"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself." - Friedrich Nietzsche

Hockey v Fairfax: another strong headwind buffeting responsible journalism

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Richard Ackland, The Guardian. Pic: of Joe Hockey
19.03.15 5:45 am

There was Joe Hockey, confidently strutting his intergenerational stuff on Monday night’s Q&A.

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Gunns: The Wall of Silence. Sawmiller cash referred to Integrity Commission

Peter Whish-Wilson, Senator for Tasmania Pub: Mar 18
19.03.15 5:00 am

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… It has been met by a predictable wall of silence from the Tasmanian establishment, the mainstream media in Tasmania and the two old political parties. That is a shame, considering those not willing to learn from the mistakes of the past are bound to repeat them. In fact, this seems to be the book’s overarching message—that history in Tasmania keeps repeating, and no-one learns or is the wiser for this. Professor Beresford also warns that in many ways the rise and fall of Gunns Ltd is a modern warning about governments and political parties generally developing overly close relationships with big business. Yet much of modern politics is built around such a model of government, both in Australia and overseas. …

Beresford himself admits that ‘the alternative to genuine reform is a grim prospect’, with new rounds of what he labels as ‘politically inspired environmental conflict’ already taking Tasmania back to the ‘cronyism’ and the mistakes of the past. This is reflected in the current proposed logging of controversial coupes, such as Lapoinya— Mr President, in your North-west of Tasmania—or the secret, divisive and controversial drive to attack wilderness and World Heritage values under the smokescreen of new tourism development. …

Watch Peter Whish-Wilson’s Speech on YouTube here

• John Powell, in Comments: Speechless. What a book and what a story of the failure of successive governments and their bureaucratic minions and institutions. I will let others comment on that as I do not have the history. However the example that the good Senator referenced, viz Lapoinya, I am familiar with. All in Government connected with this failure of process, consultation, environmental, endangered species, and indigenous history surveys,economic evaluation etc etc fit the bill of those referenced in the Beresford book. If the Shareholder Ministers, and the relevant CEO, and Board members, were true to their respective Corporate Directors code of ethics they should resign immediately. And a mission to China that contemplates promoting Forestry in Tasmania is a nail in the coffin of the FSC accreditation being undertaken by SCS Global. Time for a “Captains Call” Premier Hodgman and declare that Coupe FD053A is hereby annexed to the adjoining Flowerdale Reserve as was recommended in the 1997 Regional Forest Agreement. This post will be copied to SCS Global overnight.

• John Biggs, in Comments: Beresford is right:  a Royal Commission should be called immediately, but as I understand it that has to be done by the government, and I can see no government Labor or Liberal would have the honesty or the guts to do that.  However he also says the people power might work as it is in CSG mining but that requires massive publicity and a lot of work. Perhaps GetUp could take this on board? And keep plugging away at your Federal colleagues Peter. Meantime, if as Barns says the book is biased, then let Paul Lennon, Paul Harriss, Will Hodgman, Evan Rolley or Brian Green or anyone else who thinks that Beresford has got it wrong, come forward and tell us where, with chapter and verse.

Kim Booth: Harriss Blows More Public Cash on Madcap Sawmill Scheme The Hodgman regime’s latest splash with public cash to prop up the native forest sawmilling industry is stupid and irresponsible, Greens Leader and Forestry spokesperson Kim Booth MP said today. “This is as close as you can get to a corrupt government process,” Mr Booth said. “On the one hand public money was paid to sawmillers to leave the industry because they were going broke and now the same people are receiving additional public money to stay in the industry.” “Sawmillers took payouts because they were financially unviable businesses in the first place.” “Now in an act of total stupidity, Minister Harriss is offering people two options, without there being any requirement to prove that a viable business plan is in place.” “The first option is for a sawmiller to pay back 10 per cent or less of a payout, keep the mill but be restricted to 100 cubic metres per year.” “That is a joke, its less volume necessary to run a viable portable mill, let alone a sawmill.” “The second option ...

Paul Harriss: Keeping sawmillers in Tasmania

Examiner: Sawmillers’ new cash deal

Kim Booth: Sawmill Subsidies Referred to Integrity Commission “I have referred this matter to the Integrity Commission because they are the only body capable of investigating independently this disgraceful affair,” Mr Booth said. “The Hodgman regime has taken money from hospitals and schools and handed it over to selected private sawmill businesses without any justification, and apparently without any performance requirements or conditions.” “To prop up a select few failing businesses with public money, is a dangerous precedent and a gross abuse of trust and power.” “The abusive response from Minister Harriss in parliament today leaves me in no doubt that the government is hiding something and that the Integrity commission should examine the matter.” … “Most Tasmanians expect better than this and regard this sort of behaviour as corrupt and a return to the bad old days when timber barons walked the corridors of power and parliament was their plaything.” “It is deeply disturbing that it looks like Mr Harriss and Mr Hodgman are dragging Tasmania back to those dark and corrupt days of the past where cronyism ran rife,”

Paul Harriss: Greens shameful attack on Tasmanian jobs

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Four Cases ...

