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. […]

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 […]

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.

Enclosing the Commons

Posted 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.

Yada Yada Yada

Posted 9 CommentsPosted in Broadcasting, Global Media, Media Business, Political News, Sales and Circulation

  Depressed by Australian politics? Take a trip to the US and witness the media conversation there. This is the original recipe for our post-modern show about nothing, featuring professional partisans rattling off practised punchlines like Jerry versus Newman. On a sleepy Sunday at Dallas-Fort Worth, an airport the size of a small Australian city, chino-wearing business travellers hunch over laptops at fast-food joints lit by hundreds of screens […]

Under the Dome

Posted 19 CommentsPosted in Craft Standards, Ethical Standards, News Corp, Newspapers, Political News, Public Interest

News Corp didn’t win the 2013 election for the Coalition. The Labor Party’s dysfunctional internal politics had more to do with that. But that doesn’t mean the calculated propaganda which Murdoch’s papers call news is not an issue for anyone concerned about the health of this democracy. The influence of the Murdoch papers on the public debate is more long-term and diffuse than can be read from a single […]

Moving Forward

Posted 13 CommentsPosted in Books, Craft Standards, Gender, Political News

This is either the most well timed book on politics of recent times or the worst. In her meticulously detailed volume of the caustic three years of Julia Gillard’s prime ministership,  Kerry-Anne Walsh ends the narrative tantalisingly short of the final scene – the long-canvassed ‘Ruddstoration’. It seems churlish to fail the book on events overtaking it, but this is always the danger with seeking to tell history on […]

That’s the Way It Wasn’t

Posted 12 CommentsPosted in Books, Profession

At a Reuters editorial management course in Singapore around 1997, the attendees were being reminded about the principle of objectivity in journalism. To play his or her stated role in a global news organisation, the journalist had to be a perennial outsider with no affiliation. At that point, the trainer theatrically looked over his shoulder as if to see that no-one else was listening and leaned in toward the […]

The God Complex

Posted 12 CommentsPosted in New Media, Profession

Once upon a time in politics – not that long ago, at least in human years – the mainstream media audience sat respectfully in the grandstands watching the game. Journalists, on the  other hand, were on first name terms with players and coaches and had a cosy, inside view of the action. Now, as is increasingly evident, the audience is invading the pitch. The old insiders’ game is breaking […]