I follow politics keenly but come the election being called, the only coverage consists of polls, gaffes and photo opportunities. Every. Single. Time.
Certainly the last week’s coverage has been the most boring ever: let’s talk about the gaffe again and again and again. Although this week we won’t talk about the other gaffe. Oh no that would alienate our audience wouldn’t it?
Each election campaign is a remake of that documentary Best of Enemies where during a Democratic convention, the journalists covering the event got more ratings from Gore Vidal arguing with William Buckley than covering any policies
Anything to get attention or ratings or clicks…
And like that documentary proved, the media’s audience isn’t you and me. It’s the politicians, other journalists, journalists’ employers and big advertisers.
As others have said, election coverage is like calling a sporting event. Without telling you what the rules really are…
And how does the anti-audience attitude of the media show up? In the media’s self righteousness if excluded facts are pointed out (for example why Tudge really was stood aside or whether Albo was really booed).
Which shows the media’s complete inability to engage with their audience when they are criticised or questioned. Or worse, be held to account.
They become abusive and refuse to communicate. Note I am not condoning trolling or abuse of journalists at all. What I am seeing is that regardless of the conversation they won’t engage. They won’t ask why are you questioning me or criticising me.
Because what really burns me is this.
My dad was a journo. He talked to his audience every day. He chose them every single time over vested interests such as politicians and corporates or advertisers.
Small country towns are like that. As is social media.
Though both are obviously imperfect, it’s as if everything one says and does is in the public eye.
And that means there is only one way to act. Transparently.
Start by asking the audience.