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 […]

God is Dead

Posted on 6 CommentsPosted in Craft Standards, Opinion, Political News, Public Interest, Social Media, Staffing and Resources

“Did the media get the election wrong?” asks Fairfax journalist Matthew Knott in an attempt to turn the spotlight fleetingly on he and his colleagues in the press gallery. “The consensus, speaking to colleagues in the Canberra press gallery, is a reluctant yes. Some insist they got it spot on. But many admit they expected a more decisive Coalition victory than occurred. And they concede this influenced the way the media […]

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 […]

Last Ones Standing

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in Advertising, Business Models, Fairfax, Media Business, Profession, Staffing and Resources, Technology

The slow-motion death of newspapers as a vehicle for quality journalism rolls on, with periodic announcements of new waves of redundancies prompting anger, soul-searching and recrimination. For those of us who escaped the industry years ago, there are feelings of both relief that we got out when we did and sympathy for journalists laid off by companies who still appear clueless about how to make the business work in […]

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 […]

Recycling the News

Posted on 9 CommentsPosted in Broadcasting, Craft Standards, Media Business, News, Newspapers

Why does the media routinely “commemorate” the anniversary of major news events like the Lindt Cafe siege with blanket over-the-top coverage? Is it out of respect for the victims? Or is it about money and ratings? The news presenters put on their grave faces for these anniversaries and roll out the boilerplate emoting. “It changed our lives forever….a day imprinted in our memories”, Producers with lots of time on […]

The Business of Anger

Posted on 3 CommentsPosted in Business Models, Opinion, Talkback

A perennial tension in journalism arises from balancing the professional requirement to accurately inform the public and the commercial one to actively engage them. The destruction of media business models, where classified advertising subsidised across a Chinese wall the quality journalism that attracted the eyeballs, has gradually swung that balance from the professional to the commercial imperatives.

Blurred Lines

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Craft Standards, Digital Media, Ethical Standards, Media Business, Social Media

There are some astute observations in this brief video on the increasingly blurry distinction between “old” and “new” media. I especially like the line from one journalist about it all coming down to trust. ¬†Ultimately, trust is the currency of good journalism. And without trust, you really are reduced to being a ‘content producer for an advertising platform’ (to quote former Fairfax CEO Fred Hilmer’s notoriously reductionist definition of […]

Approved Targets List

Posted on 4 CommentsPosted in Business Models, Fairfax, News Corp, Newspapers, Opinion

One consequence of the death of the mainstream media’s business model and the commodification of news is a corresponding increased reliance on provocative commentary that generates page impressions. News Corp’s Andrew Bolt is the poster child for the success of professional trollery as a revenue generator and brand differentiator. He has clear targets, strong opinions ¬†and he succinctly expresses them. He has a fiercely loyal audience and equally fierce […]

The Counter Reformation

Posted on 4 CommentsPosted in Business Models, Craft Standards, Digital Media, News Corp, Newspapers, Social Media

“What is happening is…a revolution in the way young people are accessing news. They don’t want to rely on the morning paper for their up-to-date information. They don’t want to rely on a God-like figure from above to tell them what’s important. And to carry the religion analogy a bit further, they certainly don’t want news presented as gospel.” When Rupert Murdoch delivered that speech to the American Society […]