Category Archives: Media

Media and popular journalism

Social media – the death knell of the death knock

Two recent events in Australia have again brought to the fore the impacts social media are having on life in general and the media in particular.
The first was a mass stabbing at a crowded shopping mall in the upscale eastern suburbs of Sydney. The second also began with a stabbing, and demonstrated how social media could quickly magnify a relatively mundane crime into a street riot. Read More

Why “can” is not the same as “should”

The case of a 21st Century good Samaritan whose act of kindness backfired should remind us all how treacherous are the waters around privacy and public interest and how good intentions can often go badly awry. It also serves to highlight an issue that should be front of mind for every principled journalist, the distinctions between ethical and legal behaviour … or why “can” is not the same as “should”. Read More

Why sorry seems to be the hardest word

Nobody likes publicly admitting they have made a mistake, and journalists are no exception. Indeed, to their readers, viewers and listeners, at times they seem actively averse to saying they are wrong, which is one reason why journalists languish at the lower levels of trust surveys. Another reason is that theirs is one of few professions that make explicit efforts to expose their work to public scrutiny, warts and all. Read More

Are you a what, how or who journalist?

People become journalists for a host of reasons. Some love to write, others want to meet people, some believe strongly in justice, others like variety in their work, some see the job providing status, others enjoy solving puzzles. While almost anyone can be a journalist and take an interest in all the WWWWWH issues, there are still inclinations within each person to be stronger in some attributes than others. Read More

Social media are mixed blessings for journalists

It is hard to imagine life without social media – or to remember the world before it. Whether you love them or hate them, use or avoid them, social media have been enormously influential, almost as powerful as the internet itself. That is partly because even those people not directly linked, liked, shared or tweeted on social media find themselves inescapably swimming in the social media soup created by everyone else. Read More

Social media trap for journalists

Social media have become both a blessing and curse for traditional media but two recent cases at opposite sides of the world have shown that news managers have the ability to choose which they will be if only they have a better understanding of how social media policies relate to the ethics underpinning their core business, together with the nerve to apply that understanding when times get tough. Read More

The weasels are still with us

Inveterate liars like Team Trump have come and gone down the ages but the language they – and others – use to disguise the disgusting lives on. Doublespeak or weasel words have a long history in public life even though most of us don’t understand what they mean. As languages grow, so too do weasel words, and journalists should not give them oxygen. Indeed, we should lead the fight to prick these bubbles of hot air. Read More

Who else if not whistleblowers?

Barely a day goes by in western democracies without some new exploitation of public trust, major abuse of the law or plain old government corruption being exposed by the media’s sanitising light. But while journalists are beavering away on investigations, the initial spark is almost always lit by a whistleblower. As the latest scandal touching one of Australia’s biggest companies shows, whistleblowers get little thanks. Read More

American exceptionalism built wall with the world

It is the fate of all empires to be despised by their vassals. But that was before the Information Age. Now all bets are off. Now empires have the media tools to mould their image overseas while their foreign subjects can see right into the heart of their overlord’s domain. So why are Americans making such a mess of being a superpower? And what role do the media play in building a wall between the US and the rest of the world? Read More

Finding truth through common sense

In the days before the digital revolution, discovering truth seemed a relatively simple matter – find people we could trust and go with what they said. With the Internet and social media, things have become a lot more complicated. Information is everywhere and journalists are losing the ability to determine who to trust. So, let’s put some science back into common sense and use it to fight the scourge of the 21st Information Century – fake news. Read More