Archive for July, 2008

GP Waiting Times

Good evening Stuart,

I listened with interest to the caller you had on just after the 10pm news (I think his name was Tom) who said that he usually has to wait one to two weeks just to see a GP here in metropolitan Canberra.

I live in Canberra and I have a doctor who bulk bills at one of the ACT government health centres and I almost never have a problem getting in on the same day. They have a rule that you must ring to make an appointment to see the doctor and I think this helps with the congestion problem, and admittedly the spots do fill up quickly…it's basically a "call by 9am or you'll have to wait until tomorrow" situation, but I find it extraordinary that there are clinics which have accepted that many patients that they can't see anyone for at least a week. I've had three different GPs in the last twenty years and I have never had a problem with being able to make an appointment to see a doctor on that day.

I know that it's a difficult decision to move doctor because your GP gets to know you and your medical history quite well, but I really think that in Tom's case, he should "shop around"…there are a number of doctors in Canberra who are for more expedient than his doctor.

I hope you're well…you're certainly sounding quite sprightly!

Regards,
Samuel Gordon-Stewart
Canberra

July 31st, 2008 at 11:00pm

Editorial Echoes: 31 July 2008: Will Starbucks Ever Learn?

I apologise for the delay in getting this online, it was recorded just before midday, but people with too much to do and a body clock which is stuck in a timezone eight hours ahead of the local timezone tend to need to sleep at odd hours.

Starbucks are closing nearly three quarters of their Australian operation, and yet Starbucks management don’t seem to have noticed an underlying problem as Samuel explains.

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You are more than welcome to respond to anything you hear on the show by sending an email to echoes@samuelgordonstewart.com. Emails may be read and responded to on a future episode.

The episode can be played in the MP3 player above or by downloading the MP3 file. You can also subscribe to Editorial Echoes. The RSS Feed can be found at http://samuelgordonstewart.com/wp-content/EditorialEchoes/echoes.xml and you can subscribe through iTunes by clicking on a link which should be sitting here, but isn’t because Editorial Echoes currently seems to be missing from the iTunes Store and doesn’t want to add itself back in…”I’m working on it” he said as he mumbled incoherently at the iTunes Store.

The script follows.

Samuel

Welcome to Editorial Echoes for Thursday the 31st of July 2008, I’m Samuel Gordon-Stewart.

A couple days ago, Starbucks Coffee decided to close almost three quarters of their stores in Australia. 61 of their 84 stores. Now, it’s no secret that the Starbucks company is in trouble, it’s not all that long ago that they decided to close a whopping 600 stores across the United States, and now another thousand non-store jobs in the US are going as well.

The standard line about the stores which are closing, both in the US and here, is that they are underperforming…got that, underperforming. But how can they be underperforming when the stores to be closed in Australia include Martin Place in Sydney, Queen Street and Collins Street in Melbourne as well as Melbourne Airport? These are places with an extraordinary amount of foot traffic…if a business which sells something popular (in this case a popular beverage) to anybody who walks in and plonks a few dollars on the counter can’t survive in places like the ones I mentioned, then surely it says something about the business itself.

Perhaps Red Symons summed it up in a broadcast on his 774 ABC Melbourne breakfast show when, in an effort to comply with ABC Editorial Policy by not mentioning the Starbucks name, he referred to them as:
[insert: Red Symons: “the coffee that none of us buy cause we’re all appalled by the fact that they have all these ridiculous flavours”]

OK, well there might be more to it than that, but it’s a start. Personally, I’m happy to be rid of Starbucks in Canberra. Their four stores, or “locations” as they would prefer to have us call them, Gungahlin, Brand Depot, Canberra Centre and City Walk, are all going, and not a moment too soon in my view.

