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How to stay on the drip – Canberra Times Style.

By johnboy 27 November 2008 57

CityNew’s Ian Meikle has been kind enough to copy us in on his recent correspondence with Andrew Barr’s media adviser Paul Kinderman.

For reasons at this time unknown Mr Kinderman forwarded an example of how the Canberra Times’ John Thistleton makes sure he gets the quotes he’s after:

    From: John Thistleton [mailto: [Address redacted]]
    Sent: Wednesday, 26 November 2008 2:23 PM
    To: Kindermann, Paul
    Subject: Prof Cox article

    Paul –
    – following is a draft article – it will be cut down a bit. I would like to make room from a comment from Andrew Barr or Neil Savery.
    As you said there are excellent examples of intensifying the city centre – any other planning developments would be welcome for the article.

    If I can get a response by 2.30pm tomorrow that would be appreciated.

    Regards
    John

    [Draft article follows]

Ian’s reply to this went as follows:

    from: Ian Meikle [Address redacted]
    to: “Kindermann, Paul” [Address redacted]
    date: Thu, Nov 27, 2008 at 10:59 AM
    subject: Re: Prof Cox article

    Dear Paul,

    I acknowledge your desire to keep correspndence between yourself and a “Canberra Times” journalist as private as you can. More than that, on reading it, I can see precisely why you want to keep it private.

    But you have done our profession a great service by letting the local media family see this this chummy email.

    I’m sure any journalist exposed as cheerfully submitting his/her work before publication to a Government pr flak would be extremely embarrassed, especially coming from the city’s senior media outlet. And it would seem at odds with professional, impartial journalistic practice from a newspaper that has built the integrity of its masthead and trust of its readership on those very qualities. So why has he done it?

    Mr Thistleton’s article reads extremely well and I do hope it meets your approval – and you are able to embroider your Minister’s comments into the story to meet the author’s deadline; though I am perplexed why the writer wasn’t moved to seek comment directly from the Minister and Mr Savery than burden you with the chore.

    However, the email does the raise the question about journalistic ethics in Canberra and I was wondering if you would be gracious enough to clarify if this is the new Government’s method of media manipulation (no quotes unless we see the story)? Or better still, share the names of other journalists voluntarily or otherwise submitting material prior to publication for your comment with our now-inner group?

    Best regards,

    Ian Meikle
    Editor
    CityNews

Thoughts dear readers?

UPDATED: It seems even within the Canberra Times this is not an approved procedure. The following went out last night:

    From: Peter Fray
    To: [redacted – all CT journalists]
    Date: Wednesday, November 26, 2008 7:03:41 PM
    Subject: reporters please

    Don’t send your stories to sources to be checked.

    Sure, check facts with them over the phone or in person.

    But do not give them the story.

    This gives them the chance to edit the story, often to make it ‘softer’ or more to their point of view.

    This flies in the face of your job — and the essence of journalism.

    Regards,

    Peter Fray

    Editor

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57 Responses to
How to stay on the drip – Canberra Times Style.
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PreciousLilywhite 9:39 am 28 Nov 08

“I agree. Advertising revenues are falling, staff are cut and thus journalists are under a lot more pressure. However, this does not mean that you should throw your professional ethics out the window. If somebody is telling you what to write, you are not a journalist.”

I agree too. If someone is telling you what to write or helping to promote a planned event, you are in advertising, not journalism. Journalism requires honesty and integrity towards ones work, respect for yourself and most importantly, respect for your readers.
A lot of journalists in this town (not all) seem only interested in their ‘honour amongst gentlemen’ read: cro-nee-ism and who’s paying for lunch?

housebound 9:06 am 28 Nov 08

imhotep said :

We found out about this little exchange by accident. If that is the kind of relationship our ‘media flagship’ has with the government, what other (more important) stories have been manipulated in the past?

probably most of them

imhotep said :

Thank God for the ABC. Although their bias occasionally irritates me I’m pretty confident that they wouldn’t stoop so low as to have their stories vetted by the ALP.

yeah right. Probably smart enough not to put it in writing, though.

tylersmayhem 8:42 am 28 Nov 08

@Dexi: Maybe you should go the the RA Job man. You’re well on your way looking at post #45 🙂

poptop 8:22 am 28 Nov 08

There’s a distance too short for cycling now?

Gungahlin Al 8:00 am 28 Nov 08

On the satellite city sidetrack – the article didn’t appear in CT today…

Aeek 8:46 pm 27 Nov 08

On the Satellite city sidetrack, this means many people travelling every which way.
I live in Aranda, work in Woden – perfect cycling distance. If I have to change jobs, Belconnen & Civic are too close, Tuggernong is too far, Gungahlin would be OK but noway as pretty.

imhotep 8:13 pm 27 Nov 08

I-filed said :

(I-filed) “In defence of journalists – their workload has pretty much tripled and the newspaper shareholders, proprietors and managers simply don’t give them enough paid time to do their job properly. Something had to give.”

I agree. Advertising revenues are falling, staff are cut and thus journalists are under a lot more pressure. However, this does not mean that you should throw your professional ethics out the window. If somebody is telling you what to write, you are not a journalist.

We found out about this little exchange by accident. If that is the kind of relationship our ‘media flagship’ has with the government, what other (more important) stories have been manipulated in the past?

Thank God for the ABC. Although their bias occasionally irritates me I’m pretty confident that they wouldn’t stoop so low as to have their stories vetted by the ALP.

.

housebound 7:45 pm 27 Nov 08

The Chronicle was completely taken over by the Canberra Times (in terms of becoming an ALP apologist) sometime last year. Its community focus and the little independence it had has long gone. Very sad – it was the best way to get community news out there once.

I-filed 6:37 pm 27 Nov 08

In defence of journalists – their workload has pretty much tripled and the newspaper shareholders, proprietors and managers simply don’t give them enough paid time to do their job properly. Something had to give.

miz 6:29 pm 27 Nov 08

This is outrageous. “I always felt the CT resembled an ALP press release.” Exactly my sentiments. Contextualises all those ACTEW ads, too.

sepi 5:44 pm 27 Nov 08

Chronicle is run by the CT isn’t it?

And ABC news is more interested in world events than anything local.

Canberra media is very thin on the ground. Investigative media – stateline once in a while.

Gungahlin Al 5:03 pm 27 Nov 08

While Gungahlin Al has -a- point, its not aligned with what Johnboy is seeing as happening here, as far as I can tell…

Skid – it was related to the content of the actual article in question. But I guess I’ll repost tomorrow after the CT article on Cox’s actual comments come out.

dexi 5:01 pm 27 Nov 08

“What your experiencing here, in the internets, on Riot-act, is the way of the future. Not your out-of-date before they’re printed, cash for comment style rags you call the CT or City news”

You too can play the media game. It has a set formula. Press releases are one combined with an event. Its not rocket science. You make your own media and get the journalist to print it. If your lucky you can get in the media pocket. Philip Cox should get a good run with this one.

Skidbladnir 4:53 pm 27 Nov 08

Pity about the occasionally godawful headlines of the Chronicle front page, though. 😛

imhotep 4:47 pm 27 Nov 08

How are we to get accountable government in this town when the main media outlet is in the pocket of government?

Oh, well, I suppose there is always WIN News…..er sorry, forgot about that small incident before the last election.

What a disgrace. The Chronicle has more integrity. At least they’re upfront.

dexi 4:39 pm 27 Nov 08

Is it this Philip Cox. Whats his interest in Canberra.

http://erithwood.com/philipcox.asp

AngryHenry 4:22 pm 27 Nov 08

Indeed, which makes it all the more sweeter when you catch ’em out.

Nice work!

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