachment from the mainstream and a desire to elevate their affairs into topics of national significance.

You have to understand that news gathering and dissemination is done by journalists and when one of their own dies they see it as hugely important. They – and their bosses – have the power to turn such an event into a huge news story and elevate it way beyond its proper significance in the scheme of things. We saw that with the killing of the three reporters in Balibo in 1975 – the media kept regurgitating the story over and over for more than 30 years and repeatedly demonised Indonesia as a result.

Anybody who has suffered the loss of a sibling or loved one such as myself and borne the cost of death and funeral notices in newspapers can only shake their heads in disbelief at whole sectors of the media giving thousands of dollars of free coverage to somebody’s death just because they worked in the industry.

The ABC should use this as a platform to reform itself and become more mainstream. The death of Paul Lockyer has only succeeded in throwing the spotlight on the broadcaster and its bias and imbalance and it definitely isn’t pretty.

creative_canberran 11:58 am 20 Aug 11

I-filed said :

No-one is discounting their contribution or the appropriateness of acknowledging and paying tribute – but I think it’s indicative of a very skewed culture at the ABC that they have lost perspective and let their emotional reaction overwhelm professional standards. Your post hasn’t actually stated why you think it appropriate to dedicate more than half the national broadcaster’s attention for a whole news day, to three deaths.

Change the channel. Even ABC News 24 wasn’t devoting “more than half” to this story.

And again, I recall a 8-10mins in total of a 30min bulletin talking about Alan Tongue retiring. Wow, over payed footy player retires to bed of cash and life of mediocrity.
News 24 carried a 30min press conference of some ex footy player expressing his annoyance at some policy changes last month.

I-filed 11:48 am 20 Aug 11

creative_canberran said :

Oh you poor dear, it must have been so hard to cope with the news cycle. After all, it’s not like there’s other channels to turn to… wait, there is.

Fact is they had contributed a combined 70+ years to Australian media, one of them had worked for over 40yrs. It was getting the coverage it did because people who had met them, including people in the Qld floods genuinely wanted to express their thoughts as did their colleagues.

If you don’t like it, damn well change the channel.

I recall Alan Tongue’s retirement had local radio and television spending a lot of time covering it too and no one complained.

No-one is discounting their contribution or the appropriateness of acknowledging and paying tribute – but I think it’s indicative of a very skewed culture at the ABC that they have lost perspective and let their emotional reaction overwhelm professional standards. Your post hasn’t actually stated why you think it appropriate to dedicate more than half the national broadcaster’s attention for a whole news day, to three deaths.

creative_canberran 11:26 am 20 Aug 11

Oh you poor dear, it must have been so hard to cope with the news cycle. After all, it’s not like there’s other channels to turn to… wait, there is.

Fact is they had contributed a combined 70+ years to Australian media, one of them had worked for over 40yrs. It was getting the coverage it did because people who had met them, including people in the Qld floods genuinely wanted to express their thoughts as did their colleagues.

If you don’t like it, damn well change the channel.

I recall Alan Tongue’s retirement had local radio and television spending a lot of time covering it too and no one complained.

Holden Caulfield 10:46 am 20 Aug 11

Agreed, it’s been a little over the top for mine.

A tragic loss of life and my thoughts are with the families, real or imagined, but I dare say the three men concerned might be a little embarrassed by the level of attention they’ve been granted.

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