The last time I entered a Starbucks was in April 2005 when a person I was meeting insisted on meeting there. The person was late, so I ordered a coffee and a slice of something, either a cake or an apple slice. I have personally made coffee with a teabag in it which tasted better than the coffee I endured there, and the food, well for something which was supposed to be sweet…let’s just say that the people who cook food for them either don’t eat their own cooking, or don’t have tastebuds.

In some places, I could probably have just written it off as a bad experience and let it be, but the prices in this place were extraordinary…you could be forgiven for thinking that a bank were running the place. It’s clear that the prices were a premium rate, but it obviously wasn’t due to the quality of their product, rather it was due to their brand name. It almost defies logic that anybody would repeatedly pay high prices for a product like that, but they did, but obviously in ever-dwindling numbers.

It reminds me slightly of the Yes Prime Minister episode where Sir Humphrey says that nobody in the general public knows how the missile defence system named “Trident” works, all that they know is that it costs fifteen billion pounds and therefore it must be wonderful. Perhaps Starbucks were running on the same premise…our coffee costs an exorbidant amount, therefore it must be wonderful…and perhaps regular customers deluded themselves into thinking that by being a regular customer, people would think of them (the customer that is) as wonderful too.

Clearly, as evidenced by the mass exodus of Starbucks stores, it’s a business model which just doesn’t work. It did for a while, but people aren’t stupid, and you can’t pull the wool over their eyes forever. Perhaps Starbucks have learnt their lesson and will reinvent themselves with a better product at a more reasonable price, or perhaps they still believe that they have a workable business model…unfortunately their website makes me believe that the latter is the case, as their plan to, quote “restructure [their] business in Australia through a geographical refocus on three core cities and surrounding areas” doesn’t sound like a business which has learnt anything to me.

The one thing which I find myself hoping comes out of this is a bunch of good staff finding employment elsewhere. At the very least Starbucks have vowed to pay out the full entitlements of their staff, and I have to say that the staff were the only good thing about my visit to Starbucks. The hospitality industry is always looking for more staff, and it looks like a whole heap of good, friendly, enthusiastic staff have hit the job market.

To them, I wish the best of luck. To the people running the Starbucks company, I do hope that you learn to adapt quickly, because your new direction is just a small version of your old direction, and as they say, only a fool does the same thing twice and expects a different outcome.

I’m Samuel Gordon-Stewart and this has been Editorial Echoes. If you would like to respond, please send me an email, echoes@samuelgordonstewart.com. Until next time, tada.

4 comments July 31st, 2008 at 07:58pm

The Annual “Human Bites Dog” Story

For some reason there seems to be at least one internationally noticed news story each year about a human biting a dog. Last year it involved a 65 year old man named Pappan in the Quilon district of India (who wants to pronounce the name of the state capital “Thiruvananthapuram”?) who bit a dog after it attacked his duck…this year the story is less bizarre:

An 11-year-old boy is enjoying a flash of fame in Brazil after biting a pitbull that attacked him as he played in his uncle’s back yard, local media reported on Thursday.

Gabriel Almeida, who lives on the outskirts of Belo Horizonte in the state of Minas Gerais, broke a canine tooth when he bit into the dog’s neck to fend off an attack. Since then, he has been pampered in the studios of several TV stations, where he has been recounting his ordeal.

However unlike last year where the villagers only took over after both the man and dog were exhausted, the boy at the centre of this year’s story was rescued by bystanders. Unfortunately Reuters make it sound like the bystanders rescued him because he reached a four stitches threshold:

He was freed when bystanders pulled the dog off him and needed four stitches in his arm.

I have a rather amusing recording of Clive Robertson talking about last year’s story and another story about a dog eating all of the pies in a pie-eating contest after a “Mr. Williams” left the pies unattended for ten minutes. I had to listen to it again after reading this year’s story.

Samuel

July 31st, 2008 at 09:24am

When your walls haven’t been soundproofed

And you’re trying to record your first episode of Editorial Echoes for quite some time, you can be guaranteed that all of the neighbourhood animals will start making a racket.

