I’ve been a journalist since I was 17 and it means I’m wary of the media. I understand their hunger for scoops, clicks, ratings, headlines.
Kathleen Folbigg speaking publicly for the first time – from prison – was a big score for Australian Story last night.
The story was prompted by frustration over how long it is taking the Governor to consider a Petiton by a group of lawyers to review the case. It’s been almost three years now. That’s far too long.
I was involved behind the scenes and it made me nervous – I’ve been burnt by fellow journalists who say one thing to your face then another to the microphone after you’ve left the studio.
However, I thought the ABC could be relied upon … a little more than most … to be balanced in its reporting.
Journalists at reputable news outlets are taught to sit on the fence. You don’t put your opinion in the story – unless it’s an opinion piece – you are simply there to present both sides to your readers/viewers.
In this dog-eat-dog media age, where clicks are so important, sometimes that gets forgotten. The ABC is supposed to be different, it’s not meant to care about the commercial stuff.
I’m a bit deeper into the Kathleen Folbigg case than most, but I don’t think the Australian Story episode sat on the fence.
I thought it had been vigorously edited – down from two episodes to one – in a way that gave more air time to the against. And the against was presented with far greater vehemence.
I would have liked to see both sides given an equal amount of time and compelling vignettes.
I couldn’t understand why, for example, someone who was the director of the DPP at the time of Kathleen’s convection was given so much air time to protect the decisions his department made.
What the ABC screened left me thinking what was the point of that?
I felt underwhelmed and blank when the final credits rolled, like I’d wasted 30 minutes of my night.
The barristers, pathologists and experts involved in the Petition want reasonable doubt to be carefully considered – are we SURE a guilty woman is behind bars?
For some reason the ABC chose not to do that. I don’t know why. Even if its editors were simply chasing ratings, wouldn’t it be better to leave your audience questioning than closing them off?
I can’t even begin to imagine how those closer to it, who had given so much to it, must be feeling.
As for Kathy, sitting alone in her prison cell …
There’s no song of the day. My heart isn’t singing this morning.
Here’s a link to Australian Story
And here’s a link to the kind of story I’d have liked to see, from Joanna McCarthy at The Newcastle Herald: Free Folbigg now, hold enquiry later says barrister.