Sunday, October 28, 2012

Down to the Crossroads

Hundreds of young people in Australia enter communication degrees each year in anticipation of securing jobs in journalism that no longer exist. How must that make a journalism educator like Margaret Simons feel?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Contesting the 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.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Ordinary People?

“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 ugly, dear.”

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

News Judgement Fail

Global media:

Local media:

One principle in journalism is that the closer you are to a story, the less likely you are to see it. It's why wire services rotate people around the world. Journalists who work for Reuters, Bloomberg and AP have a frame of reference wider than the average local reporter.

In Canberra, press gallery members can stick around for years covering the same patch. It's no surprise, then, so many of them - like Peter Hartcher above - have such lousy news judgement.

In this case, a passionate and thrilling speech by a prime minister about sexism and the low-level tactics of a political opposition leader beyond cynicism attracted world attention. But our gallery are too clever to see that.

They instead took the bait fed to them by the spin doctors on the other side of politics, that there was some moral equivalence between the private text messages sent by the speaker (when he was still a member of the opposition BTW) and the overwhelming climate of personal denigration and misogyny created by the Opposition leader and the tabloid flying monkeys that cheer him on.

The public can see this, obviously the global media can see it. But a press gallery that spends more time getting "briefed" by spinners and reading each other's copy completely misses the story. Again.

All the more reason they have become an irrelevance, a bunch of scribbling note-takers and thumb-sucking drones with the attention spans of cordial-fuelled toddlers and the horizons of lab rats.

See The New Yorker: Julia Gillard's Misogyny Speech

Monday, October 8, 2012

Talking Back to the Wireless

A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, people would sit in their lounge-rooms listening to the news on the wireless. The rounded and reassuring tones of a voice-of-god announcer would interpret for eager audiences the messy events of the world in neat packages.

The yearning for that distant-yet-familiar authority figure/'expert' lives on today in the aging audience for shockjocks like Alan Jones. This is a market that appears to want strong opinions - preferably ones that reinforce their own fears and prejudices.