Unfortunately I now have to attend to other matters…hopefully the animals will have settled down in a couple hours.

Samuel

July 31st, 2008 at 07:15am

Well, that’s a definite “no”

What sort of job do you think they might be advertising:

To be successful for this role, you will possess a likeable, unbiased nature with a “can do” approach to your work and a sincerity and warmth in dealing with and assisting people from all backgrounds and walks of life. You will be adept at minimising controversy and seek harmonious relationships [..]

It almost sounds like a diplomatic posting…but no, it’s an advertisement for an airport parking attendant. If only people working in airport carparks knew that they could be our next ambassador to Nigeria…I’m sure that the Nigerian scammers would be astounded to see all of the friendly replies to their peculiar emails.

That’s not the reason I copied that slab of text though, it was my amusement at the thought of me being “adept at minimising controversy” and having an “unbiased nature”. My referees would probably refuse to be my referees if they were asked for examples of times when I used my controversy minimising skills. Either that, or the potential employer would skip to the next applicant upon hearing the response “He has those? Can’t say that I’d noticed.”

Samuel

July 31st, 2008 at 04:38am

Almost a Holiday

One day it would be nice to have a “guest writer” who could fill-in for me from time to time, but until then I suppose the textual equivalent of silence will have to do. For those of you who are wondering (including the few who emailed to enquire about my location and well-being) I have been attempting to ignore the Internet for about a week. The break was good and will have to count as my planned “few days of holiday time” during my few weeks without work (pity, Melbourne would have been nice but the budget isn’t going to stretch that far at the moment).

Apart from a couple emails which required my almost immediate attention (including the fun of my eBay account being temporarily stolen in the wee hours of one morning…more on that later) and a few minor things for which Internet access was required, my break from the Internet was a success…and it proved something I already knew, I struggle to live without it.

The decision to take a break from the Internet was a snap decision taken at a time when I had confused myself quite thoroughly about what I actually want to do in the coming months…I decided that the best thing I could do would be to take a break from my normal activities to work things out. In addition to this, I may have unexpectedly come a step closer to understanding my depression and how to manage it. The break was very worthwhile and beneficial, and I have no intention of ruining it by jumping back in to the thick of things here with ten posts a day, or even half that…unless I get carried away, of course. With all things going to plan, it will take at least until the weekend for me to get back in to my normal, regular blogging routine. (Why did I set that alarm for 7:30am?, 1am was a much nicer time to be annoyed by it. 7:30am has a habit of coming when I’m trying to do other things such as concentrate on writing.)

Where was I? Ah, that’s right, at some stage over the coming days I will try to briefly summarise what I want to do over the coming months. I can’t promise to keep it brief, but I’ll try.

The only downside to my break is that I now have far too many emails to deal with. I’ll try to get through them over the next couple of days…I could easily get through them in a couple hours if I tried, but I hate rushing through emails…I’ve done it when enticed with payment to do so, but it really is just quite awful to have to do that.

Anyway, much to do, probably too much time on my hands in which to do the “much”, but we’ll see what happens.

Samuel

July 30th, 2008 at 07:34am

You know how some people can’t read their own writing…

Well I’m struggling to make any sense of something I wrote in February. I’m currently clearing out a bunch of old useless files from my laptop and I cam across a list of topics I was going to write editorials about. Most of them make sense to me, but I can’t figure this one out for the life of me:

China’s olympic censorship (athletes and horror movies)

I almost remember the point I was trying to make about China’s approach to Olympic Games publicity, but “athletes and horror movies”? Anybody want to try and make sense of that?

Samuel

1 comment July 23rd, 2008 at 12:17am

Emergency Chicken

KFC have me concerned with their latest television advertisement (mirrored locally here for archival purposes as I’m sure KFC will remove it from their site in a matter of weeks).

