Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Bob Burton

The growing financial crisis in Tasmania’s newspaper industry

Tasmania’s newspaper industry is in the grip of a growing financial crisis as circulation relentlessly plunges but digital circulation and advertising fails to recover lost ground.

A decade ago the three major Tasmanian newspapers – the Hobart-based Mercury, the Launceston-based Examiner and the Burnie-based Advocate – sold a combined average of over 106,000 copies for each of their Monday to Saturday editions.

A decade later circulation has plummeted by over 40,000 readers a day, according to Audited Media Association of Australia (AMAA) data.

Of the three mastheads Fairfax Media’s Examiner has suffered worst, clocking up a 42 per cent decline over the decade after losing over 14,000 daily sales. (The Examiner’s Monday to Saturday sales to the end of June this year were just under 15,000 a day.)

The Examiner’s north-west coast sibling, the Advocate, has lost just over 9000 of its former 24,000 daily buyers, a 38 per cent decline over the last decade.

By comparison the Mercury – owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation Australia – has shed over 16,000 daily buyers over the decade, a fall of just on a third.

The response of management of all three mastheads to the rapid decline in readership has been near identical: cut staff numbers, rely more heavily on younger less experienced journalists at lower pay grades, prune the number of pages and increase the amount of syndicated material from mainland stablemates and cheap wire service copy.

Despite moves to cut costs and shore up declining income, the death spiral of Tasmania’s major newspapers continues.

None of the three mastheads have made much headway in building a substantial base of online subscribers. Late last decade The Examiner was selected by Fairfax Media to test the possibility of building a digital subscription base but the effort soon faltered. As of June this year the Examiner had just 390 digital subscribers, the Advocate 312 and the Mercury a meagre 252.

The Mercury has subsequently launched an advertising blitz in its own pages promoting digital subscriptions at initially heavily-discounted rates. The yield from the campaign – which if it had been paid for at conventional advertising rates would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars – was meagre: while 1200 new digital subscribers signed up, it was just 200 more than the decline in daily newspaper sales. (Comparable data for the Examiner and Advocate is not available for the September quarter as Fairfax Media withdrew in August from participation in AMAA’s quarterly digital circulation audits.)

Warning: cost-cutting ahead

Despite the increase in digital subscribers, News Corporation Australia has signalled $40 million more will be cut from the costs of its Australian newspapers by the end of June 2017, with the Editor of the Mercury, Matt Deighton, confirming this will include the company’s local masthead.

Fairfax Media too is feeling the pain from declining circulation and advertising. The Chief Executive Officer of Fairfax Media, Greg Hywood, recently lamented its mastheads had traditionally relied on about 60 to 70 per cent of advertising revenue coming from classifieds and the remainder from display advertising. Fairfax Media’s classified advertising – which it complained was “virtually disappearing” – has been cannibalised by online sites such as REA’s real estate services, SEEK’s employment and education ads and the Carsales website. (News Corporation has a 50 per cent stake in REA and a minor interest in SEEK.)

More problematic for both News Corporation Australia and Fairfax has been the phenomenal rise of Facebook and Google in capturing the bulk of display advertising which once flowed into the coffers of the major newspaper publishers. (In a recent submission to a Senate inquiry, Fairfax Media cited a US media survey suggesting 85 per cent of new display advertising in the US market is now being placed with Facebook and Google, neither of which contributes to the cost of the journalism many users post links to.)

For its part, Fairfax Media has complained the erosion of the newspaper industry’s advertising base revenue streams would result in further cuts in funding of journalism “particularly in regional areas where digital economies of scale are very low.”

Rocked by the trends crippling newspapers worldwide, Fairfax Media and News Corporation Australia have teamed up with other major media companies to demand the Turnbull Government abolish restrictions on media ownership concentration.

Asked what the impact of the proposed media reforms would be on the media in Tasmania, the Editor of the Mercury, Matt Deighton, told Tasmanian Times in November “I think you will see more mergers.”

While Deighton insisted there wasn’t “anything on the table for us” at present, as an illustration of what might occur he pointed to the changes at the West Australian newspaper, which is owned by Seven West Media in which billionaire Kerry Stokes holds a 41 per cent stake. “The West Australian and Seven have essentially welded their newsrooms together,” Deighton said, referring to Channel Seven Perth recent move into the West Australian’s office complex.

