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Good luck citizens, we’re on our own


Australia’s rush to embrace sweeping powers to access the digital footprints of its citizenry has raised the existential age-old question: What is a journalist?

The development of the government’s data retention bill and its implications were woefully under-reported by those most obviously fitting the description until we got to the pointy end of the law-making.

One honourable exception to prove the rule was Bernard Keane at Crikey who has been writing extensively on the issue for months, if not years. For the rest, it wasn’t until the 11th hour that journalists started showing some concern and then, predictably, it was how the new laws would impact them rather than the rest of us which caught their attention. 

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I am, you are, we are Australian


This time last year my Christmas wish was for a little more compassion in our treatment of refugees. That clearly didn’t happen. This year I was just hoping for a break from all the anger, outrage and misery that’s marked 2014. Instead the final weeks of a brutal year have brought yet more tragedy and sorrow.  Continue reading

Late for dinner and picking over the carcass


Australia’s March in March attracted plenty of interest on social media and somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 – depending on who you read – people in the streets. Not for the first time our professional journalists were late to the story and when they did turn up they brought little of value to the party.  Continue reading

Shared rite of reporting passage – dealing with the nutjobs


Once upon a time the general public was largely shielded from the wilder shores of the nuttiness which affects each of us in its own degree.

Those who frolic in the deeper end have always been well known to anyone blessed with an opportunity to come into regular contact with the public.

Journalists, politicians and cab drivers, for example, will all have their own nutjob stories.

Sometimes the journalists, politicians and cab drivers are nutjobs too. I’m making no particular point here, except that in the past most of society’s nutjobs have had to struggle for attention.

Once upon a time the wronged and the passionate, having exhausted all other avenues of redress, or sometimes sooner, would turn to their local newspaper. Continue reading

Who broke the news and can we fix it?


The bell is tolling for traditional journalism. The behemoths of yesteryear are trying to revitalise their business model but nothing seems to be working. Continue reading

Fair comment and its consequences


Comments have been all the rage lately – whether it’s the lack of them on Andrew Bolt’s blog, or the thousands that have been prompted by Australia’s asylum seeker debate. And then there’s Piers Morgan, who tried and failed to turn a rude remark into a publicity opportunity. Continue reading

What’s the matter, Higgs Boson too hard?


Forget traditional journalism, for the biggest science story since the Moon landing we turned to Twitter. Continue reading

Does journalism die, not with a Thunderclap but a Tweet?


Twitter can be regarded as an update of the old ticker feed but it’s also a potent symbol of what’s shaking the foundations of traditional journalism. Continue reading

Ballad of the #HuntforHajnal


Introducing @ebonycavallero as Clancy of the Overflow and @PaulTully as the Man from Snowy River. Featuring @alisonsandy @brookebaskin @MScanlan7 @SydWalker @sophie_walsh9 @funkii @fearlesslyfrank @SalPiracha @glengyron as a Posse. And starring @Can_do_Campbell as a Dark Stranger. Continue reading

Good luck to our new media mogul


Public opinion can be influenced, but it can’t be controlled. Continue reading

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