Thursday, 19 July 2007

No Scandal - No Coverage

On 17th July 2007, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall celebrated her 60th Birthday. This event was widely ignored by the Australian media. In the daily birthday column The Age celebrated the 55th Birthday of David Hasselhoff, US actor and singer, instead . The wife of the future King of Australia was mentioned nowhere in Melbourne’s leading newspaper.

It is patronising how the media decide what’s of interest to the audience and what isn’t. Although TV ratings demonstrate a constant high level of interest in “royal topics”, print media cover anything positive connected with the Royal Family with silence. If they cannot ignore events like the christening of the Danish Princess Isabella, they do it with obvious uneasiness. The Age: “Princess Isabella, recently christened babe of retired real estate agent Mary Donaldson, and gifted with gilded apple pips by the crown prince of Tamar Ridge – oops, Tasmanian Premier Paul Lennon. But also understand that there’s nothing much more meaningful to know about any of them.” (Natasha Cica, The Age, 11th July 2007).

News is not what happens or what people want to know, but news is what some journalists and their bread givers decide is worth knowing. And obviously royal news is not what they want to report.

Australian journalists may not like the monarchy, but they have to accept that in an open and free referendum in 1999 the majority of the Australian people said “No to the republic”. Would that infer that there is at least a certain portion of the subscribers of Melbourne’s only quality newspaper who wish to read news items on the Australian Royal Family? Obviously the daily thinks that any mentioning of the Royal Family could hurt the republicans. Their reaction seems to be so frightful that nobody dares to upset them. Of course scandals, or what some may consider to be scandals, are always worth reporting. “Bad news is good news”’ is the journalists’ motto. And reporting scandals concerning members of the Royal Family doesn’t seem to upset The Age’s agenda.

Long live the freedom of information.

Here are links to reports on the 60th Birthday of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

No comments: