4 April, 2017. 11:23

ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact

Speaking to The Advocate this afternoon from the northern Syrian city of Jisr Ash-Shugur, a freelance reporter has hit back at claims made by various media commentators that nobody cares about the conflict, saying that many of his articles receive up to a dozen unique pageviews.

Payne O’Hourigan was awarded a cadetship at The Betoota Advocate in 2001 after failing nearly all of his Cert I in Journalism classes at Longreach TAFE college. He was hired immediately after explaining in a cover letter that he thought tertiary journalism courses were an ‘unnecessary scam.’

The now 29-year-old had bigger dreams, dreams that took him all the to the other side of the world – where he’s reported on the coalface of popular culture, war and everything in-between.

“I think it’s a fairly inaccurate statement to say that nobody gives a stuff about the ongoing conflict in Syria,” he said.

“My articles are read by around seven people. Nick [Miller] from the Herald gets more, but that’s because he has a desk. I’m not syndicated yet, but I’ve had a few pictures published online and whatnot. Maybe if News and Fairfax and the like didn’t just run syndicated world news in their papers, maybe my clicks might double. Who knows, I’m not concerned.”

However, representatives from a number of newspapers answered quires made by The Advocate regarding their coverage of the Syrian Civil War and each of them categorically confirmed that nobody cares about it.

“Yeah look, we’re in the business of selling newspapers, not reporting the news,” said one senior Fairfax executive.

“What he said, this isn’t the Smith Family, we’re not handing out news for free. If people want to see world news like one flap of a celebrity’s vagina as they climb out of a Lamborghini, then that’s what we’re going to give them. People don’t want to see other people moments after they had a barrel bomb land next to them,”

“It’s like what the Bond villain from Tomorrow Never Dies said, ‘The first rule of mass media is give the people what they want.'”

More to come.


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