Earlier this year ailing Seven West Media negotiated a deal to buy News Corporation Australia’s Sunday Times and its associated Perthnow website. While the merger was allowed under media ownership rules, it was reviewed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) due to concerns over a potential reduction in competition for advertisers. Ultimately, the ACCC approved the deal in September.

As part of the deal news originating from Seven West Media’s West Australian and Sunday Times newspapers and website will be shared with News Corporation Australia’s mastheads around Australia. For its part, News Corporation Australia will provide advertising sales support in the east coast markets for advertisers with The Sunday Times and PerthNow.

In approving the deal to cut the state’s major newspapers from two to one, the ACCC pointed to the “large decline in print newspaper readership”, the “steep decline” in newspaper advertising and the existence of the ABC’s state news portal as well as Fairfax Media’s WAtoday.com.au. Throughout the year, there have been rounds of job cuts at the West Australian, then the Sunday Times and more recently at Seven West Media.

Media companies lobby for a merger lifeline

The factors which drove the merger of the two West Australian mastheads and the deal with News Corporation Australia are also at play in Tasmania.

A move by the Turnbull Government to allow further media concentration has been promoted as a way to boost the financial viability of the struggling major newspaper and television companies. The Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Media Reform Bill) 2016 bill, which passed the House of Representatives in its last sitting week in early December, is likely to be voted on in the Senate in early 2017, with Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie likely to be one of the key swing votes.

Speaking at the National Press Club earlier this year, the Minister for Communications, Mitch Fifield, defended the proposed dumping of the ‘2 out of 3 rule’ – which limits media companies to owning a maximum of two of newspapers, radio or television outlets in a broadcast licence area – on the grounds that even with further consolidation “there would still be significant ownership diversity amongst sources of news.”

Fifield, along with major media companies, points to the rise of new online-only media companies such as the Guardian, Huffington Post Australia and Daily Mail Australia as examples of new entrants unaffected by existing media regulations as they aren’t required to buy broadcast licences or are newspapers but can attract a slice of domestic advertising revenue.

Even though new online news sites have emerged over the last few years Australia still has one of the highest levels of media concentration in the world, with a handful of media companies dominating the television, radio and newspaper industries through which the bulk of citizens get their news.

In its June 2014 Background Paper on Media Control and Ownership the Department of Communications’ noted:

“the proliferation of online sources of news content does not necessarily equate to a proliferation of independent sources of news, current affairs and analysis. Indeed, the internet has, to date at least, tended to give existing players a vehicle to maintain or actually increase their influence. This pattern can be seen in Australia where to date, the established media outlets have tended to dominate the online news space.”

The current bill before federal Parliament is widely tipped to allow two waves of mergers: the national metropolitan networks merging with their regional counterparts and then News Corporation Australia merging with the Ten Network, in which Gina Rinehart is a major shareholder, and Fairfax Media merging with the Nine Network.

In its submission to the recent Senate inquiry, News Corporation Australia argued all the existing media ownership and control rules should be abolished and dismissed concerns about greater media concentration claiming “more than any other time in history, the power is in the hands of consumers to decide their media consumption.”

Giving evidence before a senate committee into the proposed media changes, Dr Denis Muller, who – though appearing in a personal capacity – is the acting co-director of the Centre for Advancing Journalism at the University of Melbourne, challenged the view that conflated wider consumer access to online sources with diversity of voice. Allowing existing media companies opportunities to expand, he said, “doesn’t mean more voices, just a bigger voice for the present players.” Even so, Muller supports the repeal of the two rules.

In Tasmania, if the Turnbull government’s media bill passes the Senate next year, media mergers between newspaper companies and television networks would most likely trigger another round of job cuts, with news stories produced by journalists as video, audio and print for sharing across all the newspapers, online sites, radio stations and television broadcasts under the one corporate umbrella.

If Fifield’s bill is passed one possible scenario is that Fairfax Media could be forced to divest both the Examiner and the Advocate in order to comply with cross-media ownership restrictions. Who would be interested in buying orphaned newspapers in a dying sector of the media industry remains unclear.

The more radical deregulation favoured by News Corporation Australia – and to a lesser extent by Fairfax Media – could lead to an even more profound transformation of the media landscape.

At its most extreme, Tasmania could end up with one company owning the three major newspapers. The only constraint on the emergence of a near commercial newspaper monopoly would be whether a single company thought it was in its own financial best interests to buy rival media companies.

