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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

media conventions « Previous | |Next »
January 18, 2010

I read somewhere that the ABC is planning to run a 24 hours news channel, bringing it into competition with Sky News. Fair enough, as it is where things are going, as the newsstand model of newspapers no longer meets consumers’ needs. But this is more the flow of ordinary news to the public than watchdog journalism.

Radio Nationals' Breakfast needs to do more than just accept that the broadsheet newspapers set the stories for the day, and then just follow their interpretation with little critical comment of its own. This is a convention of “good” journalism done on autopilot that wears the heroic mantle of truth-telling:


What is needed is not only a redefinition of journalism, but also of what it means to be a journalist in the world of Web 2.0, a fragmenting public, audience loyalty to news sites is minimal, many viewers have abandoned the news for entertainment, and the diminished public for journalism is becoming more partisan.

Most of the orthodox newspaper reporting by the Canberra Press Gallery is recycling the media releases by politicians and publicity/media companies. What is different from this journalism in the commercial media is the shift to partisan commentary---eg. the Murdoch Press--- and this is likely to shift further in that direction.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:22 AM | | Comments (7)

Andrew Elder has deconstructed a Michelle Grattan article on Tony Abbott with precision and acumen.
See "Michelle Grattan by Default".

Further down he has performed similar surgery on Annabel Crabb, see "Sketchy politics".

Good stuff.

Andrew Elder's Recycling post on Michelle Grattan writing about Tony Abbott is good. Grattan gets political nuance in the Canberra beltway at the expense of critical thinking about policy issues. To her credit she doesn't rehash press releases as "media content".

Her kind of straight reportage is a variant on the media practice of the Canberra Press Gallery--reportage of what happens inside a world of mirrors whilst protecting their political sources. Playing the game.

Elder is also dead right about Abbott:

Abbott's case is that Howard's loss in 2007 was a mistake, that voters really want more Howard not less and that the result of '07 will be reversed like a clerical error and dissipate like a bad dream.

His judgement that Tony Abbott is John Howard without the flexibility is spot on.

Annabel Crabb is very popular with the media political crowd in the Canberra beltway. They have a lot of respect for her craft as a political sketch writer, for continuing the tradition of Matt Price and for providing something different from the orthodox political reporting.

I personally find her published writing a bit superficial, but then a lot of the circus of parliamentary politics is about surface appearances--eg., the daily theatre of question time. On the other hand, political lampooning based on an individual's impression of political events, is one way to tackle the lunacy of parliamentary politics----to deflate the pomposity and self-importance of some of the politicians.

As she says in poking fun at politicians and concentrating on their quirks of personality, the sketch writer reinterprets politics as low comedy. Her comments on Twitter have far more cut and bite than the published sketches.

In his post on Crabb Andrew Elder prefers the style of a Mungo MacCallum or an Alan Ramsey as an alternative to reportage of conventional political writing. Why not both alternatives?

Have you noticed that journo's at The Australian don't link to others in their articles? It must be News Ltd policy not to link.

I agree with Gary re Crabb. This sort of of side column writing has always been useful as a contrast to leaven the heavier stuff, but these days, the likes of Crabbe and Deveny are not just salt on the chips, but the main course.
Of the two, I'd prefer Deveney, like Emma Tom and Helen Razor, who actually underplay their sharp wits.
Crabb used to have that trait, but her stuff has become forced, overtly political, black propaganda-ish in the true Murdoch tradition in which she was schooled.

News Ltd owns the subscription channel Sky News, and they will not like the ABCs plan for a 24-hour news service this year. They would see it as ''a taxpayer-funded declaration of war on commercial media outlets in Australia''.

Nope, News Ltd won't like this challenge to their media dominance by the ABC; or to the way that they set the agenda of more economic growth, greater exploitation of natural resources, lighter regulation (to reduce cost increases that undermine the economy) and more competition (excepting the media of course).