The biggest story in the world?

ALEISHA ORR
Last updated 05:00 27/03/2014

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Despite one of the world's biggest news stories being beamed across the globe from a small paddock in a semi-rural suburb on the outskirts of Perth, locals in Bullsbrook remain mostly unfazed.

The suburb, home to about 4000 people, is also home to RAAF Base Pearce, from where the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is being carried out.

Last week, when the first planes took off from the airbase as part of the search, the big story in the local newspaper was a new beer being created by local brewers. This week the MH370 story did not even earn a mention.

About 100 media personnel have descended on Bullsbrook, with a paddock on the airbase made available for news crews after the road verge outside the base became overcrowded. While some crews operate with little more than a mobile phone and a laptop, others have generators and camp chairs.

From this crowded patch of grass, about 40 kilometres north-east of the Perth CBD, reporters are crossing live to news broadcasts around the world and vying for a coveted spot aboard the growing fleet of aircraft embarking on 10-hour search missions.

The actual search is taking place more than 2000 kilometres off the WA coast, above an area of ocean believed to be the final resting place for the plane.

News crews are ushered towards the airstrip a few times a day to be briefed after the return of flight crews.

Some local businesses may have noticed a few more out-of-towners coming through their doors but most say the presence of members of the world's media had had little impact. A bartender at the nearby pub, Chequers, said she had just returned to work from holidays but had been told it had been ''really quiet'' of late.

One local business owner told Fairfax Media that some people in the area were not aware of the media presence. ''I've had a chat with a few people in town, most people don't know they are there,'' he said.

The man said the canteen at the airbase had been sending staff out to take food orders from the journalists, so local businesses were not seeing an increase in demand.

He said the two main local providers of accommodation had already been busy with workers booked in as part of extra work at a nearby mineral sands operation, so journalists were either staying in nearby Swan Valley or closer to the city.

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- FFX Aus

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