Filed under media

How to get your press release noticed

If you sit in the media centre at the International AIDS Conference, you are subjected to an unrelenting stream of people coming by and placing a press release or media advisory in front of you, while timidly whispering, “Press conference at 1pm on bal bla bla.” It happens on average avery 5–10 minutes and consequently most of the journos ignore them.

The MOSOTOS people have a better approach.



If It Bleeds It Leads

Yesterday I spoke at an ARCSHS forum on HIV and the media – Reckless Transmissions: Engaging with the news media around sexual health – along with Michael Hurley, Daniel Reeders and Abi Groves.

An interesting discussion looking at the way the media reports on HIV, especially the way gay men are presented as ‘complacent’ (Reeders) or, when they come before the law, as members of a ‘seedy underbelly’ or ‘sinister subculture’ (Hurley). My presentation focused on the ways that community organisations can try to have positive stories about people with HIV reported in the media, as a counter to all the ‘bad’ news. Abi Groves introduced the AFAO media guide, Reporting HIV in Australia: Information for Journalists 2009.

There will (probably) be a podcast of the event at some point in the future. In the meantime a copy of my slides is below in PDF form.


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Giles Coren and the subs

This correspondence between UK write Giles Coren and the subeditors at the Sunday Times is quite possibly the funniest thing you will read today.

If I’d known it was so cheap I’d have done it myself

Front page of the ABC News website this morning:

Global Fund pledges $115 to fight AIDS in India

“Global Fund pledges $115 to fight AIDS in India”.

‘The T-shirt we had to have’

This is a few weeks old now (it was published in The Age on 23 October) but worth sharing:

Theage 2007-10-23

The T-shirts (still available, sorry if you wanted one before the election) are here.

Local news

A couple of stories from the local papers (click the images to enlarge).

1. From the front page of the Macedon Ranges Telegraph, two weeks ago.


“A LOCAL road reserve has been targeted for a clean-up of undergrowth amid concerns it is a homosexual hotspot and a fire hazard,” the story begins. It’s pretty much the standard sex-panic riff, with a country beat “suddenly” discovered to be a homosexual meeting spot (or “hotspot” in the Telegraph‘s shorthand), but there’s an added element: it’s not just the sexual nature of the goings-on that we’re warned about, but apparently there’s a fire hazard as well.

“There are used condoms and tissues and other things left lying around where they have been, and it’s a worry to think that families on a long drive might stop here to let children stretch their legs and run around a bit.”

He said many of the incidents happened in broad daylight, and better maintenance of the long grass and plants might deter such activity.

“Not only is it a bit of a fire hazard, it’s also a health and safety risk. You just wouldn’t believe what can go on there. It’s shocking.”

2. The second article, from today’s Macedon Ranges Leader, also made the font page:

Sex-Count Teen

I don’t know anything more about this story than what’s in the paper, but it sounds like a tragic series of events:

A MACEDON Ranges teenager involved in a horrific head-on collision with a water tanker in Benalla was facing nine criminal charges, including two for rape, before his death.

The 15-year-old was due to face a Children’s Court today on charges relating to an alleged incident involving a 13-year-old boy at a 2006 New Year’s Eve party. But, the charges will never be contested in court after the boy died instantly when the Holden Commodore sedan he was driving slammed into a water tanker on the Midland Highway on January 29.

As I say, I don’t know any more than what I’ve read: maybe this is just a tragic coincidence, or maybe this young man deliberately ended his life when faced with a truth about himself that he didn’t feel he could go on with.

Either way, it’s terribly sad.

Scary/hilarious anti-privacy propaganda

We’ve been watching season 2 of Battlestar Galactica here at Buggery Acres — there’s nothing on the box during the silly season, so the DVD player’s been getting a workout. At the end of each disc is the lamest and possibly most hilarious anti-privacy message I’ve ever seen.

The ad, by the UK-based Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) but customised with an Australian freecall number so you can dob in your mates, features a fat, sweaty, lascivious and evil-eyed “pirate” who is busily manufacturing knock-off DVDs in his handy pirate’s forge (so that’s how they do it!):


The claims made in the voice-over would be hilarious if they weren’t meant to be serious:

Piracy funds organised crime, and will destroy our film and video industry. Piracy costs jobs, and will destroy our music and publishing industry. Piracy funds terrorism, and will destroy our development and your future enjoyment. Don’t touch the hot stuff: cool is copyright.

Given the audience to whom this bollocks is being pitched, it’s hard to imagine such a lame and ham-fisted scare campaign doing much but encouraging laughter and piracy. Of course, the real truth about “copyright theft” is less scary — piracy hurts the bottom line of some of the biggest and richest global media companies, but not by much (they’re certainly still profitable).

Does this advert discourage piracy? Doubtful. The claims it makes are laughable, and it makes them in a comically melodramatic way which reminds me of the Grim Reaper AIDS adverts from 1987.

The DVD spot can be viewed at YouTube.

John Howard is a bottom

I’ve been puzzling over this all day. From a report in today’s Age about yesterday’s IR protests:

Indeed, the message du jour — that the IR laws stink and that John Howard is a bottom — was often skewed

Please explain? (Or actually, now that I have that mental image, please don’t.)

Sex panic in Geelong

“UNDERCOVER investigations have revealed that men are coming to Geelong from across the state for organised sex romps,” reads the breathless lead in the Geelong Advertiser. Apparently there’s a beat in Geelong. Who knew?

The ‘lock up your sons, homosexual predators are stalking our parks and reserves’ school of journalism isn’t new – it’s an old staple of small-town newspapers. Of course, no sex panic is complete these days without a mention of the internet:

“There is a website up for the Barwon River. It’s a gay website that advertises the area as a meeting place, in particular the back of the baseball field,” undercover policeman Acting Detective Sergeant Paul Michell said.

Leading Senior Constable Laurie Taylor, another one of the four undercover operatives in Geelong tasking unit’s Operation Teras, said the issue was bigger than people thought.

“People are very naive about what happens down there. They think that spot along the Barwon River is a beautiful spot and it is, but there’s a dark side to it,” Leading Sen-Constable Taylor said. “It’s a pretty disgusting area to be walking around in. There’s toilet paper everywhere where they’ve obviously wiped themselves after, there’s condoms, condom wrappers, underwear, garbage and the place smells of faeces.”

If the place stinks of shit, you’d think the council would go down there and clean it up.

The paper has a follow-up story today which is a bit more measured in its tone and quotes an unnamed gay man who pints out that the beat, “exposed in the Geelong Advertiser as one of five sex hotspots across the city,” is the only place to go to get a root down that way, but he doubts whether “the establishment of a gay nightclub would be enough to change negative perceptions of homosexuals in the city.”

Richard Carleton is dead

Journalist Richard Carleton has died of a heart attack during a press conference at the Beaconsfield mine in Tasmania. In recognition of his passing, here’s an audio clip of what was, I think, one of his finer moments:

Carleton was a fearless and feared journo in his day. This interview, conducted on the day that Bob Hawke became Labor leader in February 1983, was typical of his unrelenting and vigorous style and came at perhaps the high point of his career.