I get The Age delivered on weekends. On Saturdays in particular it’s good to lazily read its numerous sections in the morning.
So I picked it up wanting to know who won the football last night: Richmond or Fremantle? I just want to know if I tipped it right.
Then I flick through the entire Sports section (not something I do very often, I confess) looking for an answer. It’s not there. Any number of other football-related articles, but not the result of last night’s game.
It seems that while the printed version that landed on my doorstep sometime around 6am doesn’t have it, a later edition (including the Digital Edition) does have it, on page 4.
Now, I know the game was in Perth, so would have been a couple of hours behind a Melbourne Friday night game. But it was three-quarter time when I went to bed around 11pm last night, so surely they could have got a result into the paper to be delivered about 7 hours later?
I eventually went back to the Footy Tips web site to find it. I correctly tipped Freo.
And they wonder why the mainstream media is in trouble.
Was it in the Herald Sun delivered to homes?
In looking through my late father’s papers, I found the following, which he wrote about an incident on Rupert Murdoch’s Sydney Daily Mirror in the mid-1960s.
I found it fascinating in light of the News Of The World controversy that was uncovered during 2011, though of course one should not jump to conclusions about the practices in the 1960s versus more recently, particularly at News’s current Australian newspapers.
I want to make it particularly clear that I’ve never had an issue with reporters I’ve dealt with at the Herald Sun, various local Leader publications, and other News Limited papers (or from other publishers).
(The Daily Mirror merged with the Daily Telegraph in 1990.)
Perhaps more recent debate about Australian media reform is also relevant.
I have not modified the text apart from making minor typographical corrections, adding some paragraph breaks for ease of reading, and inserting an image of the newspaper article (found separately in my dad’s papers) into the text.
I note the same incident is discussed in this recent article by Richard Neville (named below as then editor of Oz — which should not be confused with The Australian, which started later in 1964). Other references can be found by searching Google for the boy’s name.
However, aside from a quick look at these, I have not verified that any of the information in the account below is accurate, such as checking with those named for their side of the story.
A likely scenario to this incident is: In 1963, Murdoch was eager for Calwell to beat Menzies. In 1964, NSW had a state ALP Govt to which, of the four Sydney dailies, only Murdoch’s Mirror was sympathetic. Elections were due in 1965. It is possible that a Kitchen-Cabinet decision was taken to let him off the hook. He had then only two dailies, worked just up stairs from us, and was in those days accessible in personality.
The boy lived in Zetland, which comes under Sydney Central Police. What still seems striking is the helpless outrage, not only of whole communities, but of an entire police force.
David Bowman has asked had I any hard detail on a parallel incident on Murdoch’s News Of The World (London). News Of The World would have six school sex stories every year, and you cannot check the consequences, the way you can this one, by putting the Sydney Sun and Mirror stories side by side, say in the Mitchell or National Libraries, then checking in Oz that the incident did actually occur, then picking up the name of the boy in the Perth Sunday Times.
Early in 1964, the circulations of Sydney’s two afternoon dailies, the Mirror and the Sun, were running about level. The Mirror was continually angling to win, if only for that day, the race for circulation.
Both papers run first at 9.30am to hit the streets at 11am. The edition sent to press at 11.30am to hit the streets at 1pm is normally not greatly altered during the rest of the day. Therefore a story well prepared the preceding day can knock the rival paper off balance.
This is the story of a Mirror front page and its consequences. I was a D Grade reporter on the Mirror at the time, and played no part in the events I now record.
Charles Stokes, who had a long history on Sydney papers as a Churches correspondent – he was a very up-front Anglican – found this story, and brought it to the editor, the late and unlamented Zell Rabin, who said on the Wednesday, “Give it a beat up!”
We ran it as front page lead on Thursday 12 March 1964 in all editions. The headline was SCHOOL SEX!, the school was named as the J.J.Cahill Memorial High School, Mascot, and we claimed that parents were angry at widespread fornication among the pupils. We stated that already a thirteen year old boy and a fourteen year old girl had been suspended from school: photograph of school and one angry parent, a Mr J.Attard.