The commercial talks about how all of their chicken is fresh, not frozen, when delivered and cooked on-site. However the fine print about five seconds in contains the disclaimer:

Excludes emergency stock.

It’s probably a very prudent practice to store some frozen chickens for the next time the chickens get visited by Rocky Rhodes and build a giant aeroplane in order to escape from captivity…but seriously, emergency chicken stocks? Maybe it’s perfectly safe, but it just doesn’t sound right…I wonder what the rotation rate is for these frozen chickens (eg. how long do they keep them frozen before discarding them)? And more importantly, I hope that they are discarding of near end-of-life emergency stock and not slipping it in with the daily fresh chicken batch.

I suppose that, ultimately, it’s just as the chefs say: if you knew what happened in the kitchen, you wouldn’t eat there.

Samuel

July 21st, 2008 at 08:06pm

What’s good for the travel agents, isn’t always good for Virgin Blue

An interesting story from news.com.au that I missed a couple days ago

VIRGIN Blue has been left red-faced after being forced to scrap an advertising campaign which urged people to “chuck a sickie” and jet off on holidays.

The controversial online “chuck-a-sickie sale” campaign urged frequent flyers to take time off work and take advantage of “top sale fares”.

But Virgin Blue chief Brett Godfrey moved to axe the campaign just 29 minutes after first seeing it, following a media inquiry over the slogan.

Perhaps it’s just me, but I don’t see the difference between this advertising campaign and a similar one which was running inside Canberra’s buses for over a year, not all that long ago. The advertising campaign that I’m thinking of was run by a travel agent, from memory it was Sta Travel but I’m not entirely sure of that, and basically contained a transcript of a fictional phone call from an employee to an employer, explaining that they aren’t coming in to work, and won’t be for some time, due to an exotic illness. In the advertisement, it is quite clear that the phone call was being placed from a payphone in another country. The tagline on the ad was something about going on a holiday and working the rest out later.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen the ad, but it was running for quite some time. I suppose the only plausible difference between the two campaigns is that Virgin Ble were running their campaign online and are a higher profile company. The campaign was therefore more noticeable, and for a company which relies fairly heavily on their brand being prominently and positively placed in the minds of people, I would imagine that Mr. Godfrey was concerned that negative publicity could work against the company.

I don’t think the campaign or potential negative publicity would have done Virgin Blue any harm, in fact I think most people would have seen the funny side of it and known that it wasn’t a directive or recommendation. As a campaign, it was quite clever and was probably designed to stir up a bit of controversy. Nothing makes an advertising campaign more effective than letting the media turn it in to “water cooler conversation”.

That said, the company is adamant that I’m wrong, and that they weren’t trying to cause controversy.

“It wasn’t some form of provocative advertising, it was simply a debatable advertising slogan that slipped through the cracks,” [Virgin Blue Spokeswoman] Ms [Heather] Jeffrey said.

It could be a move which will cost Mr. Godfrey though, because the news about Virgin Blue which has been getting media attention in the last few days is almost all about them increasing fares and lowering baggage weight limits. A bit of controversy to increase public awareness about something amusing they are doing, instead of something which hits the hip pocket, might be just what they need at the moment.

Oh well, it’s their (or should I say majority shareholder Richard Branson’s) loss.

Samuel

July 21st, 2008 at 01:59pm

Halting Urban Development Is As Simple As Getting Dressed

That’s what Eugene Williams, Mayor of Lynwood, Chicago would have you believe.

Village leaders have passed an ordinance that would levy $US25 ($A25.72) fines against anyone showing three inches (7.62cm) or more of their underwear in public.

Eugene Williams is the mayor of Lynwood. He says young men walk around town half-dressed, keeping major retailers and economic development away.

It’s not the first time such laws have been considered in the US, but this is the first time that I’ve heard anyone try to blame visible underwear for a lack of urban development. Usually such laws are considered either for reasons of personal taste (eg. the mayor or a lobby group don’t like looking at underwear) or “safety” (although I’m not sure how that argument works…and I’m pretty sure it’s a cover for the personal taste reasoning).

