Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Today's lead stories: Prince Harry's sex bananas

The first few pages of a newspaper are traditionally where the big news goes - the most important stories, reported by the newspaper's own journalists. Agency stories can come in later, filling out, rather than filling up, the middle of the section.

The traditional model is changing, of course; I know that. As newspapers shed staff, they necessarily come to rely more and more on agency stories and they simply won't have the resources to report on major stories overseas, and perhaps even across the country.

I had, however, hoped that things hadn't got this bad. I had hoped that, if agency stories needed to be placed at the front of the main section they would be stories of great importance that the Herald simply couldn't cover. Instead, on today's page A3, we get the stories of Prince Harry's belated inheritance and crucial news from Papua New Guinea:

Curiously, they were too ashamed to put the article on the website - just the third page of the actual newspaper then. The Prince Harry article isn't much better:

Royal commentator and former press secretary to the Queen Dickie Arbiter said he did not believe the inheritance [about $21m from the estate of 'the People's Princess'] would make a big difference to Harry's life.

"I doubt whether he'll touch the money because he manages quite well with his army salary," he told Sky News.

"What does he need to spend it on? Very little."

I would agree that it won't make much of a difference to his life; I would dispute whether that's because "he manages quite well with his army salary". It's not like he was a chimneysweep before he joined.

What are these doing on A3? They both seem to fit with the modus operandi of the World section: one lead article about Barack Obama, followed by the ten quirkiest stories to be found from AP, or in the Telegraph or the Independent. The World section is still there - I checked - so what are they doing in the front pages?

Let's hope it's an oversight rather than a harbinger of news-doom.


  1. It is great to see Tim Murphy is bringing his policy of anonymous editorial opinion to your site, I look forward to anonymous's next attack...

    In the meantime, I suggest you get some credibility from following Viva's advice - -

    If I would cringe with shame to put my name to an article like that.

  2. Of course in the old days when print was still king, page three was regarded the second most important page in a paper. For some reason this isn't any longer the case with the Herald (or the Dominion-Post for that matter).

    Most papers set three aside for the serious news or other hardcore journalism that didn't make the front page and maybe anchor with a light story.

  3. @Sanctuary - the "How to get snapped for the social pages" is a classic. I love the following line: "Plenty of bare skin is always a winner, so try to have a decent amount on show. Now, we're not specifically talking cleavage although that clearly never goes amiss."

    Such frankness from our nation's largest newspaper.Does this mean we can look forward to more cleavage and bare flesh in the Herald?

  4. And Bill, as you may or may not know, the two stories criticised were indeed anchor slots in the well of A3. But given the author has never written or worked for a newspaper, how is he to know this is common practice, let alone the terminology?

  5. Yeah. They're anchor slots. IN YOUR FACE!