The Sun found itself forced to get a few paragraphs together, which they could only do for their final edition (3.30pm for 5pm) so we won the circulation race handily that day. They were accurate. They said only that a parent had read his daughter’s diary, and on this basis, the boy and girl were under temporary suspension, pending investigation, medical examination, etc.
In 1964, fourteen year old girls’ diaries were likely to be vague and imaginative.
All that afternoon, parents were ringing us saying, “What have you done to us? Ours is a good school.” Gerald Stone and I had the two front desks in the newsroom. Three thirteen year old boys appeared, and Stone was deputed to listen to them. When he had sent them off, he murmured to me that it took guts for kids of that age to come into the city, and ride up in Murdoch’s lifts. Later, as I left the building, kids were shouting, “We think your paper stinks!”
That night, the boy hanged himself, and a copy of our front page was found in his pocket.
The next day, Friday, the nits who hope to collect £2 by ringing in a piece of news were ringing all the other papers. Their reaction was a stunned “This might have happened to us.”
On Saturday the nits were ringing us. I was on duty, as was Charles, and the editor came in when he heard the news. Charles was upset for quite some time. He said it was the parents’ fault. They lacked understanding.
Zell went out to beard the bereaved mother. As Charles said, she lacked understanding, having been more concerned for her husband and her’s neighbourhood reputation than for the state of mind of her son. She told Zell that for days young Johnny had been watching the awful violence they have on TV, cowboys, gangsters, etc, then lo and behold, she went and found him hanging from the rotary clothes hoist. Perhaps she and Zell were not looking each other in the eye.
Zell runs a story to that effect in the early editions, before the sports results begin to pour in. No names, no address, and it looks quite a moral little story.
But we also have Sunday papers in other state capitals. At least our Perth paper, the Sunday Times, runs quite a different story that is sent out, by a bungle I should hope. It is also a moral story. It says that a boy in Sydney, aged thirteen, who had been suspended from school for sexual misbehaviour hanged himself as a result. Name and address are supplied.
As it happens, government doctors find the girl was a virgin.
Our crim reporters find it hard to get tips from the police for some time, because they think Zell should be in the dock for manslaughter.
When the inquest comes up, the Sydney Morning Herald pulls itself together, and sends a reporter and photographer. The coroner says, no photos, no reports. Laurie Oakes muttered to me (only a guess) that Murdoch bribed him.
I was telling the story all around town. Geoffrey Lehmann, then a young lawyer, asked me if he could give it to Oz. I said he could give it to whomever he wished, adding sarcastically that Oz editors Richard Neville and Richard Walsh, with their sex-in-the-head obsession with nymphets would fuck it up. Lehmann used to get invites to their exclusive nymphet parties. They did. Eight sentences which their most devoted admirers don’t even remember, and their punchline was – THE GIRL WAS A VIRGIN! Oh big deal fellers!
I handed this story, with the related press clippings to Brian Johns, for the Ethics Committee of the Australian Journalists Association. They took no action. It would be interesting to know if the AJA still had this material. The related Saturday Mirror might be hard to track down, because material is shed as it becomes mainly a sports results paper as the afternoon progresses. (Also check various state editions of Truth, Adelaide News, Sunday Mail?)
I was basically saving up to go to England, where I ended up sitting out the Vietnam War. On my return, I found good-hearted Sydney journalists (say Dick Hall) had forgotten, or pretended to forget the incident. A ready amnesia for an event that caricatured so horribly their occupational rationale?
Charles Stokes also came to London, got on the London Guardian. He was then appointed to a lectureship on journalism at Queensland University, but is now with a NSW Government Dept. (He was picked sight unseen by the then Senior Lecturer-in-Charge, an old Guardian man, but was finally told the University wished he’d go away.)
No one was ever punished for this incident, any more than the London Sun beat-up men are. (Sydney Morning Herald and Age Weekend Magazine 18-3-89 has the story of how Elton John forced Murdoch to pay out £1,000,000.)
When Rabin died in 1967 aged 35, people made an incredible fuss about the Boy Genius of Tabloids – even an obituary in the London Times (not then owned by Murdoch). It was probably written by Murdoch who was then in London, and who as he then was, liked Zell because he’d stand up to him.
