Flake News

Posted 4 CommentsPosted in Craft Standards, News Corp, Political News

Now Murdoch’s media has abandoned claims of a connection to actual journalism and shark-vaulted into the Trumpian post-truth void, we can set aside conventional media criticism and marvel at the death-throes desperation of its ‘yarn’-spinning.  No longer content to merely feed today’s news through the standard News Corp grinder and pack it together with the usual ideological offal, the Daily Telegraph’s fact butchers are now manufacturing the meat altogether. […]

On Bullshit

Posted Leave a commentPosted in ABC, Opinion, Public Interest

              Bullshit. It’s so pervasive right now in our politics and media that we are losing respect for the truth. Disturbed by this barrage of bluff, a Princeton professor of philosophy Harry Frankfurt wrote a book about the phenomenon. In ‘On Bullshit’, Frankfurt makes a neat distinction between lies (the deliberate and conscious utterances of untruths) with the humbug of pseudo-experts, dilettantes and […]

The Public Blackout

Posted 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 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 […]

The Certainty Myth

Posted 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 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 […]

Do Keep Up

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in Editorial Judgement, Financial News, Political News, Public Interest

For millions of Australians forced to save for their own retirement, ‘finance’ is Alan Kohler on the news every night telling them what happened to the Baltic Dry index that day or explaining why Stock A’s share price went up when their earnings went down. The truth is that what happened in the global and domestic financial markets on any one day is hardly relevant to the vast majority […]

Click Go the Fears

Posted 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 […]

Fenced In

Posted 24 CommentsPosted in ABC, Editorial Judgement, Political News, Public Interest

“Our job is not to step in, our job is just to reflect, it’s just to report on what happens.” That’s a quote from the ABC’s head of current affairs, Bruce Belsham, in the transcript published by New Matilda of his conversation in 2013 with the public broadcaster’s then technology editor Nick Ross about the National Broadband Network.

Recycling the News

Posted 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 […]