Wednesday, 23 April 2008


Please oblige me for a moment as I turn my gaze onto things other than historical.

My name is Blithe and I am a news junkie. I am in recovery and I apologise to anyone I might have ignored or hurt in the process of indulging my habit.

I feel the need to confess my addiction following a meeting with some fellow residents of the Marburg area at our local community hall. In the course of this meeting, it was brought to my attention that my liking for the news media might be wrong. Apparently women do not read newspapers.

In order to understand my problems, I’ve been reviewing my weekly media consumption. I am not sure whether use of online media contributes to my addiction or if it is only reading of hard copy newspapers that is unwomanly, or at least the domain of males.

Daily consumption:
ABC news website Newspulse (email headlines from News Corp newspapers) (email headlines from the New York Times) (Latest headlines from the BBC on my Firefox bookmarks folder)

Weekly consumption:
The Australian (Wednesday and Weekend editions)
The Moreton Border News
The Gatton Star

Intermittent consumption:
Occasional use of, Star-Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press online to track US news.
Occasional viewing of Queensland Times and Courier Mail websites for local news.

The comment was not made by anyone at the meeting, but reported to me in the hope that I might actually do something dramatic like falling off my chair or fainting. I apologise for not doing so although I was obliged to take several deep breaths. It did inspire me to have a quick look beyond my personal experience to see if it really is true that newspapers are read by men, in the morning.

According to the Australian Press Council, newspaper consumption in Australia is slightly higher than in many western nations. Their 2006 State of the News Print Media reported that:

“54.6 per cent of the 16.5 million Australians who are 15 years or more read a Monday to Friday newspaper, a figure that rises to 63.5 per cent on Saturdays and to 65.5 per cent for Sunday newspapers.”

The Press Council’s 2007 update to this report noted that:

“For both the week-day and weekend editions of most metropolitan newspapers in Australia the gender proportions are nearly equal with slightly more male readers than female readers (averaging 51-52 per cent compared to 49-48 percent). Two exceptions are Tasmania where there are slightly more female (50.6 per cent) than male readers for both weekday and weekend editions and The Australian where 61 per cent of weekday readers are men.”

The Press Council did not report on people’s daily reading schedule so I cannot comment on whether more papers are read in the morning, during lunchtime or in the evening.

I confess that I do not intend to modify my habits. My addiction is quite satisfying and of course, I have it under control. I do apologise for digression from historical themes and lay the blame entirely at the door of my fellow committee members.

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