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have trotted out their usual line about the ban having to do with racial profiling and being an attempt to discriminate against young black males (oddly referred to as “young men of colour” by ACLU)…it’s entirely possible that the media contact number for ACLU diverts to an answering service on weekends as their argument doesn’t seem to address the reasoning provided by the Lynwood council and sounds more like a recorded response to “press four if your town has just banned visible underwear”.

I think that 21-year-old Lynwood resident Joe Klomes hit the nail on the head when he suggested that, instead of banning visible underwear, the council should “spend money on making the area look nicer”, an idea which might just spark that urban development which Mayor Williams seems to be so concerned about.

Samuel

July 21st, 2008 at 10:41am

On the road again

Willie Nelson may sing about how he “just can’t wait to get on the road again”, but thankfully for me, the wait is over and has been since Saturday.

I picked up my new (used) car from Barrack Heights near Shellharbour on Saturday afternoon, a day which I can only describe as long. It’s probably a good thing that calendar days change without regard for whether a person has slept, as a calendar based on my sleep cycle would be quite difficult to use. I woke up on Friday around 11:30am and was awake for the remainder of that day. Between midnight and 5am on Saturday I did a number of things including preparing something to listen to during my journey to Barrack Heights…my original plan was to put a few podcasts and a handful of songs on an MP3 CD, but that plan had to be scrapped when I noticed that my portable CD player doesn’t work. I then switched to plan B, prepare four playlists of approximately forty-five minutes duration each and record them to tape. This plan also failed as I discovered after recording Side A.

In general, TDK audio cassettes marked as being of ninety minutes duration, usually have about 95 minutes of usable tape…in this case it was quite clear that something was wrong when my 48 minute playlist (the last few minutes of which were a piece of instrumental music) finished, and yet the stereo was still recording. I let it run for a couple more minutes before pulling the tape out of the cassette deck only to find that there was at least a sixth of the tape waiting to be consumed. I then played some of the recorded content back to find that it was a bit higher pitched and faster than usual…I would estimate that it was between 15% and 20% faster than usual. I’m not sure whether the tape was being run at a slower than usual speed during recording due to the tape being dubbed from a virtual cassette tape which may have confused the stereo due to the weight discrepancy between the virtual cassette and the real cassette, or if it is just a recently-developed fault with the recorder. I will have to investigate that and report back to you.

Anyway, with that failed experiment abandoned, and with my other tasks completed, I decided to go to bed for half an hour…as it happened I slept for an extra half an hour and had to bolt to the Jolimont Centre on Northbourne Avenue to catch my 7am bus to Sydney.

The run to Sydney was, as expected for a run I’ve done too many times to count, quite uninteresting, especially without the expected stimuli. Sydney itself was busy (also as expected, but this time due to World Youth Day…I doubt that Sydney would be expectedly busy simply because I didn’t have a CD or tape to listen to) and the bus was unable to set passengers down at Central Station, stopping about three blocks away instead.

I had lunch at Central Station and used the hour or so that I had to spare watching some of the trains, involuntarily learning the stations that the train on platform two was planning to visit (thankfully I only remember Dungog now), having a stroll around the streets surrounding Central Station, and spending about ten minutes on an awfully slow Internet terminal.

Around 11:40am I caught the South Coast train and enjoyed watching the world go by for a while, and I arrived at Oak Flats station a bit before 2pm. By 2:30pm I was leaving the area and heading down the Princes Highway in order to ensure that I stayed within radio range of the AFL coverage. I wasn’t able to pick up 2EC and the Geelong Cats V Western Bulldogs match until about 3:45pm but I did manage to stay in touch with it via the “around the grounds” reports during the ABC’s coverage of the Richmond V Essendon.

