US President Barack Obama has been invited by the NT News to stay ahead of the pack on international news through a free subscription to the popular Darwin daily.
The subscription offer follows comments by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the APEC summit in Manila in response to US complaints over the federal government’s decision to lease the Port of Darwin to Landbridge Group, a Chinese company with possible links to the Peoples’ Liberation Army.
US officials complained that Mr Obama and American officials were not advised prior to the approval of the 99-year lease, and found out about it in a report in The Wall Street Journal.
Mr Turnbull suggested the Americans needed to broaden their media intake.
“Seeking to encourage the circulation of great Australian newspapers, I suggested they should invest in a subscription to the NT News, because [the decision] was not a secret.”
The NT News made the most of the exchange this morning, with a front page depicting Mr Turnbull as Crocodile Dundee, saying to Mr Obama, “That’s not a newspaper, THIS is a newspaper”. In the digitally-enhanced image, Mr Turnbull was holding a NT News front page front page report of his Liberal partyroom victory, headed “Rich dude becomes PM”.
Editor of the NT News Rachel Hancock is used to the paper being in the news, but this was something different.
“We were pretty surprised, and then thought it was pretty amazing our little paper was mentioned in a discussion between two high powered leaders of countries,” she said.
In an editorial, the paper said it has long been a friend of Mr Obama, and reassured him: “We’ve got your back, Mr President.”
The paper sent Mr Obama a free digital subscription on Thursday. He is yet to advise of his acceptance.
The NT News also plans to deliver a care package to him, when its picture editor visits Washington next month.
The package will be filled with memorabilia from its merchandise shop, including a singlet with famous page one headlines, its What a Croc! book, magnets of its best page ones, amongst other merchandise.
Mr Obama previously featured on the front page of the NT News in 2011, when he visited the NT and was given a framed copy of the crocodile attack insurance policy, a gesture he says he remembers fondly.
The paper responded with a front page of Obama and a crocodile, with the headline “Obama gets croc insurance”.
“We don’t often put politicians on the front, but it’s hard to avoid an opportunity like this,” Ms Hancock said.
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