Thursday, October 16, 2014

Why The Australian is un-Australian: all ego and little heart

The headline on The Australian media editor Sharri Markson's 'undercover' beat-up about journalism schools
that sparked off the latest attacks on journalism educators.

By Professor Mark Pearson

OPINION: FIRST they came for journalism educator Julie Posetti, for simply tweeting some critical comments made publicly by a former staffer of The Australian. [That time I did write a commentary in Crikey about why editors shouldn’t sue for defamation.]

Then they came for Matthew Ricketson, Greg Jericho, Margaret Simons, Wendy Bacon, Martin Hirst and Jenna Price and to my shame I said very little.

Well, this week they came for a good friend and colleague, Penny O’Donnell from the University of Sydney, and I refuse to remain silent. Enough is enough.

She is one of the most committed and respected journalism educators I know – in both research and teaching – and has shown the greatest courage in her personal life in recent years that has elevated my esteem for her even higher.

Sadly, the reputation of The Australian newspaper has followed the opposite trajectory. It is celebrating its 50th birthday this year, and my view is that the first 40 were far better than the last ten.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

France's young rugby guns who could herald Les Bleus' revival

Racing Métro winger Teddy Thomas ... one of the young stars lighting up French rugby.
Photo: Racing Métro
TIME for a break from media and politics with a treatise on Gallic rugby, especially after a diet of gloom and doom results and stories since France almost won the World Cup in New Zealand in 2011.

As François Valentin writes, if the Top 14 competition is the El Dorado for many international superstars, the recent call-ups of Teddy Thomas, Charles Ollivon and Xavier Chiocci act as a reminder that France still has some very good local talent.

Here is a young, but competitive XV with very few caps (if any) that could form the backbone of Les Bleus in the next few years.

15 Geoffrey Palis (23 years old, Castres)
In his first season in the Top 14, and despite the presence of Brice Dulin (who is only a year older), Palis played 16 matches for a total of 103 points. Yes, Palis also kicks at goal, and is a pretty good shot too. That golden boot and his capacity to find space earned him a spot in the French 30-man list during the last Six Nations, although he didn't make his debut. Close behind, Darly Domvo hogged the full-back position for Bordeaux, starting 19 times last year and Hugo Bonneval from Stade Français is another huge talent, although he is currently recovering from a torn ACL.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Crying wolf, crying terror and fanning the media flames of disquiet

Outraged family of innocent man splashed as a 'terrorist teenager' in Fairfax media threatens to sue.
The reckless and inflammatory reporting on terrorism and national security in Australia makes ABC columnist Jonathan Green wonder whether we'd be better off without a media apparatus that can sink so low.

OPINION: HAVE we reached a tipping point where, with its mix of anxious desperation and crazy-brave self-confidence, our mainstream corporate media does us more harm than good?

Everywhere it's under pressure from declining markets and battling business models, a situation that is as pressing for newspapers as it is becoming true for TV.

The response of news producers has been trapped somewhere between the sentimental and the self-serving. How will journalism survive, ask the journalists. Maybe we ought to wonder both whether it matters and whether something better might not evolve to replace it.

It might be that journalism is just a writing style.

I should declare here that I've spent my working life as a journalist, from 1979 to now. But now, reading the newspapers and watching the news, I can't help but wonder if this is a craft that is not only losing its centre of corporate gravity and support, but also some fundamental sense of its mission and responsibility.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Politics, human rights and asylum seekers media conference lined up for NZ

An update on Ces Oreña-Drilon and the Maguindanao massacre investigation. Her justice corruption allegations have led to a National Bureau of Investigation inquiry. Video: GMA News

PACIFIC JOURNALISM REVIEW, the only politics and media research journal in New Zealand and the Pacific, will host an international conference late next month marking its 20th anniversary of publication.

With the overall theme of “Political journalism in the Asia-Pacific”, many editors, investigative journalists, documentary makers, human rights advocates, media freedom activists and journalism educators and researchers will be converging on Auckland for the event at AUT University on November 27-29.

