Sunday, 23 November 2008

A fearless prediction

When I was a very young journalist who had just got the job writing politics for the now defunct Sunday Australian, I remember the advice that Ian Fitchett, then the Sydney Morning Herald's political correspondent and the doyen of the parliamentary press gallery, gave me about making predictions. The closer it gets to an event, said Fitch, the less definite should become your prediction. If you write something that turns out to be wrong just before the event everyone will remember your mistake. If what turns out to be wrong was predicted weeks before then no one will recall it but if your prediction was correct you can remind people of your wisdom.
Adrian Proszenko should have met an Ian Fitchett before he had his prediction about the rugby league World Cup final published in the early editions of Sunday's paper that went to bed just as the game was about to begin. By the time the paper was delivered he was clearly wrong, wrong, wrong.
It's the kind of example that should find its way into journalism course text books.
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