Citizen Journalism

I know that the Sydney Morning Herald is in trouble and that its share price is only propped up at the moment by the prospect of a takeover by Gina Rinehart, but today’s Good Living supplement plumbs new depths of lazy, cut-and-paste journalism. Yes, I know this is the same paper that pays what is presumably a handsome salary to Adele Horin, whose chief talent seems to be cutting and pasting Australian Council of Social Services media releases. But the cover feature in this week’s Good Living is embarrassing enough to make even Alan “Alan Scissorhands” Ramsey – another erstwhile Fairfax stalwart – blush.

By the Prick’s count the story, “It’s all fare comment”, comes in at 1,132 words – of which a grand total of 928 were plucked from comment threads on the Herald‘s own website in which readers were invited to complain about the various ways they’ve been mistreated by restaurants and their staff. And this doesn’t count another 800 or so words worth of similar comments pasted together into a sidebar.

Without going into the validity of the readers’ complaints (some are understandable, some less so) this is truly a remarkable development. Ms Rinehart and the miners who are said to be eyeing off what’s left of the Fairfax empire have often been criticised for digging up and selling off minerals that belong to the Australian people.

Today the Herald has gone one better, collecting readers’ own words to sell back to them.


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