Who needs sub editors?

Bad of me to pose a question in a headline. Sub editing Rule 1: tell the reader, don’t ask.

I read an alleged memo to journalists from the CEO of Fairfax regarding the sacking of all it’s sub editors. The poor chap is a poor writer. Stilted and verbose. So he sent it to be “subbed”.

It came back; still verbose and lacking warmth. The sub also didn’t know the difference between alternate and alternative.

So maybe it’s a good idea Fairfax is ditching it’s subs. No. I jest. For the most part, subs are a paper’s energy source: certainly the source of information and knowledge.

I hope they all find alternative jobs.


Maybe Twitter not so popular

In setting up next semester’s “e-PR” unit for students the the University of Notre Dame Australia (Fremantle), I have created a google group, blog and twitter account. The students will use google as a hub to conduct a range of activities, including surveys and blogs.

In setting up Twitter I have grabbed some of the peope I’m already following from another account. In an effort to inject more local “content” (more Perth PR practitioners) I searched google for “Perth public relations”. In the first two pages of results, 10 companies were listed (not including paid ads).

To my surprise, only two companies mentioned on their web site they had a twitter presence. Given all the hype about the medium as a communications tool, I found this strange. I now feel a survey coming on. But I’ll save it for class.

Step in the right direction

Defence Minister Stephen Smith has taken a step in the right direction by announcing an independent enquiry in to the Australian Defence Force Academy. He will also hopefully be able to follow up with an independent psychological assessment of many senior officers and NCOs. Seems like massive cultural change is necessary. The immediate threat is to recruitment. Would you encourage your son or daughter to join? Peter Cosgrove, where are you?

Break out the beer

I have to ‘congratulate’ the makers of VB (a beer) – from a PR perspective. Every year around ANZAC Day they roll out the Raise A Glass campaign, which is run in conjunction with the RSL. Previously they used Maj Gen Peter Cosgrove. This year they’re using recent VC winner Mark Donaldson, from the SASR. Call me cynical, but I’m against this campaign, as I see it primarily as a selling tool. I might be labelled un-Australian. Not so. I served in the Army for 22 years (four in the Regulars and 17 in the Reserve). My gripe (whihc I expressed two years ago to the RSL in writing) is that with alcohol abuse such a problem in the Defence Force, this product is not really the ideal vehicle for fundraising. While part proceeds of beer sales go to the RSL (of which I’m a member) the cynic in me sees it purely as a company riding on the coat tails of Defence and Australian patriotism around ANZAC Day. I suppose the beer needs all the help it can get, as it’s a pretty boring drop. If you want to support the RSL, make a direct donation.

Aussies abandoned by government

What exactly does the Department of Foreign Affairs do?
Two indicents this week highlight the ineffectiveness of Australia’s overseas representatives.
Aussies stuck in Libiya got no assistance and were told to book their own flights out. Then, just across the ditch, they were told the same thing.
Two massive events in which citizens in danger received zero help.
And don’t start me on QANTAS charging people $900 for a ticket home from NZ, when Air New Zealand offered flights for $70.

Bikies’ PR company taking a risk

The Brisbane PR company that represents bikies has this to say on its web site: “We will not support business activities that we believe cause fundamental harm to people, communities, or the environment.”

With reputation management a cornerstone of PR, I wonder if they’re risking their reputation by having the bikies as a client?

Whatever the effect this will have on the PR company (whose ethics I find hard to fathom) certainly the bikies are spending up big. The campaign they’re running has all bases covered, including a raft of web sites (national and State bodies in NSW, SA, Qld and WA). Some are on Twitter. However, I do wonder why one of the links leads to a gang in Norway.

The angle they’re taking is that the proposed legislation, curtailing the right of freedom of association, will affect everyone in the community. Certainly, they have a point. But, as WA Police Commissioner Karl O’Callahan pointed out, it only applies to groups with criminal leanings. Scouts, fear not.

Sport heads into the abyss

Several items on the TV news this week made me wonder whether AUstralian professional sport is heading for extinction.

First you had the Socceroos asking for more money when playing for Australia. Given the relatively small financial balance of soccer in Australia, that’s a BIG ask. There’s only so much money you can wring out of a competition that doesn’t really deliver the spectator numbers that equate with wages. I thought it would be enough that the players would be honoured to turn out for their country, rather than make financial demands.

The Wallabies were at it, too, wanting to be paid for what amounts to training, for a Possibles versus Probables match prior to their tour of Japan and Europe, complete with a fourth irrelevant Bledisloe Cup match in Tokyo. So the national rugby union players also seem to have lost their pride in the gold jersey. On this season’s performances they are lucky they’re getting paid anything at all.

The national cricket team, fresh from victory in a seven-game, one-day series in England, had no sooner won last week’s World Cup in South Africa, yet here the players were (in contrived regional teams) at it again in some limited-overs tournament in India. More money. Maybe that can work financially, as it seems the Indians have an unlimited supply of money to throw at a sport played in a handful of countries, just like …

Netball. Last night I watched as some ridiculous international tournament was being played. It’s ridiculous because, it’s always the same few Commonwealth nations that play one another, so it’s boring. But they have now given “fans” a shortened version of the game, the World Netball Series, complete with rolling substitutions, shooting from outside the goal circle and power plays. God help us. Never mind the “world tournament” has only six teams, including those “powerhouse” sporting nations of Malawi, Jamaica and Samoa. Interesting, no South Africa.

I’m just not sure where sports watchers can find the energy to watch this too-often-repeated diet of mediocrity. If they’re like me, they have long ago switched off. I’m going for a swim.