So to the Herald, front page of Tuesday, November 25:
"ONLY children deemed at "significant" risk of harm will need to be reported to the Department of Community Services' help line under a radical plan to reshape the state's overwhelmed child protection system. Others will be referred to a new service to receive assistance.
The higher threshold under the state's mandatory reporting laws - achieved by inserting the word "significant" to the law - is designed to potentially triage tens of thousands of calls to the department to enable it to focus on the minority of children in serious danger."
That story survives on the Herald website here, albeit with the toned-down headline 'Mandatory laws to be eased' (a sub-head on the front page). It was indexed via the 'National' section of that day's web pages.
A more conciliatory version of the same article is accessible (here) at smh.com.au, via the 'Breaking news' section of the day before:Inquiry recommends changes to DoCS [bylined AAP]
Only children at risk of "significant harm" will be investigated by NSW child protection officers under reforms that will also see other at-risk kids outsourced to the private sector.
The special commission of inquiry into child protection on Monday finalised its year-long investigation, releasing findings that said the Department of Community Services (DoCS) was swamped by reports that don't warrant its time and effort.
Inquiry head, retired Justice James Wood, has called for changes to the mandatory reporting system so DoCS is only notified of cases where a child is at risk of "significant harm".
Horin's a longtime Herald reporter and columnist on social issues. Looks like she rewrote the original wire story for the front page of the following day. That later, more alarming version probably got read by more people than the online version. At my count, the later version appears on 14 websites, all of them owned by the Herald's owner, Fairfax. The original wire story appears on 7, three of which are Fairfax. It looks to be standard practice that re-written wire stories gain the byline of the re-writer.
I have not attempted to analyse other media's overall response to the event, the release of the report by the Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection Services in NSW. However, the head of the inquiry was Justice James Wood, who also headed the Royal Commission into the NSW Police. Without knowing his sociopolitical bent, he seems to have a reasonable reputation.
The Herald beefed up the story for the front page. Was it the right thing to do?