Whether Fifield’s media bill is passed by the Senate or not, further cuts to the amount – and most probably the quality – of Tasmanian journalism is seemingly inevitable. While it is impossible to know which stories will go untold as a result of another round of cuts, it is far, far more likely they will be the more time-intensive accountability stories rather than the short, sharp and shareable stories that do so well on social media.

EARLIER on Tasmanian Times …

• November 21: Can Spiderman save the Mercury from oblivion?

*Bob Burton is a Hobart-based Contributing Editor of Tasmanian Times. His earlier articles on Tasmanian Times are here.

If you would like to be added to his email alert list for when new articles are published you can sign-up here.

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Comment 5 …

• Mike Bolan in Comments: At a meeting of the media and public I attended 5 or so years ago ( TT here ), the media people expressed no interest in listening to the public regarding the content of their papers. It was a kind of ‘what would customers know about it?” stance. The established media organisations looked on growing organisations (like TT) with contempt because many of the writers ‘weren’t journalists’!! Yet what has the media become but a foghorn for government policy and propaganda, coupled with a desperate demand for ‘more advertising’. What it has utterly failed to become is a valued community information resource. (Spot on O’Brien @1) That failing means that it usually isn’t worth paying any of the cover prices for the paper, nor worth paying News to read about their ‘paywall’ articles. Until they start to deliver something that’s actually worth reading, their decline is likely to continue.

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23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Mike Bolan

    December 24, 2016 at 10:08 am

    #24 Your #19 claim that Australia was the “freest, most tolerant and most liberal…arrangements in the world. Anywhere. Ever” brought higher levels of organisation into the discussion than the local MSM situation. I couldn’t understand why you might do that since there was so much evidence that Australia was anything but an example of those characteristics.

    There is a substantive difference between articulated ‘principles’ and actual action (see C. Argyris for this) which is frequently described as hypocrisy. Just saying high-sounding things is not an example of principled behaviour.

    Given all of that, I did not (and do not) understand your comment 19 because it is in conflict with the actions of Australian governments at every level, from Councils to Federal, and that has been true for decades. That’s all.

    Anyway, have a good holiday.

  2. Leonard Colquhoun

    December 21, 2016 at 11:31 am

    Is this the crucial distinction between the general points claimed in Comment 19 and the heinous actions described in Comment 22, that the former are the general principles which form the bedrock of Western (-type) liberal democracies and that the latter are examples of breaches of those principles?

    And that these breaches are recognised as such, and that our rule-of-law justice arrangements prosecute them?

    And that these breaches happen, and that some of them go unprosecuted and / or unpunished, are NOT arguments against the principles themselves?

  3. Steve

    December 21, 2016 at 12:55 am

    It’d be interesting to quantify how many customers the pulp mill dispute cost the Examiner. Prior to that, we supported it. We didn’t have a lot of respect for it as a newspaper but it was the local rag so it tended to be part of life. That changed with the pulp mill when the Examiner very openly became partisan. I’m not one who bears a grudge but it’s many years since any of my hard earned went the Examiners way and I can’t see that changing into the future.

  4. Mike Bolan

    December 20, 2016 at 10:47 pm

    #19 I’m not entirely sure what you’re saying there Leonard. In any case I cannot regard the indefinite imprisonment of people displaced in large part by our bombing their homeland as tolerant or liberal. Neither can I regard the institutionalised abuse of children and youth in our prisons as tolerant. Nor the seizing of aboriginal babies from their parents. Nor the routinely debasing humiliations of our privatised system to help the unemployed. Nor the weakening of our health system while those in power use our money to fund their use of the private system so that they are protected from the effects of their own decisions. I’m afraid the complete list is rather long particularly when we remember the appalling way we treated E Timor and our underhanded ways of seizing much of their oil and gas wealth.

    And even if we were the most tolerant (which I dispute) that in no way relieves us from treating people humanely. The argument ‘there are plenty worse than me’ does not serve to excuse or justify.

    As Bronowski pointed out in the ‘Ascent of Man’ series, it is when we come to believe that we are right, and all our actions justified, that we move blindly into error and too often use our elevated opinions of ourselves to harm others without good reason. That was his interpretation of how the Germans justified their treatment of ‘inferior races’ anyway.

