9 November, 2014. 13:03
To Nine Entertainment Co. and ABC Media Watch,
As a small and independent regional newspaper from far-west Queensland, we pride ourselves on reporting fair and just news with authenticity that rivals only the salt on the sunburnt earth that surrounds us here in the Channel Country.
You may know us as The Australian Advocate, you may know us as the Betoota Advocate – our confusion in branding has arisen as a result of a recent online revival.
Having been established in the mid-1800’s, we are arguably Australia’s oldest newspaper and we have always taken pride in our ability to walk in both worlds: regional and metropolitan news.
2014 has been a big year for us with a successful transition to digital news. This move online has given many of our cadet journalists an opportunity to report on stories outside of both our town and our nation’s borders.
Some of these stories have been successful in the space of digital news and attracted attention not only in our hometown of Betoota, but also right across Australia. This should explain our decision to rebrand as ‘The Australian Advocate’ in our efforts to navigate through the new world of social media.
Yesterday morning, we were made aware of two things. We became aware of just how far our stories can travel, and just how far the big-city Fat Cats will go to avoid doing any work of their own.
At 9:30 a.m – we witnessed what can only be described as a blatant example of plagiarism on a breakfast news program within the CVC Asia-Pacific-owned operation known as Channel Nine: The Today Show.
As proud Queenslanders, we here at The Betoota Advocate are more than happy to claim Karl Stefanovic and his less-edgy cronies – for the most part. However, when Karl and his program begin to steal our stories – we’re going to show some true grit and speak out against it.
On the 6th of November, the Betoota Advocate published a story titled: ‘City Ranger accidentally gives himself parking ticket; takes matter to court’ (http://wp.me/p5ezXR-L2) – this story was ripped and stripped by the Today show and published as their own yesterday morning, with absolutely no acknowledgment other than a brief flash of our newspapers logo.
This is ‘Churnalism’. This is plagiarism. We want to be acknowledged for the hard work our journalists do to find these stories and we do not want to be used by the bigger players who feel entitled to our hard work because of their history and popularity.
For any of our followers and supporters who are not already aware, The Betoota Advocate will never bow to any of the powers that be in the world of ‘corporate news’. We will continue to report real and apolitical news and will never allow our organisation to be hijacked by any of the family news dynasties. Packer, Gyngell or Murdoch.
For future reference, we do find elements of this plagiarism to be quite flattering, but would appreciate it if we were treated with the respect that we deserve. We would appreciate it if our hard work was attributed to us. Please do the right thing and consult us first, before you go about ‘borrowing’ our stories.
Clancy Overell (Editor) & Errol Parker (Editor-at-large)
The Betoota Advocate, Australia’s oldest newspaper.