Monday, 30 January 2012

Old Oz Media - and what passes for news

Now I don't know what the outcome of this debate was in India and I am not making an affirmative case in regard to 'media people' in Australia.  However, Australian journalism is becoming increasingly problematic. 

I offer, as one major piece of evidence, the brouhaha of the window rappers at The Lobby last week.  Read about the background to this reporting here and to date there appears to be no discussion among the mainstream media people themselves that they were part of the problem.  If  you follow the links in the Further Reading section of the post, there is a clear cleavage between reports appearing in the mainstream/old media and reports in the so-called new media.

Last week's events seem to have made me more sensitive than usual to reporting in our 'news' papers.  Now, I don't want to appear to be picking on The Aged unduly - however, this is the paper I usually read.  I read it on-line with an occasional purchase for cryptic crossword and sudoku purposes.  Occasionally, I might dip into The Australian but generally I feel yukky if I dip into the Murdoch tabloids so I am not bothering to take investigations there.

To-day's The Age has a couple of stand-out no-news and what's-the-point-of-publishing-this candidates.
The first stand-out is:

Union leader's 

long history 

of activism

This story has the by-line of Dan Harrison.  I have no idea of Dan's journalistic background but if he's applying for a job at Woman's Day or some celebrity oriented magazine, Dan might tender this piece of breathless writing in support of his application.

Dan gives the impression Activism=Bad, Mainstream sensibilities=Good.  

We have someone who is concerned with and earns her living in the cause of workplace equity and justice.  Her concern extends beyond this to making the case for equity and justice in other areas of society.  Clearly, from the tone of voice of this piece of journalism, such activities are suspicious, not laudable and must be used in any case that is condemnatory of Kim Sattler.  Could this be the beginning of or an urging to terrorism?  

Judges to dress 

in red for 

Sydney mass

This from The Age does not carry a journalist's by-line.  The story has been sourced from AAP.  The inclusion of this story is clearly included because of an editorial decision to pick this one up off the wire. Certainly, this is not a newsworthy item.  This is an event that takes place every year at the beginning of the Law Year. And every year regalia is worn.  The headline can only be viewed as some sub-editor's idea of a joke.  But then isn't The Age outsourcing sub-editing to AAP?

'Old' media, particularly of the broadsheet variety, are casting around to maintain their place, their presence and their subscriptions in an increasingly on-line world.  To continue to make money, broadsheets and tabloids alike - 'old' media - have still to find a replicable formula.  First and foremost, one would imagine, is the imperative to provide 'news' and other material of interest to a particular readership or demographic.  How else can advertising be sold and money made?

Are readers of The Age really interested in Kim Sattler's extra-curricular activities and activism?  How many readers of  The Age in Melbourne are bursting to know that judges are dressing up and going to mass in Sydney?  

Actually, this piece of journalism gives every appearance of being a direct lift of a Catholic Media Office press release.  How do I know this?  Because, historically, the Catholics go to a Catholic mass and others go to a protestant service.  In Sydney, the protestant venue would usually be at St Andrew's Anglican Cathedral.  So, not only is this no news, it also demonstrates religious bias.  Why did it make the grade at all?  To curry favour with a legal readership?  I figure that this would be a very tiny demographic among the readership of The Age.  And does the Melbourne legal fraternity give a fig for what the Sydney legal establishment is up to?

Dear Networkers, if you have similar material on which to make comment, please be in touch with Miss Eagle at misseaglesnetwork(at)gmail(dot)com.

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