Journalism vs PR (public relations), with advertising in the mix

Journalism vs PR (public relations), with advertising in the mix, by Greg Tingle

Gambling with news

Gonzo journalism scribbles. Draft in progress

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Citizen Kane (1941)


News is what somebody somewhere wants to suppress; all the rest is advertising. Lord Northcliffe

by Greg Tingle

Your reading this article in progress via a Media Man website. Media Man is primarily a media, publicity, project management and advertising services based company. Note in the pitch it doesn't state "A journalism based news company".

Consider this - the moment a company accepts advertising or sponsorship dollars, and the like, it stops being totally a public service - it becomes a commercial venture.

When a sports team accepts dollars and or product from a fast food outlet it takes away the pureness of the sport.

Even in the sacred sporting realm known as the Olympics, there are media rights deals, sponsors, a bidding process, and so it goes on. Don't get us started on the long and colourful history of scandals in the Olympics centered around the I.O.C (International Olympic Committee).

Why do alcohol companies sometimes sponsor sporting teams? Well, its not because the beer or other type of grog makes the players before better. The alcohol sponsor wants exposure via the footy code. I wouldn't say this makes either the sport or the sponsor evil - it's just a commercial arrangement.

You may have heard or read that many an Australian athlete is frequently spotted at either The Star casino in Sydney or at Crown Melbourne. Casinos are big business, just as professional sport is big business. The entities together want to create revenue streams. The pairing may ignite controversy from time to time, but it often creates impressive income.

American sports entrepreneur Eric Bischoff says (and wrote a book) - Controversy Creates Cash. Mr. Bischoff is largely correct. Did you know that pro wrestling legend Hulk Hogan has at least one casino slot machine in his likeness? It's entitled Hulk-A-Mania. This Hogan game is not about 'Taking your vitamins". It's about putting your coin in the machine and taking your changes brother. Ric Flair has also been linked to gambling campaigns in the U.S, being the front man for the North Carolina Education Lottery.

At time of publication Australian based media companies, namely print based ones such as Fairfax Media (The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age etc) and News Limited (The Daily Telegraph, The Courier Mail, The Australian etc) have increased their connection to sports betting entities. Why? To boost their revenues in a advertising market where media companies are more often than not having to give away more advertising space (in print and online) for less money than they had to years ago, be it 5, 10 or 20 years back. The newspapers down under in Australia used to resemble a phone book - at least the weekend editions. Now the Aussie newspapers are more like a comic book (in size), not to diminish the solid job they do in delivering the news.

BUT, have you seen how much space in the newspapers is chock a block full of property / real estate classifies / advertising. This is because the real estate companies have (or find) the money to pay for advertising. One of the few non-real estate major Australian advertisers not involved in real estate are our friends over at Harvey Norman (founded by Gerry Harvey)... a keen punter by all accounts... hello Magic Millions, a racing event synonymous with Aussie media legend John Singleton. These guys are right behind other Australian horse racing events such as the ATC's Everest, The Melbourne Cup, and why not. Sports betting is huge in Australia, and how can we forget the fashions on the field - ladies dressed up in designer dresses with fascinators. Yep, we enjoy them also, but the fact is that horse racing is based on sports betting. My late grandfather was a S.P bookmaker. The fashion element, bird cage and all is designed to attract media, celebs, sponsors, and lets not forget to get a crowd to the races. Again, nothing wrong with that. I do wish they would stop flogging (whipping) the horses so much, being a horse rider myself... rider, not jockey.

Back to the business of journalism the fairy new business model / revenue employed by The Guardian is interesting. It's a subscription based model, but more than that, they also cover / advertise er endorse? ... various charities and worthy causes who support them. By the way, the Media Man group also support / donate to a number of Australian based charities and worthy causes when possible. This is not a monthly donation type of set up, but since the beginning of entering the news media business... circa 2001, we have frequently donated time and / or money to the likes of The Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul, Sea Shepherd, Australian Red Cross, Australian Surf Life Saving, Virgin Unite and a host of others. We've also given back to the Australian arts and creative sector also, many times for little or no actual reward. Just doing our bit of the sector. Admittedly, we did a lot more on this front circa 2007, when our business was at its peak level.

What can you, the public do, to support news media, be it journalism, PR, or both?

If you have a budget for media exposure i.e. advertising or sponsorship, the likes of News Limited, Fairfax Media, Alternative Media Group, and yes, ourselves, would of course like to hear from you.