One of the keynote speakers at PJR2014, television journalist Ces Oreña-Drilon of ABS-CBN and an anchor for the celebrated current affairs programme Bandila, will give an address on the killings of journalists with impunity in the Philippines.

She has been investigating the 2009 massacre of 34 journalists by private militia while they were accompanying a candidate’s entourage to register for elections and she has a grim story to tell in her “Losing the landmark Maguindanao massacre case” presentation about the legal and political fallout from the tragedy.

She is attending the conference with the support of the Asia New Zealand Foundation.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

From Fiji's dictatorship to 'democracy' – the AUT student team on the job

Mads Anneberg's profile on Ricardo Morris and Repúblika.

THREE STUDENTS from AUT University covered Fiji's historic “from dictatorship to democracy” general election this month.

While the election arguably legitimised Voreqe Bainimarama’s so-called 2006 “coup to end all coups”, the students performed something of a coup themselves.

Not only were they providing the first ever comprehensive coverage of a Pacific national election by a New Zealand journalism school, but their reportage was far superior to much of the Kiwi media that was ill-prepared for the occasion.

In fact, some were unashamedly parachute journos covering a complex event on September 17 that was overshadowed by New Zealand’s own election three days later.

All three students were reporting as a “package” for Pacific Scoop, the course outlet for AUT’s postgraduate Asia-Pacific Journalism course run by the Pacific Media Centre. But while two were on the ground in Fiji, the third was an “anchor” - monitoring, writing and editing stories to provide an overall contextualised story.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Fiji democratic mandate for the coup leader – what now for the media?

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Rear-Admiral (Ret) Voreqe Bainimarama's Fiji First party is leading the country in the next four years. Photo: Mads Anneberg, an AUT Pacific Media Centre student on internship in Suva with Repúblika Magazine and Pacific Scoop for the elections
By David Robie

IN THE END, it was no real surprise. For 2006 coup leader Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, who retired recently as the military strongman with the rank of rear admiral, it was a foregone conclusion that he would emerge as the triumphant victor in Fiji’s first general election in almost eight years.

Just as it was inevitable in 1992, when the original coupster - who staged two coups in the same year, 1987 -  Brigadier-General Sitiveni Rabuka made the transition from military backed prime minister to civilian leader.

A major difference is that Rabuka was elected in 1992 on an indigenous supremacy platform of “Fiji for Fijians” while Bainimarama’s Fiji First party is pledged to a multiracial “Fiji for all Fijians”.

The hope is that Bainimarama’s authoritarian streak will gradually mellow and he will come to recognise as an elected leader the critical importance of a civil society discourse with a strong non-government organisation sector and an independent Fourth Estate.

The media was once a proud and feisty part of Fiji democracy. It can achieve that credible status again.

Democracy in Fiji a tender plant – now time to nourish it for the future

The Multinational Observer Group sees Wednesday's general election as a credible expression of “the will of the Fijian voters”. Video: Alistar Kata/Pacific Media Centre/Pacific Scoop

By Fiji affairs columnist and blogger Dr Crosbie Walsh

UNFORTUNATELY, it had to happen but all is not lost.

It started with Fiji Labour Party leader and former Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry – deposed in the 2000 attempted coup – complaining about a minivan showing a Fiji First sticker during the blackout period and another alleged election breach when a disabled voter at St Joseph’s in Suva was assisted by an election officer with no witness present.

Then there were complaints that the counting had stopped when all that had stopped were the announcements, and Radio New Zealand International quoted an unnamed SODELPA official saying its agents had noted anomalies in the transmission and counting of votes, and Fiji Leaks claimed the Multinational Observer Group (MOG) were having “a good holiday in Fiji”.

And then someone calling himself Thakur Loha Singh on a blog said he’d heard of a polling station where the votes of relatives of a candidate mysteriously disappeared and the candidate ending up with a zero vote.”

He said he’d “forewarned political parties of this some time ago.” Not a shred of evidence — but he made sure his prophecy came true.

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