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Panpa Bulletin : September 2010
www.panpa.org.au Taste for democracy MEDIA coverage of the recent Australian election campaign eclipsed anything we have seen before. The saturation coverage of the party leaders was a showcase for the fierce competition between the new and old media. Ironically it also demonstrated the marriage of these communication streams as the print media enhanced its static platform with on-line and mobile interactivity. A post mortem on this 24/7 cover- age should give some valuable clues on how the media is connecting with the community and whether there have been any residual benefits. It may be heresy to say this, par- ticularly inside the media tent, but we have always assumed the public simply cannot get enough coverage of big events which have an impact on the future of the country. Hence the yardstick for coverage of the Federal Budget, for example, is for print competitors to outdo each other on pagination and the number of journalists and economic experts spruiking their individual interpreta- tion of its impact. It may be that an executive sum- mary would do the trick just as well but would the readers then read on? It is hard to believe that less than three years ago, during the 2007 election campaign, basically the only form of communication used by politicians other than print, radio and television, was through emails. Anecdotal evidence suggested they were struggling to utilise this with any degree of comfort. Since then politicians have seized on any and every form of com- munications to project their image. YouTube, Facebook, emails, mobile texting and Twitter are just part of the armory. While social networking has proven very handy as an information source for journalists, is the broader market interested in being bombarded with political propaganda or is it much more interested in exchanging social gossip? The great attraction of these sites is the ability for users, mainly young people, to create and share content. This, in itself, is a major challenge for the established media. It is also significant to note that when the August 21 election was called there were more than 1.2 mil- lion people of voting age in Australia who were not on the electoral rolls. Does this reflect complacency, even disinterest, in political issues in the community particularly by younger voters? Do they care what the media is saying about our politicians and the way they are running the country? Did they follow the campaign in the newspapers, on television and radio, online or on their mobiles? Or were they too busy watching programs such as Masterchef and twittering their impressions? Mainstream media cannot walk away from these new communication platforms. Its challenge is to integrate the old and the new. The integration of The Australian with the iPad and with Sky News in the Sunday morn- ing current affairs program, Australian Agenda, is an example of this. This month's election will have been the third major poll following those in South Australia and Tasma- nia. Once done, the media should have no doubts about how the pub- lic likes its politics prepared and on what plate or plates it likes this to be served. 66 Goulburn Street Sydney NSW 2000 . 02 9284 2888 smcfc.com.au Ever yone enjoys our red carpet treatment Our architecturally renowned foyer is highly sought after for those perfect cocktails. With 16 unique spaces to choose from, we can create your perfect event. Opinion Malcolm Colless Malcolm Colless is a former senior executive at News Ltd and writes a column for The Australian's media section A POPULAR TV show has proved to be a winner for News Ltd's News Magazines, with CEO San- dra Hook predicting her company will "surpass expectations"for MasterChef Magazine sales. News Magazines publishes MasterChef Magazine, the official magazine for Austral- ian television Network Ten's reality TV cooking show, MasterChef. Its finale drew in 3.962m viewers, according to OzTam ratings - the biggest Australian TV au- dience for a non-sporting event. The program gained global notoriety for being the reason when an election debate be- tween the leaders of the two main political par- ties had to be shifted to an earlier time-slot. "We're very happy with the numbers," Ms Hook said. "It's common knowledge it surpassed our expectations, and we reprinted three days after the magazine went on sale." Ms Hook said MasterChef had "opened up" the market for cooking magazines which had been traditionally dominated by women. "The magazine design was meant to not al- ienate men and families," she said. "The whole category has grown as a conse- quence, and we haven't seen any cannibalisa- tion of other products," she said, adding that the surge in popularity in cooking had added sales to other food titles, such as Delicious, Taste and Donna Hay. Her company's taste.com.au website received big traffic spikes around each MasterChef episode. Trudi Jenkins, editor-in-chief of MasterChef Magazine, said: "From day one, I knew a lot of men were watching the show," she said. "We don't tend to use traditional feminine propping and styling, and we've always had the MasterChef junior section providing step-by- step cooking for kids." Just as importantly: "The advertisers are loving it", Ms Hook said. Headlines on a plate at News We have always assumed the public simply cannot get enough coverage of big events which have an impact on the future of the country" " Winner ... Adam Liaw, winner of MasterChef 2010 22 | SEPTEMBER 2010 | The PANPA Bulletin