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For whom the new newspaper readership data tolls

Maguire, D. (2013) For whom the new newspaper readership data tolls. The Conversation, 21 August .

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There’s nothing like a vigorous national election campaign to bring out the best in Australia’s mainstream newspapers. Some would say it also brings out the worst, but these remain subjective judgements.

Front page treatments with headings like “Send in the Clown,” “Kick This Mob Out,” and “I Know Nuthink’” sparked a polarised debate in the early stages about the role of media and its reduction, even trivialisation, of the fundamental democratic process.

These works of newspaper “art” sustained a short life of their own beyond the standard 24-hour news cycle. And, yes, witnessing PM Rudd’s “Murdoch media” reaction, they lured at least him into a vortex.

They also helped newspapers to gain the early high ground advantage, instigating multi-media debate and swatting down any semblance of a counter-balancing social media surge of influence on voters as hoped for by Mr Rudd’s guns-for-hire from U.S. presidential campaigns.

Politics and more has been all over the shop in the campaign period media, with parties adopting a “whatever it takes” mantra.

Amid the scurrying for one-upmanship on policy fronts, there’s been incessant set-piece announcements from the campaign trail, snappy, coco-pop pollie appearances on breakfast TV, Q&A talk fests (how do you do it, Tony?) and MPs in aprons on the ABC.

Item Type: Non-refereed Article
Publisher: The Conversation Media Group
Copyright: The Author
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