If engaging with the social, economic and political spheres of Australian society via satirical articles and generally just taking the piss is wrong, then nobody in Australia wants to be right.
Betoota’s Archer Hamilton and Charles Single, who swank the pen names Clancy Overell and Errol Parker respectively, are the publication’s editor and editor-at-large, hailing from the bustling metropolis of Betoota, Queensland, which Parker describes as “a good cross-section of Australian life”. When asked to define the difference in his and Overell’s roles, Parker gave insight into the outlet’s coveted inner workings.
“Me, as the editor-at-large, basically means I’m a senior journalist who has his own office and I get paid five to six times more than every other journalist. This is thanks to my immense power and influence over the general community here in Betoota. It’s a business model that was very popular with Fairfax, which ultimately led to their demise.”
According to the cult website, The Betoota Advocate is the oldest newspaper in Australia, having run solely in print until recent years.
“We didn’t take the newspaper online until about 2014, because we had an intern come in who asked why she wasn’t able to find the newspaper on websites like Instagram and Facebook and whatnot. We basically didn’t have an answer for her, so we gave her the task of creating our pages on the internet and it’s gone gangbusters ever since, I suppose.”
Despite the media industry undergoing significant changes with the age of technological advancements and instant-gratification, Parker insists that Betoota has adapted to a point where he believes the publication can sustain its position as the premier news outlet in Australia.
“I think as long as you don’t publish anything that’s untrue about people, most people tend to respect the space you occupy in the media landscape. Just as long as you play by the rules and you play hard.”
However, becoming a shining beacon of journalistic integrity in the Australian industry wasn’t enough; Betoota has pushed its envelope to the international level, even earning attention from The New York Times.
As much of a satire as it may be, The Betoota Advocate has done what many news outlets can only dream of; the online presence has captured the coveted demographic of 18-30 year olds, and is subversively keeping them updated on the country’s happenings. The placement of headlines such as “Large Long Black Fails to Soothe Post-Bender Anxiousness” beside political commentary such as “Pauline Hanson Tells Great Barrier Reef It’s OK To Be White” informs and normalises political conversation amongst younger readers.
Therefore, it’s only logical that Overell and Parker are touring around Australia to bestow their wisdom upon crowds of fans and sceptics alike. The duo are planning to kick off the lineup of dates in Townsville, and eventually roll down through Sydney and Melbourne.
“Obviously, we have to be on the ball down there in Melbourne considering that you guys are under the impression that you’re the cultural heart of this country. Things are a bit more relaxed up our way, so when we head down to do the show at bloody Hamer Hall of all places we’re going to have to spend some time getting to know the town.”
Rumour has it that a certain journalistic celebrity will be joining Overell and Parker on stage at various locations, however Parker remains tight-lipped regarding the unidentified special guest.
“We’re covered by a non-disclosure agreement about his appearance in the show. To keep it short, he’s probably one of the largest names in journalism; not only in Australia, but around the world.”