How newspapers report old news

In the SMH this morning, there is a story on the rorting of Youth Allowance. With an added error*, it is the same story reported on this blog several weeks ago. We both got it from the Bradley report.

But because the Bradley report is old news, we get this formulation:

There was “strong evidence” that the allowance was “quite poorly targeted and inequitable”, the authors of the Bradley review into higher education told the Federal Government.

Leaving vague when they told the federal government, and by what means they told the federal government.

If something is important, I don’t think there is a great problem in reporting it later if it was missed the first time. But I dislike media reports that make the original source unclear.

* The error is this: “The Government is considering a significant tightening of the payment to bring it in line with the Family Benefit payment. The change would mean some 27,000 students now receiving it would be ineligible.” In fact, this is a reference to making more students eligible (not ineligible) by lifting the amount parents can earn before students start losing their benefit. The added ineligibility would come from tightening the “independence” criteria.

2 Responses to “How newspapers report old news

  • 1
    Andrew Elder
    January 14th, 2009 10:24

    Reporting ‘old news’ is the only antidote to the smart-alec tactic of putting out press releases at times when journalists are less likely to be attentive, such as when big news stories break. This journalist was wrong to pretend that the news was more current than it turned out to be, and in misunderstanding the difference between expansion and contraction – I think the latter is the more significant error and that the search for the ‘scoop’ is outdated and irrelevant.

  • 2
    Don
    January 14th, 2009 21:29

    Remember this?