Not looking the other way : investigative journalism Reply

Kate McClymont

Kate McClymont

The nation’s wealthy and powerful often used threats to put the frighteners on journalists, according to investigative reporter, Kate McClymont.

McClymont was the keynote speaker at the Press Freedom Dinner in Sydney. She spoke of attempts to intimidate her as she reported on political corruption and crime. More…

Quality journalism and the demise of newspapers. Reply

We took newspapers for granted. They were cheap, mostly informative, often entertaining and available just about everywhere. But they could also be an addictive cultural ritual which gauged the complexity and intellectual vigour of the city where they were based.

They were a mixed bag of delights. More…

eJournalist : Volume Eleven, Number Two Reply

This edition of eJournalist offers an eclectic collection of contemporary journalism research.

eJournalist is a free, open access refereed academic journal analysing journalism. It was created more than a decade ago, to allow a globalised interchange of ideas.

You are free to search the eJournalist  for sources which might aid your studies or research. Copyright for all material resides with the authors. We only ask that you properly attribute their work, through references and in your bibliographies, if you choose to use it.

Alan Knight More…

Recognising journalism and creative writing as research Reply

You have to argue that your work matters, according to Graeme Turner.

Professor Turner chaired the 2009 review of Excellence in Research Australia which allowed Non Traditional Research Outcomes (eg journalism and creative writing) to be recognised by the Australian Research Council.

Traditional research had “off the rack” methods of research assessment, he said.

Developing disciplines needed to indicate that professional practices showed a research component.

More…

Investigative Journalism : the long Asbestos trail 3

It’s a bit depressing when your key contacts keep dying on you, according to ABC journalist Matt Peacock. Peacock, who began investigating James Hardie Asbestos in 1977, reckons that up to 60,000 Australians could eventually die from disease caused by asbestos industrial products. In a forty year career in journalism, Peacock worked on  investigative programs including This Day Tonight, Four Corners and the 730 Report. Last year, he released the book on his investigations into asbestos, Killer Company.

Peacock’s interest in asbestos was sparked by an inquiry about an innocent interview Peacock had broadcast, made by a PR consultant representing the asbestos company. “I had to play it back to find it [the reference] ,” Peacock said. There was a brief claim  by the interviewee who said, “It’s not all bad. Some companies have really cleaned up their act, notably the asbestos company, James Hardie”. Peacock asked himself why a PR company was monitoring “a fairly obscure Radio National program and wanting to use this quote”? “It was just a bit too strange. What were they trying to cover up?” More…

Investigative Journalism: Using Animation

Robert Rosenthal, Center for Investigative Reporting

Animation can be used by investigative journalists to reach a wider public, according to Robert Rosenthal. Rosenthal, the Executive Director of the Centre for Investigative Reporting (CIR), was speaking in Sydney at the Back to the Source Conference, organised by the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism. For a media innovator, Rosenthal has spent most of his working life as a newspaper journalist; at the Boston Globe, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the San Francisco Chronicle.  One of his first jobs in journalism was at the New York Times, where he worked in a locked backroom, photo copying the Pentagon Papers.

“At the core of everything is the story,” Rosenthal said. More…

Investigative Journalism : How Four Corners researches stories 2

Four Corners celebrates 50 years of investigative journalism

What makes investigative journalism different from ordinary reporting? Daily reporters are deluged with transitory events which often obscure the larger issues; the gaffes, media releases, staged photo opportunities and the hot house intrigues of parliamentary politics. Pressed by deadlines, and hemmed by the size of the news hole, daily journalists often have  to ignore the stories behind the news.  Investigative journalists can go much further. If journalism is non fiction writing (news) embedded with identifiable sources, Investigative Journalism can involve finding important news someone does not want the public to know. More…

Who is Alan Knight? : an opinion on News Corporation 1

Error by omission is a frequent fault of journalists trying to balance concise writing against providing all the relevant information.

I am guilty of it myself sometimes.

This month, I was contacted by the Age and asked to write an opinion piece about the contest to secure the contract for the Australia Television Network, Australia’s voice to Asia. I wrote a piece which described the Network, currently managed by the ABC, as “pedestrian” . More…

Sydney Journalists Club remembered 17

Sydney once boasted of one of the world’s wildest and wooliest Journalists clubs. Unique in Australia, the club owned its own city building which served as a centre for strikes, union meetings, offered literary awards, held a star studded guest speaker series and a library founded by one Australia’s leading poets and featured, lets admit it, a good deal of drinking.
Memorabilia from the Sydney club, which closed in 1997, is informing a major research project on Australian contemporary journalism history by the University of Technology Sydney.

Club members included a who’s who of Australian journalism, as well as movie stars like the iconic Chips Rafferty and Academy Award winner, Peter Finch and Prime Ministers, Robert Menzies and John Curtin.

More…

Journalism’s futures 1

A streetside newsagency in Beijing.

If there is a crisis in journalism, its centred in American newspaper groups whose economic models have been undermined by the net.

We know that most Americans are too ideologically blinkered to even consider taxpayer supported alternatives like the BBC or the ABC. If anyone doesn’t consider obvious answers for the future, it would seem to be some of our American colleagues.

We should learn from American media. But the action is increasingly elsewhere, as information and cultural dominance begins to shift from the US towards the new economic superpowers. While we should be concerned about journalists’ jobs in older media empires, this is the future we need to address.

I reckon we should be looking to Asia, where journalism is booming.
Sure some Americans have been doing interesting things on the net. But there are now more than 300 million Chinese net users, plugged into a vibrant blogosphere which often critiques and interacts with government policies.

In Australia, we see the ABC’s News 24 as an important initiative, and considered locally, it is. But when I was in Beijing last year, I took my student interns to the CCTV master control, which was simultaneously broadcasting 40 high definition channels. China has just launched a new, global English-language television channel,operated by the Xinhua News Network. To quote my old pal, Hong Kong University Professor, Ying Chan:

“At a time when western media is retreating … China could be flooding the world with its perspective, giving the country a boost of soft power” said Chan. “With a lot of funding and improvements in its reporting, this new expansion should not be written off.”

The Australian Centre for Independent Journalism did a study this year on the explosion of international television news services. When it comes to such news, most people in the west think of CNN,or perhaps the BBC or al Jazeera. We identified more than fifteen major services, including innovative new news channels from France, Russia and even Iran. We found more than fifty minor services operating in the Indian sub-continent alone.

Perhaps our focus on American concerns about journalism may be another post colonial hangover, reflecting the ways we still get our news and agendas from the traditional sources, which privilege American newspapers justifiably worried about their futures.

So why are Australians holding a national conference about the future of journalism which takes the lead from American experts?

The Walkley Media Conference: “What’s the story? Powerful narrative and other tales from the future”, runs from August 9-12 in Sydney.