Would Carrie Bickmore take off her heels for hard news?


FLICK on the TV about 7pm today to Channel 10 if you want to know why the nation's biggest newspapers have launched a self-promotion campaign this week.

You'll find a show called The Project that isn't too bad to watch over a microwaved dinner, especially with Carrie Bickmore fronting it and a slew of comedians, including appearances by Rove McManus.

This is how The Project describes itself: "It's news done differently. Guaranteeing no miracle diets, no stories that 'no parent can afford to miss', and virtually no dodgy plumbers, The Project is a TV show joining in the conversations going on in living rooms around the country."

I describe it this way: "Pretty people chat about news and try to make me laugh." Sometimes it works.

Like that microwave dinner, it's convenient, warm and inoffensive. Also like that dinner, it won't provide the news and information sustenance those who care about their communities, and their country need.

The merging of news and entertainment is part of the reason newspaper media, which includes our websites, have gone on the offensive.

Australian Regional Media, the company that produces this website, has joined with the biggest publishers in Australia in a marketing pitch called Newspaper Media: Influential by Nature.

In it, we highlight changes we've helped make through strong journalism and fighting for our communities.

The editors of each of our 12 dailies across Queensland and northern New South Wales listed what they'd achieved for our towns and cities at the launch.

Put it all together and it makes powerful reading.

Lives saved, money raised, silly rules overturned and progress achieved. All because your local editor backed an idea or addressed a community concern and made something happen.

I've spent many Saturdays out getting petitions signed as an editor, hours on the phone twisting arms to get something changed, and received dozens of letters from community members thanking us for our help.

Can you imagine Carrie getting out of her high heels for any of that?


Topics:  editors picks opinion

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