News of the death of Prince Philip ran Australia’s daily newspapers to the line, given the dependence some have on contract printing.
News Corp metros used a variety of full-page treatments, while The Australian – which traditionally has an earlier print slot – devoted the upper half of its front page to the news. Nine Entertainment’s Sydney Morning Herald and (Melbourne) Saturday Age – both of which are now printed under contract at News Corp print sites – split their front pages for picture coverage.
In a different time zone, Seven West’s the West Australian had a couple more hours to get its coverage together, later including a 16-page ‘souvenir tribute’.
The death was announced in London at midday, local time (9pm AEST), with the lowering of the union jack over Buckingham Palace – the Queen, and therefore the Royal Standard, is at Windsor Castle – and the posting of a notice on the palace gates.
Australian publishers picked up the news online almost immediately, the ABC interrupting its broadcast of UK drama Vera for extensive coverage.
Alerts were clicking on my phone within minutes, and among highlights was the ABC’s online obituary, prepared using the Odyssey format by ABC’s News Story Lab. It was the ABC also, which was able to draw on its chair, Ita Buttrose the following morning for her personal recollections of Prince Philip’s visit to Brisbane in 1979, during which she was invited to tea on the royal yacht Britannia.
Not that the obituaries would not have been ready: Nine’s the Sydney Morning Herald inexplicably published an obituary of the prince headed ‘Prince Philip Through the Years’ online on February 22, while French radio station Radio France Internationale included obituaries of both Prince Philip and the Queen among about 100 pre-written obituaries it published last November.