Editorial Director Bryce Johns speaks at the 2015 Australian Regional Media Editorial Awards.Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner
Editorial Director Bryce Johns speaks at the 2015 Australian Regional Media Editorial Awards.Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner Adam Hourigan

Why this masthead will not pay for polls

WHO'S sick of the election campaign?

Not me. Yet. But I wouldn't blame you if you were.

We're still six weeks away from voting day, but the polls are coming thick and fast, and so are the quotes from the stump.

It's the polls I'm finding most frustrating.

Consider these recent headlines: Bill Shorten has cut Malcolm Turnbull's lead; Turnbull looks safe bar a major swing; It's neck and neck as the race tightens.

They've all run in the past fortnight. And, again, we've six weeks to go. Humbug.

As a media company, Australian Regional Media has elected not to hire a polling company.

Firstly, it's majorly expensive and there are better things to spend our money on - on coverage of things people might actually read, such as the Rio Olympics.

Secondly, polls are now a dime a dozen. And which ones are actually reliable?

We're confident too, from monitoring our online audience, that the results from these "authoritative" polls aren't resonating with readers.

Some of the big companies will spend six figures plus on polls over the next few weeks.

They'll fill up their front pages with breathless commentary on what it all means. And readers will flick to page three, or the sports page.

It's no wonder some mastheads are sustaining multi-million dollar losses.

Surely election coverage should be about what readers want - what they want to know, what they want of their politicians?

Our Fair Go for Regional Australia campaign plays squarely into that. And we'll start refining coverage over the next week or two to make sure the last month is planned and responsive to reader demands.

But apart from a few political journos who get a great thrill from sharing a plane with the Prime Minister, I'm not convinced too many other people out there are dining out on polls and promises.

Don't hesitate to tell me if I'm wrong.

*Bryce Johns is editorial director of Australian Regional Media. Bryce.johns@apn.com.au



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