OPINION: Telegraph's shark beat-up hurts Ballina tourism

IT IS rare that I comment on other media's coverage of stories that relate to our patch - pot calling the kettle black and all of that.

What irks me sometimes about the metro papers' coverage of our region is the way they label everyone as greenies or hippies (not that there's anything wrong with that, some of my best friends are both).

The front page of Sydney's Daily Telegraph, September 30, 2015
The front page of Sydney's Daily Telegraph, September 30, 2015

In this way it essentially allows them to write off the area and its inhabitants.

It's so easy to dismiss the opinions of someone from the 'loony left' as the ravings of an absolute basket case.

The Daily Tele's front page yesterday contained the headline: 'While Baird is talking this maneater is STALKING' with a picture of shark off Ballina last week.

It drew a sharp rebuke from North Coast-based MP Catherine Cusack, who accused the Tele of sensationalising the issue in a way that could damage the region's tourism economy.

READ MORE: Cusack lashes out at sensationalist treatment of shark story

The Tele described Tuesday's shark summit in Sydney as a 'gabfest' and seems to be strongly advocating the introduction of shark netting here even though surveys have shown residents are not in favour of such a measure.

The Gold Coast Bulletin has also been trumpeting that surfers in our area are travelling up to Surfers Paradise rather than go in the water here, and the tourism industry here is being battered.

This is despite a survey by the Ballina business chamber which found 85% of businesses had not noticed any downturn as the result of shark activity.

I don't know much, but what I do know is this: We don't want media outlets based in other cities telling us what to do.

David Kirkpatrick is the editor of the Northern Star.