Crossing the line

Share this story

Hundreds if not thousands of stories come in and out of our newsroom here at the Weekender each and every week.

Every now and again, one comes along that just makes you laugh out loud for no real reason, even if it probably shouldn’t.


I I wanted to kick the column off this week with what is my favourite story of the year so far, and even though there’s a serious side to it, one can’t help but crack a wry smile.

About 10.30pm on Friday, January 27, a 31-year-old woman visited the Centro Nepean shopping centre.

She allegedly went inside a supermarket and exited with a bag of chips without paying.

The woman had her bike inside the centre, and when security tried to stop her, she jumped on and attempted to ride away.

However, the automatic doors didn’t open quick enough and the woman crashed into the glass.

Police were called to the centre, but the matter will be dealt with civilly.

Apparently, there’s no truth to the rumour that it’ll be dealt with by releasing footage of the incident to ‘Australia’s Funniest Home Videos’.

A shame, really.

A sore head and bunged up bike was the result from a desire for some late night munchies.

When you consider all that goes on in our region, our city and our world, a story like the above doesn’t rate much of a mention as part of the news cycle.

And while that’s more than understandable given there’s no real news value attached, one does have to question sometimes the tact of the media in delivering the news we apparently want to see.

We woke on Sunday morning to see the news of the death of Alan Bond’s wife splashed across the front page of both of the major newspapers.

It was the latest twist in the bizarre, and at times remarkable life of Mr Bond.

And while it was indeed newsworthy, I felt sick to the stomach when watching the evening news and seeing camera crews and journalists surrounding the man, prodding him for comment.

Given the circumstances surrounding his wife’s death, surely Mr Bond wasn’t going to say anything that couldn’t wait until a more appropriate time.

Don’t get me wrong – as journalists and editors we often have to make calls that essentially invade people’s privacy.

Public interest is often so intense, that there is a duty to report what is happening.

But there is still a line that sometimes should not be crossed and when a woman battling personal demons takes her own life, surely hounding her husband is not in the best taste.

And so we move on to the Australia Day riots last Thursday and the media barrage that has existed since then.

Most of the coverage has focused on who tipped off who, and who said what.

And indeed, there is a story to be told there, with concerns over the integrity of those in the Prime Minister’s office very, very real.

But isn’t it amazing how we’ve forgotten the key element that sparked all of this.

The people who stormed the front of the restaurant last Thursday have essentially been thrown to the sideline, used as fill for the much more interesting debate between Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard.

The scenes we saw last Thursday were disgraceful, and the nation deserves to be rightly ashamed of each and every person who “protested” over something that wasn’t actually ever said.

People who believe they can get whatever message they are tying to get across by using violence and playing up for the cameras should be sadly mistaken.

In one way, it is a shame that the story of what happened behind the scenes at Ms Gillard’s office emerged, because it took the focus off the disgraceful behaviour of individuals we share the air with.

No matter what you are protesting, no matter what your background, nobody has the right to behave the way the protestors did last Thursday.

Protests are generally about getting your message heard.  

They are generally about campaigning for real change.

Last Thursday’s protest was about neither of those things.

It was about banging on the glass, chanting ridiculous things and acting like immature brats – all for the cameras.

It was protesting for protesting’s sake and action deserves to be taken against those involved.


Share this story