Another HuntFest, another barrage of letters.
This volley was triggered not so much by the event, but our online headline describing the annual event as a “family fun day”. Those would not have been the editor’s first choice of words, but they do hold true for many who attended. Of course, it was not just the headline that offended. Writers opposed the event itself and its marketing to children, via show bags etc. Others loved it.
A divided town? Not really. Over the years, a small number on both sides has expressed strong views, however most vote with their feet and don’t insist their neighbour join them in one trench or another.
The messenger has been shot many times, but lives to tell the tale. The News has been aggressively shouted at by some HuntFest supporters and has maintained cordial relationships with others. We have been loudly accused of being pro-HuntFest by some zealots. We’ve also been treated with respect by others who understand we cover all events that attract large numbers of people.
Others committed the hanging offence of boring our readers to death, by writing the same letters over and over again.
Last week, we were accused of publishing “advertorial” by quoting the organisers in one story in the lead-up to the event. The News never turns away a community event, unless it is illegal. We foreshadow such events all the time, quoting the organisers. Think the Tilba woodworking show, embroiderery groups, the CWA, QUOTA, VIEW, Rotary clubs et al, history groups. Can you imagine the outcry if we did otherwise?
The week before HuntFest, Fairfax Media quoted an organiser of the upcoming Ocean Care Day at Bodalla, which supported the Batemans Marine Park being maintained unchanged. The day was marketed as a family day: “There'll also be a jumping castle and face painting for the kids, as well as live music and puppet shows.” We await letters of protest.
The News covered a recent event involving the devouring of live sea creatures; chefs dealing to shellfish with sharp knives and boiling water; the public fat-shaming of a giant shellfish who was later discovered to be transgender; the public mass-competitive shucking of live oysters to a baying crowd etc, etc.
We await letters of protest.