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…)
"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. (more…)
It's now four years since the US journalism academic Jay Rosen decried at the Melbourne Writers' Festival about the "cult of savvy" in political journalism and the treatment of politics as a game for insiders. What's changed since? Not much, going by the hysterical coverage of the leadership change in the Australian Greens. In what may simply have been a case of a party leader deciding to quit politics because 25 years was enough, the hacks fell over each other looking for the cute angle. (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…)
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed - and hence clamorous to be led to safety - by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."-- H.L. Mencken
In a world in which everyone is constantly distracted, arguably the most valued currency is your attention. Politicians know it. Journalists know it. As Big Idea professions trying to survive in a post-modernist age, they're drowning in indifference. Terrorists know it, too. (more…)