Craft Standards

Click Go the Fears

HiResJournalism 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…)

By Mr Denmore, ago
Ethical Standards

Storm Damage

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. (more…)

By Mr Denmore, ago
Craft Standards

Doing a Number

Journalists, as a rule, don't do numbers. They're words people - topped the class in creative writing; struggled in maths. And in most areas of reporting, that's not a huge disadvantage. But when it comes to economics, it can leave them open to being conned. Take the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook. That News Corp would run this set-piece through its lazy and deliberately misleading partisan filter ('Labor's Debt Bomb!') was not surprising. But when the ABC recycles the official spin you have to wonder at journalists' competence: (more…)

By Mr Denmore, ago
Craft Standards

Analysts Say

'Analysts say': It's the no-more-gaps of journalese. The dignifying of rent-a-quotes with the title of 'analyst' is all-purpose cover-up for the passing off of idle conjecture and sheer guesswork as the carefully though out prognostications of the prescient. Financial media is full of it. Up against deadline and desperate to find facts to fit the premise snatched from the ether by an editor in search of an easy splash, journalists will find "analysts" who will say anything to fit the purposes of the story. (more…)

By Mr Denmore, ago
ABC

Of Human Bondage

An increasingly unhinged Australian mainstream media, with a few honourable exceptions, has been revving up the scary-o-meter in recent days about this country facing a future of debt, deficits and public penury for as far as the eye can see.  
“A decade of deficits spells a bleak future for Australians,” was the headline on the increasingly tabloid ABC television news, warning of a crisis bigger than the one where Bates went to jail in Downton Abbey.  I spluttered over my warmed up risotto (my lovely wife was out at the movies) and quickly checked my Bloomberg terminal.
(more…)

By Mr Denmore, ago
Craft Standards

Future Shockers

"Prediction is very difficult, particularly about the future." Journalists would do well to keep in mind that aphorism from influential Danish physicist Nils Bohr when quoting "experts" about the outlook for financial markets, the economy and politics. (more…)

By Mr Denmore, ago
ABC

Spinning Wheel

A health warning to mainstream media consumers: When a news story starts with the words "is expected to", activate the BS detector. When that story involves forecasts about economic statistics, shift detector to warp speed. (more…)

By Mr Denmore, ago