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Media Watch -

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(generated from captions) to distract myself. was that I didn't want and just feel terrible I knew I had to sit and just feel terrible. And I knew I had to do that. And...I think it's been valuable

to just sit and feel terrible. Struggling with Campbell's death on their relationship. has taken its toll but we're disconnected. We're strong... in the relationship Like, we're strong because we hurt so much. but we're disconnected quite a significant extent to which I think there's each other's company difficult we found because we, without helping it, we reminded each other of Campbell. to be in the company of others. And it was much easier to see your partner suffering. Well, you also, you don't like my suffering's just going to, And you think, "Well,

"you know, bore them to tears." although it's shared, So, your suffering, it also has to be a bit private. acknowledging the difficulty You know, it's a balance between track that's going to work for you. but also finding your own, your own And everybody's very different. And, for me, it's doubly painful find no way to console you. that I can No, and I don't expect you to, for consolation. and I don't look to you It's something I have to do. Another thing that really gets me...

this support group Merridy O'Donnell now attends

Wales Department of Forensic Medicine run by counsellors at the New South to suicide. for people who've lost someone Campbell died a year ago. He was 17. I'm Merridy. on the 21 April last year. We lost our son, Nathan, He was 24.

last year. She was 15. I lost my daughter, Alexis, 2002, when she was 17. Yas suicided on the 21 October, We lost our daughter, Vicky, three and a half years ago. She was 17.

suicide is a major invisible killer, The group reflects the fact that 300 young people a year snatching the lives of more than in grief and guilt and exacting a terrible toll and schools around the country. from hundreds of families, friends WOMAN: I don't know how to live... with that guilt. ..I don't know how to live anymore. I don't know what to do with my life again. It's as simple as that. MAN: You'll never be the same person somehow. Don't ask me how. But you just learn to live with it many people too close anymore. I just don't want to let too too close to me. I only get hurt. I just prefer to not have people it's not guilt so much, Well, for me, but it's more regret. 'cause I think I was good parent, Regret that I didn't equip him what he had to deal with. to deal with he was having to deal with Whatever it was that I was not able to equip him, psychologically, to deal with that. And...I see that as a failure. WOMAN: No, I think there's some... Full stop. Absolutely full stop. think I would have got through. If it wasn't for this group, I don't Because it is the only time like I am now. I can sit here and talk I can't talk to people at work talk to my other family like this. I can't talk to my friends. I can't because it's like, We can sit here and talk this is my new postcode." "Hey, look, is painfully difficult. Taking lessons away from suicide closest to the deceased, And for those it's an intensely personal struggle. there's a mixture of pain, regret For Merridy O'Donnell, to speak out. and a steely determination a deathly silence around suicide. MERRIDY O'DONNELL, MOTHER: There's it happened and everybody's shocked You know, "Oh, isn't it terrible!" and everyone says, how difficult it is. and "You must..." But then the conversation stops. why we think it's so important And that's to highlight what happens a year down the track. to a whole lot of people. Because what we feel is common some young people, like Campbell, Graham Martin believes that that nobody will block their actions. will do everything they can to ensure in preventative terms I think what it means much earlier is that we have to start resilience, looking at connectiveness,

of self-esteem. and a whole range of other issues way back in primary school. You know, to the point And building up young people ever crosses their minds. where the word 'suicide' never,

is loss and waste. At the heart of suicide and the waste of a life. The loss of a loved one

Campbell Bolton's decision to kill himself

of his own remarkable talents. wasn't just a waste an entire devoted circle It also laid waste of family and friends. if he'd chosen to live? What could Campbell have achieved Oh, he knew... he knew he could do so much. he could have done. Whatever he wanted to do, He had that connection with people. He had that ability. He had the curiosity. He had the intelligence. you know, "I love my life." And as he said in his letter, that he took the decision he did, The tragedy is

these wonderful talents. given that he had the sort of person And I think he would have been to a community. who contributed enormously and that's a real shame He took an easy option himself and the people around him because he could have brought all the potential that he had. so much happiness with that, with which is a real shame. And that's missed,