It’s interesting to see that around the CBD, a subtle line is often marked on the pavement, where (I’m assuming) the publicly-owned pavement ends and the privately-owned property begins.
Quite a few buildings include this kind of open space, particularly at the front, and I would assume the boundary would have legal significance.
In some cases it’s less subtle, where they’ve made no effort to match the paving styles on the private land to the public footpath.
An infamous boundary among Melbourne’s news media is Southern Cross Station. Security guards will descend if the media set up their cameras on the wrong side of the line without authorisation — even when the story has nothing to do with the station itself. That’s why in news reports you’ll often see them looking into the station, having filmed from the footpath outside. Why go there? Well for some (for instance channels 7 and 9) it’s close to where they have their offices — and unlike other CBD railway stations, you can just about see platforms and trains from the street.
The Herald Sun paywall launched in March, and offered free 2-month passes. Any word on what’s happened now those have run out?
Strange dream: Woke up with the most enormous sideburns. Struggled to get them removed before having to go to work.
Another dream: Was invited to a very elaborate dinner party at Alan Kohler’s place, which in the dream was in Carnegie around the corner from where I used to live.
Another dream: Woke up to find the kids had re-arranged their bedroom. TARDIS-like, they’d managed to fit furniture into the room that in real life wouldn’t fit in there.
QR-codes in emails now? Really? What use would this be apart from on printouts? And shouldn’t we be discouraging printouts?
I felt like I was being a bandwagon jumper for buying a Beastie Boys the week after Adam Yauch passed-away. I even looked around and found something else I wanted to buy, to try and diffuse the judgement of the JB Hifi checkout person. Oh dear. In retrospect it’s a little like slipping a dirty magazine in between a bunch of nerd mags at the newsagent.
Perhaps the preface for everything on Twitter (indeed everything online) should be: “You may choose to disagree, but my hypothesis is this:”
You can tell I don’t have a good blog post ready to go when I post a bunch of pictures. Here’s a few from last week (that you may have seen if you follow me on Twitter).
Mer Chri! — This was on Thursday night — by Friday they’d put up the other letters. Below the picture they’d put in supports earlier in the week — you can see the full set in this picture from last year. They must keep all the letters in a depot somewhere for the rest of the year.
I was thinking that for news junkies like me, it’d be nice to have a quick reference to when it’s possible to tune into a news bulletin on free-to-air television. With ABC News 24, this is easier than ever before, but in fact there are numerous times when other channels air substantial (10+ minutes) bulletins when ABC News 24 is showing other things, such as The Drum.
I’ve included shows like Today, Lateline and Afternoon Live which include a regular news bulletin, even though some of these are probably shorter than 10 minutes long. I’ve excluded non-Australian bulletins, such as the BBC News shown overnight on ABC News 24.
The symbols used below are:
* State-based news (all others are national)
+ Time varies
# Live webcast available
See any errors? Let me know.
Osama bin Laden is a good example of a moral issue that for me is more grey than black and white.
I would like to think that I would never wish anybody dead, nor be glad at hearing of someone’s demise.
But if ever I were to waver on that, it would be for someone who caused the deaths of thousands of people.
There are questions over the operation of course. At first they seemed to be claiming that he was armed, and used a woman as a human shield. Now they’re saying he was unarmed… but reaching for a gun?
The compound was described in some reports as a “mansion”. Gotta say it doesn’t look much like a mansion to me.
I think we all know it doesn’t mean the end for al-Qaeda of course, nor for global terrorism.
But as some commentators have said, perhaps other events are overtaking them. Perhaps we can hope that the democracy movement and protests in Egypt and elsewhere will continue to spread, bringing change to the Middle East that makes extremists obsolete and/or marginalised, as most of them are in democracies around the world?
Have to pity MX. The biggest story of the week, and it was breaking just as they were going to press. Normally they have their stories written by midday, but this was emerging at about 12:30pm, and wasn’t confirmed until about an hour later.
Credit to them though; they managed to re-do their front page (though I saw some copies without the OBL story). However they obviously got the page done before the detail was confirmed, as it referred to bin Laden’s death being a week earlier, using a bomb, citing Fox News’s “multiple sources”.
Whoops. I suppose in that situation you just have to do what you can.
Not much chance of missing this news.