I was able to pick up 2GB by about 5:20pm and stayed with them to hear the NRL (the ABC’s signal was stronger in that area, but why would I want to listen to their coverage when I can listen to Andrew Moore and Steven Roach instead?) and, due to a deliberate detour within Canberra, I arrived home around 7:30pm.

I then, for whatever reason, despite being tired was unable to get to sleep later that night, so I stayed up until about 6:30am, which totalled 43 hours awake minus an hour in the middle. I’ve been awake for longer on previous occasions, but I’m not used to it at the moment and felt quite drained by the end of it…something which was cured by 14 hours of sleep, unfortunately requiring me to miss an engagement without notice.

Anyway, it’s good, and a relief, to be on the road again. Needless to say, I will be doing my best to make it much less eventful than last time.

Samuel

2 comments July 21st, 2008 at 08:17am

Alan Jones’ Surgery Successful

Livenews.com.au brings us some good news written by Alan Jones’ fill-in presenter Jason Morrison:

The prostate cancer operation for broadcaster Alan Jones has been a success, according to his family.

A statement released by his niece Tonia Taylor says;

“Alan’s operation has been successful. His surgeon, Professor Phillip Stricker, is happy with the way it went.

“Alan is comfortable and resting.”

Mr Jones remains in Sydney’s St Vincents hospital.

He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in May and decided to go public with his medical condition to encourage men to take the threat seriously and have regular checks.

He will be away from his 2GB radio show for several weeks to recover from the surgery.

Mr. Jones went under the knife on Saturday according to 2GB rugby league commentator Andrew Moore and I’m pleased to hear that the operation went well. I would imagine that he will be housebound for a few weeks while he recovers, so I wonder if his doctors and the management of 2GB will entertain the idea of having him broadcast from home towards the end of his recovery period if he requests it.

Samuel

July 21st, 2008 at 04:06am

Samuel’s Musicians Of The Week

This week the award goes to Supertramp, and the feature song is “Dreamer”.

Dreamer
You know you are a dreamer
Well can you put your hands in your head, oh no!
I said dreamer
You’re nothing but a dreamer
Well can you put your hands in your head, oh no!
I said “Far out, – What a day, a year, a life it is”
You know, – Well you know you had it comin’ to you
Now there’s not a lot I can do

Dreamer
You stupid little dreamer;
So now you put your head in your hands, oh no!

I said “Far out, – What a day, a year, a life it is!”
You know, – Well you know you had it comin’ to you
Now there’s not a lot I can do

Work it out someday

If I could see something-
You can see anything you want boy
If I could be someone-
You can be anyone, celebrate boy
if I could do something-
You can do something
If I could do anything-
But can you do something out of this world?

A-aah-aaaah
Take a dream on a Sunday
Well take a life, take a holiday
Take a lie, take a dreamer
Dream, dream, dream, dream, dream, dream, dream, dream along…

Dream on, dream on, dream along
Come on and dream on, dream along
(Move it on)
Come on and dream on, dream along
Come on and dream on, dream along

D-d-d-d-d-d-dreamer
You know you are a dreamer
Well can you put your hands in your head, oh no!
I said dreamer
You’re nothing but a dreamer
Well can you put your hands in your head, oh no!
OH NO!

Samuel

July 21st, 2008 at 01:30am

Song and some tips

Good evening Stuart,

You're right, "Love Song" by Sara Bareilles is great song…my toes were tapping the whole way through that and I went and bought it from iTunes as soon as you finished playing it.

I've got two tips for you for the weekend. An omen bet in the horses, Caufield Race 5, number 6, Heavenly (it's the right weekend for it), and in the AFL, the Bulldogs to defeat the Cats by 11 points in a close encounter at Skilled Stadium tomorrow afternoon.

Have a great weekend Stuart.

