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Crikey:a dissenting voice? « Previous | |Next »
February 16, 2006

I subscribe to Crikey Daily that arrives in my mailbox around midday. I rarely read the Crikey website as it is an archive of the Daily, rather than anything new. by way of extended pieces.

I've been noticing the recent changes under the new Beecher management. It has gone upmarket whilst continuing to make waves in political, media and biusiness circles. It is now more a commentary on the op.ed. commentary in the media internet, and so it provides a useful service for those who are too busy at work to read six newspapers or surf the internet.

The result says Hugo Kelly, who has been recently axed because he's been "putting a few noses out of joint", is that we have:

"...a more cautious Crikey. Subscribers have to wade through up to 40 items of commentary to find a couple of nuggets - flashes of the old Crikey humour, bravado, and actual news. The daily email has a sober, over-edited feel about it. And that's because it's run by people who aren't quite switched on to what made Crikey a success in the first place. "

Kelly, writing in The Australian, adds that this has seen subscriptions and advertisments increase.

So Crikey is a sucessful model of internet media. But where is the new content? The different voice to that of the Canberra Press Gallery? The Crikey Daily says little to me because I've already the op. eds. over morning coffee.

In the Latham Diaries Mark Latham says that one of his justifications for publishing the Diaries was the limits of the Australian media. He says:

For many years I've been a strong critic of the Australian media, objecting to the shallowness and inaccuracy of their reporting. In many cases, it is not actually reporting but a series of personal agendas and prejudices dressed up as jpurnalism. The Diaries offer a couintervailing view of events and a critique of the media's role in public life. I believe that dissenting voices are important in a democracy, and the Diaries are a chance for mine to be heard.

Is the new Crikey Daily a dissenting voice in Australian liberal democracy?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:03 AM | | Comments (2)


I fear Crikey has become too much like the other media, and I let my (albeit free) subscription lapse shortly after seeing the product of the new management.

Sure, Crikey contains juicy snippets of gossip and notices the little things that signal larger changes - who's having lunch with who, etcetera.

But its political agenda, which was anything but centrist before, now has a stronger leaning than ever to the same side of politics propped up by the big papers.

It has lost its cheeky troublemaking streak, which means that, although Crikey is clearly showing much more maturity now, it is pandering to a larger audience for greater revenues - and it seems to be working.
The same principle applies to easy listening radio stations - nobody really listens to them, but they're successful because proprietors feel safe to play them in supermarkets and lifts.

I support independent media and online media especially - but it must constantly strive to be both different and relevant.

Luckily for Stephen Mayne, this is no longer his problem.

It's a pretty limited mediascape isn't it. Crikey did promise to be differentm, but it is being dragged back into a roudn up of what already is, rather than continuing to be break new ground in terms of content.

We are poorly served in Australia.

Though the so-called traditional media---radio, free-to-air television, magazines and newspapers---have struggled to increase their usage, both print and TV have remained resilient in the face of a plethora of demands from consumers for far wider choice of how and when they want their media content delivered.

We do have new media - in its different forms such as internet, digital TV, pay TV, gaming and the mp3 player - but this is not yet a source of significant new and independent content. That's Crikey isn't it.

It's new content as well new modes of delivery that we consumers want--something different from cable news services (Fox, BBC, CNN and Sky) or the subscription based internet versions of publications such as The New York Times and the Financial Times.

I watch the local Sky News when I'm in Canberra through Foxtel for its limited live coverage beyond federal politics. At core Sky News is pretty much a repackaging of Nine and Seven's news stories with a bit of comment.