Cause of much mirth to Mine Host over the past week or so has been the misguided panic of a coterie of journalists, in regard to the ownership of a pair of newspapers in the deep south.
Yep. The buying of shares in Fairfax by one of Australia's smaller scale mining bosses: Western Australian Gina Rinehart.
Newspapers, as in those printed things you read, are going the same way as the horse & carriage.
The Fairfax newspaper company in particular is so ineptly run, that the only thing people are prepared to bet upon is the actual date it will go bust.
Then along comes someone who actually buys shares in the failing company, and who actually believes in newspapers. (Gina Rinehart)
How do journalists at Fairfax greet their saviour?
With screeching panic, that is how. They bray like donkeys about how terrible it is that she is buying shares.
.....this does not assist one to believe that Fairfax journalists are a particularly bright bunch.
But then, anyone who follows circulation & readership figures (& wickedly compares those to copies sold) will have long known that the numbers of readers being shed by the two main Fairfax newspapers is quite an achievement in its own right.
The journalists at Fairfax are objecting to the very person who is likely to save their jobs.
Except of course, they'll be expected to (ugh) work for their money. Gina Rinehart has the look and manner of one who will not be indulgent of staff indolence.
Mine Host's favourite parts (in a mini-saga that downright bristles with instances of dickheadsmanship)?
1/. The insistence by the Fairfax Board of Directors, of whom none have signed a charter of editorial independence that Gina Rinehart must sign such a document as a condition of getting a seat on the board.
This pre-requisite of quill-must-meet-parchment or you don't sit on the board, has never been required of any other board member.
The only directors to ever so sign their name, were already members of the board when they just up & decided to sign.
2/. The insistence by a coterie of journalists that Gina Rinehard sign "the charter". Or else what....?
For there isn't one such document. There are two. One for the Sydney Morning Herald, and a different one for the Melbourne Age.
These really skilled investigative journalist types, could perhaps brush up on their facts before publicly engaging their mouth. Which of the multiple charters are they insisting she sign?
The same (cough) journalists who can't get it right about the number of charters-of-editorial-independence, simultaneously, & without any sense of irony, are screeching about quality journalism.
Fairfax is known as "fewfacts" for a very good reason. These same (cough) journalists who declare they are producing "quality" journalism, more than anything else are cut-&-paste clerks. They get most of their actual, you know, news from an AAP feed. Occasionally they'll camouflage the AAP feed with a bit of a re-write.
One thing is certain: The sooner the sheltered workshop calling itself Fairfax gets a real boss, the more chance that it may be saved, along with the jobs of some (undeserving) journalists.