Freedom for Whom?

Posted 9 CommentsPosted in Government Policy and Regulation, News Corp, Profession

Freedom! Is there any word more abused than this in the debate about politics and media standards? From Rupert Murdoch, his editors and commentators and the ubiquitous IPA, the rhetoric of ‘freedom’ is now ritually used to forestall any examination of media power. This American style hand-on-heart eulogising of freedom reached a crescendo recently with the failure of the Gillard government’s media reforms. Having gone as far as sending […]


Posted 30 CommentsPosted in Craft Standards, Ethical Standards, Government Policy and Regulation, News Corp, Newspapers

Journalists, even the good ones, are perhaps one of the last groups one should seek the counsel of in the debate over media regulation. It’s like asking a policeman about who should investigate wrongdoing in the law enforcement community. Indeed, ever since the release in February this year of the independent media inquiry, commissioned by the federal government and headed by former Federal Court Justice Ray Finkelstein, journalists have […]

Citizen Kane to Citizen Mayne

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Blogging, Business Models, Entrepreneurial Journalism, New Media, Newspapers

Ten years ago, online publisher Crikey under then owner Stephen Mayne fought a fruitless battle with the Howard government to win access to the budget lock-up in Canberra. Despite producing what  was unequivocally journalism, Mayne’s operation was deemed not to be a media outlet. It’s a snub our newly digitising established media companies might want to consider.

Burying the Lead

Posted 7 CommentsPosted in Business Models, Government Policy and Regulation, Media Business, New Media, Newspapers, Technology

Much of the discussion around the future of mainstream media journalism is about money. Who’s going to pay the journos’ salaries? What’s a viable business model? Will the revenue generated by the erection of paywalls be sufficient to make up for the loss of audiences? ABC Radio’s Saturday Extra took that angle recently, in an item entitled ‘Newspapers and the Media of the Future’. Norman Swan, standing in for […]

Why Journalists Fear Academics

Posted 58 CommentsPosted in Craft Standards, Ethical Standards, Government Policy and Regulation, News Corp, Newspapers, Opinion

What’s most likely to keep journalists awake at night? That they will be ‘scooped’? Please. In 2012 in the age of Twitter? Hardly. After all, they all copy and paste the same PR releases and transcripts. Nope, what really gnaws at journalists is the fear that they will be exposed as flakes, dilettantes, copycats and pretenders. In days gone by, this wasn’t a big risk. After all, academics for […]

Nowhere Man

Posted 22 CommentsPosted in Blogging, Craft Standards, Media Business, New Media, News Corp, Technology

One of the shorthand criticisms of the internet by the mainstream media is that it is almost wholly populated by paranoiacs, single-issue fanatics, stalkers and sundry geeks. Thank God, they say, for the reasoned professionals in the nation’s newsrooms. Given what the internet (and bad management) has done to the legacy media business, it’s understandable that some journalists are defensive about ventures outside the mainstream.

Freedom from the Press

Posted 13 CommentsPosted in Government Policy and Regulation, New Media, News Corp, Newspapers, Political News, Public Interest

“There is common ground among all those who think seriously about the role of the news media and about journalistic ethics that a free press plays an essential role in a democratic society, and no regulation should endanger that role”: Opening words of the 468-page report of the independent inquiry into the media by former Federal Court Judge Ray Finkelstein.   Labor Plan to Control the Media: Headline on Australian […]

Market Farces

Posted 16 CommentsPosted in ABC, Business Models, Government Policy and Regulation, Political News, Public Broadcasting, Public Interest

As with everything in Australian politics these days, debate over the federal government’s media inquiry has become just another coat-hanger on which ideologues of every stripe can drape their off-the-rack worldviews. It’s why we’re hearing market forces are the fix for dodgy journalism.

The Untouchables

Posted 11 CommentsPosted in Government Policy and Regulation, News Corp

They squibbed it. Given the chance to tackle News Ltd’s stifling  dominance of the metropolitan newspaper market in Australia, the federal government has left ownership issues out of the remit of its independent inquiry into the media. That was really the only reason for holding an inquiry in the first place. Instead, the inquiry – to be led by former Federal Court judge Ray Finkelstein – will focus on […]

If the Crap Fits…

Posted 25 CommentsPosted in Ethical Standards, News Corp, Public Interest

What recourse have the public when the nation’s major media company wilfully misrepresents a public policy reform? What safeguards are there against blatantly dishonest journalism that presents opinion as fact and a partisan agenda as straight news? Take a look at the two front covers above – from the nation’s two biggest selling newspapers and ask yourself, as the ABC’s Annabel Crabb has contended, whether this is merely “aggressive” […]