The News we'd like to know

A partly published letter following 'What the Media won't tell you" (Richard Walsh, the Melbourne AGE).

  • I hope the Press will set a practice telling readers information they want to know relevant to current news and easily accessible by journalists- e.g. a small feature, as occasion required, "You wanted to know".

    For example higher wages sought by workers are almost always given as a percentage, with no information about existing minimum or maximum rates. They could be greedy if they want an extra 20% on wages of $20 per hour, or on professional pay of $1000 per hour, but it is surely not greedy to ask for $10 per hour to be raised to $12. Many people are still paid around $4 per hour or even less.

    In all major industrial disputes, both sides should be given prominently at least 250-500 words to put their case in their own words.

  • A second major 'won't tell' to remedy is when letters or neews are published with significant errors of fact that the newspaper knows are incorrect. Without accepting any legal requirement to correct all known factual errors, footnotes correcting some of the most glaring would be a service to the public.
  • A third reform is bylines given for titles or at least author's permission when others rewrite authors titles for articles, often distorting the author's message.
  • A fourth issue is that until the costs of the law are reformed, the media are also unlikely to be reformable. There are many campaigns for the public good that media could take up, and this is one of them.