Fish and chip wrapping….today


I have had a long love affair with the newspaper.  I love padding out in my dressing gown to find it somewhere in the garden; I swear at the plastic wrap because it’s taking too long to get into it; I love getting lost in it and looking up and thinking “Ye Gods- is THAT the time?”

But if there’s one thing that’s going to push me over the edge into digital newspapers it’s reading two-day old news in ‘todays’ newspaper.  Jonathan Holmes on Media Watch some time back mentioned that because the Age sold its printing works in Tullamarine, the newspaper is now printed regionally, going to press at about 4.00 p.m. of the previous day.

To make matters worse, most of the articles in ‘today’s’ newspaper have been published online the previous day.  As a result, I flip through the paper thinking ‘read it, read it, read it’.

But the thing that really annoys me is that their stories are obviously written days earlier.  Take this paragraph in Friday‘s paper:


Adrian Bayley, the man who raped and murdered Jill Meagher is expect to appeal his convictions and sentence for raping two women before he attacked the ABC staffer in 2012.

Bayley’s barrister, Saul Holt QC is expected to hold formal appeal documents with the Supreme Court on Thursday.

I can only assume, then, that this article was written on Wednesday.  I noticed some time ago that the Age started naming the day of the week instead of saying ‘today’ or ‘tomorrow’.  I assumed that it was to be more specific in an online environment, but when articles don’t appear for two days in the newspaper, it suggests that their definition of ‘news’ is no longer time-bound.

Then there’s the sloppy editing. I think that I could find five mistakes in every edition of the newspaper.  It wasn’t like that previously.

I suspect that all of this is intentional on the Age’s part to force people to read the newspaper online.   I don’t really like the Age’s app. I find myself swiping just to get onto the next story without reading the story that’s already there on my screen; I can’t remember anything I’ve read later, and I don’t have a sense of having finished the paper. Besides, sticky Vegemite fingers are not good for swiping screens.

Print-based media companies complain about the demands of the 24 hour newscycle,  and I acknowledge that it’s certainly changed the whole environment. But then they offer you news that’s well and truly fish and chip wrapping and you have to wonder how hard they’re trying.

8 responses to “Fish and chip wrapping….today

  1. flambeau2014amf8

    I couldn’t agree more! At least the paper version has the cryptic crossword!

  2. Yes a 65 year deep love with newspapers, from 8 yrs old when the afternoon paper was delivered to our house each day, has gone sour, never thought this would happen, for decades my Saturdays would be newspapers ,fresh bread , coffee with the sun coming through the window behind my back, now even digitel The Age is behind, I get all my update news from twitter, what I read on twitter in the morning, the digitel Age has it in the afternoon and the hardcopy Age has it the next morning. What a change, huge! Yet I continue to support The Age by having the paper delivered as well as paying for digitel. My biggest fear now is Fairfax will go under, that would be a distastrous result for our society.

  3. Spot on!

  4. My first job was as a paper boy in South Blackburn, getting to the shop early to make up the rounds for the other boys. We had two choir boys who delivered to Bellbird corner and on Saturdays the stack of papers as they wobbled off on their bikes was bigger than they were. These days I read the Age on line or the app but I prefer online and buy the West Australian whenever I can on the road, which is less and less often these days as deliveries to country towns get fewer and later.

  5. artandarchitecturemainly

    “I suspect that all of this is intentional on the Age’s part to force people to read the newspaper online”. Me too, but it isn’t going to work. At the beginning of the Age’s downhill trajectory, I made the conscious decision to get all my news on ABC News Radio 1028. I listen carefully each and every day from 7.45-9 AM.

    Until and unless the conservatives close down the ABC and SBS (which may well happen), this Age reader is now getting her news elsewhere.

    • residentjudge

      I listen to News Radio too. I often listen to it overnight too when they take a feed from the BBC. It makes the tardy reporting of the Age even more apparent.

  6. I have been reading The Age ever since I can remember (I have the cuttings I took of the emerging Watergate Crisis when I was around 9 to prove it). But I have totally lost it with the Fairfax press. Sloppy editing, days old news presented as if it is new and the clickbait articles featuring prominently on their websites have led me to stop reading those newspapers. I prefer reading online because then I don’t have to put up with my family complaining about newspapers in the house and I don’t end up with so much rubbish, but why should I go to a newspaper website that merely repackages news that I have read elsewhere days ago?

    There is still some good journalism going on at Fairfax but it is too often buried by out of date or mindless rubbish. Now I know longer go to The Age website (I am not interested in pointless apps) but am content to rely on the people I am connected with on Twitter to point out articles worth reading.

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