Equal coverage – Northern Advocate – 7th September 2016

Does preferential treatment cost? If so, how much?

After fielding a number of calls since Saturday regarding an article prominently positioned on page two of Saturdays Advocate, I thought it was worth watching and seeing.  Well it’s off to a great start. Saturday’s large edition Advocate has a large, prominently placed, well coloured article (494sqcm) promoting a, new to politics, wanna-be mayoral candidate. I suggested to those making comments that they may be alphabetically placed, but in hindsight Mr Stuart (Stu) Bell should have been first cab off the rank.

Then there was Monday’s Advocate; a small (260sqcm) far less conspicuous presentation for Stu Bell’s mayoral bid placed on page five.  A very small, low resolution, photograph and one in my opinion, hardly fairly depicting a candidate vying for a mayoralty bid. An injustice or an oversight, or is it he who pays the big advertising dollars prior to and during the election run up that gets preferential treatment from the local media?

These comments made, are in no way a slight to the author Alexandra Newlove, who I believe writes balanced and accurate reports, but results are sadly controlled by those further up the food chain that control the levels of exposure by position and size of articles.

Well all I can say is at least we still do have unbiased media exposure available with local social media political groups. Let us hope that continues, as it appears to be a much more level playing field for all participants at no cost and not just for those who spend the big bucks.

Warren Slater



Editors Note: There is no correlation between advertising dollars and stories in the newspaper, but we take the point about photographs being the same size, so that all candidates get the same exposure. And unlike social media platforms, newspapers regulate content for defamation, accuracy, exag-geration and outlandish claims.


Items that were abridged by the Northern Advocate are in italics, (for their published copy)