Thursday, October 16, 2014

Why The Australian is un-Australian: all ego and little heart

The headline on The Australian media editor Sharri Markson's 'undercover' beat-up about journalism schools
that sparked off the latest attacks on journalism educators.

By Professor Mark Pearson

OPINION: FIRST they came for journalism educator Julie Posetti, for simply tweeting some critical comments made publicly by a former staffer of The Australian. [That time I did write a commentary in Crikey about why editors shouldn’t sue for defamation.]

Then they came for Matthew Ricketson, Greg Jericho, Margaret Simons, Wendy Bacon, Martin Hirst and Jenna Price and to my shame I said very little.

Well, this week they came for a good friend and colleague, Penny O’Donnell from the University of Sydney, and I refuse to remain silent. Enough is enough.

She is one of the most committed and respected journalism educators I know – in both research and teaching – and has shown the greatest courage in her personal life in recent years that has elevated my esteem for her even higher.

Sadly, the reputation of The Australian newspaper has followed the opposite trajectory. It is celebrating its 50th birthday this year, and my view is that the first 40 were far better than the last ten.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

France's young rugby guns who could herald Les Bleus' revival

Racing Métro winger Teddy Thomas ... one of the young stars lighting up French rugby.
Photo: Racing Métro
TIME for a break from media and politics with a treatise on Gallic rugby, especially after a diet of gloom and doom results and stories since France almost won the World Cup in New Zealand in 2011.

As François Valentin writes, if the Top 14 competition is the El Dorado for many international superstars, the recent call-ups of Teddy Thomas, Charles Ollivon and Xavier Chiocci act as a reminder that France still has some very good local talent.

Here is a young, but competitive XV with very few caps (if any) that could form the backbone of Les Bleus in the next few years.

15 Geoffrey Palis (23 years old, Castres)
In his first season in the Top 14, and despite the presence of Brice Dulin (who is only a year older), Palis played 16 matches for a total of 103 points. Yes, Palis also kicks at goal, and is a pretty good shot too. That golden boot and his capacity to find space earned him a spot in the French 30-man list during the last Six Nations, although he didn't make his debut. Close behind, Darly Domvo hogged the full-back position for Bordeaux, starting 19 times last year and Hugo Bonneval from Stade Français is another huge talent, although he is currently recovering from a torn ACL.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Crying wolf, crying terror and fanning the media flames of disquiet

Outraged family of innocent man splashed as a 'terrorist teenager' in Fairfax media threatens to sue.
The reckless and inflammatory reporting on terrorism and national security in Australia makes ABC columnist Jonathan Green wonder whether we'd be better off without a media apparatus that can sink so low.

OPINION: HAVE we reached a tipping point where, with its mix of anxious desperation and crazy-brave self-confidence, our mainstream corporate media does us more harm than good?

Everywhere it's under pressure from declining markets and battling business models, a situation that is as pressing for newspapers as it is becoming true for TV.

The response of news producers has been trapped somewhere between the sentimental and the self-serving. How will journalism survive, ask the journalists. Maybe we ought to wonder both whether it matters and whether something better might not evolve to replace it.

It might be that journalism is just a writing style.

I should declare here that I've spent my working life as a journalist, from 1979 to now. But now, reading the newspapers and watching the news, I can't help but wonder if this is a craft that is not only losing its centre of corporate gravity and support, but also some fundamental sense of its mission and responsibility.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Politics, human rights and asylum seekers media conference lined up for NZ

An update on Ces Oreña-Drilon and the Maguindanao massacre investigation. Her justice corruption allegations have led to a National Bureau of Investigation inquiry. Video: GMA News

PACIFIC JOURNALISM REVIEW, the only politics and media research journal in New Zealand and the Pacific, will host an international conference late next month marking its 20th anniversary of publication.

With the overall theme of “Political journalism in the Asia-Pacific”, many editors, investigative journalists, documentary makers, human rights advocates, media freedom activists and journalism educators and researchers will be converging on Auckland for the event at AUT University on November 27-29.

One of the keynote speakers at PJR2014, television journalist Ces Oreña-Drilon of ABS-CBN and an anchor for the celebrated current affairs programme Bandila, will give an address on the killings of journalists with impunity in the Philippines.

She has been investigating the 2009 massacre of 34 journalists by private militia while they were accompanying a candidate’s entourage to register for elections and she has a grim story to tell in her “Losing the landmark Maguindanao massacre case” presentation about the legal and political fallout from the tragedy.

She is attending the conference with the support of the Asia New Zealand Foundation.

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