"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

Is media objectivity an outdated model?

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Tim Dunlop, ABC Drum
02.03.15 3:20 am

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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Why I have resigned from the Telegraph ... ABC Print figures ...

Peter Oborne, (ex-Telegraph) OurKingdom. Lindsay Tuffin
23.02.15 4:00 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.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Maxine’s story from the Trenches v Julia’s story from the Benches

John Biggs. Pic: ABC. Pub: Jan 12
13.01.15 4:15 am

Image for Maxine’s story from the Trenches v Julia’s story from the Benches

… All that said, however, her achievements were in fact considerable. She negotiated a minority government that survived the full term despite relentless attacks from the Opposition and the press, which says a lot for her negotiating skills. That government passed important legislation, such as the CPRS, the national disability scheme,  the mining tax (diluted though both these taxes had become), the Gonski education reforms and unfairness in superannuation tax. This legislative history in one term is more than Howard was able to do in three terms with majority government. Despite Tony Abbott’s incessant rants to the contrary, the performance of her government was also better than the Howard Government’s on inflation, interest rates, household savings, personal tax rate, company tax rate, international credit ratings foreign exchange reserves current account as a percentage of GDP, balance of trade. It was a successful government by any standards.

The problem was that her government wasn’t perceived to be successful thanks to lies and vicious attacks by the Opposition, all echoed in the Murdock press. But probably even more important, her ministers didn’t explain their policies. Rudd had real problems with the programmatic specificity needed for adequate communication and he was continually trying to undermine her; Wayne and Gillard spoke in a way that invited people to switch off; and the distraction and hectic pace of the change had placed on ministers a heavy workload. Whatever the reasons, the lack of adequate communication with the public was a grave mistake. They should have had, and deserved to have had, better PR about their work.

If McKew’s account is even only partly true – and it is surely more than that – there seems to be little hope for the ALP as it is at present. It has lost its roots and is now a principle-free zone driven by spin and polling. The elected leaders governing the country were so craven, and/or so easily manipulated, that they did not speak out against what they later admitted to be patently wrong: deposing a popular leader in his first term as prime minister.The culture McKew describes is one of disrespect, bullying, game-playing and big-noting yourself if you want to survive. How can you represent your electorate when so hog-tied? This is not representative democracyor even any sort of democracy, for once elected you become the creature of an unelected minority. All form and no substance. That is not the way to govern a country.

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NATION: Satirists’ rallying cry is being made by Tony Abbott, a caricaturist’s dream

Urban Wronski. Pic: of Tony Abbott
12.01.15 3:14 am

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… Abbott has once again used the news to inflict his own agenda upon us. He peddles his own bigoted post-modern Manichean struggle between good and evil. He would have us in a straitjacket of fear and beholden to the leader as protector, yielding freely up our metadata, our privacy, our right to know the truth and other democratic rights, yet carrying on as normal as his far right government strengthens the role of the state in a desperate attempt to shore up its shaky foundations. Endless conflicted and compromised, he cranks the hurdy-gurdy of the rhetoric of freedom and freedom of speech while his government systematically goes about undermining its very foundations. …

Daily Mail: Hacker group Anonymous ‘declare war on jihadists’ after Charlie Hebdo massacre by pledging to target terrorists on social media

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How to be an ace reporter

Evan Whitton @EvanWhitton1 Pic*
12.01.15 2:00 am

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Never write down to your readers; anyone stupider than you can’t read. - American editor to cub reporter

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Stand up ... before our capacity to do so is stolen from us ...

Urban Wronski* Satire* Pub: Jan 8
09.01.15 4:00 am

Image for Stand up ... before our capacity to do so is stolen from us ...

Fast as a rat up a drainpipe, Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, wasted no time in seizing the opportunity to link the tragic killing of twelve employees and the injuring of eleven others in an horrific attack on the staff of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris with the Sydney siege despite the two incidents being completely unrelated and totally different.

Buzzfeed: 23 Heartbreaking Cartoons From Artists Responding To The Charlie Hebdo Shooting

EARLIER on Tasmanian Times ...

• Greg James, in Comments: Support for the security services should be mandatory and the thought police should all be awarded medals, grog and pay rises for their bravery under criticism. All beaurocrats should be given a license to kill, not just the Police and secret guys. I say it is time to organise against difference, no more sarongs on our beaches, this type of suppression of women created by the fashion industry is a conspiracy against the bikini and our beautiful budgie smugglers and matching hairy legs.

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After the Charlie Hebdo attack, we must resist the clash-of-civilisations narrative

Homa Khaleeli. Guardian
08.01.15 10:00 am

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Terrorism feeds on society’s fears – and the relentless questioning of Muslims’ loyalty plays into its hands

Guardian Opinion: Those guns were trained on free speech

Jessica Reed, Guardian: Charlie Hebdo’s spirit will endure, despite this atrocity

• Use the TT NEWS dropdown bar (top nav bar) for the latest news/opinion from different sources

Guardian: Charlie Hebdo’s history of challenging and angering fundamentalists

EARLIER on Tasmanian Times ...

Lissa Johnson: The Political Capital Of Fear: How It Helps Governments And Why

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Gamergate: Swedish gaming companies tackle sexism in video games

Guardian, via Isla MacGregor
05.01.15 2:50 am

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The industry has been catering for the stereotypical male gamer for too long, but in Sweden games companies are taking action

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