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Analyzing Sydney Morning Herald’s "Australia’s Cocaine Among World’s Most Expensive - But You Can Get It Quicker than Pizza"

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Liam Mannix provides readers with a closer look into Australia’s cocaine industry in his article “Australia’s cocaine among world’s most expensive – but you can get it quicker than pizza, ” as published on the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) on May 9, 2018. Mannix opens up with a lead that suggests Australian cocaine users can have the substance delivered to their premises within 30 minutes. Based on the data acquired from the Global Drug Survey 2018 (GDS), produced by the Global Drug Survey Core Research Team led by Professor Adam Windstock, Mannix’s article follows the release of the fourth National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program Report (Wastewater Report) of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission which was released in March, 2 months before the GDS. As highlighted in the NWDMR, Australia’s illegal drug environment has been prospering while cocaine use has been increasing since the third Wastewater Report in November of 2017. Mannix’s report of the GDS is a convenient follow-up, a significant update and a newsworthy attempt to inform the public on one of Australia’s evolving issues. Data plays a pivotal role in the article to validate, as well as to challenge the writer’s claims as it is continuously referenced to provide evidence for some of the writer’s claims. Whether or not he is successful in doing so, is debatable as data suggests the opposite of the writer’s lead, when he says, “get it quicker than pizza”.

First, Mannix’s report of the GDS successfully incorporates data obtained from the survey to clearly identify Australia as the country with the second highest cocaine prices in the world at $315. 67 dollars per gram. “It could be a reflection of our standard of living as we have a society that could pay the price when it comes, ” the drug crime department of the Australian Federal Police told Macleay College via phone call. The article effectively highlights data that reflect the status of Australia’s cocaine industry. However, Mannix is unable to provide readers with examples of data from other countries for comparison. Although the GDS is a report providing data on the status of illegal drugs around the world, the lack of information concerning other nations leads readers to believe that cocaine can generally be accessed within 30 minutes. “About 13 per cent of Australians surveyed said they could order a bag of powder and have it dropped off in 30 minutes, about the time it takes for a pizza to be delivered, ” said Mannix in his article.

Only 13% of Australians claim that cocaine supply circulation is powered by easy and rapid delivery services. Compared to other countries that have participated in the survey, Australia does not qualify as one of the top countries hosting rapid cocaine delivery services. It is in fact, second from last among countries included in the GDS presentation. As illustrated in graph 2 below, that represents just 2. 5% of respondents. Data shows that Mannix’s lead and title do not accurately interpret the findings of GDS, “Australia has some of the most expensive cocaine in the world, according to a new global survey on drug use, and it can be delivered to your doorstep in under 30 minutes. ” said Mannix in his lead. Although Mannix highlights the information, failure to provide data related to other countries does not create an accurate representation of how Australia’s current cocaine industry compares to that of other nations, which may lead to confusion and misinformation for readers that rely on the article as the only source of information. As a journalist, it is essential to provide an accurate interpretation of data for readers that do not have the time to analyze the entire study.

With the title “Australian cocaine among world’s most expensive – but you can get it quicker than a pizza, ” readers may discover that actual contents of the article and data contradict with the article’s lead and heading, which some readers may classify as ‘click-bait’. The article was published following rising concerns from society after the Wastewater Report revealed that cocaine use has been on the rise. Nonetheless, data plays a pivotal role to highlight relevant information Australian readers could relate to. The use of data is intended to support the claims of the writer’s lead as data is successfully utilized to highlight one of Australia’s most consistent problems. The writer, unfortunately, generates a misleading direction by failure to present relative data which could have displayed a clearer image to readers. If omitted data was presented, the story would be hindered and contradict the heading and the lead. Whether or not data regarding cocaine delivery times in other countries was omitted in order to strengthen Mannix’s claims, or if it was simply not considered by the Sydney Morning Herald journalist, remains a question. Practice of accurate translation from data to a story could be achieved through a thorough understanding of the data itself, what it represents and how it could be integrated into a story.

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Analyzing Sydney Morning Herald’s “Australia’s Cocaine Among World’s Most Expensive – But You Can Get It Quicker than Pizza”. (2020, April 30). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 22, 2022, from
“Analyzing Sydney Morning Herald’s “Australia’s Cocaine Among World’s Most Expensive – But You Can Get It Quicker than Pizza”.” GradesFixer, 30 Apr. 2020,
Analyzing Sydney Morning Herald’s “Australia’s Cocaine Among World’s Most Expensive – But You Can Get It Quicker than Pizza”. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 Jan. 2022].
Analyzing Sydney Morning Herald’s “Australia’s Cocaine Among World’s Most Expensive – But You Can Get It Quicker than Pizza” [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2020 Apr 30 [cited 2022 Jan 22]. Available from:
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