The Public Blackout

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in ABC, Government Policy and Regulation, Political News, Staffing and Resources

            Quality journalism is expensive for media companies. But the cost to society of the absence of quality journalism is infinitely greater. No more is this loss more evident than in the slow eradication from the media of specialist reporters. Usually the oldest (and most expensive) members of the newsroom, the specialists were the ones with the fattest contact books, the deepest understanding of […]

The Certainty Myth

Posted on 5 CommentsPosted in Financial journalism, Financial News, Government Policy and Regulation, Political News

  “The uncertain election result is the worst possible outcome and the major parties and crossbenchers must act quickly to form a government, business leaders say.” – AAP, July 3, 2016 Since when did the primary role of government become providing “certainty” to the business community? In fact, it’s hard to read a newspaper or turn on the TV these days without some rent-seeking plutocrat whining about the democratic […]

Talking to Themselves

Posted on 5 CommentsPosted in Broadcasting, Government Policy and Regulation, Opinion, Political News, Public Interest, Social Media, Staffing and Resources

One of the tropes of media election coverage is when ‘jaded’ seen-it-all ‘insiders’ proclaim to the wet-behind-the-ears public that it’s all over. The ‘people’ have already decided. Call off the election. The conservatives have it in the bag. These stories are invariably based on opinion polls and written by telephone journalists, who having forsaken the campaign bus, spend their lives talking to other insiders who are reading the same […]

Click Go the Fears

Posted on 5 CommentsPosted in Craft Standards, Digital Media, Financial News, Government Policy and Regulation, Media Business, Political News

Journalism isn’t really a profession, much as some of its practitioners proclaim it to be. It’s much closer to being a trade or a craft. And like all crafts, success in journalism is usually achieved by getting not just one thing, but a number of small but critical things right. These small things include spelling people’s names correctly, accurately reporting what people said, answering all the key questions like […]

Media House of Cards

Posted on 4 CommentsPosted in Broadcasting, Digital Media, Government Policy and Regulation, Media Business, Pay Television, Political News, Television

Proponents for the dismantling of media ownership laws rightly make the point that in age where everyone can publish across multiple platforms it is anachronistic to maintain regulations designed for a different age. But if we are going to deregulate, why not go the whole hog? Discussion about Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s proposals to dismantle specific laws for specific media platforms overlook another consequence of new technology: While consumers […]

Storm Damage

Posted on 8 CommentsPosted in Ethical Standards, Financial journalism, Financial News, Government Policy and Regulation, Newspapers, Public Interest

Who does the financial media represent? You, the investing public. Right? Wrong. The financial media tends to serve the interests of the banks, brokers and intermediaries whose job it is to stick you into investments where neither the risks nor extortionate fees are ever explained in plain language.

Reframing Freedom

Posted on 24 CommentsPosted in ABC, Government Policy and Regulation, News Corp, Public Broadcasting, Public Interest

“Members of the Gillard government think the `top legislative priority’ should be to overhaul media laws, Attempts to control how news is reported and analysed will undermine freedom of speech by restricting the freedom of the media. This is a dangerous step to take as often it is the media that is the public’s advocate for the right to know and its guardian against abuses of power.” – The […]

Did You Vote For This Man?

Posted on 10 CommentsPosted in Craft Standards, Government Policy and Regulation, News Corp, Newspapers, Political News, Public Interest

There are two upcoming power battles in Australia. One pits Kevin Rudd against Tony Abbott. The second positions Rupert Murdoch and his newspapers against our democracy. The outcome of the first battle may depend on the second, yet we only get to vote in one of them. That Murdoch wants a change of government in Australia is evident. He has said so himself, tweeting that the Australian public are […]

Freedom for Whom?

Posted on 9 CommentsPosted in Government Policy and Regulation, News Corp, Profession

Freedom! Is there any word more abused than this in the debate about politics and media standards? From Rupert Murdoch, his editors and commentators and the ubiquitous IPA, the rhetoric of ‘freedom’ is now ritually used to forestall any examination of media power. This American style hand-on-heart eulogising of freedom reached a crescendo recently with the failure of the Gillard government’s media reforms. Having gone as far as sending […]

Free Media VS Free Market

Posted on 6 CommentsPosted in Ethical Standards, Government Policy and Regulation, Media Business, News Corp, Opinion, Public Interest

Much of the opposition to the federal government’s tame media reforms stems from a now ritual assumption among journalists and others that “free markets” are synonymous with “free media”. Nothing could be further from the truth. Following the now infamous photoshopped front pages in the Murdoch tabloids, comparing Communications Minister Stephen Conroy to mass murdering dictators like Stalin, came this screeching meltdown by News Ltd columnist Piers Akerman on […]