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(Man moans) Uh, Uh! Oh my arm. Oh, honey, I'm sorry.

of the Beaconsfield story. Channel Seven probing the depths I'm Monica Attard. Hello and welcome to Media Watch, the timing of that caption We find it hard to believe

was a coincidence, that this was no accident. and we know for sure Well done. (Crowd applauds) time. How are you? Good to see you. DAVID KOCH: Mate, you took your I've got a present for you. TODD RUSSELL: Look, mate, Oh, are you sure? Are you sure? Take it, Take it. It's my tag, you take it. Oh, I appreciate that mate. Fantastic. Just wonderful. I'm never going to need it again. Well, perhaps Toddy's right. If he and Brant Webb get the big bikkies everyone's talking about, from Channel 7 or 9, they might not have to go down a mine again. 'Sunrise' presenters David Koch and Melissa Doyle had been schmoozing it up to the miner's families, even sending messages down the mine. So it was understandable that when CNN watched the live vision coming out of Channel Seven,

they thought Kochie was a long-lost mate. Todd, we'll have a beer big fella. We'll catch up and have a beer. Thanks Kochie. Thanks Mel. Where's Mel?

CNN NEWSREADER: You're just hearing some of exchanges there between the miners and some friends, I think. Anyone who saw Todd Russell give Kochie his tag would have thought that Seven had the exclusive interview with the miners in the bag. But then came Eddie. But, Trace, we've got some other news and if I could just introduce another guest, Eddie McGuire. Excuse me Eddie. G'day, mate, how ya going? Good mate how are you? Now Eddie, what are you doing here? Good question, Martin. There were lots of good reasons for Nine CEO Eddie McGuire to be in Beaconsfield. But the biggest was that Eddie is Nine's star negotiator and there was a deal to be made. The miners weren't prepared to sign up in the pub, but Eddie pulled off the next best thing -

a special guest appearance on the 'Footy Show' live out of Beaconsfield. G'day Toddy. Brant. Come in guys. Come in nice and close. Fellas we're so honoured that you'd come onto the 'Footy Show' tonight

and particularly onto the Nine Network. But this was just a tantalising peep at the main event. There certainly weren't going to be any free interviews. Todd, I've gotta ask you though I'd get sacked as the journo - I'd have to front the CEO tomorrow - if I didn't ask you a question about what it was like down in that mine. Listen mate - tell me how big your chequebook is and we'll talk.

(Crowd cheers) Fair call Well they cottoned on to the basics of chequebook journalism pretty fast. No one could begrudge the two men and all of Beaconsfield whatever financial help they can get. But amongst the perils of chequebook stories is loss of public support and sympathy - remember Douglas Wood? And the pressure to finalise a deal intensified as more and more of their story is teased out by journalists using notebooks, rather than chequebooks. The 'Daily Telegraph' had a second hand version of Brant Webb's story

on Thursday. The 'Weekend Australian' had a hearsay account from Todd Russell. While The 'Age' told the story from the perspective of the rescuers. The miners have now signed with an agent though we still don't know who'll buy the rights for Todd and Brants story. But the most important question is - what will we get for their money? One thing we do know is that the Jesuit-run Brosnan Centre won't be handing out character references for Channel 9 after this story on 'A Current Affair'. Crime very much does pay. (Beep) committed armed robbery. They could be living next door to anyone and you'll never know. (Beep) crime - car theft. I just don't think he should be allowed to get off scott-free. (Beep) is a convicted heroin dealer. Certain types of offender who commit certain types of crimes are beyond rehabilitation and beyond reform. We've blurred their faces and beeped out their names but 'A Current Affair' didn't. And because of that, you might have thought those guys were the criminals beyond reform

who got off scott-free. Well they're not. Nor do they have anything to do with the horrendous assaults, rapes and murders 'A Current Affair' went on to detail in their story. In fact, they have all done their time and they're in the Brosnan Centre which helps young offenders get back on their feet. The Jesuits weren't impressed with 'A Current Affair's story.