    It seems to me very clear that the MSM in Tasmania is doing badly, they even say so themselves. However the answer is unlikely to be ‘more of the same’ or ‘the public just doesn’t realise how good the media is for them’. Instead constructive change is indicated. It would probably be wiser of the MSM to listen carefully to critiques of their performance, rather than dismissing them out of hand.

  5. Leonard Colquhoun

    December 20, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    And, of course, “there’s still posters and trolls who attempt to deride any suggestion” – however wimpishly put by so many of our current MPs, academics, intellectuals and commentariatchiki – that our Western heritage and Enlightenment values have provided, and continue to be, the foundations for the freest, most tolerant and most liberal political, administrative and judicial arrangements in the world. Anywhere. Ever.

  6. Mike Bolan

    December 20, 2016 at 10:48 am

    Interesting to read comment 11 in the link provided by Linz ( http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/index.php?/article/be-quiet-lindsay/ ) by some pro MSM poster.

    It’s rare to see such a clear example of hubris, suckholing and closed mindedness all in one place.

    Of course there’s still posters and trolls who attempt to deride any suggestion of government weakness or incompetence, despite the evidence.

  7. TGC

    December 19, 2016 at 10:07 pm

    #15 “We are watching the end of an era”.
    Well, I guess that’d be right of some ‘era’ or another pretty well every day.

  8. Simon Warriner

    December 19, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    Ultimately, it’s a market and the customers are declaring the product to be crap they do not want to pay for. Instead the customers are going off and producing their own product.

    Strange that the neoliberal, market worshiping, Murdocracy don’t like that message.

  9. Luigi Brown

    December 19, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    Our newspapers are in a death spiral. The product (news reporting)is poor; people don’t want to pay for it; readership declines; advertisers look elsewhere for market penetration; ad revenue declines; papers become unprofitable; lower paid and less competent staff replace good staff as a cost saver; staff are laid off; the reporting (and the newspaper product) gets worse; repeat and stir.

    We are watching the end of an era.

  10. Leonard Colquhoun

    December 19, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    Perhaps media owners, and their screen jockey employees, need to learn / re-learn the r-word, famously expressed in four of Rudyard Kipling’s

    (trigger warning – sexist term ahead!!!!)

    “six honest serving men who taught me all I knew, [whose] names are What and Why and When, and Where and How and Who”.

    Perhaps, also, journalism’s professional preparation should comprise a scholarly bachelor degree (or a double), plus restored on-the-job training for specific work skills. (There could even be SA or Victorian government grants available for translating ‘copy boy’ into approved LGBTIAQ/non-XX/non-XY lingo.) The current notion that (today’s) academics can do the latter is one of the most stupid hanging round.

    Finally, maybe the profession can regain some self-respect by restoring the AJA as its own independent professional body, and doing a ‘journexit’ from the clowns & celebs, from the pretenders & preeners, and from the overly-whitetoothed & fakely-tanned pseuds in the rest of the MEAA.

  11. William Boeder

    December 19, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    #12. Apparently you don’t mix with the more informed and credible people if that was the best result you could manage, also what value or substance can one accept from such as your own straw poll.
    I would recommend you do not count the votes of persons similarly misinformed as yourself.
    I am unable to determine why it is you have chosen to batter the truth and the popular reputation of this Tasmanian Times online forum.
    Casting aspersions toward Tasmanian Times is a clear cut example that you are quite ignorant of the important facts and statistics relating to Tasmania’s news media venue respectability credibility and popularity in this State.
    May I recommend to you to extend your mind beyond the Examiner newspaper offerings if you want your comments to hold even a noodle of shared opinion.

    The news media platforms that base their content around delivering biased drivel and nonsensical clap-trap are destined to fail.
    Perhaps if the Examiner touched itself up a bit with a splash of who’s who in this State’s self appointing herd of status hunting elitists may offer something, otherwise it is still stale bread in terms of interest to the State’s citizens.
    Perhaps even a page a page or two of easy crosswords may provide a little respite before it ultimately croaks, or just quietly disappears down the gurgler.

  12. TGC

    December 18, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    #8 “It is quite a hefty bill each year for a daily newspaper @ $1.60 x5 + $2.00 x2 per week, x 52 That’s somewhere around $620 a year with a couple of papers missing.” -especially compared to the trendies annual take-way coffee bill.

    #10 (Thus it comes as no surprise that the Tasmanian Times has effectively become the most respected news medium in Tasmania)
    A straw poll- Of 10 questioned today- NONE had heard of Tasmanian Times.