Evan Whitton, @EvanWhitton1 http://netk.net.au/whittonhome.asp
16.03.15 2:00 am

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A little bit mad; only a little bit guilty.  This is Evan Whitton’s revised version of a piece on diminished responsibility which appeared in Justinian on February 7, 2005

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Regional newsrooms sliced in half in Fairfax scythe. Tassie next ...

Myriam Robin, Crikey
13.03.15 4:30 am

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Staff at three of Fairfax’s largest Victorian regional papers are bracing for cuts that will slice their newsrooms in half, as the company seeks 62 editorial redundancies in Victoria, which will also affect another 10 publications. And Tasmania - The Examiner and The Advocate - appears to be next in line for the scalpel ...

YEARS AGO ... on Tasmanian Times ...

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High Court rejects attempt to make media watchdog toothless

Denis Muller, Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Advancing Journalism at University of Melbourne.
09.03.15 3:40 am

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Media accountability in Australia has taken an important step forward with a cut-through High Court decision on the powers of the broadcasting regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

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Julian Burnside: Independent media for reality’s sake

Julian Burnside
09.03.15 3:35 am

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Human rights advocate and barrister Julian Burnside AO QC talks about his disenchantment with newspapers and the vital need for more than just two voices in Australian media.

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Why I have resigned from the Telegraph . ABC Print figures. Death, Drugs and HSBC ...

Peter Oborne, (ex-Telegraph) OurKingdom. Lindsay Tuffin. First Pub: Feb 23
03.03.15 5:26 am

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Ed: This is an extraordinarily important article. It is about the inexorable decline of Print in the Digital Age ... and the thrashing-about lengths to which Print goes to accommodate boosterism in all its forms, whether the Cargo-Cult bleatings of The Pulp-Mill Examiner to the rampant boosterism of all things Development, ‘Open for Business’ or Tourism (Mercury) ... The coverage of HSBC in Britain’s Daily Telegraph is a fraud on its readers. If major newspapers allow corporations to influence their content for fear of losing advertising revenue, democracy itself is in peril.

Columbia Journalism Review: Anybody there? Why the UK’s phone-hacking scandal met media silence

• Download Print’s latest ABC circulation figures, including for Mercury, but not Examiner or Advocate ...

• don knowler, in Comments: yes, the telegraph was “a significant part of Britain’s civic architecture” as were the other great newspapers like the guardian, representing their own political views in editorials but keeping the news straight. there was a wonderful balance across fleet street. all gone now, of course, and i lament the demise of Britain’s “dead tree media”, if not empire.

Death, Drugs and HSBC Nafeez Ahmed: How fraudulent blood money makes the world go round

Crikey:ACMA armed to the teeth: prepare for a media-regulation brawl

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5 comments

Is media objectivity an outdated model?

Tim Dunlop, ABC Drum
02.03.15 3:20 am

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When reporting on political matters like Tony Abbott’s national security speech, what’s the value of the “straight” news report anymore? In the new-media world perhaps subjective reporting can offer more, writes Tim Dunlop.

Columbia Journalism Review: To keep or ditch the comments? While some sites maintain a discussion on the page, others outsource it to social media

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HuffPo meets Fairfax and you won't believe what happens next

Terry Flew, Queensland University of Technology.
13.02.15 4:00 am

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“This week’s announcement that Fairfax had acquired a 49% partnership stake in Huffington Post Australia means yet another new entrant into the Australian online media landscape ... But developing a stake in Huffington Post Australia may have benefits for readers of Fairfax’s more established mastheads. Online sites such as theage.com.au and smh.com.au have been criticised for their mix of the forms of quality journalism long associated with their brand identities and material that is more obviously “clickbait”. [Editor’s note: In Tasmania Fairfax owns The Advocate and The Examiner.]

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Mercury price hike to slow profit fall

Bob Burton. Pic* Pub: Feb 9
10.02.15 3:45 am

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In a bid to slow the rapid fall in profitability of The Mercury, News Corporation Australia has increased the cover price by 10 cents from today. However, even with the price increase The Mercury’s finances are likely to be under extreme pressure.

