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Article hits a raw nerve

Monday, 25th March, 2013

The Advertiser’s article on Broken Hill didn’t go down well with readers. The Advertiser’s article on Broken Hill didn’t go down well with readers.

By Kurtis J Eichler

State MP John Williams has launched a blistering attack on a newspaper article that depicted Broken Hill as a welfare dependent mining town going backwards.

Saturday's article in the SA Weekend liftout of The Advertiser depicted the city as a "welfare dependent" outback town which was a shadow of its former glory.

Journalist Mark Dapin goes on to suggest the town is run on fly-in, flyout workers (FIFO), had an obesity epidemic and was on a "steep decline".

Dapin refers the many colourful phrases uttered by locals such as "out the South", "down Argent Street" and "T'Adelaide."

Mr Dapin spoke to a range of locals including writer Jack Marx, businesswoman Susie Mobbs and builder Jon Hanrahan.

Councillor and long-time Mayor Peter Black - who was incorrectly named MP for Darling Downs not Murray- Darling - was profiled but didn't comment in the story.

Yesterday Mr Williams said the story wasn't an accurate depiction of the city.

"It's just a selection of dumb quotes that puts Broken Hill in a very poor light," he told the BDT.

"The author of the article was obviously fixated on degrading the image of Broken Hill."

He said Broken Hill deserved a level of respect and shot down suggestions its economy was on the slide.

"Overall it probably made it look like those people interviewed were the Atypical Broken Hill resident and in some cases that couldn't be further from the truth."

News Ltd's editorial director Melvin Mansell described Mr Dapin as a "well-credentialed journalist who has a number of close friends in Broken Hill".

Mr Mansell said all the "uncomfortable" issues were told through the eyes of those interviewed.

"The overall impression of the article is of a city which has strong community pride and a population which enjoys a marked affection for where they live.

"This is very clear by the words of the residents themselves, words which were given great prominence."

Facebook was littered with comments about the story, some going as far as saying it was "horrible."

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