  13. Alan Raby

    December 18, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    Thanks Simon Warriner(for comments) and Bob Burton (for the article). Excellent research. Prompts me to remember that THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER is running at a profit despite being launched in recent years. I also see crowd funded individual journalists posting in depth articles online on specialist websites. Perhaps they are funding their big OE.

    In Sydney there is a well established tradition of young university graduates and under grads doing investigative journalism at the community radio station 2SER linked to Sydney and Maquarie Unis. Just listen online to their 5 times a week programme called THE WIRE. Many have gone on to jobs in RN at the ABC.

    Would another public meeting of stakeholders, Simon, including disgruntled Mercury readers willing to crowd fund for less than the annual cost of The Mockery, media undergrads and staff of UTAS and lots of TASMANIAN TIMES supporters and friends, support a structure of a university, plus community radio station that with its pooled resource of passionate retirees and young people guided by the TT editor and uni staff could not combine to create a news source that is created online and given radio and print distribution?

  14. William Boeder

    December 18, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    An excellent article by Bob Burton.
    I have chosen to provide another interesting aspect of what is still described
    as the Tasmanian local news; see below.

    Having read the daily online news from each of the Australian dailies during a recent 24 hour period I was to observe that SBS and ABC were presenting international news that was old international news, being presented as new.

    I have since sent an email letter to the Editor of SBS Australia requesting his answer to my contention that ‘each of Australia’s media portals are exercising a a bias.’

    The point I wish to make here is that Australia is then subject to news that is in all respects old news. Old news conveyed as new news is in effect misleading news.
    During that same time period I refer to in the above, a newly issued news article had since been published online by a non-aligned small and private news site, ‘that then negated the former old news article’ of which was still being kept alive in the Australian news.
    Then in that same day I had also read the underlying ‘theme of bias’ being carried or even ‘reverentially held’ by all of Australia’s news proprietors.
    (Thus it comes as no surprise that the Tasmanian Times has effectively become the most respected news medium in Tasmania.)
    Even so as regards each of the other Australia’s online news services, the same negatives were apparent in those mediums as well.
    Now as for local Tasmanian news, generally this consist of puff pieces for State ministers or their opinions offered up as relevant news to the Tasmanian people, or the article subject will tell the people of this State of some vehicle accident or that of which is the latest community service that has been halted, then to later be advised by the press to suggest to us that the denial was only a consideration when it is indeed fact.
    The notion that Tasmania’s daily news services are being employed as if a loud-speaker device that the Chinese implemented during the reign of Chairman Mao, done so in order to saturate the minds of the simple working populous, to strive harder, eat less, then forever hold their reverence to Chairman Mao.
    Or in Tasmanian terms to love honour and to believe in our Liberal Premier and his ministers.

    I invite the opinions of others to my latest observation. Thank you.

    William Boeder.

  15. Leveller

    December 18, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    Why the Printing Authority of Tasmania was dissolved without any thought what so ever by the then Labor Government warrant’s a serious and thorough investigation as they then appointed “The Mercury” and “Davies Brother’s” as the Tasmanian Government Printer. How much is the current and former Tasmania Government’s paying a for profit company for this?. This is also a serious Conflict of Interest and a serious Pecuniary Conflict of Interest for the Public and the Community with regard to news and the reporting of certain matter’s and not other’s. I also note that the HCC paid “The Mercury/Davies Brother’s” around $250,000.00 the last financial year just for printing their “Public Notice’s”. What is going on here?.

  16. Clive Stott

    December 18, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    Unbeknown to me until I got to the supermarket checkout and was asked did I want two papers did I realise I had picked two up instead of one. Gosh they are getting thin aren’t they?

    I think there is a lesson to be learnt by the media after Trump’s election and what happened in Bass, Lyons and Braddon. Those trying to run the show, won’t listen, or are not delivering what the people want.

    Their buyers are well aware of the same old political spin and no action, or having things forced on them that they don’t want.

    For example here In Tasmania there is a great need for investigative journalism but we are not getting it.

    Oh well, times move on. Give the people what they want and are paying for I say or the numbers of subscribers will drop further.

    It is quite a hefty bill each year for a daily newspaper @ $1.60 x5 + $2.00 x2 per week, x 52

    That’s somewhere around $620 a year with a couple of papers missing.

    It is much cheaper to buy fire lighters.

