Fairfax goes tabloid 1

Australia’s leading quality press, Fairfax newspapers,  have taken a big step towards becoming a virtual news group.

Fairfax Media, which published  the Age, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian Financial Review, today announced the closure of its major printing presses and dumping the traditional broadsheet format, while foreshadowing more than 1900 redundancies.

The impact of today’s announcement reflects the narrow ownership of Australia’s news media. Fairfax may be centred in only Sydney and Melbourne, but it represents a liberal alternative to the dominant Murdoch press and the government funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation. More…

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Regulating Press Freedoms : Oakes 2

Governments should keep their mitts off the media, according to Laurie Oakes.  Oakes, arguably Australian’s most eminent political correspondent, told the annual Press Freedom Day dinner in Sydney the Australian government had not produced compelling reasons for legislating new media controls.

Laurie Oakes

Laurie Oakes

He was commenting on the recommendations of two recent media inquiries: the Finkelstein press inquiry and the Convergence Review Committee which examined how new media might be regulated. More…

The Social Media Counter-Revolution Reply

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Its wrong to think of free speech as an absolute which underpins democracy. Its really a contested event which ebbs and flows, even in stable western countries.

For the last decade, the internet and in particular social media, were seen as advancing free speech and in doing so, threatening authoritarian regimes. But Evgeny Morozov  argues that authoritarian governments have quickly adapted to dash what he calls naive democratic hopes. More…

The limits of citizen journalism 3

Why were new media able to topple governments in Egypt and Tunisia, but sparked new waves of oppression in Syria and Iran?

During the Arab Spring last year, citizen journalists, using Facebook, Twitter, email and iPhones, undermined state censorship and contributed to the success of massive pro-democracy demonstrations in Cairo and Tunis. Yet in Iran, many of the activists were arrested while in  the case of the Iranian ally, Syria, the government simply attacked with tanks.

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Citizen journalism and social change 4

Citizen Journalism can flourish where mainstream journalists have been corrupted or censored by governments and corporations.

Writing in his new book, Revolution 2.0, Wael Ghonim said that social media armed pro democracy activists against the State’s  “weapons of mass oppression”. During last year’s Arab Spring demonstrations in Egypt, the internet was used to keep activist organisers at arms length from security forces.

Ghonim, an Egyptian born  Google executive, operated out of the relative safety of Dubai, while he ran his virtual campaign against the Egyptian government. When he did come home to Egypt, prior to the major demonstrations on January 25, 2011, he was promptly disappeared by security forces who isolated him and subjected him to psychological tortures. Google meanwhile campaigned for his release. More…

“One sided” coverage of media inquiry : Press Council Chair 2

The press coverage of the inquiry into Australian media exemplified what was wrong, Julian Disney, the Chair of the Australian Press Council  said tonight. “It was very one sided,” he said.

Professor Disney was speaking at a forum organised in Sydney by the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism to discuss the Finkelstein report. The inquiry recommended a government funded institution to require press accountability.

Julian Disney

Julian Disney

There was insufficient information in the press about what was actually in the report, Disney said. “You had to go online to get a half way decent description of what was in it”.  There was “no significant attempt” by most news papers to get the views of ordinary people.

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Distinctly different online journalism : the Global Mail 1

Photo by Millie So

Monica Attard

Australians are not so much poorly served, as minimally served, by their mainstream media, according to multi-award winning journalist, Monica Attard.

Ms Attard is a former foreign correspondent who reported on the disintegration of the Soviet Union, returning to Australia to present the national radio current affairs program, PM. She left the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) to found a new, independent quality journal, the Global Mail. She was speaking in Sydney at the launch of the UTS Graduate School of Journalism.

There was a political divide in Australian newspapers between the dominant group, News Limited and the Sydney and Melbourne based Fairfax Media, Attard said.

 And then there’s the ABC, my spiritual home, beating the middle path, but with its own set of  problems…not enough cash ever to mount new programs and experiment with different forms of journalism. More…

Making Australian media acountable : the Finkelstein report 6

Australian media are not as accountable as a democracy might expect.

That’s the view of the Australian government’s Independent Inquiry into Media and Media Regulations, conducted by a retired judge, Ray Finkelstein.

Australia has a very narrow mainstream media ownership by democratic standards. One foreign media group dominates the newspapers, while the taxpayer funded ABC generates the bulk of electronic media news and current affairs.

Finkelstein as seen by the Sydney Morning Herald

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Journalism research by journalists 1

How do you reveal the best journalism practices to the very best journalism students?

After establishing a coursework journalism Masters program two decades ago, UTS this year launches Australia’s first Graduate School of Journalism. The School aims to become Australia’s premiere journalism education provider by underpinning its successful post graduate journalism teaching with research on journalism by journalists. More…

Journalists and social media 1

How do you find out how journalists are using social media? One way is to post a question on a social media site such as the Online Journalism group on Linkedin, which provides connections for professionals. I admitted that I was asking an open ended question to expose myself to new ideas so that  I could hopefully write more informed articles.

Some respondents said they simply used social media to publicise their stories.

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