When a newspaper croaks, a loyal and important servant to its community is lost. Or that’s what the obituaries say. The truth is, a dead newspaper scarcely bears any resemblance to the mythical beast that will be lionised when the printing presses shut down and the plastic bag full of paper and ink stops landing on lawns each morning.
The Advocate, its death assured as a marsupial on a Tasmanian road at dusk, will be one of those lionised newspapers. It shouldn’t be. The Advocate’s turf is one of Australia’s most economically disadvantaged electorates, something that goes hand in hand with low education levels. It’s almost assured when The Advocate recycles a press release or culls stats to craft a story, the readership won’t find themselves digging any deeper. Forget them trawling ABS spreadsheets for reality.
Sean Ford, senior journalist amongst a bunch of 12 year olds, knows this. He’s The Advocate’s “resident numbers man” (yep, that’s what they call him) a title afforded to the sole person on staff who’s bookmarked the ABS website. Sean Ford goes on holiday - no ABS stories. He’s the man who’d write stories off the back of Deanne Lamprey’s claims of “investors circling” and “housing shortages”, all while sales crumbled to 20 year lows and listings went kaboom.
As the new talent in falling house price stories for The Examiner, Deanne still speaks real estate speak, just now in more measured tones. That kind of story wouldn’t fly at The Advocate, with its current determination to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative and not disappoint Mr Real Estate. Why else would Sean, despite evidence everywhere that Tasmanian real estate is still going nowhere fast, be desperately spruiking with both hands.
Yesterday Mr Ford wowed the local readership with the news ...