Guardian: Local newspaper staff face massive job losses Fairfax Media’s regional publishing business, Australian Community Media, is rolling out its NewsNow plan which involves stripping regional papers like the Illawarra Mercury, the Warrnambool Standard and the Newcastle Herald of subeditors and photographers and centralising production. Reporters have to take their own pictures and sub their own copy. The Weekly Beast has seen a timeline for the NewsNow roll-out which will be completed across the country ( Examiner? Advocate? ) by December 2015. The new system involves a template-based, “write to the space” editorial model in which reporters sub, caption and headline their own stories. One source called it a “systematic gutting of regional newsrooms” which would take hundreds of jobs.

SMH: Rupert Murdoch’s grip on News Corp slipping

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V. J. Carroll and the essence of journalism

Evan Whitton, @EvanWhitton1 http://netk.net.au/whittonhome.asp . Pics: of V.J. Carroll
09.02.15 12:45 am

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The oldest rule of journalism – and the most forgotten – is to tell the customers what is really going on. - - Stanley Cecil (Sol) Chandler.

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Freed Greste won’t be silent on jailed colleagues

The Age. Pic*
05.02.15 8:19 am

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Larnaca, Cyprus: Peter Greste looks out across the steel grey Mediterranean Sea, beyond the all-but-deserted beach and beams.

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Rupert’s Queensland Election Hissy Fit

Bob Burton. Pub: Feb 1
02.02.15 5:30 am

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Soon after it became apparent that Queensland voters had dumped Campbell Newman’s LNP government Rupert Murdoch took to Twitter. ‘Shock turnover in Q’land outing okay govt.. Blank cheque to nobodies. Can’t ignore this a huge message to Feds. People have spoken!’ Indeed they have. But he doesn’t seem to appreciate that the election outcome is also testimony to the waning influence of the Courier Mail, which is owned by Murdoch’s News Corporation Australia.

• Julie R, in Comments: Demand Retraction (from The Australian) of Sexist Obituary for Colleen McCullough!

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8 comments

Tasmania. Little island, little interest

Richard Butler. Images*
02.02.15 5:00 am

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I am writing this sad little note to express some almost ambivalence and a predictable disappointment in the Hobart-based mainstream media and the University School of Art.

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5 comments

Terrorism 101: A little history ...

Evan Whitton, @EvanWhitton1 http://netk.net.au/whittonhome.asp . Pic: of Charles Dickens
02.02.15 2:45 am

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Evan Whitton.  May 8, 2007 Statesmen like to keep on saying some grubby policy is the opposite of what it really is until we fall into a catatonic trance and believe them. Little Jackie’s Like It or Lump It stuff is called WorkChoices, and his and George Bush’s invasion of Iraq was called – what?

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Ten things to watch on and after election night in Queensland

Todd Winther, Griffith University. Photo: Liberal National Party of Queensland.
31.01.15 3:59 am

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You know it’s an extraordinary election when a party holds 73 of the 89 seats in parliament thanks to a record-breaking victory> just three years earlier – yet there’s talk of that party losing government. Not only that, but there’s also a real threat to the state’s premier, with no Plan B for a successor. That’s the state of play in Queensland, making Saturday’s election a must-watch for anyone interested in politics. If you live outside Queensland, you can tune in on ABC News 24, as well as follow news and expert reaction on The Conversation. While most polls and my prediction is that the Liberal National Party (LNP) will retain power, it’s possible that there won’t be a clear result on Saturday night, especially given the popularity of pre-poll voting and that the predicted swing against the government is likely to vary greatly across the state. So what are the people, places and issues to watch on election night and beyond?

USE the TT NEWS Dropdown Menu (top Nav. Bar) or Favoured Blogs (Left column) for different perspectives/commentary/Satire (especially Kudelka) on the Poll ... and don’t forget to check in occasionally on psephologist Dr Kevin Bonham’s (when he’s online) expert analysis ...

10:20pm:Campbell Newman concedes he has lost the seat of Ashworth, LNP trails Labor in seat count 39 to 44 with 3 other in 89 seat parliament. 3 seats uncertain, pre-poll votes to be counted. Antony Green prediction LNP 40, ALP 46, Others 3.

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7 comments

Abbott, Credlin, Murdoch ...

