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Emma Gibson of Canberra Review replies in defence of her Bunch of Fives Review

By johnboy - 23 July 2005 11

Emma Gibson of the Canberra Review has posted a reply to my criticism of her review of Bunch of Fives. In the interests of fairness I thought I’d reproduce it here as a story of its own.

First, thanks for reading the review. I’m sure all the Canberra Review/ City News will be pleased to know their “stale” publication is still reaching a large audience.

I appreciate that you don’t know me, nor my relationship with my editor, because if you did, you would recognise that I’m one of the first to view Jorian Gardner and his work critically.

However, I pride myself on being a fair critic.
It seems to be fashionable to attack Jorian Gardner for his harsh critical style and yet a fair review of a worthy gig cops the same attack.

Setting the scene and giving the background on a gig, and, as a reviewer, giving an opinion (that’s what a review’s all about after all) is quite different from promotional copy.
a) I’m not paid to write it
b) It’s my honest opinion, which is not to be confused with (and is quite seperate to) Gardner’s opinion.

Further, do you really think Jorian Gardner needs a ‘puff piece’? Public consensus appears to be that his ego is large enough already.

You’ve conceded yourself that Bunch of Fives is a good event.
And let’s be honest, in a town as small as Canberra, any arts event becomes a ‘mates event’, that however, doesn’t mean the individual’s merit is not a consideration. I’m yet to see an exceedingly untalented performer.

Yeah, the artistic director of A Bunch of Fives is the same guy as the editor of the Canberra. That would be why the fact was identified in the review. And the last line of the review is supposed to be a bit of a joke.

But… on a final note.
Thankyou johnboy, you’ve now inspired me to write a piece for the next bunch of fives.
The theme is Rage.
I do hope you’ll come see it.

Comment by EMMA GIBSON — July 22, 2005 @ 3:37 pm

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11 Responses to
Emma Gibson of Canberra Review replies in defence of her Bunch of Fives Review
bulldog 8:50 am 26 Jul 05

I’m looking forward to it!

johnboy 7:52 pm 25 Jul 05

Bulldog, we look at a lot of crap to bring you this site. CityNews at least tend to sentences and a spell-check. You should see the livejournal and msn spaces crap that comes up.

If they have a noteworthy story we’ll give it a go.

That doesn’t happen that often.

bulldog 5:01 pm 25 Jul 05

Fair call K, we’ll let the jounalists off the hook for now.

We’ll still feel free to express our opinion of the chief editor and his sidekicks producing what amounts to be a mind-numbing rag.

Kerces 4:11 pm 25 Jul 05

Most of the stuff is written by PR companies or (the poorer written drivel) by the advertisers themselves. The editor appears to take no responsibility whatsoever and is only interested in money in his pocket and not someone else’s. Jorian takes responsibility for the Review section and yes, does get his mates to write reviews but no one seems to care since they’re probably not getting paid. There are huge fights every week about how much space the review’s getting and whether the ads are deserving and so on and generally the office is unpleasant for the naive uni students co-opted into working there. As to high school students working there, yes. The hiring process is particularly dodgy (I was hired after 4 hrs ‘work experience’ and a resume that probably wasn’t read).
I don’t want to defend the publication, I want to defend the staff (not managers) who do a great job getting the paper to press each week.

bloodnut 3:51 pm 25 Jul 05

I have several backdated issues of City News in my loo at home. I find it makes pleasantly inoffensive reading at times when my concentration is needed on other matters.

point is, it may be thinly veiled cash for comment, but as a product, it still has a worthwhile use in my day to day life.

and its amusing to boot.

bulldog 12:45 pm 25 Jul 05

K:
Someone has to be responsable for the drivel that is being passed of as ‘News’. If not the journalists (and I use that term very loosely) than the editor or manager. I’ll accept that the people writing for City News may not be the ones to blame, but it is still a terrible publication.

I would be curious to know that if 90 percent of the magazine is not written by their journalists, then by who? Is there some website full of mediocre stories about mediocre events written by mediocre high school students? Is there a central crap source? Or are the editors writing their own stuff to push their own agenda’s?

I suspect the latter may be the case, as it seems that the journalists are happy to write glowing reviews of their bosses. Perhaps due to the high staff turnover they feel that writing nice things about the boss will guarantee a paycheck for the next week…

In any case, I don’t claim to be an expert; however I know what I like. I don’t like City News. If less people read it the world would be a smarter place.

Kerces 11:08 am 25 Jul 05

Bulldog:
Approximately 90 per cent of what is published in City News is not written by their journalists. And probably about half of that is never seen by them, unless they absolutely insist on looking at everything because they have some strange idea that things should be checked before being published. They have a fairly high turnover of staff, so journalists don’t get much time to work out what’s going on and establish themselves, but do their best given the circumstances (and lack of getting paid). The majority of the production work is done by a few kids in their early twenties. There are no subeditors and no checks on work done by work experiencers.

Despite all this, I believe the people who work there do their best to get the paper out, regardless of what they think of the content. Which most of them have no say over.

K

bulldog 9:21 am 25 Jul 05

JB; Why are you still reading City News? It’s self serving tripe written by “journalists” who would seem to be more at home wielding a crayon and butcher’s paper.

City News tries vainly to pass itself off as edgy, informative, entertaining and intelectual. They fail. At best they can be described as laughable due to the transparency of the articles, or more accuratley, paid endorsements of ‘local personalities’ and their businesses.

Furthermore the skill and integrity of City News “journalists” is highly questionable. However rest assured Players, because after graduation from high school, there may be a bright future in hospitality awaiting them.

Now, I don’t know Ms Gibson, and I’m sure she’s an upstanding citizen. This is not a personal attack. That being said I would like to ask her to stop taking herslef and her ‘work’ so seriously. For God’s sake, you’re not working for CNN. Remember that when you feel enraged about a (fair) review of your review.

simto 8:40 am 25 Jul 05

Yep, and the main asset any promoter has is credibility. Once you start undermining that (by, say, running reviews of stuff you produce that, however innocently intended, contain jokey references blurring the lines between reviewer and participant), your credibility starts to be undermined.

The “reviews” section of the Canberra review is usually fairly decently written, in my opinion (the articles not so much so – at least, not the still-too-common recycled press releases). Which is why it’s a disappointment when the line between promoter and reviewer is blurred.

johnboy 11:42 am 23 Jul 05

Nah, everyone gets an opinion.

my initial complaint remains that an arts promoter running a review in a small town needs to be above reproach, to be adhereing to higher, not lower standards.

And when paid advertisement is being run as editorial comment how are we to know what credence to place on any content at all?

Thumper 11:06 am 23 Jul 05

So…..

If I get this correct, it would seem that certain people are allowed an opinion, but others are not.

Alternatively, you are not allowed to make comment if it is not what people want to hear.

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