On Bullshit

Posted Leave a commentPosted in ABC, Opinion, Public Interest

              Bullshit. It’s so pervasive right now in our politics and media that we are losing respect for the truth. Disturbed by this barrage of bluff, a Princeton professor of philosophy Harry Frankfurt wrote a book about the phenomenon. In ‘On Bullshit’, Frankfurt makes a neat distinction between lies (the deliberate and conscious utterances of untruths) with the humbug of pseudo-experts, dilettantes and […]

God is Dead

Posted 6 CommentsPosted in Craft Standards, Opinion, Political News, Public Interest, Social Media, Staffing and Resources

“Did the media get the election wrong?” asks Fairfax journalist Matthew Knott in an attempt to turn the spotlight fleetingly on he and his colleagues in the press gallery. “The consensus, speaking to colleagues in the Canberra press gallery, is a reluctant yes. Some insist they got it spot on. But many admit they expected a more decisive Coalition victory than occurred. And they concede this influenced the way the media […]

Do Keep Up

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in Editorial Judgement, Financial News, Political News, Public Interest

For millions of Australians forced to save for their own retirement, ‘finance’ is Alan Kohler on the news every night telling them what happened to the Baltic Dry index that day or explaining why Stock A’s share price went up when their earnings went down. The truth is that what happened in the global and domestic financial markets on any one day is hardly relevant to the vast majority […]

Body of the Host

Posted 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 […]

Blurred Lines

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Craft Standards, Digital Media, Ethical Standards, Media Business, Social Media

There are some astute observations in this brief video on the increasingly blurry distinction between “old” and “new” media. I especially like the line from one journalist about it all coming down to trust.  Ultimately, trust is the currency of good journalism. And without trust, you really are reduced to being a ‘content producer for an advertising platform’ (to quote former Fairfax CEO Fred Hilmer’s notoriously reductionist definition of […]

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 […]

Duty to Whom?

Posted 8 CommentsPosted in Ethical Standards, Media Business, New Media, Newspapers, Public Interest, Sales and Circulation

The debate about rolling back reforms aimed at ensuring financial advisers put clients first raises questions of how the notion of fiduciary responsibility applies to other professionals, like journalists for instance. Do journalists have a duty of care to their readers and viewers? Or is their first responsibility to their employers? Of course, these responsibilities are not mutually exclusive. But anyone who pays attention to some of the more […]

Storm Damage

Posted 8 CommentsPosted in Ethical Standards, Financial journalism, Financial News, Government Policy and Regulation, Newspapers, Public Interest

Who does the financial media represent? You, the investing public. Right? Wrong. The financial media tends to serve the interests of the banks, brokers and intermediaries whose job it is to stick you into investments where neither the risks nor extortionate fees are ever explained in plain language.

The Civic Vacuum

Posted 6 CommentsPosted in Business Models, Entertainment News, News Corp, Public Interest, Sales and Circulation

A major theme accompanying the destruction of the mainstream media’s business model is what happens to our democracy when we lose public accountability journalism. We’re finding out. Whether liberal or traditionally conservative, no champion of a vigorous democracy can be happy with the emaciation of the Fourth Estate to the point where it is reduced to being a passive cheerleader or booster for the well-heeled, the powerful and the […]

Happy News

Posted 11 CommentsPosted in Broadcasting, Experimental Formats, Media Business

A rich vein of work in journalism studies is that existing norms and narrative functions of the craft are seen as obsolete by a new generation of media-savvy digital natives. This funky crew wants performers who mash up satire, news & popular culture and break the fourth wall between medium and audience. It’s an exciting idea and one that draws as its inspiration successful US news/comedy/satire  hybrids like Jon Stewart’s […]