These Are The Last Days – an article about an article about a podcast

There was a ripple in the online footy world when a hot take appeared on the Herald Sun website about Erin Phillips and her ability to play in the AFL men’s competition. Whilst that may have captured most of the attention, we reckon it’s a fairly mundane point. Unlike other athletes such as Lindsey Vonn or Annika Sorenstam, Phillips has expressed no desire to compete in a men’s competition, nor is there any immediate need to. The mere existence of women’s football at the highest level means that she no longer has to consider that option if she wants to play football at the highest level. It is a completely asinine argument, a #hotake for the purposes of drumming up comments (up to 150 on the Herald Sun, and much more on other forms of social media). Normally we’d ignore writing about something like this like the plague; lest it give the original article any more attention.

However, what captured our focus instead was the garbage fire of an article that this #hottake was contained within. Let’s take this insightful quote:

“In a Round 1 to remember, Huddo, Mick and Loz put together a bumper SuperFooty Podcast, touching on subjects including:”

HUDDO, MICK AND LOZ BUMPERING UP THE SUPERFOOTY PODDY, AW YIS!

This is the week that HPN that the Herald Sun seem to have an employee whose job is to report on the goings-on of their own podcast, while not actually appearing on it. Let’s take another snippet from the piece, reading out a text message which we assumed originated from Bigfooty:

Mick read out a text message from a Carlton supporter, who might have been employing just a touch of irony.

“It was a tough start for Carlton, but there were many positives…

“Eddie Betts was on fire, Zach Touhy was almost best on ground, Jeff Garlett kicked three, Mitch Robinson smashed rivals, Lachy Henderson was a pillar in defence, Sam Jacobs dominated in the ruck and Josh Kennedy kicked seven.

“So lots of upside. Only Waite’s kicking let us down.”

Poor Blues supporters. Better times are ahead.

CAUTION: POTENTIAL POSSIBLE IRONY CONTAINED ABOVE, ALTHOUGH WE’RE NOT SURE BECAUSE NO-ONE HAS APPARENTLY LISTENED TO THE BUMPER PODDY YET.

Side note: Carlton’s successful former players are really a decent if dated observation, and would have made a much better subject for an podcast/article if spun out into one focused on, say, Tuohy’s first game at Geelong.

The journalist in question seems to be frequently on the News Ltd podcast beat, with such memorable pieces as:

All these articles mix self-promotion and sensationalism with ease, combining to form the Holy Grail of footy clickbait. They all largely follow the same form: Initial hot take and then a list of the talking points from the episode.

Last year the articles all referred to the “Supercoach Podcast boys”, but now refer to the participants by name now that there is one female voice involved.

There is nothing wrong with the occasional piece of self-promotion, especially where there’s value in the secondary reference. However, the near-constant stream of articles that do nothing than attempt to bump up the listenership of a podcast being produced by one of, if not, the biggest media company in Australia screams of desperation.

If there’s something newsworthy to take from an interview on a podcast – regardless of source – then report on that. But the lack of secondary media sources reporting on these issues suggest that the probative value of these articles is non-existent, and they merely exist as promotional opportunities to further promote the opinions of those who already have a prominent platform.

More importantly, it takes away time from a journo from potentially developing and chasing their own stories, which would almost certainly have been more valuable to everyone involved.

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