Endless war between newsroom and classroom

Despite most young journalists now coming from universities, there still lingers among many editors, chiefs of staff and other hard news managers the view that real journalism skills can only be learned “on the job”. And they blame the dilettante intellectuals of academia for making their task harder by filling the heads of young journalism graduates with fancy ideas. How much of this is true and what can be done about it? Read More

Others in the schoolyard created this radio bully

Commercial radio throughout the world are often incubators of on-air bullies. Sydney radio shock jock Kyle Sandilands shows all the symptoms, but he is not entirely self-made. For although he’s bright enough to be a successful know-all – just bright enough to be dangerous, as the saying goes – he’s had outside help along the road to being a thoroughly unlikable loudmouth. They may start as bullies, but we then make them monsters. Read More

Suffer little children

On any day, it is hard for ethical journalists or people concerned for media freedom to remain optimistic. Not because of what we report on but because in the endless fight for free speech we are regularly undermined by some colleagues in tabloid media. They may make headlines and attract readers, but their methods harm us all. Only 17% of Australians trust journalists, so we should all be worried about the gutter press. Read More

Man overboard!

Less than a week after SBS managing director Shaun Brown officially left the corporation’s Artarmon headquarters, one of his closest underlings, the head of SBS television and online content, Matt Campbell, announced he was quitting – the first of Brown’s executives to leave since new broom Michael Ebeid officially took over at SBS. Could this be the start of the much-anticipated shake-up of Australia’s multicultural broadcaster? Read More

Media generals leading from the rear

Arrests of working journalists by Australian authorities remain a continuing threat to media freedom in the country. Even when those arrests are not followed through to prosecution, they still send a chill through working journalists, impeding their efforts on our behalf. And while social media comes ablaze with indignation whenever journalists are arrested, the media companies themselves are often noticeably mute. Read More

White-anting starts early for new SBS boss

White-anting started early for SBS’s new managing director Michael Ebeid – two months before getting his feet under his new desk in Sydney. Some saw his qualities and qualifications – including his Egyptian heritage – with trepidation or outright animosity. Some senior executives feared for their jobs or their easy life. It was not a good omen for a “new start” for Australia’s embattled multicultural broadcaster. Read More

Can this man reignite passion for SBS?

Egyptian-born, Australian-raised Michael Ebeid is such a cleanskin he’s almost translucent. Yet he has been chosen to be the next managing director of Australia’s national multicultural broadcaster, SBS. Many people rise to senior public jobs out of left field, but there’s usually a trail of some sort. With Ebeid there’s not much. So is he the man who will provide the spark to reignite a passion for Australia’s once-loved SBS? Read More

Maybe it’s time to shoot the messenger

Ask scientists, economists, sociologists, futurologists and most experts what is the greatest single threat facing the human race and the most common response is likely to be “climate change”. Discounting transient crises, why is climate change not constantly on front pages and leading news bulletins? Why is the environment reporter so far beneath the political editor? What IS going on? Read More

When news hounds should back off

Disasters bring out the best and worst in us, magnifying both good and bad. Almost inevitably journalists will be condemned at some stage in covering disasters, especially when our initial shock wears off. It has been labelled disaster porn and few sectors of the media are spared, whether a camera crew chasing exhausted rescuers or newspaper photographs of dead or dying children. So how far should we go? Read More

Goodbye Mr Grass Roots

An era of sorts ended in 2011 with the death of cartoonist Bob Browne, the creator of Mr Grass Roots, perhaps Papua New Guinea’s most loved comic character, “the social conscience of PNG”. Browne’s life and work could be read as an allegory of change in the Pacific. He came as a British volunteer in 1971 and stayed through thick and thin until his death. This was one of our best-read articles, proving journalism is about people. Read More