Hold the front page

Knowing how newspapers work on the inside, and sometimes wishing that I didn’t, it is a fair bet that all newspapers had two versions of Page One ready to run after the second State of Origin. It’s a hell of a tight deadline, with commercial television stringing it out so they can catch the morning audiences in the UK and stack the broadcast with as many ads as possible. The game didn’t start until 8.15, so it would have been tight going for rugby league writers to file their finished match reports.
Mind you, they are all seasoned pros who file rugby league reports under these sorts of conditions every week from February to September. They write to a formula so it isn’t high art, but they can come up with a pithy summary like this one, in Thursday’s Sunshine Coast Daily: “High shots, late hits, forearms and facials figured in almost every tackle as each side tried to gain a physical edge,” wrote Wayne Heming. Nice, although I can imagine my Canadian friends puzzling over “facials”. I can imagine Media Watch having a jolly time panning The Courier Mail’s consecutive front page splashes this week – on Wednesday (a maroon wrap around with just one word “Believe.”) On Thursday, Page One morphed into a breezy tribute to the Sunshine State, saying that the Blues (that’s New South Wales if you come from somewhere else), might have won their first State of Origin series in nine years, but Queenslanders are winners because we have better weather, better food and better lifestyle (than where?). Who knows what they would have done had something truly newsworthy occurred overnight, prompting a late Page One makeover. (Military junta takes control in New Zealand – Abbot repeals Howard’s gun laws).
The Courier-Mail’s first State of Origin game day edition was printed arse-about, with sport on the front page and news on the back. I was curious, as I don’t think I’d ever seen it done, so I turned to what would have been page three and there was the infamous picture of Kate Middleton, accidently showing a fair bit of leg, along with a non-story about the photographer having a pang of conscience and (almost) not selling the paparazzi shot of the year.
Crikey, what tosh, as my mate Lyn says. For another dollar fifty, we could have a coffee in the UpFront Club and read The Range News for nothing. At least then I can find out why Council is digging holes in my street and whether our hinterland bus service will last another year. Now that’s worth Page One around here.

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