Townsville has been through a rough patch over the last few years. The deflation of the mining boom, the QNI collapse, unemployment spiking out to 15%, it’s been a tough road to hoe for everyone in the North; primarily businesses and individuals, though it’s also been a challenge for councils, state and federal governments, as they have tried to grapple with the issue.
The great news though is Townsville has turned the corner. Improved commodity prices has kick-started mining again in the north, business and individual confidence is up, unemployment has halved the number of new jobs has doubled*. We’ve also got some genuinely big projects in the region in their initial phases (the Haughton Pipeline and the CBD Stadium to name just two) that will further drive improvement over the next 2-3 years.
Now admittedly there will still be businesses and people out there struggling (there always are), though there’s simply no doubt the Townsville economy has improved significantly.
Not that you’d know this if you were reading the Townsville Bulletin, or more specifically the online version of the Townsville Bulletin (our local newspaper and owned by Newscorp).
The Bulletin seems determined to paint the economy of Townsville as post-apocalyptic, picking up on every statistic, every announcement, every press release and putting a negative spin on it.
I’m not stupid enough to not understand that bad news sells, however I find it very disappointing that the online versions of many pieces of ‘journalism’ are subscribing to the CLICK-BAIT sensationalist model.
example: Same story, two different spins – positive / negative.
POSITIVE VERSION Feb 2018 : Hard-copy newspaper article about a Skill Shortage in Townsville (which is an ongoing challenge for businesses in a healthy economy),
NEGATIVE VERSION: This same story somehow became a headline about 500 businesses closing (clickbait?). And while businesses have indeed closed over the last 4 years, the article reads like (ambiguous use of language) they’ve all collapsed since Christmas.
While most people understand it’s the reality of news media, it’s certainly disappointing that the online model particularly runs such a negative and sensationalist line. It chips away at business confidence, which is a fragile commodity.
YOU ARE AT FAULT – funnily enough it’s NOT the Townsville Bulletins fault or news media that the news is presented in it’s different mediums this way. It’s the general consuming public.
TP aren’t suggesting the Townsville Bulletin should be cheerleaders and be wearing rose coloured glasses when it comes to local economic issues, though there is certainly room for them to be more balanced and far less bearish in their outlook.