Because I'm too lazy, The Guardian takes up the story.
The Age has admitted that a man it described as “the embodiment of Melbourne’s hipster fashion scene”, Samuel Davide Hains, was a prank dreamt up by a freelance writer and her subject.The Age’s editor, Alex Lavelle, said Tara Kenny had been dumped as a freelancer for concocting the plan with her friend Hains and lying to an Age reporter.Some jovial nonsense on a non-story results in someone being canned, but go back a few years and we witness outright misrepresentation at the Canberra Times without so much as an editorial paddling.
Published in the Sunday Age, Kenny’s Street Seen feature was purportedly about a stranger she spotted in the street who wore his dungarees backwards. “I am a web developer, mystery blogger and jazz kitten,” the pink beret-wearing Hains said.
This is the point where I wholesale quote an old story because I'm, again, lazy. Come to any conclusions you wish, but jokes result in punishment and real estate advertorials are legitimate content?
11 August 2013
Our story begins as most of these narratives do, talent was needed to fill one of those tired and lazy morning after stories - home owner welcomes interest rate cut. Insipid space filler, but much loved by the real estate cabal. What better marketing tool than an earnest home owner letting slip how hefty their mortgage is and how they're better to be contributing to it, than renting or actually putting the numbers into a Casio. Normalise the behaviour and you'll get people thinking, "well if that bozo can do it..."
Fleta Page of The Canberra Times was aching for a post RBA decision hookup with someone desperate for an interest rate cut and the Canberra Times played eHarmony with a retweet.
The call was answered. The next day the front page of The Canberra Times featured the cutesy face of new home ownership benefiting from the RBA's handiwork, Jacqui Day.
The story followed a strangely familiar theme, renting blows and there's never been a better time to buy...
"I lived out of home for my final year of uni and I just remember paying rent each month - I just hated transferring the money - I just felt like it was paying off someone else's mortgage instead of contributing to what could be my own home," she said. "I remember my mum telling me when she bought our family home nearly 25 years ago, interest rates were at 17, 18 per cent, so … it's just a great time to buy.''Strangely familiar because as anyone knows there's often an unusual smell when it comes to media appearances for real estate stories. Only a certain type of person could tell the public it was a great time to buy when the circumstances surrounding their own purchase weren't that great. Parents required to front cash and still shouldering a 300k plus mortgage, which to pay, will require her to fill her spare rooms with potential serial killers, or worse, political staffers.
Little wonder that face belongs to the Marketing Coordinator for Colliers International in Canberra. Was any of this revealed in the story? No. That is until someone who could copy and paste the name "Jacqui Day" into Google went and did just that and started getting huffy in the comment section. Online the story was quickly amended to reflect the truth, but anyone reading the hard copy was none the wiser. And while I don't have the Times' front page for posterity, I do have ProQuest Newsstand, which journalists looking to retain some shred of credibility, can't have edited.
Now online you'll read, "Ms Day, who works as a marketing coordinator at Colliers, fixed part of her mortgage at just under 5 per cent, but won't be spending the savings the Commonwealth Bank will pass on for her variable portion."
When Fleta Page's original story read as follows...
Charming. Expect honesty, integrity and transparency from your media? Well screw you, troll. Pray you never hear this pair sing. Tone deafness, baby. Put out the call for talent to colour a story relating to a particular industry and you're contacted by a marketing professional from that industry willing to brush their teeth and smile for the camera - decision? You'd think it would be obvious what not to do.
Then we have the marketing gal. Fantastic PR credentials, quality education. Yet can't understand why the public takes a dim view. Expect BP to be on the phone the next time a rig blows.