In Bed With The Hun

North Melbourne Football Club’s media department has been pushing for positive coverage over the last 18 months, culminating in a massive pre-season campaign to coincide with the opening of the new facility. But there is one media outlet the Roos seem keen to leave out in the cold: The Age. Take this morning’s big announcement, Jack Ziebell signing on for 3 years. The Herald Sun were clearly worded up in time for today’s publication, but nothing to be seen in The Age. This, after a string of Hun exclusives direct from Arden St over the last 6-12 months (see here, here and here for some examples).

It’s an effective strategy – give a rival publication exclusive access in order to  receive increased, favourable coverage – but it has its down side. While the Herald Sun is widely read, there are plenty of North Melbourne-supporting Age readers out there.

The reason for choosing The Hun seems fairly obvious, given the club’s long (and very cold) war with Caroline Wilson. I think it’s fair to say that her reluctance to issue any sort of retraction or correction after publishing unverified ‘facts’ hasn’t really impressed the NMFC administration. Which is in stark contract to The Hun’s ‘Iron’ Mike Sheahan who could, at times, be mistaken for Eugene Arocca’s lapdog.

But really, for a club that prides itself on transparency, isn’t it time to let bygones be bygones and throw The Age a bone? Surely it is in the interests of NMFC to gain maximum coverage across all media outlets? Or is the media strategy working just fine as it is – it’s just an added bonus that they’re kicking Fairfax in the guts as well?

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “In Bed With The Hun

  1. Ed

    No doubt it’s better to have as much good coverage from all outlets as you can manage. You’re robbing Caro to pay Mike, and what happens when the Sun gets its hands on some bad press and runs it against the wishes of Arden St? The relationship won’t be so peachy then.

  2. Mike Sheahan is hardly North Melbourne friendly. Even after we turned down the Gold Coast offer, he still argued that we made the wrong decision. The main pro-North Melbourne journalist at the Herald-Sun was Damien Barrett.

    As for the Age, Rohan Connolly is a gem of a journalist, and he was one of the first to defend North Melbourne’s right to stay in Melbourne.

    Excluding the rantings of Caroline Wilson (and during chicken-gate, Sam Lane), I would actually argue the Age hasn’t been any better or worse than the Hun in how they cover our club. But in terms of strategy, if the club does feed the Hun our good news stories, and they are given prominence in the paper, then that’s fine by me. Higher exposure in the city’s main football newsaper will hopefully lead to more members.

    • This is probably where I should step in…

      There is no intention to leave The Age out in the cold whatsoever from North’s point of view.

      Examples:

      Rohan Connolly came to the Arden Street media day on his holidays because I extended the invitation to him and we speak regularly.

      More recently, on the 20th of February, Andrea Petrie ran a great story with Brent Harvey and Ryan Bastinac which made the front cover of sport in Saturday’s early edition and was a big feature in the later edition.

      Michael Gleeson had a one-on-one with Brad Scott not long ago and wrote a brilliant piece and Peter Hanlon was very complimentary when he wote about our new building.

      Steve Butler had Cruize Garlett this week and is catching up with Darren Crocker next week for a coffee and chat.

      I am also aiming to see editor David Dick very soon to chat about the upcoming season.

      The Herald Sun has been a little more proactive with us in asking for certain stories in the pre-season but most of the journos at The Age have been on leave – after all, it’s only February.

      If The Age asks – they shall also receive.

      We are an open club and will entertain requests from most reporters.

      Hope this clears it up a bit…

      Heath.

  3. Ron

    But of those examples that Heath’s given of favourable press in The Age, they’re hardly exclusives. I could write almost the same piece about the new building and run it in the North & West Melbourne Community News. The examples that the Rev’s given of actual exclusives, dropped into the HS’s lap, are exactly that – exclusives, targeted at the HS.

    I’m not sure that there’s anything wrong with this, by the way. The Age’s footy section is crap, and the Caro history can’t be ignored. I’m an Age reader, but I don’t read it for the sport section.

  4. Suzi

    Whilst I think that some of the stuff I have read from The Age have been cruel towards the roos, they did come up with some awesome articles.
    With the Hun they also are awesome to deal with. It’s just the journos you have to look out for.
    Some of which can be really cruel when typing up their articles.
    I prefer the Hun over The Age but if there is any awesome articles in The Age, they are worth a read.

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