Category Archives: Journalism

Professional journalism and journalism education

A right to be wrong?

At the height of Australia’s bushfire emergency, Michael Pengilly, the mayor of Kangaroo Island in Australia, attacked climate scientists and former US president Barack Obama, saying climate change was not connected with the island’s horrific fires. When criticised online, Pengilly said he had a right to air his opinions. He was not the first person in the democratic world to claim such a “right”. But does it exist? Read More

Whistleblowers – conscience of a shameless age

With the continuing persecution of Julian Assange, one of our country’s and this century’s most famous whistleblowers, it is timely that all nations – but especially democracies – remind themselves that a whistleblower is not a traitor, just someone who sees something wrong, consults their conscience and exposes the wrongdoing contrary to the wishes of those with power to conceal it from their fellow citizens. Read More

Kicking the can of liberty along the road

Issues of freedom of speech come in all shapes and sizes, from those central to democracy to those that are just cover for personal obsessions. Two current cases in Australia are just the most recent in a seemingly endless cycle of outrage then nothing getting fixed … kicking the can. One involves government oppression of whistle-blowers and the media. The other a millionaire sportsman asked to choose between the pitch and the pulpit. Read More

Facts or fiction: Putting the writer inside the story

News reporting and journalists are under attacks not witnessed in a generation or more. How much is our fault and what can be done? Low public trust is partly driven by self-interested claims of “fake news” and partly because a race to the bottom. Perhaps also we have played too close to the fires of fiction and been scorched. If it is too late to firewall journalism, how can writers navigate the borderland between fact and fiction? Read More

The miracle of monochrome

Black & white photography has existed for almost 200 years and even today remains a preferred format for many photojournalists. While they may shoot in colour, their best or most important work is often reproduced in monochrome. This image of the famous Black Power salute at the 1968 Mexico Olympics was shot in both colour and black &… Read More

Fighting fake news with Trust Chains

Fake news has been around longer than news itself, but it took someone as influential and opinionated as US President Donald Trump to breathe new life into it. While critics say Trump’s “fake news” is simply news he dislikes, the issue has more profound ramifications for modern free-press democracies, making us question who and what we can trust. But all is not lost. Fake news can be conquered, especially if each and every one of us works on our Trust Chains. … Read More

Welcome to journalism-free journalism

Encouraged to embrace social media, are real journalists now paying too high a price for the convenience of “information everywhere all the time”? Serious journalists – i.e. those who think news should be fair, accurate and based on facts – have long been urged to integrate social media into their work. It’s a great tool for digging into… Read More

Clouds of war gather over the Internet

The Internet is approaching a crisis. Authoritarian regimes censor and manipulate it to suppress dissent, western governments pursue online whistleblowers and Wikileakers, big business wants to track consumers’ every move. Supposedly liberal governments from the United States to Australia have proved as eager as their conservative predecessors to constrain it. And the media? They have largely been silent,… Read More

A circus, the Tank Man and a dead pop star

Five years ago, a circus, the late Michael Jackson and the unknown “Tank Man” collided in Beijing to demonstrate how state censorship leads to even censors not knowing what they don’t know. Now, at a time when calls of “fake news” undermine the confidence of citizens in their democracies, it is ironic that we can learn from censorship states like China just what can happen next. … Read More

Endless war between newsroom and classroom

There has long been hostility between media academics and conservative journalists, but the Finkelstein review has opened up a new and bitter war of words between the two camps. Why has it come to this and can they both be wrong? The story so far: Acting on growing complaints and spurred on by the News of the World… Read More