Fenced In

Posted on 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.

‘Fourth Estate’ Documentary

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Craft Standards, Ethical Standards, News Corp, Newspapers, Profession, Television

Following a nine-month international screening run, the independent UK documentary ‘The Fourth Estate’ is now online for all to view, download, and share for free. During 2015, filmmakers Elizabeth Mizon and Lee Salter hosted numerous sold-out screenings and Q&A sessions throughout the UK. They want their take on the monopolisation of the global mainstream media industry to be seen and heard far and wide, and thus they are now […]

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.

Storm in a Tea Hat

Posted on 5 CommentsPosted in ABC, Craft Standards, Editorial Judgement, News Corp

Are you over Zaky Mallah yet? If incomprehensible men in funny hats appearing live on our television screens were such a crime against humanity, as this episode seems to be viewed, how did Australia survive Molly Meldrum for so long? Assailed by the manufactured outrage over this beat-up in the last fortnight, one could see the government desperately lapping up every opportunity to connect this opponent of ISIS and […]

Insided Out

Posted on 14 CommentsPosted in ABC, Editorial Judgement, News Corp, Political News

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 […]

Graffiti Crimes

Posted on 4 CommentsPosted in Blogging, Craft Standards, New Media, Political News

“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 […]

Body of the Host

Posted on 12 CommentsPosted in Craft Standards, Editorial Judgement, Profession, Social Media

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 […]

Enclosing the Commons

Posted on 8 CommentsPosted in ABC, Public Broadcasting

The existential attack on the ABC in Australia is just the latest extension of creeping libertarianism, imported wholesale from the US and promulgated by the Murdoch press and the now dominant right-wing fringe of the Liberal Party. For these people, there is no legitimate public space, no community, there is only the market. And anything not given a dollar value by the market must, by definition, have no intrinsic value.

Be Afraid, Please

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

“ 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 […]