Image for Is this responsible reporting?

The Examiner was great reading Tuesday morning for pulp mill buffs. 

A terrific front-page colour photograph of some yellow excavators in a row. 

`Gunns lines up the heavy machinery’ read the headline.  `It looked as though the big machines had finally turned up for work at Gunns’ Bell Bay site.’  Indeed. 

The page four story, by pulp mill reporter Alison Andrews was less informative.  `A neat row of five big, yellow, apparently unused, earth-moving machines could be seen lined up on Gunns’ old Longreach woodchip land near the boundary with the pulp mill site pointing in that direction.’ 

Alison isn’t particularly eloquent, and neither is she a machinery expert, it seems. 

So The Examiner’s front-page story, which gave every impression that Gunns’ contractors, a Hazell Bros/John Holland joint venture had moved in, raises some questions. 

Like where was the actual photograph taken?  Who took it?  Unusually for The Examiner, the photograph contained no byline.  What is the connection between some excavators on a wharf, and commencement of earthworks at the pulp mill site?  The Examiner reported that `yellow machinery could be spotted through the trees.’  That may well be, but who owned the machinery? 

More importantly perhaps, The Examiner fuelled an orgasmic frenzy in pulp mill fans a few days ago when it reported that `the joint venture would bring a combined Tasmanian workforce of more than 500 to the site to prepare for the $2.3 billion pulp mill.’ 

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Nobody questioned that level of irresponsible reporting. 

Anybody taking the time to check Gunns’ press release (from which Alison Andrews drew heavily) would note that the workforce of 500 referred to Hazell Bros and John Holland’s entire Tasmanian workforce.  Most of which is still engaged building the Brighton bypass, and will be for another year or so.

Why did The Examiner report that 500 workers were about to start on the mill?  Where was the photographs taken?  What is the rationale for printing a front-page story implying the bulldozers had moved in, when Hazell Bros and John Holland are still working elsewhere? 

Perhaps somebody could ask The Examiner and Alison these questions.

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• Meanwhile, from The Launceston Examiner (New Facebook Examiner):

BREAKING NEWS: In a significant reversal, the State Liberals have backed away from their long standing opposition to gay marriage, saying sheer animal lust is more important than adherence to traditional religious dogma. Announcing the new approach, State President Sam McQuestin said a chance meeting in a Launceston nightclub was responsible for the policy epiphany.

Read more HERE