Posted by & filed under Inner West Independent, Letters.

An Open Letter to the Publisher of the Inner West Courier:

The last time I checked there are only two newspapers that send reporters to cover Leichhardt Council meetings: the Inner West Independent and your chain paper. Locals should be relieved that someone else is reporting the facts, given the Murdoch media’s bias in Kate Carr’s hit piece titled “Ciao attacks Leichhardt Council on advertising spending.”  Since Ciao Magazine doesn’t usually bother itself with local community politics, I was fascinated to hear publisher Sonia Komaravalli’s comments in one of your many home littered products last week (Inner West Courier, March 30): According to Komaravalli: “`Local councils have a duty to spend advertising budgets on media that communicate to all sectors of the community,”   Your journalist, Ms Carr then went on to note, “Last year Leichhardt Council spent $5370 on advertising in Ciao. It spent $66,000 advertising in the Courier.”
What irks Ms Komaravalli (and Murdoch’s hired hacks as well) is that Leichhardt Council might be spending an alleged $50,000 the Inner West Independent. The year before that, when Leichhardt Council spent over $100,000 with News Limited, Ms Komaravalli didn’t object. She was too busy running cheap advertorial spreads on behalf of other struggling small businesses to notice local politics. In order to compete with News Limited, who has been selling half page ads below cost in the Village Voice, poor Sonia has had to sell cheaper and cheaper ads. Each month News Limited sucks millions out of the Inner West marketplace through anti competitive, predatory pricing practices in the Village Voice, while all profits from your other high end product goes off shore to a Delaware based trans-national corporation. It’s no wonder you folks at the Courier feel so sorry for poor Sonia. Or that she can’t afford to send a credible journalist to cover community politics.
For the record, Shant Fabricatorian reported on the same Council’s meeting of March 23in the Inner West Independent by noting, “After less than a year, a survey by Leichhardt Council shows the Inner West Independent has already made a significant impression on local residents. The survey, within the Local Government Area, showed one in five of respondents were aware of the Independent after just eight issues.” Ms Carr put an entirely different, self serving spin on the same fact by reporting, ”four out of five people in the municipality had never read the publication.” Not surprisingly, Ms Carr also neglected to report on my own statement to Council: “According to Council’s report, one third of all households do not receive the Courier, and of those who do, 45% were not aware that Leichhardt Council even advertises in the publication. Of those who were aware, 25% couldn’t be bothered to look at the ad. Which means that three out of four Leichhardt Council residents do not read Council’s column in the Inner West Courier.” I encourage the Inner West Courier to get its facts straight.

Yours Sincerely,
Lawrence Gibbons
Group Publisher
Alternative Media Group of Australia
Publishers of the Inner West Independent, the City Hub, the City News and the Bondi View