News People How media covered the Packer/Gyngell clash

How media covered the Packer/Gyngell clash

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Australians woke up today to face some of the most bizarre front pages in some time: photos of two of Australia’s wealthiest men holding each other in headlocks during a street brawl worthy of a Hollywood film.

With reporters and cameramen still camped outside Packer’s home, the hunger for details about the conflict is greater than ever.

For the media outlets whose pockets weren’t deep enough to pay more than $200,000 for the images, their approach to covering the stoush had to be much more creative.

Thanks to the now-infamous News Corp watermark, preview images of the fight were nearly unusable.

So how did News Corp use their expensive purchases? And how did others cope without them?

News Corp

The photos, that include shots of Mr Packer throwing a punch and pinning Mr Gyngell to the ground, dominated News’ publications this morning, so it was the humorous headline choices and crops that set them apart from one another.

The Courier Mail: “James Whacker”

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The Daily Telegraph: “Packer Whacker”


The Herald Sun: “Billion Dollar Biffo”


NT News: “Why I’ve Got a Packer Up My Clacker”


The Mercury: “Packin’ a Punch”

The Advertiser: “Clash of the Titans”

The West Australian: “Billionaire Vs. TV Boss”


Forced to do without the pricey pics, Fairfax papers (like the rest of non-News media) were forced to use file photos, cartoons or watermarked images to keep their front pages relevant.

The Australian Financial Review went with the heavily watermarked shots released yesterday on News Corp websites, while The Age created a playful boxing poster using the faces of both men on cartoon bodies. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Finally, The Sydney Morning Herald chose to keep it simple with head shots of both men paired with the headline “Behind the Bondi Brawl”.

Sydney_Morning_Herald_6_5_2014 The_Age_6_5_2014

The internet

Online, it was all about the watermark. Buzzfeed in particular chose to run a list of the “33 Hilarious Reactions To News Corp’s Insane Watermarking Of Packer Punch-Up” and favoured photos of sumo wrestlers over shots of the real thing.

If you can’t join ’em, ridicule them.