Aussie content can rebound via proposed reforms –…

Signs of encouragement are coming out of the camp of the Media,…

Trump is a cult leader

By Ad astra  Do you sometimes ask yourself how it is that President…

Keeping the Empire Running: Britain’s Global Military Footprint

A few nostalgic types still believe that the Union Jack continues to…

Beggars, Choosers And Tim Wilson!

Outside the supermarket last week, there was a man sitting with a…

This government isn’t fit for purpose

Looking back on my writing for 2020 and what has motivated it…

Digital media code closer to passage after ABC…

A mandatory Australian media code legislation aimed at Silicon Valley’s largest digital…

The THREE certainties in life

There are not just two certainties in life - there are actually…

Emergency department visits surged during 2019-20 bushfire season

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Media ReleaseA new report from the…

«
»
Facebook

Tag Archives: Crikey

The moral principles of independent publishers

The perilous future of the Australian Independent Media Network should be a wake up call to those of us hungry for an alternative to main stream media. But The AIMN’s travail — a funding shortfall — is a phenomenon besetting all media.

Advertisers are abandoning metropolitan daily and regional newspapers and ditching local radio and television, in favour of a slew of multinational online outlets.

So apart from contributing our intellectual endeavours and kicking in a few dollars to keep The AIMN and other outlets afloat, how can independent publishers survive?

It is worth examining the history of a singular aspect of journalism which for years, have kept readers coming back to their favourite medium.

The Walkley Awards is Australia’s equivalent of the U.S. Pulitzer Prize. Both are regarded as the gold standard for journalism and its affiliated efforts. Like it or not advertisers are attracted to media that employ award winners. This is because a coveted Walkley helps the financial bottom line. There is no harm in this as long as editorial and advertising keep their distance within the corporate media enterprise. At least this is how it used to be, but the old order is long gone. As long as revenue streams flow, people are employed, but in times of scarcity such as now, workers join dole queues.

Despite the best efforts of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, thousands of journalists and allied staff are heading for  the scrap heap. And yet writers keep writing, and their work, thankfully, picked up by outlets such as the The AIMN.

Most scribes and photographers adhere to a code of ethics, but browse a tabloid – print or digital – and it is obvious those ethics have all but vanished.

So to paraphrase V.I. Lenin, ‘what is to be done?’

I would like to see some kind of loose alliance of independent publishers such as Michael and Carol Taylor, coalescing upon a new, independent award system which extols the output of journalists’ now writing for small, but significant new media outlets.

Dennis Atkins, Michael Pascoe, Paul Bongiorno, Elizabeth Farrelly, John Birmingham Samantha Maiden, and many others — some Walkley Award winners — have for whatever reason, abandoned the Murdoch/ Nine News cesspits.

Along with the AIM there are publishers with increasingly familiar mastheads such as the New Daily, The Guardian, The Conversation, The National Times, Crikey, Independent Australia, The Monthly and so on. Some are big, others small, but all appear committed to the ethos articulated in the MEAA’s Code of Ethics.

Journalists search, disclose, record, question, entertain, comment and remember. They inform citizens and animate democracy. They scrutinise power, but also exercise it, and should be responsible and accountable.

So chip-in to your independent publisher. Organise GoFundMe pages, or crowd fund them. Pay for their services. Read their journalists and organise boycotts of the Usual Suspects. Support the A.B.C. and S.B.S. And tell your local State and Federal Member to be more critical of mainstream media, and to avail themselves of writers and journalists who adhere to a set of moral principles that govern their behaviour as scribes.

When English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton wrote in 1839, “the pen is mightier than the sword,” he meant that communication — particularly written language or advocacy of an independent press — is more effective than violence.

In this day and age I shudder to think of a future without independent publishers and fearless advocates such as The AIM Network.

Henry Johnston is a Sydney-based author. His latest book, The Last Voyage of Aratus is on sale here.

 

Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!

Donate Button

Why can’t journalists ask the obvious questions?

Image courtesy of theaustralian.com.au

Image courtesy of theaustralian.com.au

We are all frustrated at the lack of scrutiny afforded to our politicians, and in particular to the government’s repeated claims that we have a debt crisis. Why is it, however, that there don’t appear to be any journalists in the mainstream media who have the gumption to simply ask; “Prove it”? One of our readers has circulated a letter to the independent media sites (The AIMN included) asking that we continue to pose the questions that the mainstream media avoids. The reader, James Fitzgerald, makes a lot of sense.

I sent this to the Guardian Australia this morning, and to the ALP and the Greens as well as New Matilda, The Hoopla and Crikey in the hope that someone (or everyone) runs with it. The journalism sentiments apply to you, too:

Hello, thank you for being a part of the Australian free press.

I see, year after year, election after election, from the conservatives and from the progressives, massive sweeping and dour statements about the inherited economy following an election. I would like to make two points to your editorial staff and your journalists in the hope that they will consider these when framing questions aimed at our (generally) economically conservative, politicians:

1. When a government is claiming a huge and unsustainable, inherited debt, how about they provide a list, to the community, of what the borrowings are for and who the borrowings are from? We can then make more informed decisions about the responsible way to service these debts. As it is, we get a load of sweeping statements proclaiming catastrophic debt (and deficit) accompanied by absolutely no details. It is incredibly arrogant of politicians to think that if they tell us finances are bad (or great?) they have no need to provide supporting information. Please request your editorial staff and journalists to question politicians about this and openly challenge politicians to provide correct information supporting their sweeping assertions? A simple list of borrowings, who they are from and what they are for, will allow much better democratic decisions to be made.

