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Date: August 9 bulletin vol 71 issue 7
 
Bulletin Issue 7 
Newspaper man speaks about the media today...
Chairman John P with guest speaker Cam McCullough MPNG) Photo
 
Cam McCullough for many years ran a large Newsagency in Hastings as a family business. About 11 years ago he decided to enter the field of local news publication and has been chairman/publisher of the Mornington Peninsula News Group. We recognise the group as a major sponsor of our Mornington Art Show for the last 5 or 6 years. Cam is a local man who went to school in Tyabb and is proud to say that he met his American wife via the internet.
Cameron quoted the media adage that “the truth is rarely found between 9am and 5pm.”
He then told of a number of challenges and interesting aspects surrounding the newspaper industry. He believed it was important to find the truth before publication. Recent litigation that would have financially ruined the paper has now been settled.
Increasingly it is difficult to get ’real and accurate’ answers to questions particularly from various government levels and local council. This is because communication departments control what is released to the media. Officers and councillors are discouraged from speaking to the media.
He gave an example following a request from a local council for a document they were legally bound to provide. The ‘redacted’ (edited in black to erase much of the document) arrived and was almost non-readable. Cameron used clever technology to remove the edited lines and was able to publish the information!!
Lawsuits have become commonplace and hence the  need for accurate and supported reports.
Cameron has a philosophy as a reporter and editor of “not asking questions  of which you don’t know the answer”.
He was pleased to note on one occasion that politicians from both the left and the conservative side of politics accused him of bias; for the same article!
He believes that the role of his publications is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.
This has been clearly seen with the coverage the News group made of the Luke Batty death and the murder of jeweller Dermott O’Toole in Hastings.
Cameron provided an insightful and entertaining behind-the scenes look at newspaper production and his willingness to answer questions and to stay and chat after the meeting was well received by our members.
 
 
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