As I have been looking through the websites these last few weeks preparing the Crikeymorning media wrap I have noticed things getting more serious at the Sydney Morning Herald and the Melbourne Age. For years the web versions of the two broadsheets used to bare so little resemblance to what appeared in the print versions that I had taken to calling them the broadloids. Then in the last couple of months the Fairfax strategy seemed to change with the more serious offerings of the papers given prominence over the light weight puff offerings that appeal to readers of the proper tabloids.
So it was not really a surprise this morning to find that the story of Utegate topped the most read list of both The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. Both have given excellent and comprehensive coverage to this fascinating yarn without having any obvious barrow to push like The Australian where for days they were almost willing the Prime Minister to be caught out. Some justice this morning then that in the national daily it was the Qantas jet in the dark on turbulence risk that led the way with Malcolm Turnbull’s fake email nightmare in second place.
Sydney Telegraph readers were attracted to the tale of the NSW girl pregnant at age 12 while up north at the Courier Mail they wereintrigued by the story from down south in Hobart where a robber who demanded cash from a service station in Tasmania was told by the attendant: “You need a weapon.” In Hobart itself Mercuryreaders were fascinated by the tale of the Clarence footballer who flashed his penis during a live television broadcast.
At the Melbourne Herald Sun and the Adelaide Advertiser a version of the Utegate story did top the most read list but on the omnibusnews.com.au site it was the tragic tale of the mum who died after donating a kidney to save her daughter’s life who had caught the most attention of readers.
Over in Perth the subject fascinating readers of the West Australian was a look inside the new headquarters of the Finks bikie gang.
And what conclusion can we reach from this little survey? Probably that the story of Utegate is not proving as fascinating to most Australians as it is to the political junkies who determine what news should appear on page one of our newspapers and lead the way on the television news bulletins. Malcolm Turnbull can at least be pleased about that.