Thursday, November 20, 2014

Honouring the Ampatuan massacre victims as fight for justice goes on

A grim reminder of the Maguindanao, or Ampatuan, massacre on 23 November 2009. Photo: DanRogayan
A TOP Filipino investigative journalist will be speaking about the “worst attack” on journalists in history and her country’s culture of impunity in a keynote address at a media education conference at AUT University next week.

Ces Oreña-Drilon, an anchor for the ABS-CBN flagship current affairs programme Bandila, has been investigating the 2009 Maguindanao massacre when 32 journalists were among the 58 people killed in the atrocity carried out by private militia recruited by a local warlord.

She has been reporting on the controversial legal and political contest around the massacre with nobody yet having been successfully prosecuted out of almost 200 people charged over the killings.

Drilon will give a keynote address at the “Political reporting in the Asia-Pacific” conference hosted by the Pacific Media Centre on November 27-29. The conference marks 20 years of publication of Pacific Journalism Review.

The fifth anniversary of the massacre is this Sunday and there is still no justice for the families of the victims.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Haka politics as part of global rugby’s overdrive

The French “arrow” challenge to the All Blacks’ haka in the 2011 World Cup final – France lost narrowly 8-7.

By Brendan Bradford on Sportal

OPINION: The chief sportswriter for Britain’s Daily Telegraph, Oliver Brown, claims the haka is “scarcely more than a circus display” and that is “hidebound by political correctness”.

In a column for the Telegraph online, Brown implores his readers to grasp the “anomalousness” (yep, that’s a word we’re using now apparently) of the haka by recalling the “utter befuddlement” with which it was received by the American men’s basketball team at the recent World Cup.

Rather than incite fear in the opposition, writes Brown, the haka has become a “theatrically-rendered cultural curiosity,” and an “exotic sideshow”.

When you’ve got American-run competitions to find the best haka in the country in the lead up to the All Blacks’ game against the United States, the “cultural curiosity” tag is fair enough – but that’s not Brown’s complaint.

His grievance seems to be that the opposing team doesn’t have a right of reply – even though his main point is that the haka has become a sideshow.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Ricardo Morris ... stripping away the hidden agendas and media myths

Publisher of Repúblika Media Limited Ricardo Morris (second from left) with
University of the South Pacific journalism award recipients. Image: USP
This is the keynote message from Repúblika publisher Ricardo Morris at the University of the South Pacific/Wansolwara journalism awards 2014.

JOURNALISM is an act of faith in the future. That’s what the American television correspondent Ann Curry wrote in a 2010 cover essay in Guideposts magazine. Journalism, she argued, should do more than inform. It should make you care.

Ann’s essay, titled "Telling Stories of Hope", marked her long-deserved promotion to co-host of NBC’s Today show. Ann describes the lure of journalism for her as “a call, an urgency” to report because she knew that doing so would “give voice to those who need to be heard".

Not only do the people affected deserve to be heard, the media-consuming public also deserved to hear about what was happening in other parts of the world because it gave us “a chance to care, and it is that empathy that offers the greatest hope".

In today’s world, with short attention spans, competing media outlets and platforms and a world of information – not all of it edifying – at ordinary people’s fingertips, journalism can still be a way to inject some hope into our world.

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.

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