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.

The Other Side of the Rope

Posted 18 CommentsPosted in Craft Standards, New Media, Profession

Journalists traditionally pride themselves on being outsiders. They’re not corporate types, they’re not joiners, they’re square pegs. So why are they suddenly dictating the terms in which everyone else can express their displeasure with the government? The most divisive, contentious federal budget in decades – one that even former Liberal Party leader John Hewson says “screams inequity” – has drawn students into the streets in numbers not seen since […]

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 […]

The Man Behind the Curtain

Posted 9 CommentsPosted in ABC, Blogging, Newspapers, Political News, Social Media

Being a successful media pundit depends on a couple of core skills – one is a capacity for sounding absolutely confident about your predictions; the other is your ability to seamlessly and plausibly change gear after the fact without denting your public credibility at all. Traditionally, pundits have gotten away with these 180-degree reversals because of the mainstream media’s monopoly on analysis. Being the sole mediator allowed established outlets […]

Contesting the News

Posted 24 CommentsPosted in Editorial Judgement, Gender, New Media, Newspapers, Opinion, Political News

The fierce debate over perceptions of Julia Gillard’s parliamentary speech on sexism – the press gallery take versus the public one – has touched a nerve among journalists for a simple reason. It has created doubt about the craft value journalists hold most dear – their nose for news.

Ordinary People?

Posted 33 CommentsPosted in Blogging, Editorial Judgement, Gender, New Media, Newspapers, Opinion, Political News, Social Media

  “Grandma, tell me about the Great Cyber War. What was it like?”   “Well, dear, on top of hill were the well-armed, but rapidly depleting mainstream media corps defending their turf to the death, or at least until deadline. “Assaulting the outskirts of parliament were we brave bloggers, dressed only in our pyjamas, fuelled on skim lattes and clicking on petitions until our index fingers blistered. It was […]


Posted 9 CommentsPosted in Blogging, Craft Standards, Entrepreneurial Journalism, Technology

A US court’s $2.5 million ruling against a blogger for defaming a businessman has sparked a flurry of new attempts to define journalism in relation to blogging. My view on what constitutes journalism is similar to what someone once said about por**graphy – I know it when I see it. While this won’t help the judges, you can be certain that earnest attempts to define a journalist in legal […]

Nowhere Man

Posted 14 CommentsPosted in ABC, Editorial Judgement, Political News

Chris Uhlmann wants you to know he’s a non-partisan, straight down the middle journalist. One of the stars of the reinvented post-Kerry O’Brien current affairs show “7.30” (apparently ‘Report’ is superfluous now), Uhlmann represents the new, bland, board-approved face of the public broadcaster’s current affairs coverage – as in whatever you do, don’t upset the Tories because they might be back in government one day and cut our funding. […]