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 who, what, where, when and how, and, most of all, repeatedly asking 'why'. It's the 'why' thing that's falling down most right now. (more…)
"Graffiti crimes shall be written upon your walls.
Well I shall spray them so bold and so tall.
Just you wait 'til you read this one." - Misex, 1979 What distinguishes "electronic graffiti", as a besieged prime minister characterised social media, from the "real" journalism of the mainstream? That's easy. One is full of uninformed opinion, unsourced speculation and lazy trolling. The other is to be found on Twitter. Unfair, I know. But it's becoming increasingly hard to see why the "official" media should continue to hold any special place in the national conversation when so much of its content does not hold a torch to the best analysis of the "amateurs" online. (more…)
It often takes a crisis for a society to reflect meaningfully on its institutions - their value, purpose, strengths and weaknesses. Do those institutions serve us or do they primarily serve themselves? The global financial crisis, for instance, exposed how a large swathe of the international banking system had been corrupted by reckless risk-taking and had internalised the view that it could simultaneously privatise its profits and socialise its losses. (more…)
"When you're a Jet, you're a Jet all the way. From your first cigarette, to your last dyin' day." The mainstream media is deep into its 'Me' phase. Despite the world going through enormous change and upheaval, a large chunk of our media is talking more about itself and its competition than it is about anything that might remotely impact on its audience. (more…)
"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 of Newspaper editors in Washington a decade ago, he was seen by some as a Martin Luther figure, challenging centralised authority and nailing his 95 theses to the digital wall. (more…)
The digital revolution will not be televised. And it’s not in the newspapers either. In fact, media companies don’t seem to get the revolution at all.A decade and half since newspapers started distractedly plastering their content all over the internet (mistaking the web as just another publishing platform), the media owners are getting whacked anew. (more…)
Journalists traditionally pride themselves on being outsiders. They're not corporate types, they're not joiners, they're square pegs. So why are they suddenly dictating the terms in which everyone else can express their displeasure with the government?The most divisive, contentious federal budget in decades - one that even former Liberal Party leader John Hewson says "screams inequity" - has drawn students into the streets in numbers not seen since the Vietnam war, before the fog of 80s consumerism snuffed out any principle other than the shallowest acquisitive materialism. (more…)