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Australia got the Corby coverage it deserved

Watching a reporter wearing a harness clinging to the back of a speeding ute while crossing live to her Australian newsroom was the most surreal moment in what was an intense 48-hours of coverage focusing on Schapelle Corby’s exit from Bali.  HR staff in Australia were probably having kittens as the media’s ute chased the Corby convoy from her villa to a final meeting with her parole officers. No doubt all will be forgiven and forgotten on the crew’s return to Australia – it was hair-raising and ridiculous but has become the most replayed moment of Schapelle’s flight from Bali.

The media was effectively and comprehensively out-foxed by the wiley Corby clan, who after 12 years of practice, have become experts in evading the media posse, employing flights swaps, dummy limos and false hotel reservations. As I write, no-one seems to know where Schapelle is, and that’s probably a good thing – for all of us.  Twitter was full of Schapelle-rage – “Who cares!?” they tweeted…”Leave her alone – she’s done her time” they railed. “What’s her Instagram account” asked others, as Schapelle’s newly-created Insta account quickly bloomed to over 165,000 followers at last count.

Did the media misread the public’s interest in Schapelle’s homecoming or was the “all guns blazing” approach an accurate reflection of what the great unwashed desired, and deserved? Much of the outrage associated with the coverage of Schapelle’s release and home-coming rings hollow – especially when it’s coming from the very media and Australian public who’ve followed every breathing, twitching, itching moment of Corby’s arrest, court case and subsequent imprisonment.

We’ve had coverage of every aspect of Corby’s existence in Bali’s Kerobokan prison and her family have also been the subjects – often willingly, for a price. We’ve had multiple live courtroom appearances and verdicts (even the Kiwis got her verdict live); hidden cameras and videos; books and an autobiography; a defamation case; telemovies times two; magazine deals and multiple covers; tabloid TV stories; a Zoo Weekly photo shoot and regular online and print updates every month, of every year, for the last 12 and a half years. The media sucked it up and spat it out at a voracious Australian public.

Media doesn’t outlay money if the ratings aren’t viable, and time and time again the Schapelle Corby brand delivered the ratings goods – on-air, on-line, in print and on TV.

Curiously, now that her time is served and she’s freed of her Indonesian captors and back in Australia, we have a universal, collective case of the guilts – we don’t want to harass, stalk or exploit her. We’re not interested in what she eats, drinks or wears or who she sleeps with. We want to leave her and her family alone, we want to let her have privacy and time to herself.

We have become world class hypocrites and have the gall to harangue the media, who faithfully delivered us the overblown Corby coverage we richly and rightly deserved.  Australians love to bash the media, but in this case it’s just served up what we were after all along.

By John Solvander,  Director of Media Engagement at Media Stable

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