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By June Ramli

I spoke to the good folks at Nine this week. A company that I had interned with for two consecutive weekends in 2014 with their former cameraman Frank Ilakovan.
I had just moved to Sydney from Perth and was looking for a journalism job high and low when my ex-landlady Indumathi said that she could help me with an internship at Nine News and would get her friend Frank to help me with the placement.
To my surprise, my former landlady kept her word and soon after that, I remember emailing the Nine News lady Michelle Pike furiously to make this happen. Anyway, since I was working with the National Tertiary Education Union casually as a growth organiser then, I decided to go in and experience Nine News on two back to back weekends so that my earnings with the NTEU would not be affected.
Thinking back, that whole experience made me feel uncomfortable on many accounts. I travelled there from Blacktown to their office which was at that time in some housing area in North Sydney. It was such a long journey to get to their office and went I got there, all I would do is sit with the likes of their editor Fiona Dear and Daniella Post (Posty) and literary do nothing.
They wouldn’t send me out with any of their reporters unless it was with my point of contact Frank whom I only got acquainted with when I walked in there as an ‘intern.’ I was sent out with Frank twice and my first ever journalism assignment in Australia was covering Tanya Plibersek at a picketing assignment in a park in Sydney. My task was to hold the Nine News microphone while Frank records the press conference and the second one was with the then Sports Minister whose name I do not recall anymore repeating the same task. I got so close to covering Scott Morisson but Frank was not keen on going and asked the office to send someone else for that assignment.
Anyway, why I am telling you all this now in a column that is all about branding? Hmm. Let me get to that now. As some of you know that I am an Australian Made Campaign licensee holder and they recently emailed all of us saying that the Nine’s Sydney Morning Herald and Age are interested in doing a pullout of sorts featuring some of the licensee holders.
And all my memories of interning with them in 2014 came rushing back to me as I sit down and write this column.
Like everything else in Australia, this is a paid opportunity. The damage is $XX, XXX for a full-page ad or $X, XXX for a half-page ad. This is a heavily discounted price from the usual $XXX, XXX for a full-page ad or $XX, XXX for a half-page ad. I have decided to sensor the pricing as I am not sure if this info can be shared publicly.
But the staffer was quick to add that these ads would only work as a campaign to bring about brand awareness of one’s product and NOT sales. That was where I got uninterested in pursuing this opportunity further. I don’t know about the others but I want sales, mate.
As a former newspaper reporter who has worked on numerous advertorials in the past, I would say putting your hard earn cash on a paid advertising campaign such as the above is very good for the company that is on the receiving end cause it means that they can keep their business afloat but I am not sure if it would do wonders for the brand investing the money for such exposure.
The staffer whom I spoke to also told me that the Sydney Morning Herald and Age have a combined readership of one million folks in Australia. WHAT! Golly! As a journalist, I can tell you that I only read them only when I can access their article for free or when someone supplies me with passwords and it is always online. I have never purchased their physical newspaper before. This advertorial pullout would be perched with their newspaper.
And so I decided to pass on this ‘opportunity’ in the end. I reckon it would be far better for me to invest that money in a brand new luxury bag like Chanel or Louis Vuitton which I know for sure would give me double the returns in the long run.
Till my next update, be good.

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