2. Can you also encourage your editorial staff and journalists to question why politicians appear to place more importance on a healthy economy than they do on a healthy society? To my understanding, a healthy economy will naturally follow-on from an established and healthy society. Commerce is (merely) a tool of society, so it should stand to reason that if society is strong, healthy and prosperous the economy will naturally follow. Please question politicians about what social benefits their economic decisions will provide (and to whom).

A wonderful man called Ian Plowman, when confronted by a decision, teaches us to ask: What is the benefit for our grandchildren’s grandchildren?

Again, thank you for your contribution to the spread of balanced, truthful and inquiring information in Australia and the world. I will also send emails with these two ideas to progressive politicians and to some independent, online news outlets so that they may ask the same questions of Abbott, Hockey and Cormann. They may also ask Abbott if he knows what brand of cigars the other 2 smoke when celebrating?

Best wishes,

James Fitzgerald

I may not be consistent, but I’m Right!

Malcolm Turnbull (image from smh.com.au)

Malcolm Turnbull – far from consistent (image from smh.com.au)

“This is the problem, the NBN is just happening too slowly.”

Malcolm Turnbull  February 19th, 2013  Link to Article  

“Opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull said the rollout had been “super-charged” beyond the normal pace of the industry and this had caused guidelines not to be followed, similar to the disastrous pink batts insulation scheme.” 

June 6th, 2013  The Daily Telegraph  Link to Article

This was posted on a discussion site by someone called Alain.

“Which of these economists have a knowledge of science? Most economists are preaching about the financial mechanisms than the science. Most economists have never been involved in business particularly their own where they CREATE wealth & prosperity for themselves & others. Most preach their left wing ideology hoping that people believe them because they have a degree on their wall & in some cases have appeared in the media. I think Australians need to ignore these economists most of whom want Australia to be part of some world wide carbon trading system so they & their banker mates, like Malcolm Turnbull, can get rich at the expense of the hard work masses. The carbon dioxide tax debate has shot down their credibility & shown what most economists are, socialists!”

Now I’ve heard some strange things from people on the Left side of politics too. But, generally, even where I’ve heard a Lefty ranting like some crazed loon, there’s been a consistency in their peculiar view of the world. At least their conspiracy theories involve people who might conceivably conspire together.

But “Alain” just about captured all that disturbs me about the Ridiculous Right (my term for the equivalent of the “Looney Left” – do you think it’ll catch on?). The fact that they’re impossible to argue against because they present a moving target. “Alain” complains that economists shouldn’t be commenting on climate change policy because they’re not scientists, yet seems to have no trouble commenting on it himself. And I suspect he has no problem with Andrew Bolt’s comments either even though Bolt lacks a science degree. (Or any degree, considering he was a university dropout). But economists commenting on carbon tax are outside their area of expertise.

They are just out to help their banker mates, like Turnbull, because, that’s right, they’re socialists! Economists and bankers, hiding their socialist colours by making huge profits, are actually plotting the overthrow of the capitalist system.

And we could all have a good laugh at “Alain” and the absurdity of his inconsistency. Except that this is the sort of strange logic we hear all the time from the Liberal Party. OK, perhaps not quite as bad as “Alain”, but Julie Bishop’s assertion that Indonesians were actually saying different things behind close doors seemed to show a similar disconnect from reality.  Here are a few more examples:

When the budget surplus didn’t eventuate, we all know because revenue wasn’t as big as expected. The LNP jumped all over this, and said that Swan was dreaming to expect the revenues predicted. They, of course, have a plan to return the budget to surplus. It involves cutting revenue. They intend to cut that ENORMOUS tax on everything, the Carbon Tax, but continue to give us the compensation. (And I presume, the compensation for companies, too.) This REDUCTION in revenue is how they’ll return the Budget to surplus.

Cracking down on the misuse of 457 visas is attempting to demonise foreign workers – “disgusting and racist” according to Murdoch, but it was ok to suggest that asylum seekers are likely to throw their children into the sea. An honest mistake, we know, and I wish I could remember the apology.

Similarly, if one looks at the pink batts installation, Labor was criticised for their lack of oversight by the LNP, but that hasn’t stopped the Opposition calling for a reduction in government red tape and make demands that we should allow private operators to just get on with it in nearly every other area of business. Rather than a discussion about how much government regulation is desirable, it’s asserted that the government should have had more checks and balances in this instance because people died, but at other times, we’re told that self-regulation is just fine. When the wall collapsed in Melbourne, the unions were terrible people for linking this to workplace safety, because the people killed weren’t workers. Trying to make political capital out of an tragic accident is just wrong, unless it’s a Labor Government that’s being blamed. (An interesting perspective on the whole pink batt saga can be found  at  Crikey.)

So, I’m gobsmacked that somehow the NBN is being linked with the asbestos which Telstra is digging up. Somehow, it seems to be Gillard’s fault that there is asbestos there. As though it’s not something that would have been uncovered sooner or later; as though it’s the people installing the NBN that are the ones who’ve failed to take proper precautions.

Surely they can’t blame the presence of asbestos on Labor. Surely, everyone knows who’s really to blame: Turnbull, the bankers and their socialist mates!

 

Scroll Up