Lego Journalism

Posted on 20 CommentsPosted in Financial journalism

It’s not widely understood by the reading and viewing public, but a big chunk of what are purported to be ‘news events’ really are stage-managed set-pieces, minutely choreographed by the public relations industry. The supinely lame local coverage of the recent triumphant “free trade” deal announcement between the Australian and Japanese governments provides a perfect case study in how “news” is engineered, with national leaders positioned as virtual lego […]

Doing a Number

Posted on 22 CommentsPosted in Craft Standards, Editorial Judgement, Financial journalism, Financial News, Political News

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 […]

Analysts Say

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Craft Standards, Editorial Judgement, Financial journalism, Financial News, Public Interest

‘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, […]

Old Empires New Legacies

Posted on 15 CommentsPosted in Books, Fairfax, Media Business, Newspapers, Profession

Journalism isn’t like any other business. And that’s because journalism isn’t a business at all.  The great newspaper empires now being dismantled in Australia and elsewhere were actually advertising businesses supporting cultural institutions. Industrial era journalism was a craft subsidised by the advertising. When advertising separated from the newspapers, the journalism lost its subsidy. Now, companies like Fairfax Media are seeking to put a market value on journalism itself. […]

Media Stockholm Syndrome

Posted on 9 CommentsPosted in Craft Standards, Financial journalism, Public Interest, Staffing and Resources

‘Twenty Ways to Bulk Up Your Cash’. That was the breathless headline in The Australian Financial Review on September, 27, 2005 “It’s shop till you drop for ordinary people with money to park,” the article gushed. “And the range of investment options is so vast, it’s very nearly an embarrassment of riches.”

The ‘Certainty’ Myth

Posted on 25 CommentsPosted in Editorial Judgement, Financial journalism, Financial News, Government Policy and Regulation, Political News

A sub-narrative amid the media thumbsucking about the future of the Australian Labor Party after the leadership spill has been the ritual calls from business leaders for the removal of “uncertainty” – the idea being that the economy has ground to a standstill as the egos exchange handbags in Canberra.

A Fistful of Donuts

Posted on 13 CommentsPosted in Craft Standards, Education, Financial News, Government Policy and Regulation, Political News

Which party is best at cutting the red tape that stifles Aussie entrepreneurship, promotes small business initiative, checks lazy government waste and puts downward pressure on interest rates for working people? Me sir! Me sir! Just bend me over the desk for a moment and flash me your fiscal rectitude. Isn’t the state of economic journalism clear by now? After the earnest and profound economic policy debates of the […]

A Show About Nothing

Posted on 5 CommentsPosted in Craft Standards, Financial News, Government Policy and Regulation, Newspapers, Political News

Where else but Australia would the media work itself  into a frenzy over a ‘MYEFO’? Perhaps if you told the Brits it stood for My Youthful Exotic French Odyssey, they might bite. But Mid-Year Fiscal and Economic Outlook? Hold the front page. In Australia, journos scribble millions of words every year about data that has little or no bearing on the lives of most of us – like monthly forecasts […]