20 October 2006

Slow news

There's no such thing as a slow news day, just journalists looking in the wrong place. Imagine how different history would have been if the evil plans of Mohammed Atta had hit the papers on 10 September 2001.

You can tell it's a slow news day when you pay good money for a newspaper which features any of the following:

  • The Beaumont children

  • Brett & Wendy Whiteley

  • The Oz trials, and the otherwise irrelevant Richard Neville

  • Lady Sonia McMahon and that dress she wore to the White House that time

  • George Lazenby, who played James Bond once (this film is never on TV and is hard to get at video stores)

  • The Voyager disaster

  • John Lewthwaite

  • The murder of a gay academic in Adelaide which seems to have been witnessed by half that town - had he been dispatched during the halftime entertainment at a Crows match or in a lull at an Adelaide Oval Pura Cup match it could not be any less of a mystery

  • Germaine Greer and Robert Hughes, who used to live here once apparently

You have to worry about a people who regard gruesome death as a form of nostalgia.

There is new information to be uncovered in each of these I'm sure, but SND articles don't bother or falsely promise new information or even fresh thinking. The new angles suggested by the recent ABC program on Bogle/Chandler may justify warming over this old chestnut. Trashy tabloids will bring in a 'psychic' to revivify such stories: at least they're trying.

Why not run one of those long think pieces editors are too scared to run during more tumultuous times? Why not have a look at some issue that's been bugging you for ages? Why not tunnel behind some content provider who airily dismissed a seemingly sound line of enquiry with a simple "I reject that"? (Any journalist who drops a line of enquiry in response to this fatuous statement should be sacked and barred for ten years from writing anything more substantial than a coffee order). Only when the slow-boes running titanic media organisations realise there's no such thing as a slow news day will you see any sort of resurgence or value creeping (back) into the Australian media.

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