Regards,
Samuel Gordon-Stewart
Canberra

2 comments July 18th, 2008 at 11:00pm

The Chronicle Plunges To New Depths Of Journalistic Ineptitude

Yesterday my copy of The City Chronicle arrived in my letterbox. I’ve been concerned about the seemingly dropping journalistic standards of this weekly paper since its parent company Rural Press merged with Fairfax a bit over a year ago. Unfortunately this week’s front page confirmed my fears.

Front page of The City Chronicle - July 15 2008
Click image to enlarge

For those of you who aren’t aware, The Chronicle is a free weekly (except for a couple weeks over Christmas) newspaper produced by the people who produce The Canberra Times. It comes in a tabloid format and is delivered to approximately 128,000 households and workplaces across Canberra and Queanbeyan, and read by approximately 178,000 people. Editions of the paper are produced for each region across Canberra and Quenabeyan, with content differing slightly between these editions.

So, back to this week’s front page of The City Chronicle, and the lead story is about older buses in ACTION‘s fleet struggling in wet weather.

Lead story of The City Chronicle - July 15 2008
Click image to enlarge

The story comes complete with a digitally altered image of an older bus sitting under an umbrella which seems to be floating in mid-air. The sky has also been altered to be a more menacing colour.

But what about the article itself…surely many many buses must have been off the road for this to warrant the front page of a weekly publication, especially when the story doesn’t relate to a particular region and could theoretically be used on every edition (I’m still checking up on that).

Out of action
Older buses struggle with recent rain

By Rebecca Thistleton

CANBERRA’S recent damp weather was too much to handle for some of Action’s older buses.

Last Monday, 13 buses were unable to operate because of wet weather.

A Territory and Municipal Services spokeswoman said this was 3.9 per cent of Action’s fleet of 339 buses, and was caused by “heavy rain and inclement weather.”

Gosh, so many buses off the road because of the rain…and such an unlucky number too. I wonder what could possibly have caused the buses to have so much trouble in this batch of rain when they didn’t have this much trouble with the last batch of rain?

“Action believes there is an increase due to issues such as the irregular use of windscreen wipers,” the spokeswoman said.

So, thirteen buses mysteriously had their windscreen wipers stop working on one day? Surely Ms. Thistleton thought there was something fishy about that figure and asked some questions about the number of buses which were “unable to operate” on previous rainy days…or was she just being taken for a ride by the good folks at ACTION Public Relations?

On a normal day, the average number of buses unable to operate properly was 2.7 per cent – that’s about nine buses out of action every day.

Nine buses out of action every day…wasn’t there a figure about the number of buses out of action last Monday earlier in this article?

Last Monday, 13 buses were unable to operate because of wet weather.

Um, doesn’t thirteen minus nine equal four? Does that mean that, in reality, The City Chronicle is running a front page story complete with digitally altered photograph, about four older buses having a windscreen wiper problem? Perhaps…let’s read on and find out.

One of the buses to break down on Monday was a newer, compressed natural gas model, the rest were older diesel models.

So, that’s actually only three more older buses off the road than usual. It’s hardly, as the sub-headline suggests, older buses struggling with recent rain. And it’s not as if there weren’t more important stories in the last week. Pages 14 and 15 contain a double page spread about Jon Stanhope’s ideas for a light rail network…surely a story like that deserves more prominence than a story which can only fill a column if the journalist quotes and paraphrases a TAMS spokeswoman droning on for three paragraphs about standard procedures for when a bus breaks down.

If The Chronicle keeps this up, I’m going to start to think they’ve hired all of the (freely distributed daily News Limited publication in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane) MX journalists. The writing and sensationalism is almost as good.

Now, just in case you’re interested in this awful beat-up of a front page lead story, here it is in all its glory…and if you’ll excuse me, I have an email to write to the good folks at Media Watch.

Lead story of The City Chronicle - July 15 2008
Lead story of The City Chronicle - July 15 2008
Lead story of The City Chronicle - July 15 2008

Samuel

July 17th, 2008 at 03:33pm

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