Rant Of The Day THIS RANT 02/09/96

Rant Of The Day is where I get to mouth off about whatever I feel like for however long I like. Theoretically, I'll update my whinge/opinion piece every weekday; in practice, maybe not so often.

Newspapers: from dodgy to divine

Sometimes I love the Sydney Morning Herald. Often, this is for reasons which are totally selfish and reflect little on its overall coverage. On Friday, for instance, they printed a letter from me. I'm so enamoured of this particular bit of prose that I'm going to reproduce it below:

Let me get this straight.
The Herald argues that adding a summer term to universities will create more jobs and so should be welcomed by academics.
A mere paragraph later, it concludes that most students will not participate in such fee-based programs.
Well, if there aren't many students enrolling, how are the salaries for these extra positions to be financed?
It's not as though we can expect the Howard Government to actually put extra funding into education, now is it?

At other times, though, it gives me the craps in a major way (and I make that comment advisedly, having just been through a mild bout of food poisoning). Take its coverage of teenagers last week, for instance. This has already been roundly lampooned (even by its own writers), so I'll just focus on the one area I have some mild expertise in: its coverage of Net culture (poorly scanned above).

What's really dumb about this is the way it assumes that everyone with an Internet connection behaves in a predictable manor. We all have no social life outside of the Net; we all drink Jolt; we all read Wired. On top of that, the Herald's general reporters appear to be under the impression that Doom is an IRC channel. If they'd checked with the Herald's own (fairly cluey) computer writers, they would have been informed of that misapprehension, of course, but they also would have probably been told that they didn't have a story. Why let the facts get in the way of a good generalisation?

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