The last edition of the Rivertown Times was published on Wednesday 5 November 2014.
VWD understands that the already ‘thin’ Times is to be incorporated into another of the Star stable of papers, the Casino-centric Richmond River Express Examiner.
No public fanfare. No warning. Gone. Assimilated.
No doubt any stories from the ‘Lower River’ will now have to compete with those out of Casino. No prizes for guessing that those in Evans Head, Broadwater, Woodburn, etc., will barely get a look in. It will be interesting to see what gets the nod. Good news stories from Richmond Valley Council anyone!
And of course we’ll never know about what doesn’t get published!
State of News Reporting for Richmond Valley
The view of VWD is that the new ‘amalgamated’ Casino paper will be a ‘business as usual’ sheet with little or nothing by way of ‘balanced’ reporting on how Richmond Valley Council transacts its business. The council ‘party line’ will be accepted at face value straight from the media release. Lazy journalism at best. Council gets it right every time.
VWD expects more ‘feel good’ stories and slogans promoting the council brand. Team Richmond Valley. Open For Business. Cheer squad stuff: councillor mows lawn for charity, Fred Nergs gets a new truss, houses to be built on wetlands, developers to get enormous ratepayer subsidies, brand new climate-sensitive gas-powered entrance signs to towns and villages as a community building exercise sponsored by your favourite gaslight company, senior staff to get enormous pay rises for putting up Christmas Tree, new banners proclaiming branding, smiling pollies standing behind cattle, community gets basketball courts…a pet project of a councillor costing ratepayers more than $2 million [with no mention of waived developer contribution costs in excess of half a million]. And so it goes. You know the drill by now. And perhaps a ‘morale’ Compass from Team Richmond Valley to guide us in the future.
Regurgitation of Council media releases without critical analysis or question will continue we expect. The kind of scrutiny the public expects of newspapers will be mostly absent.
The kind of stuff we used to see in the independent, community-based Richmond River Sun and the old independent Triangle edited and published for 20 years by the late Mrs Jean Hartam-Bayes won’t get a look in. No scrutiny to keep democracy vibrant and functioning. Nothing but bland blah blah blah! Wrapping for fish and chips, and worse.
VWD would be interested to know how much Richmond Valley Council spends on advertising with the Star stable of papers and whether or not council is given any ‘advertorial licence’ as is common practice with many rags these days?
The Express Examiner now has the opportunity to lift its game and become a proper member of the fourth estate. Or it can be a hand maiden of council at our expense looking after the interests of shareholders. That’s the stark choice the paper faces.
And of course all this begs the questions: will it be relevant and will it survive?