When news just isn’t news

I like the Sun-Herald and I read it every Sunday. But I didn’t like the fact that slap bang on today’s front page was Kristy Fraser-Kirk and her fiancee and the headline, “EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Kristy Fraser-Kirk on marriage and life after DJs”. It’s one of those stories that you would expect from trashy tabloids like New Idea (together with a massive cover photo). I do wonder, does anyone still care about a person who hogged so much of the spotlight last year? I’m sure we’re sick of hearing about her.

The Fraser-Kirk update wasn’t the only story that irritated me. On page three, there was another un-newsworthy story about Juanita Phillips, the ABC newsreader. Yes, a newsreader is a fascinating news item! It turns out her marriage is on the rocks and her husband is in hospital suffering from bowel cancer. As the ABC said, it’s a private matter, and also it’s none of anyone’s business.

Perhaps it was a slow news day. but how depressing to think that good ratings depends on stories like these.

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My problem with an A Current Affairs’ story about dieting

Tonight, ACA did a story about sugar and how it is bad for your health. This is not new story, but just rehashed facts with a new spin/angle.

I will not do a deep analysis of the health aspects about the segment as I am not a doctor or a nutritionist but here are my thoughts on the story.

1. This expert (a lawyer), David Gillespie claims he lost weight by removing sugar from his diet completely. However, why is there a shot of him eating potato chips on a couch at the moment the reporter says that he “shed 40 kilos”. It seems quite ironic. (See picture below.) According to Gillespie, “cut out the sugar, you’ll notice the weight peeling away and you’ll feel better”. Yes, and it’s okay to have lots of salty snacks like chips.

2. Gillespie recycles facts that a person should already know about food in their supermarket. E.g. Coke contains high levels of sugar, manufactured apple juice is bad and so are sugary cereals.

3. The next part made me laugh when the reporter goes to the cheese section of the supermarket and calls it the “dieting disaster, the evil aisle”. Gillespie tells her that there is nothing wrong with cheese because there is no sugar in them .

4. Following this, the story focuses on a woman who has followed Gillespie’s diet plan and she happily points out the contents of her fridge: “there’s dips, there’s creams, butter, full cream milk, pasta, bacon, meat, eggs, cheese all of that and I lost 10 kilos”. Wait a minute! Creams? Full cream milk? Bacon? Aren’t those examples of items that people should be cutting down on? “It doesn’t feel like a diet,” says this woman. “It’s a change I’ve found extraordinarily easy”.

I am not saying ACA are entirely wrong but there are obvious holes in their story. They don’t even talk about exercise as being important to losing weight. It’s just a case of “get rid of sugar in your life and you’ll be fine”. I can’t help but be cynical of that.

You can watch the video (and read an accompanying article) on the ACA website.

My five seconds of fame

Photo: Angela Brkic

Photo: Angela Brkic

Instead of discussing news or the media, I thought I’d briefly share about my little cameo in the Sydney Morning Herald’s Education Liftout on Courses and Careers.

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Daily Telegraph gets hysterical over the dust storm

The Daily Telegraph's front page (24 September)

The Daily Telegraph's front page (24 September 2009)

The red dust storm that swept over Australia was big news yesterday and had residents taking pictures with their cameras. For the Daily Telegraph, this was such a major event that they made a special souvenir edition for their readers.

The Telegraph was treating the dust storm as an apocalyptic event even naming it DUSTY DOOMSDAY.

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Australians are politically ignorant- surprised?

The weekend’s Sun-Herald exposed the biggest scandal this week, bigger than Kyle Sandilands’ statement that Magda could lose more weight in a concentration camp and bigger than John Della Bosca’s affair.

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Misleading image

Had I not read the DIARY in the Sydney Morning Herald, I would have been very confused as to why the SMH Online contained a story about Paul Keating accompanied by an image of Janet Jackson.

janetIt did look like a mistake to put a photo of Janet but it wasn’t. If you clicked for more information, you would have found that the Paul Keating story was only one of seven stories from the Diary. Janet was the second. She basically sang on Sunday Night’s MTV Video Music Awards as a tribute to Michael Jackson.

What major newspaper do you read?