It was another 'judges soft on crime' story. So reporter Amanda Patterson needed to film people

who could be portrayed as crims getting it easy. SIREN WAILS REPORTER: If angry Australians had their way these three men would never feel freedom again. ACA had already asked to interview the youth working at the centre, but the Jesuits had said no. But before filming an interview with the centre's manager and counsellor,

Amanda Patterson spoke - off camera - with the young men, asking them their names and their crimes. They obliged. According to Peter Coghlin who manages the centre: The Brosnan Centre tells us that 'A Current Affair's cameraman stopped filming a few times, because he could see the faces of the young men. But those inadvertent shots of the men were exactly the ones Amanda Patterson used in her story. 'A Current Affairs' executive producer, David Hurley, says the young men had agreed to be shown and named.

The Brosnan Centre staff and the men strongly reject that. The Brosnan Centre says naming and filming the former offenders was a gross breach of trust. It really comes down to who you believe - the Jesuits or 'A Current Affair'. Next time the Jesuits will no doubt want even tighter controls over media access to their centre. But let's hope they don't go as far as some media players who are trying to eliminate journalists from journalism completely. Last year, Media Watch cited the growing trend for American government agencies to pre-package their take on the news into Video News Releases or VNRs. Now a new report has highlighted the spread of VNRs into corporate America. Big corporations like drug companies have distributed video material for years as part of their media releases. But a newer, more sophisticated version of the VNR takes it much further. These are ready made news stories that the media can run as news items without doing any journalism themselves. The study found that these VNRs often go to air with little new information being added by journalists

and no disclosure that they're a PR handout. This VNR about a new allergy test was produced for the company that makes the test, Quest Diagnostics. VNR Voiceover: ...and within two or three days

you'll have the answer as to whether your child is allergic. It was run without disclosure and presented as a news item on KABC 7, the American Broadcasting Company station in Los Angeles. VNR Voiceover: ...and within two or three days... So far we haven't found any examples as bad as that on Australia TV, but the radio equivalent, the audio news release has definitely arrived.

Here's one from Telstra's PR people. That pre-packaged radio story was put together and distributed by Professional Public Relations. So when Dubbo's 2DU put it to air, it was public relations disguised as news. And Canberra Mix 104.7 didn't need to interview Telstra's Warwick Ponder either, they ran another one of the pre-recorded grabs from the PR agency. Wormald Security got a free kick for their products, by putting out a pre-packaged radio story on recent changes to fire alarm regulations. Their audio news release was distributed by Mediagame,

a company that puts out press releases and pre-recorded interview grabs through the web. Wormald's strategy turned a free plug for their fire alarms into news on 2WG in Wagga.

And an hour later it was news on 2LF radio in Young, NSW, as well.

It's not surprising that both those local stories were produced from the same one person newsroom. Under resourced news services that don't have time to do their own stories are the most vulnerable to PR strategies like this.

Which means real local news is pushed aside

for phoney, corporate spin. Until next week, good night. Captions by Captioning and Subtitling International.

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Good evening. The Treasurer is refusing to comment on speculation of an early leadership handover. Selling the Budget in Broken Hill, Mr Costello dodged suggestions that the Prime Minister may be considering retiring as early as Christmas. The Defence Minister has blamed US defence contractors for the problems plaguing the Navy's Seasprite helicopters. The billion-dollar fleet of 11 choppers has been grounded by technical problems and safety issues. And in Java - thousands of villagers have fled the area surrounding Mount Merapi. Huge billowing clouds of ash have been spewing from its crater and debris has been sent up to 4km down the mountainside. Tomorrow's national weather - morning showers for Brisbane, becoming fine in Sydney, and it should be fine in the other capital cities. 'Lateline' will be along just before 10:40.

Goodnight.

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