We’ve become a little too much in awe of the technology and not protective enough of fundamental journalistic values, according to Kerry OBrien.
OBrien, Australia’s leading political interviewer, presents the 730 Report on Australian Broadcasting Corporation Television
He was speaking to Queensland University of Technology students, after being presented with an honorary Doctorate.
Trying to bring any kind of journalistic depth to an innately superficial medium such as television, had always been a struggle, he said. “…the advent of 24-hour television, the obsession with personality-driven journalism, the endless hunt for breathless melodrama by reporters dreaming of their first or next award, has meant that much of today’s television news is more superficial than ever.”
During the invasion of Iraq, “…even the best in the business seemed like actors on a stage, rather than journalists”. “It felt disturbingly like war as entertainment. For the networks, and probably at least some of the journalists, it was technology delivering ratings. For the military it was about controlling the media while prosecuting a controversial war.”
Dr OBrien said the jury was still out, as to whether the depth and quality of content would be maintained, let alone enhanced, by the new technology. “Never … forget that technology is supposed to exist to serve humanity; to enhance lives and community, not to help some at the expense of others.” he said.
Transcript of Speech
Further Reading: The Hollywoodisation of war: The media handling of the Iraq war