This entry is also known as why Twitter sucks, and The Annual Disaffected, Bitter, Semi-Literate, Quasi Intelligent VPL Fan's Snapping of Michael Lynch's Undies.
I don't like Twitter and therefore I don't use Twitter. The website sucks and 160 characters is a daft number to choose. 255 is a much better choice.
Of course, if like me you don't have a smart phone, it's probably utterly pointless.
And besides, I like to waffle on, see where my muse leads me.
But epic manifestos on my self-diagnosed depression and where to get a good and cheap feed in Melbourne on a Sunday evening aren't for everyone.
And some of you like to consider yourselves as more technologically savvy than this blog, and more power to you in that regard.
So if you're one of those people with the attention span of a newt, then I suppose something like Twitter is your friend, and you may be interested in the stoush being played out between The Age's 'sokkah' writer Michael Lynch and academic (and sort of friend of South of the Border) Ian Syson, about why the VPL doesn't get more coverage in The Age.
Is there anything new here, in comparison to the last time we had this conversation? Nah, but it's become an annual ritual which we like to think we've played a part in establishing courtesy of an angry email I sent a few years ago after our last grand final win, but which is now lost because it was on my Bigpond email account and I'm on TPG now, and I didn't have the foresight to save it.
Why was it via Bigpond? Because I reasoned that The Age would probably automatically filter out my hotmail and gmail attempts at reaching them. All of which should be a footnote, because the arguments being employed are still much the same.
- We don't cover second tier sport.
- There's not enough interest/it's only followed by a few hardcores.
- I would love to do it, but there's limited space.
- I'll try and get something online next year.
- The Age is about selling papers and entertaining people, not informing them.
To which this year there's been a couple of new additions
- We (Fairfax) have a deal with the FFV to get stuff published in local papers.
- Coverage of Victorian soccer is the best it's ever been!
There are obvious responses to all these things, which have been covered before (see the above links and the Michael Lynch tag on this blog) as well as in this current mini-fracas, but to save time, let's go over them one more (last?) time.
- The Age does cover second and third tier sport, when they report on VFL, VAFA, District Cricket etc.
- There would be VPL crowds that would easily match or cover an equivalent VFL, VAFA, District Cricket fixture.
- The notion of limited space is a crock. Ghostwritten articles by AFL players which probably no one reads are somehow more important and integral than a VPL grand final?
- When it comes to the internet and getting more content on there, next year never seems to arrive for our daily newspapers.
- Yes, yes, we know that we can follow our teams in the free suburban papers. But that goes for the aforementioned aussie rules and premier cricket competitions as well, and yet they still get press coverage in the dailies.
- Unless one counts the coverage of the Victory and Heart as part of the tally, coverage of Victorian soccer is non-existent in The Age.
- It is easy to prove that soccer coverage was more extensive just by looking up old papers. Was it as well written? Probably not. Was it to the point and did it cover the main details of the weekend's action? In quite a few cases, yes.
The Age may be operating in a global field, but it is a Melbourne paper which should accurately reflect the things which are happening in this city, and not merely favour those things which are the enclave of a few Old Boys, nor use their professed parochialism solely as an advertising tool and not as a deeper operating philosophy. Yes, I've walked past your ads at Spencer Street Station, and no, I don't believe what they're telling me.
Then again, with so much of their material operations being outsourced away from Victoria, are they even a genuinely local enterprise any longer? Who the hell cares, as long people are entertained by what they read in preference to being informed about their world; because the logical conclusion about selling papers and giving people what they want to read, is that you eventually stop giving people items that they should be reading.
I'd wager that there's plenty of people out there who already think that The Age has headed down the path of treating it's readership in an increasingly condescending manner. Me, I just hope to see everyone here again next year, so we can give this ride another whirl.