Ugh Another Fairfax Media Trip Report!

Discussion in 'General Airline Discussion' started by SighMN, Sep 20, 2011.

  1. SighMN

    SighMN Junior Member

    Sep 18, 2011
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    There are a few things that cause me to rant, and one of them is seeing trip reports by people who were paid by the airline. The most recent report is in Fairfax Media websites (Airlines reviews | Flight test: Emirates business class). How come this sort of thing is acceptable in journalism? Of course there is going to be a conflict of interest and no objectivity in the report! Its almost just like a paid advertisement by the airline to get into a newspaper for the price of an airfare.


    Not only that, but after the superficial report this lady travel "journalist" does, when you click on the pictures they are just stock Emirates pictures probably given by her by Emirates press department.

    UGGGH!
     
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  2. Major

    Major Established Member

    Jan 21, 2011
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    It's not just Fairfax. All of the reviews in the travel section of the Sunday papers appear to be biased. This includes hotels, resorts, airlines, cruises etc.

    I read them to see if I would like to go there, but basically ignore them and do my own research.
     
  3. markis10

    markis10 Veteran Member

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    I would rather see an upfront admission a trip was paid for then a story based on content stolen from elsewhere.
     
  4. djfuzz

    djfuzz Established Member

    Dec 20, 2007
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    This is what frustrates me the most. As you mentioned, the reviews are very pedestrian, but they always use the stock photos instead of using the most basic tool of new media, their own cameras. It's not like posting photos taken by them on their journey would necessarily prejudice the airline in any way - if anything, it would add value to the review.

    But it's not just reviews - any time there's an article about the 787 or A380, despite there being a new development (which could easily have new photos to accompany them) they trot out galleries of the same old stock photos from prior to the launch, adding zero value and turning interested readers completely off it.

    My response has been to enable Click to Flash so that they are not rewarded for recycling trash.
     
  5. SighMN

    SighMN Junior Member

    Sep 18, 2011
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    I just looked at that article further and noticed a huge mistake! The first photo has a caption of "Recline in a glossy walnut-panelled private suite in Emirates A380 business class. Photo: AFP" when it is obviously a first class seat! So I'm wondering if she even really traveled in the cabin! I mean what the heck!
     


  6. BAM1748

    BAM1748 Established Member

    Jul 22, 2008
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    I go straight to read the letters section, much more up front. Travel reviews are a con in general. (I must work out how to get into the business so I can get all the freebies without having the need to do any work)

    Care reviews are often the same, unless it's Top Gear.
     
  7. rechoboam

    rechoboam Active Member

    Aug 9, 2010
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    I get really annoyed by this. Why? The oh-so-moral newspapers particularly Fairfax have managed to convince the community that if a drug company so much as gives a pen to a doctor the medical profession will be totally corrupted. Then they let big corporations entertain them with no limit whatsoever. I don't think they even realise the hypocrisy.
     
  8. odysseus

    odysseus Active Member

    Feb 16, 2009
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    That's done in this case though - they always say if it's paid by the airline or themselves.

    I don't really see the issue here. I can't imagine they'd bother doing any reviews if they had to spend $8,000 on some short notice business airfare, just for the sake of a review. Sure, this outcome isn't as pure as if they paid themselves, but they disclose what it's about so you can make your own mind up about it and given a choice between that and no review, I think that's the best compromise. Particularly as the review itself doesn't result in extra revenue for the newspaper, so would just be a cost.

    It's also not unique to airlines; any expensive thing is usually done with samples e.g. car reviews. If a specialist gets enough income they can pay for it themselves, but where it's not a core part of their business, doing it this way makes sense.
     
  9. rechoboam

    rechoboam Active Member

    Aug 9, 2010
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    Believe me it's not just reviews that involve freebies. Influential journalists are recipients of huge amounts of hospitality, sometimes worth thousands of dollars (you may have seen small disclaimers), while a drug company that gives me a pen to sign a form actually asks for it to be returned because it would be considered a gift that has to be documented with a government agency informed. mostly thanks to newspapers like the Sunday Age.
     
  10. nlagalle

    nlagalle Senior Member

    May 24, 2007
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    Looks like it has been updated to say First class now..

    The thing to remember (I am not justifying Fairfax or the journo here either) is that the journalist will only write the story. Sub Editors are responsible for layout the page (or web page). with text and images. The journalist doesn't select the images or how the words are cut to fit. Quite often they won't even see the finished piece until you do (most won't have access to see pages).
     
  11. oz_mark

    oz_mark Enthusiast

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    I saw a breakdown of one newspapers errors once (or at least those it was admitting), and was quite amazed by how many were listed as being the result of a sub-editor error. I do get the feeling that some of the spin or focus of the story is a creation of the sub-editors.
     
  12. SighMN

    SighMN Junior Member

    Sep 18, 2011
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    If newspapers can't afford to pay their journalists to travel on business or first class or even economy to do an airline review, then they shouldn't do reviews of airlines. I know airlines use journalists to create publicity for them by comping the journalist's flight, but in my mind the end result or trip report is more like an advertisement than anything else. The trip reports usually gloss over anything negative, and focus on positives on the flight. Its a well known fact that if you receive something for free, subconsciously you will always show some form of gratitude towards the gift giver. Its one of the main reason why medical professionals can't really accept even a pen from a pharmaceutical company nowadays. Even a pen may influence their prescribing habits.

    The worst thing is what others have said. There are no photos of her experience on the plane, but just stock photos. If a regular person on travel forums can snap good quality shots of the food/cabin/seat then surely a journalist could do the same even if she isn't a photographer.

    At least Australian Business Traveller and other magazines like that do pretty good and honest trip reports. I remember reading a review of the revamped Air New Zealand 777, and in the end they kind of suggested the best way for business travellers to get their money's worth is to buy two seats in economy and get the sky couch upgrade. They were really really critical of the new premium economy seating (maybe this is part of the reason Air New Zealand is taking out one of the rows), and their business class review was good but not stellar.
     
  13. nlagalle

    nlagalle Senior Member

    May 24, 2007
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    It's not a matter of affording, rather no need to. There is nothing newsworthy (i.e. front page material) for paying to do a review on an airline. Hence the airlines pay for them to go.

    Same can be said about car reviews. The paper doesn't pay for them either, and i've seen plenty of critical reviews on cars. Perhaps the issue is the reporter isn't knowledgable enough on airline travel to give an unbiased assessment.
     
  14. stryker

    stryker Member

    Sep 28, 2006
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    Certainly not after all the Dom Perignon she was offered.
     
  15. oz_mark

    oz_mark Enthusiast

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    The problem for the media is that it opens them up to accusations of bias (for taking the product/service), and also some people see it as hypocrisy. The media criticises anyone else seen to take gifts (e.g. the medical profession), but are quite happy to do it themselves.
     
  16. nlagalle

    nlagalle Senior Member

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    Any article that is a review where it wasn't paid for by the paper, will generally state that the trip was provided (as this one was). the Media generally go after politicians and gifts.
     
  17. SighMN

    SighMN Junior Member

    Sep 18, 2011
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    Another trip review on www.smh.com.au by Helen Anderson about Singapore Airlines A380 service SYD-SIN-CMB. I find this quotation hiliarious

    "Terry-cloth booties and eyeshades are delivered; L'Occitane toiletries available in business-class toilets, a smart move that must minimise waste."


    Way to polish a turd Helen! What professional non-biased reporting! ;)
     

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