Local papers

Port Melbourne residents generally receive two weekly local papers, Port Phillip Leader and Melbourne Weekly Port Phillip. Leader is part of News Ltd, and Melbourne Weekly is part of Fairfax.

 I say ‘generally’ because I know at least some people do not have the papers delivered. If I could go back in time and restart my door knock again I would ask if people receive and/ or read any of the local papers. I have heard that at least some apartment towers do not receive the papers, which was described as a decision made by the Body Corporate.

 As a non-resident, I collect one from either the library or a real estate agent and the other from the neighbourhood house. While both publications have their stories online (and you can flick through an electronic copy of the entire Port Phillip Leader), to the best of my knowledge, local papers are not stored on central databases that I can access through university subscriptions.

 Different paper, print and even formats are used in different regions, which provides for interesting comparison between the expectations and value of different markets. However, just considering my field site of Port Melbourne, Melbourne Weekly is styled as a large magazine with the second half generally being real estate. Leader is like a small, colour, glossy newspaper and has a smaller property section and more classifieds.

 While the front cover of Leader generally shows a Port Philip/ Glen Iris specific photo and story (sometimes they are connected and other times they are not), Melbourne Weekly often has a photo relevant to a general interest story that appears across regions and some of the key headlines.

 One of the valuable aspects of my methodology is I have been able to pick out times when the local papers get it wrong. My impression is that, when it comes to Port Melbourne stories, Melbourne Weekly makes more mistakes or misrepresents things more often. However, I do not have hard numbers to back this up, so I am happy to be corrected and would love to know if others have made the same or a different assessment.

 Local papers can get a pretty bad wrap. There is even a British blog ‘Angry people in local newspapers’, which features the rational of

I feel sorry for local news photographers. They are hugely skilled and poorly paid, and sent out to photograph miserable people pointing at dog turds. Here, we celebrate their work.

 Whether or not to include a local paper in the loop when objecting to developments or calling for action is something that Port Melbourne people seem to give some thought. Some groups decide that it is not a helpful way to go and avoid the publicity, others participate. To the credit of Port Melbourne’s dog owners/ walkers, I have yet to see a photo this year of people pointing at dog turds.

 Finally, Melbourne Weekly (not Melbourne Weekly Port Phillip) received a mention on Crikey last week as it has ‘shed a massive 6000 copies’ and other decisions are being made of which the article’s author, Andrew Crook, is critical.

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