Yesterday (4-APR-06) Canberra Times readers were confronted with the following image on the front page:
This was somewhat confusing as one would presume that people reading the Canberra Times already live in Canberra (or possibly Queanbeyan, but we’ll pretend they don’t exist for the moment).
Quite apart from that, looking at the pictures I would say it is nothing like a fair comparison of the two cities.
On the one hand we have a massive traffic jam, presumably full of people trying to get to work, and on the other we have two people, who are appraently not at work, cycling with not a road in sight. Keep in mind too this came only two days after the same newspaper had a big feature about the terrible traffic on Canberra’s roads, complete with photos of the two dozen or so cars at each of the intersections being discussed.
Anyway, this morning the reason for this bizarre front page was revealed. It turns out Jon Stanhope went to Sydney yesterday to spruik Canberra to residents of Campbelltown. This seems to have involved Mr Stanhope standing on a soapbox lecturing about the virtues of our fair city while his minions brandished copies of yesterday’s Canberra Times and thrust them upon unsuspecting Campbelltownions, as in the picture below (but Sharpe’s view of the event is also worth a look)
Hang on…brandished copies of yesterday’s Canberra Times and thrust them upon unsuspecting Campbelltownions?
Looks like the CT did a deal with the government: you print this story we want and we’ll boost your circulation by several thousand. Never mind that it’s a once off boost, giving the papers out for free or to an area that isn’t likely ot translate into subscriptions — it’s all numbers to add to those falling figures that plague the paper.
This kind of thing sits quite uncomfortably with all the ethics the well-meaning journalism faculty has instilled me with, but then I’m not the one running the paper — hell, I don’t even work for them — so I guess if it sits ok with the acting editor then all is fine… maybe.