About two months ago Clementine Ford and I had a brief conversation on Twitter, which is reproduced below.

Screen-shot-2013-03-04-at-12.16.50-PM Daily Life, about a week behind the rest of the world

Since then, I have been languidly gathering examples for Ford to illustrate my claim that a significant amount of Daily Life‘s content has been recycled from other, more interesting, websites. Here are three example that demonstrate an obvious pattern of behaviour.

On 17 February 2013 Salon published an article about large labia and labia pride. Jezebel ran it on 18 February and Slate on 20 February. Ford paraphrased from the previous articles and Daily Life ran her version on 26 February.

On 14 April 2013 Salon published an article about men who fake orgasms. This was quickly rehashed and Daily Life published their version just before midnight on 16 April.

On 21 March 2013 Daily Dot published an article about the sexist response to the revelation that the founder of a popular Facebook page about science is a woman. Daily Life didn’t get around to recycling that one until 18 April.

My Twitter critique of Daily Life was not an attack on its writers, such as Ford. It was a criticism of the content strategy adopted by Fairfax that positions Daily Life as an anthology of rehashed content that readers may have already seen elsewhere days or weeks ago.

Rather than creating its own original content, Fairfax has its writers reproducing banal réchauffé. It’s lazy journalism and only benefits readers with little curiosity or willingness to browse other sites. It seems implausible that the Age is deliberately targeting these least curious and most passive readers, but perhaps it is true. I’m not in that cohort, which is why I find Daily Life boring.

This is further evidence that Fairfax is in a terminal death spiral. Staff are being dismissed in their hundreds, the share price is well below AU$1 and their editorial strategies appear to consist of rehashing journalism from elsewhere and plagiarising user generated content from social media.

When will they admit that the age of industrial media is over? Not yet, apparently. Fairfax is still treating readers as if it owns them, as if they have to accept what it offers them because there are no other sources of content.

Except there are now many other sources. Many Australian readers are consuming content from sources from throughout the world and they don’t need the increasingly antiquated and parochial Age and Daily Life to summarise it for them.

Daily Life, about a week behind the rest of the world

15 thoughts on “Daily Life, about a week behind the rest of the world

  • 1 May 2013 at 10:14 am
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    Well said, I cringe when I read an article on mainstream media about a meme or facebook page etc.

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  • 1 May 2013 at 1:36 pm
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    Valid point, but – particularly in news media – I think there’s a place for media properties who stand back a while and get the full picture. First doesn’t always mean first, especially if first also comes at the expense of critical analysis and an independent voice. I think Daily Life largely does a good job of creating thoughful, considered content. True, it is sometimes prompted by discussions/content happening/published elsewhere, but isn’t that a great thing about the level of critical engagement afforded to us by the world wide web?

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    • 1 May 2013 at 3:20 pm
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      Daily Life is not value adding, such as by providing more analysis or critique. It’s just regurgitating.

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  • 1 May 2013 at 5:27 pm
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    If I were not busy trying to finish a PhD and work full-time I would love to go through Clem Ford’s articles and pinpoint each time she takes a theory out of a seminal feminist text but then she does not bother to direct her readers to the text the theory originally came from. I think it’s great she makes feminist theory accessible but, I don’t know, I really think that she needs a refresher course in referencing or something.

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    • 1 May 2013 at 5:48 pm
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      In relation to her Fairfax content at least that would not conform to the Fairfax style guide as they prefer to not acknowledge that they get all their ideas from elsewhere.

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  • 1 May 2013 at 6:00 pm
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    Excellent. The Daily Life pages, or “Lady Pages” or whatever they were condescendingly called (until the staff arched up about it) are sadly hilarious. Especially because what original content they do produce seems taken from an undergraduate first-year women’s studies seminar (I’m thinking particularly of the feminist-vegetarianism piece of Alecia Simmonds…)

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  • 2 May 2013 at 9:28 am
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    A fair point, but Fairfax is far from a lone offender. As a casual reddit lurker I find it startling how many posts make their way to the front page of news.com.au.

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    • 3 May 2013 at 1:00 am
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      “As a casual reddit lurker I find it startling how many posts make their way to the front page of news.com.au.”

      I cannot stomach the Fairfax press, and support the News Ltd press because, no matter how tabloid they may be at times, at least their websites are not ideological drivel trying to masquerade- hopelessly – as some sort of serious press.

      Having said that, I too find myself cringing more and more at how low News Ltd is stooping by blatantly and lazily ripping off whichever reddit.com post takes their fancy.

      They reached a new nadir a day or so ago with the rehash of a post about creepy things kids say, to the extent that it listed reddit commenter’s names along with their posted comments.

      It was industrial grade cringe, and I felt embarrassed for whichever online News Ltd editor gave it the go-ahead.

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  • 2 May 2013 at 10:12 am
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    News is an equal offender. It’s about the terminal business models of Australian news media. which is why I was so disappointed that Ford kept taking it personally. Like many journalists she appears to be in complete denial about the future of her industry.

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  • 2 May 2013 at 11:57 am
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    Thanks for this. I now have a few original sites to peruse, I knew they lifted content but wasn’t sure from where. Now I can skip Daily Life all together.

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  • 2 May 2013 at 2:00 pm
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    Bravo Brian for showing true fortitude in actually reading all that tripe. The things one does, but you did it for the team and I thank you.
    I occasionally go to Hoopla for a laugh, but it’s also very scary, as so many women seem to have been empowered by their PM, especially after that misogyny rant.
    Such delusions are truly hard to fathom.

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    • 2 May 2013 at 2:05 pm
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      If you interpret my article as criticising the feminist context of some of the content in Daily Life, you are wrong. I am making no comment about that. I am analysing an editorial strategy in use at Fairfax and other publishers. Do not consider me an ally in your anti-feminist view of such publications.

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    • 3 May 2013 at 2:33 pm
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      Wow, more insightful journalism from Clementine Ford…

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