    Now that annual bill will just about pay for increases forced on us that barely make a mention in the newspapers so guess who is going to miss out?

  17. john hayward

    December 18, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    The main problem seems to be that all three of our papers are targeted at the largest but most difficult sector of the market – the functionally illiterate.

    John Hayward

  18. Chris

    December 18, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    By comparison the Mercury – owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation Australia – has shed over 16,000 daily buyers over the decade, a fall of just on a third.

    Have they any idea what is news the Sky is the limit!

    No hacking please

  19. Kelvin Jones

    December 18, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    The Mercury’s economic saviour was as means of political policy persuasion. This purpose overides all others as with other “dynasty” publications.

    The major means of supporting such an objective (captive advertising) eroded creating a downward spiral of these “dynasty” publications.

    As pre-screen generations who like to read paper print are now in decline creating further loss of circulation.

    Like all professional crafts and trades, the fundamental structure will remain. Journalism will adapt to the processing of news information from different sources and different ways.

    I have no doubt that new politically manipulative “dynasties” will emerge within a new order.

    The times they are a changing….

    Some things don’t change though…

  20. Simon Warriner

    December 18, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    I once proposed a media model that worked in the form of an online version much like TT, but which outlets like the corner shop could print for a fee for those who did not like reading online. Part of the proposal was to link it to Y10 English classes and have students do some of the journalism. I don’t think the Advocate and it’s backers were well pleased…….

    Like all news publications, it must rely on the quality and relevance of its journalism to attract and maintain its readership. Without it, it is no better than the model it seeks to compete against.

    What is clear is that crap journalism has an exponential characteristic is now approaching the vertical portion of the curve.

    That is, the result of not investigating, of relegating investigation in favour of repeating press releases, and of ignoring requests from the public that issues be reported on, is that the public begin to ignore those responsible, and the media response has been to reduce expenditure on real journalism to maintain profit in the face of declining revenue. Each iteration of this cycle yields a further, increasing fall in revenue, drop in journalistic effort, and decline in readership. Eventually all that gets reported are press releases and “no effort” news. A scenario familiar, I am certain, to the remaining readers of our 3 local papers.

    The key to breaking out of this decline is increased investment on journalism. That is, investigating and reporting on those issues that power would prefer kept hidden. Don’t piss on our backs and tell us it is raining. Tell us who wants you do do that instead, and why.

    The problem seems to be that the owners of these local papers are not interested in their financial survival based on the current financial model. Whether they are entirely clueless or have another financial model in mind is the question. Perhaps the expenditure of Clarence City Council on advertising in the Mercury, apparently in exchange for favourable coverage, is where the future lies?

    Expect the circulation figures for the Advocate to fall more rapidly this year. Post the move of most production to Launceston it is becoming with each and every issue more of a clone of the Examiner, and it is obvious that the next move will be to just rebadge the Ex for those outlets west of Deloraine. Good luck with that, in this the most parochial of states.

  21. Mike Bolan

    December 18, 2016 at 11:51 am

    At a meeting of the media and public I attended 5 or so years ago, the media people expressed no interest in listening to the public regarding the content of their papers. It was a kind of ‘what would customers know about it?” stance.

    The established media organisations looked on growing organisations (like TT) with contempt because many of the writers ‘weren’t journalists’!!

    Yet what has the media become but a foghorn for government policy and propaganda, coupled with a desperate demand for ‘more advertising’. What it has utterly failed to become is a valued community information resource. (Spot on O’Brien @1)

    That failing means that it usually isn’t worth paying any of the cover prices for the paper, nor worth paying News to read about their ‘paywall’ articles. Until they start to deliver something that’s actually worth reading, their decline is likely to continue.

  22. Ted Mead

    December 18, 2016 at 10:25 am

    Sensationalism, bias, fiction, and in general non-progressive third-rate journalism. All designed to dumb-down the masses.

    I for one would be glad to see the demise of these worthless tabloids, and then the average Tasmanian may have to think for themselves, which would be a dramatic transformation to say the least.

  23. O'Brien

    December 18, 2016 at 7:18 am

    it’s a dying media, it’s always getting greedier
    it’s always getting seedier, it’s no encyclopaedia
    sell us crap, sell us beer, sell us war, sell us fear
    sell us porn, sell us class, thank god it’s dying fast

    (Cafe Corretti – Defame the Dead)

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