Thursday, 1 October 2009

A taste of the Fairfax future

There have been brief occasions over the years that the Canberra Times has been a paper with pretensions of being something more than a humble provincial daily and when your chief local industry is the government of the country even local stories can have a national flavour. Not any more as I discovered when I bought Wednesday’s paper to check the restaurant review in the good food lift out. The Canberra Times has become very provincial indeed and does not even attempt a serious coverage of federal politics.
Page one on Wednesday had five stories, at least all written by staff journalists, but every one of them was about parish pump issues of local government, shopping and sport. On pages two, three, four and five local ACT news predominated with 14 of 18 stories staff written and the others from AAP. From then onwards the newsagencies dominated the space. Leaving aside a page of editorials and letters to the editor there were only 4 of 19 stories not agency copy with the exception of a Canberra version of a gossip column.
Sporting coverage was similarly left to the news agencies — four pieces of their own and 16 from the agencies.
The only semi serious local content in the whole paper turned out to be the lift out food and wine guide so I guess I got what I was after but that just reinforced the impression that a paper devoid of ads has very little going for it.
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