Urban Wronski* http://urbanwronski.com/ Pub: Jan 19. Pic*
29.01.15 4:30 am

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Il y a une femme dans toutes les affaires ; aussitôt qu’on me fait un rapport, je dis : « Cherchez la femme ! Dumas (There is a woman in every case; as soon as they bring me a report, I say, “Look for the woman!”)

Rupert’s tweets have done all Australians an immense favour. They have shown where the power lies when it comes to Liberal governments. Such public tweaking of the strings of his puppet politician Abbott is really an enormous act of public service. Abbott must take the heat; do what Rupert wants or get out of the kitchen. Similarly the use of identical phrases in his tweets to the words used by Miranda Devine, the doyenne of his Australian tabloid press helps clarify the power relationship. Rupert rules the Liberal Party by force and very little if any finesse and is completely unafraid to put his instructions on Twitter for all to see.

• Phillip Coorey in the Australian Financial Review: Prime Minister Tony Abbott takes Rupert Murdoch’s advice (Paywall) “Tony Abbott dumped his senior communications adviser and ­overhauled his media team over Christmas after being lobbied directly over dinner by media mogul Rupert Murdoch ... Mr Abbott and Mr Murdoch dined together in Sydney in December after what had been a messy end of the year for the government. During the dinner, the pair broke away for a private conversation, during which Mr Murdoch complained to Mr Abbott that the government’s ­communications strategy was poor and failing to sell the right messages, and that he had “the wrong people” in the job. Similar criticisms were being made by columnists and editorials in the Murdoch press. Just before Christmas, Mr Abbott’s press office director, Jane McMillan, was let go and replaced by deputy chief of staff and former media adviser Andrew Hirst. ABC Canberra correspondent Mark Simkin was recruited as chief press secretary.”

Guardian: No filter: Rupert Murdoch’s Twitter feed provides a new take on the editorial

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The fall and fall of The Mercury

Bob Burton. Pub: Dec 18, 2014
25.01.15 5:15 am

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The Mercury – Tasmania’s largest circulation newspaper – is in deep, deep trouble. A leaked News Corporation Australia’s financial report from July 2013 provides a stark insight into the rapidly deteriorating finances of the Murdoch empire’s three Tasmanian newspapers:  The Mercury, the Sunday Tasmanian and Tasmanian Country.

• Mark, in Comments: As was written in one of the sidebar sites: Out in the boonies the media is a rough deal. The reporters have an average age of 12. The editors are crusty and conflicted. And the money is running out. They report what they want to happen. Potential mines. Potential pulp mills. Potential farms. Potential developments. Potential money drops from Canberra. Potential Chinese buy-ups. News is all about crossing fingers. At best, 5% of the potential comes true. If you dig through old newspapers you’ll find stories about the same mines and the same “100’s of jobs” they were going to create. Five years ago. Ten years ago. Fifteen years ago. Convince people something’s around the corner and you might convince someone to advertise. You might keep your newspaper alive. Sadly, you don’t inform anyone of anything. http://www.idiottax.net/2014/11/my-abc.html

• Bob Burton, in Comments: … It is also worth pointing out that in the last five years, according to ABS population data, Hobart’s population increased by over 8,800 (2008 to 2012). In spite of this underlying population growth, readership of hard copies of The Mercury continues to fall. The trends affecting The Mercury aren’t unique to Tasmania. However, as the smallest state, Tasmania’s media may well be hollowed out so quickly that it becomes the exemplar of a failed media state.  Sure, we will still have media which cover sport, car crashes, major court cases, major events and some political debates initiated by existing parties but more probing journalism already largely seems to be a quaint thing of the past. Which is why the question on who will cover hard local news in Tasmania remains a critical issue. Ironically, this topic is one which the existing outlets are wary of covering, perhaps because to do so would require an acknowledgement that there is a significant problem. Self-reflection tends not to be a strong point of most media outlets.

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30 comments

Fact-Checking Julia Jabour and Indi Hodgson-Johnston

Narelle Bonarski* Pic*
23.01.15 5:00 am

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Over the past few months, Dr Julia Jabour and Ms Indi Hodgson-Johnston have published media opinion pieces that are critical of the conservation group Sea Shepherd. Are all of their claims valid?

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2 comments

Dickens on our corrupt legal system

Evan Whitton, @EvanWhitton1 http://netk.net.au/whittonhome.asp . Pic: of Charles Dickens
19.01.15 1:00 am

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Justinian August 11, 2006 For those interested in the law, Sunday night is Bleak House. We fill a beaker of Armagnac, set fire to a long Cuban, and sit back to enjoy the triumph of the adversary system and the case that never ends.

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