Crikey has been reporting on the Bulletin‘s bizarre decision to publish a 12-page profile of Martin Bryant, the Tasmanian serial killer (more from the Hobart Mercury). Herald Sun editor Peter Blunden has been one of the strongest critics of the Bulletin, saying in Crikey today:
But as a current board member of the Alannah and Madeline Foundation, established in memory of Bryant’s youngest victims, and editor of the Herald Sun at the time, I’m aware of how this tragedy still cuts deeply in the community. We filled many pages on the shootings in 1996. Filling page after page on the perpetrator in 2006 is not what I believe most Australians would desire.
Maybe I’m out of touch, perhaps I’m soft, but I really don’t think my comments show journalism is “very unwell”. By all means mention Bryant’s name, but a four-month (!) journalistic odyssey centred almost entirely on this creep, and featuring him on the cover of a national magazine, was always going to disturb people still hurting so badly.
I think Peter’s entirely right on this. I’m far from being one of the people most hurt by the tragedy, but one of Bryant’s vicitims, Zoe Hall, was my mentor at Minter Ellison, the law firm where I was a summer clerk at the time. Zoe was a brilliant lawyer,Â generousÂ to everyone around her,Â and an amazing mentor to me. I can’t help thinking that putting her on the cover and talking about what a phenomenal person she was might have been a better use of the Bulletin’s pages than focusing on the weight problems of the psychopath who shot her.