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November 30 2011


Now in the news: Second Iranian nuclear facility has exploded

The Australian :: An Iranian nuclear facility has been hit by a huge explosion, the second such blast in a month, prompting speculation that Tehran's military and atomic sites are under attack. Satellite imagery seen by The Times confirmed that a blast that rocked the city of Isfahan on Monday struck the uranium enrichment facility there, despite denials by Tehran.

Größere Kartenansicht

Continue to read Sheera Frenkel, www.theaustralian.com.au

Photos show Iran base decimated by blast AFP, 49 minutes ago, www.google.com

December 03 2010


A response to The Australian editorial on Twitter

So far I’ve been following the whole #twitdef saga from a distance. Whatever the rights and wrongs of that issue, this editorial by The Australian betrays a complete misunderstanding of Twitter.

It has a provocative headline, “Truth is Twitter’s First Casualty”, and goes on to rally against the social media service.

The Australian appears not to appreciate that Twitter is a platform. It is a way to publish and distribute content, just like printed newspapers, radio or TV.  The platform does not determine the content, people do.

I wonder if The Australian would run a headline like “Truth is Radio’s First Casualty”, or realise the absurdity of such a statement before publication.

The paper goes on to say:

The hothouse environment of Twitter has become a breeding ground for falsehoods that quickly become received wisdom with repeated telling. Twitter’s broken promise was that it would widen debate by connecting citizens on this vast continent in all their glorious diversity.

This is a sweeping generalisation.  Any media platform can become a breeding ground for falsehood, even ones we would describe as the mainstream media. Anyone remember how the mainstream media reported WMDs?

Twitter isn’t filtered in the way that journalists filter traditional news content. There is a greater emphasis on the individual to be media-literate, which means the people on the network are their own filters.

This creates the potential for a much broader debate than is possible on mainstream media controlled by a handful of editors.

It is far more messy, disorganised, and, at times, may be wrong too. But that is the one of the strengths of Twitter – it is open.

The tone of the piece is captured in this line:

If new media aspires to compete with traditional broadcasters and publishers, it must abide by the same civil codes.

In other words, follow our rules, do things our way, we know best.

I am not arguing that there is not a role for mainstream media. Rather, pointing out the futility of turning this into a them and us fight.

The Australian could do well to read Alan Rusbridger’s recent talk about Twitter and the idea of a mutualised future for journalism.

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June 21 2010


Mumbrella: ‘The Australian shows it’s easy for a paper to go overboard’

Down under, a fascinating media battle continues to play out: between News Corp’s Australian newspaper, the newspapers’ critics and the Victorian Office of Police Integrity (OPI).

In fact, via regular Crikey updates I’m truly hooked, but every time I come to summarise the plot for a UK audience I get put off by its numerous layers. However, I think it’s worth attempting, and directing you to more thorough pieces on Australian media sites.

I’ve previously written about the so-called ‘OzLeak’ case, which Margaret Simons has been steadily reporting for some months on politics site Crikey.

It involves a journalist’s source, an award-winning scoop about a police terror raid by the Australian, an inquiry by the Victorian Office of Police Integrity (OPI) and the attention of the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI). Eventually the Australian prevented publication of the OPI/ACLEI report on its scoop with a court order.

Since my last update, the situation has got even more tricky. The Australian has published more attacks on the OPI and Victoria Police’s chief commissioner Simon Overland. The Murdoch-owned Australian newspaper has also turned its attention to Simons’ journalistic activity, accusing her of receiving “inaccurate leaks” from Victoria Police and the OPI that discredit the Australian and its reporter Cameron Stewart; a charge she denies.

Fortunately for us observers, trying to make sense of all this, another independent Australian media site, Mumbrella, steps in to provide a little more commentary and summary:

“This appears to be a story that is of more interest to journalists than the public, and it feels a little like whoever writes about the issue ends up being sucked into it,” writes Tim Burrowes. “Certainly Simons is now involved in her own tussle with The Australian.”

Drawing on his own journalistic experience, he says the newspaper has got caught up and gone “overboard” in its coverage of the OPI.

So far, those outside the story probably see one of two sides. Either, the paper is cynically pursuing its own agenda to prosecute a private war. Or it is subjecting a powerful figure to long overdue scrutiny. It is, I suspect, neither of those two things, and both of those two things.

Once you’ve got something, it’s hard to let go. Particularly when you take it personally. That’s the nature of  investigative journalism.

But I don’t think this is a story that would have got anything like the column inches if The Australian wasn’t directly involved, and the senior editorial staff were not heavily invested in it.

Is there a story there? Yes. But has The Australian gone overboard in telling it? Yes.

I’ll try and update when there are further developments. In the meantime, I’ll be following Australian media news with interest.

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May 19 2010


News.com.au: A last-ditch effort to find journalism’s worst cliches

The Australian newspaper has reported on journalism’s worst cliches:

Journalist Chris Pash has spent nine years scouring newspapers and websites to find the media’s favourite hackneyed phrases.

And at the end of the day he has this to say: journalists must never again write the words “at the end of the day”.

In the past 15 months alone, Pash says the term appeared in 21,268 articles carried by Dow Jones Factiva, a global database that collects the output of about 25,000 major newspapers, magazines, newswires and other written news sources.

“I suspect at this point in history it is the most popular cliche in journalism globally,” he says. “It is all-pervasive.”

The seven most overused cliches: 1. At the end of the day; 2. Split second; 3. About face; 4. Unsung heroes; 5. Outpouring of support; 6. Last-ditch effort; 7. Concerned residents

Full story at this link…

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April 15 2010


November 06 2009


What’s Murdoch’s ‘cool new toy’ for accessing media content?

Australian media is busy speculating over Rupert Murdoch’s new idea for content access.

Margaret Simons of the Content Makers, reports how Caroline Overington, senior writer and columnist with The Australian (part of Mudoch’s News Limited) let slip that Rupert Murdoch’s pay wall plans might include a ‘cool new toy’ for accessing media content.

Simons reports from the Media140 conference:

“Overington said that News Limited had many wonderful plans of which they were very proud, and they could not be unveiled yet, but she believed they would lead people to pay for content.

“Then in the closing stages of the session, she referred to iTunes, and how people had turned to paying for music that they could get elsewhere for free because of the entry of a ‘cool new toy’ in the iPhone.

“She added: ‘That’s kind of what we are thinking about.’

“So what is it, I wonder? Some kind of deal with Apple, soon to release its new electronic reader? A competing product? Very intriguing.”

An update, pointing to coverage of the Apple Tablet negotiations, with more speculation on the ‘iRupert’ at this link.

And Overington at Media140 courtesy of SlowTV.

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