Media hype is most regretable and so is ignorance. Theoretically both
could be remedied but in practice we have to tolerate the type of current
events reporting described by Andrew Stafford.
Andrew was indeed correct, and we were the victims of such a case this week.
The Queensland Wader Study Group (QWSG) is involved in ongoing work
with a developer called Pacific Harbour (PH) in building artificial
wader roosts to replace the imminent loss of a major roost (Dux Ck)
in the Pumicestone Passage, SEQld. The developer sent me a draft
media release, and I commented, making a few alternations, and sent
it back to the developer.
Next thing a Bribie local paper carries a story about our first
artificial roost attracting birds "in droves". This is a whole heap
of rubbish. The roost is not in a prime position for waders, is
small, and was a roost-building exercise, a PR exercise, the land was
available and unallocated, a place where, in time, waterbirds will
gather - but as yet very few. Maybe even a few waders will use it,
too. An Eastern Curlew landed on it a couple of weeks ago. The
developer carried the entire cost, and it stands at the entrance to
the development. What is really wonderful about the entire exercise
is the wholehearted participation of Pacific Harbour. Our most
important roosts are on the drawing board and yet to be built.
We of QWSG worry, as it is not good to have such a structure built
and have it become an object of derision, for that's what such
rubbish stories can cause in a small community. For the same reason
the developer worries. Bad PR is not good PR. The "droves" bit has
come from neither of us. We can only imagine that it was creative
writing. We, who have been at its heart, have had no delusions about
the prospects of this artificial roost. So, what do we do? I ran into
the manager of PH yesterday, and he said if we issue a rebuttal, they
can run a story, "Wader roost fails". And that's worse than the
original story. Can't win. So as stated in Peter Milburn's posting,
we just "have to tolerate the type of current events reporting
described by Andrew Stafford".
I might add that I am married to a former journalist myself, but
never fail to be surprised at the depths which some of them manage to
plumb. Interestingly, James is never surprised. He's met them all in
Sunshine Coast, Qld
26º 51' 152º 56'
Ph (07) 5494 0994
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