DISGRACE: The Age threatens to sue newsagent devastated by bushfire

theageburns The Age newspaper has sunk to appalling new lows in their coverage of the Victorian bushfire tragedy. But if you thought they couldn’t go any lower than using the tragedy to promote a now thoroughly discredited enviro-agenda, they’ve proven you wrong.

VEXNEWS can reveal The Age has threatened the livelihood of the Whittlesea newsagent in the bushfire devastated area of Melbourne’s outer north for failing to get the Age delivered to their exact requirements since Black Saturday. They made this threat even though they were aware the newsagency’s only driver had lost his home to the Black Saturday carnage.

Neil and Robyn Ritchie are hard-working newsagency proprietors who have survived the fires with home and business intact, but there has nevertheless been terrible disruption and loss. For their staff, customers and the region they serve.

One of their long-serving and loyal employees, it seems, lost his home and had to move away from the area in order to have a roof over his head.  The hard-working duo Neil and Robyn have therefore been unable to offer home delivery on weekends since the fire swept through.  Finding people to work a newsagency delivery round, involving as it does 2am starts, good local knowledge and strong right arm for throwing papers is difficult, and they do not grow on trees.

A couple of days ago, according to our ever-reliable source in the newsagency world, Neil and Robyn received a “breach” notice from Fairfax, informing them that unless they resume home delivery on weekends, they would be held to be in breach of their newsagency contract, whereupon punitive action would be taken.  This could involve financial penalties, seeking restitution, or, if the breach persists, loss of the newsagency contract.

Nice.  We wonder if noted penny-pincher CEO and Captain of the Titanic Bryan McCarthy himself drafted the letter, or whether it was a simple case of stupid people doing stupid things because they are too stupid to know the difference.

Heartless, hopeless and stupid beyond belief. 

We can only think that the pages of VEXNEWS will provide a wonderful resource for business academics in years to come, when they go searching for clues as to how a once mighty business like Fairfax just slipped under the waves in the dead of night, never to be seen again.

In the wake of Victoria’s worst natural disaster, Melbourne’s two newspapers have revealed their true colours.  First, there’s the Herald Sun, with its consistent, empathetic, human coverage that has managed to pick the right tone from the first day.  And then there is the Aged. 

A dying newspaper with a black heart.



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19 responses to “DISGRACE: The Age threatens to sue newsagent devastated by bushfire

  1. deadmeat

    This story has caused panic in circulation. Back-tracking immediate.

  2. old enemies don't forget

    The Age needs all the friends it can get, instead it treats everyone like the bad days when they arrogantly pissed on people because of their cosy monopoly on classifieds.

    I worked in real estate and The Age were bandits. Now we don’t even bother with them unless a cretin client insists on wasting their money. Age real estate has no future.

  3. Looking on quietly

    What your story doesn’t include is that The AGE delivered late for 5 days of the week of the fires.

  4. Voyeur

    Do you suppose The AGE was reacting to the photo which shows 2 people holding the front page of HS and Observer?

    Has that got to be the worst case of sour grapes ever seen.

  5. Toilet Paper is too useful to be compared to the Aged

    I suppose they will be losing their 2.7c for each newspaper not delivered. Shame! So much for the Aged’s lefty bleeding heart credentials.

  6. Anonymous

    Has Sol Lew donated any of his loot to the victims?

  7. hopeless

    maybe Liberal Ted could deliver the newspapers. But he is no-where to be seen.

  8. GaZonk

    Hey,lay off The Age; everyone I know says tht it provides the only ‘quality journalism’ around. Perversely true – I use examples from the old tart to illuminate and highlight the difference between it and the HS when helping with my daughters’ homework.A great foil . .

  9. Mark Fletcher

    I write as a Director of newsXpress Pty Ltd, the newsagency marketing group to which the newsagency in Whittlesea belongs.

    The facts as reported are wrong.

    I can confirm that The Age did not threaten the livelihood of the newsagency. No breach notice was issued.

    Indeed, the folks at The Age have helped the newsagency through challenging times.

  10. Whittlesea local who knows what The Age is like

    That’s very interesting, Mark what about the press release put out by Ian Urquhart of NewsXpress that says something very different from that about The Age.

    Is he lying or are you?

    The Age is notorious for bullying agents who are seldom in a position to fight back.

    One brave agent fought back.

    Now if The Age hadn’t threatened the Ritchie family with legal action or some other loss, how did Ian Urquhart discover the incident. And be asked to write about it ?

    Congratulations to Ian Urquhart and the rest of the NewsXpress team for bringing this scandal to light. Kudos.

    I think what’s happening here is that The Age are muscling the newsagent to change their story now they’ve promised not to sue over the weekend deliveries.

    I thought they were concerned with reporting the truth not covering up their own lies.

  11. Mark Fletcher

    newsXpress has had no involvement with the actions you describe other than to help the newsagent and The Age navigate the challenges of newspaper delivery in in this bushfire affected area.

    The newsXpress team had no involvement in bringing anything to light because there was no issue.

    The Age has not muscled anyone.

    No, no conspiracy here. I suggest you get your facts straight.

  12. the bottle shops association of uranus

    So Ian Urquhart no longer works at NewsXpress ?

    Why did he think The Age was threatening the Ritchies ?

    He didn’t make it up. Looks like a big stinky cover-up.

    Please stop lying to us.

  13. the bottle shops association of uranus

    NewsXpress were right to tell the truth about this scandal.

    How many received the press release from NewsXpress’s fax???

  14. jeremy

    They protest too much I reckon.

  15. Mark Fletcher

    There is no scandal. newsXpress did not send out any press release or fax.

    This is my last comment on the matter as it is clear that someone is hell bent on point scoring with litte regard to the truth.

  16. the truth

    So Mark…who the hell is this Ian Urqhart?

  17. Giuseppe De Simone

    I am a Fairfax shareholder and have been a shareholder since 2001 (poor me looking at the share price). Please provide me with evidence of this unconscionable behaviour and I will take action in the Federal Court to have the Board sanctioned or removed for breaching the Trade Practices Act and Fair Trading Act. Of course, I’d desist if the Board issued a humble apology and donated their overblown directors’ fees for a month to the Bushfire Appeal by way of a “mea culpa”.

  18. anon e mouse

    The Age cancelled all their home delivery customers orders in Canberra by shipping the newspapers by road instead of air. As they now arrive at 10 AM its difficult to deliver to customers – so newsagents had to cease home deliverys. Fairfax gave them one days notice.

    I guess they dont need the circulation, doing so well in their home market.

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