As readers will largely be aware, news stories are judged on their own individual merit. There's a term known as Newsworthy. Is the story (individual / s and / or brand / company interesting enough to warrant a news story. That's usually up to the editor to decide. The investigating journalist may play a role in that. In the background there may be a media / advertising executive who is looking to make their quota for the month. Most media outlets like a balance between great news stories and great revenues. The great revenues element is harder to achieve in the current environment. Don't' believe us? Just ask News Corp's Rupert Murdoch who effectively has News Corp assets known as 21st Century Fox and the like up for sale. Multi national and global media giants such as Disney are amongst the suitors. You can read much about this current upcoming M&A type scenarios via The Australian (Marketing and Media section), B&T, AdNews, Campaign Brief and the like.

If you didn't notice already, this piece is pretty rough around the edges. We made an executive decision to get it out into the public domain via the animal known as the World Wide Web. In the coming days and weeks the article will be improved and become more of a mainstream news item, as well as probably loose some of its Gonzo Journalism style, made famous / infamous by Rolling Stone icon Hunter S. Thompson which style was feature in film via such flicks such as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) and The Rum Diary (2011).

As has happened dozens of times over the years, this article will further ignite media and public discussion about the role of journalism, the news, and well as how advertising, sponsorship and the like figure into the equation. This could be good fodder for ABC TV staple Gruen, who have done some great work lately including on Australian business and racing identity, Gerry Harvey. Maybe the Gruen powers that be might like to drag me in there sometime to add some extra colour to the panel. Just throwing the idea out there, and I don't even know if they pay an appearance fee or not. Biggest concern is that I may offend someone (or many people), but isn't that part of the way the ABC operates these days?

Passing thoughts...

I for one wish that the journalism and news industry could operate without any involvement, interference or other from commercial forces such as advertising and sponsorship. However folks, that is not the real world. Journalists need to get paid, so do editors. It costs dollars to create and run a media company. Again, ask Mr. Murdoch. I for one just love the work of John Pilger, but let us not forget that Mr. Pilger is a film / documentary maker, as well as an author. What we are saying that he is in the nice position to actually sell quality docos, films and books for profit. So, he doesn't need advertisers or traditional sponsors. If you the reader know something on this front, that we don't' know, please do tell.

Advertising and commercial business agreements in the media industry are not necessarily a bad thing. But, you the reader has to also consider that there may be, likely are, commercial business elements of media you are consuming, be it print, online, television, radio or a mix of any of these things. Niche media is also a very cool thing. Examples: MMA sports news, Wrestling News, Surfing News, Art News, Environmental News, Technology News, Hotel News, Community News. As you would expect, niche news media also is associated with numerous advertisers and commercial agreements, and why not. CoastalWatch - hello to Quiksilver and Billabong. WWE - G'day to TAPOUT, WWE Network and 2K Games. Marvel Studios, Marvel Comics, Disney... G'day to Disney Channel, L.A and New York Comic-Con. Stan Lee, Marvel Co-creator, love your POW! Entertainment work.


Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas


The Rum Diary


Rolling Stone. A little birdy told us that they are currently for sale to the right bidder


Eric Bischoff, former boss of World Championship Wrestling and author of Controversy Creates Cash

The McMahon Family (most of them) in a wrestling royalty shot


Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and Vince McMahon (WWE top brass)



Richard Branson (Virgin Group) and a couple of media folks. Insider will get it. Read Richard's blogs here


Marvel Studios

Disney owns / purchased Marvel in a multi billion dollar deal. Could 21st Century Fox be next to be taken over by the world's most famous mouse?

EB Games


Southern Courier


Wentworth Courier






Model and Greg Tingle (The Sydney Morning Herald - eco themed). Creative by Human Statue Bodyart

The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Achieves


Rupert Murdoch (News Corp) inc 21st Century Fox


James Packer (illustration by John Shakespeare). The Sydney Morning Herald: Federal Politics - Cartoons and illustrations


Sandra Sully. Well known Australian television news reader and author of online newspaper #shortblack


Derryn Hinch aka 'The Human Headline'. Hinch writing from one of his stints in jail, for standing up for what is right and just. That hasn't always reflected some Australian laws regarding media and social justice.


Heyman Hustle. Edgy pro wrestling, sports entertainment and pop culture news and promos at their best! Heyman Hustle on YouTube

Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff. Vince McMahon creative

Eric Bischoff official website


Chris Jericho. From pro wrestler to media and entertainment industry heavyweight

Chris Jericho official website

Fozzy official website