Out Of The Drain – How Do We Stop The Downward Spiral Of The AFL Media

In recent days, there has been a bit of a movement railing against the type of football ‘journalism’ being presented to us by the big media companies.

There’s a good article around the sensationalism in The Guardian today.

And before I commence, I can understand how this could definitely come across as self-serving, given we’re anything but big here at The Mongrel Punt, and could barely even be considered media by many. The truth is, at heart, I am just like the people reading this – I am a consumer of all things footy and in the past, have been guilty of feeding the beast known as the footy media and the direction they’ve headed and are heading.

Some would point toward the Americanisation of our media, leaning heavily toward the more sensational stories to sell newspapers, generate clicks, pick up ratings, or generate video views, as the main culprit, and would be hard to argue that point.

But they must be doing that for a reason, right? Fox Footy, SEN, The Advertiser, the Herald Sun, the West Australian… they must be gearing their stories toward the more spectacular with a purpose.

Sadly, that purpose is you and what you’ve become used to. Me, as well.

Yep, as much as many won’t like to hear it, you’re a big part of this problem because you continue to crave the thrill of hypothesising what Jordan de Goey got up to in Bali and bask in the collective outrage when anything that could be construed as wrong comes to light. Whilst I am sure some reading this, and congrats if you count yourselves amongst them, find themselves clicking off those articles or avoiding them altogether, the response these “scandalous” articles receive obviously justifies the time and effort that go into them.

Otherwise, what would be the point?

And the sensationalism doesn’t even have to be remotely sensational to garner attention. In fact, they’re starting to make the bog-standard ordinary SEEM sensational.

It has got to the point where a dispute between former players in the media is garnering as much attention as the results from the weekend. And when a difference of opinion between David King and Kane Cornes captures your imagination more than the game, itself, you know you’re in trouble.

Sure, they’re talking about Jason Horne-Francis and trying to both absolve themselves and implicate the other in the booing of the kid, but really… it’s just trash. And for the record, I do enjoy most of David King’s coverage as he seems to genuinely enjoy the fact he is part of the footy media and wants to present things with a bit of substance behind them. Usually, anyway.

Outside those two, Damien Barrett is floating moving the Showdown to Melbourne and talking down the use of tackling in the game during one of the dozen podcasts he is on every week…

Hell, the most-read column each week is that bloke saying “if this happens, then this happens.”

That’s it… that’s the article. And people eat it up!

So, what’s the answer?

How do you start letting places like Fox Footy and SEN know that this side of the product is not what you’re interested in? You want coverage of the game but have to tolerate Cornes finding the hottest take he can find and blowing it up, followed by 10 minutes of gambling odds, 15 minutes to talk about racism, and then five minutes on things that actually occurred in the game you just watched?

Hit them where it hurts!

Ratings, views, sales… the more they make, the more they justify the decisions to give garbage like this air. The more you permit this tripe to infiltrate your footy experience, the more they’ll dish it up.

Were you one of the people claiming Jordan de Goey should have been cut from the Collingwood team after consensual actions with a woman in Bali (look it up, people – the woman involved brushed it off and said it was a non-story)? If so, it is up to you to start making a change.

These organisations thrive on stoking the fires of your outrage, and if you allow them, I’m sorry, but you’re not part of the solution.

Hold them accountable, vote with your feet, and demand they stop appealing to the lowest common denominator.

And if you are one that enjoys that kind of tripe and prefers it over footy analysis, then enjoy it. It doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, anytime soon.

If you want change, be the change.



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