The year that ends today was remarkable for one thing on the media front that has gone largely unnoticed: the fall from grace of one of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s brightest stars who has long been a standard-setter at the country’s national broadcaster.
Sarah Ferguson was the journalist’s journalist, seemingly a woman of fierce integrity, and one who pandered to neither left nor right. When she sat in for Leigh Sales, the host of 7.30, the main current affairs programme, for six months while Sales was on a maternity leave break, the programme seemed to come to life as she attacked politicians with vigour and fearlessness.
There was bite in her speech, there was knowledge, there was surprise aplenty. Apart from the stint on 7.30, she brought depth and understanding to a long programme on the way the Labor Party tore itself to bits while in government for six years from 2007, a memorable TV saga.
Continue reading All your gods have feet of clay: Sarah Ferguson’s fall from grace
The Australian Financial Review claims to be one of the better newspapers in the country. But as is apparent from what follows, the paper lacks sub-editors who can spell or who have any knowledge of grammar.
Fairfax Media has an almighty big style guide, but the AFR seems to have thrown it out, along with any competent sub-editors.
All this is taken from a single article titled “Malcolm Turnbull wins support to water down race hate laws” on 21 March. Just imagine how many screw-ups there are in the entire paper. And the paper still complains it is losing readers. Guess why?
Continue reading The AFR has lost its dictionary. And its style guide. And its subs
The moment a Western journalist is treated in the Middle East in a manner that is deemed to be different to that in his own country, the West does tend to get rather heavy on the moralising and judgemental pronouncements.
Peter Greste, a journalist for Al Jazeera, the TV network that has revolutionised coverage of the Arab world, was given a sentence of seven years jail on what seem to be trumped up charges of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
The Brotherhood came to power in elections in Egypt after the so-called Arab Spring had resulted in the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak who, at one stage, looked like having a permanent mortgage on leading the country, either on his own or through his descendants.
Continue reading When the US bombed Al Jazeera, were journalists not prevented from doing their jobs?
EMMA ALBERICI: Let’s talk about the economics shortly but I just want to stay for a moment on the politics.
What’s curious in this instance is that there appears to be little to no appetite in the US for a more aggressive military-style response from president Obama. Even the Republican John McCain, who led the push for some kind of US army assault in Georgia six or so years ago, is now urging caution? – The ABC’s Lateline programme on March 4, 2014.
RECENTLY there has been a great deal of debate in Australia over whether the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, a government-funded entity, is biased towards the left or not.
There is a much more serious malady that affects the organisation and which is never raised: incompetent presenters.
Continue reading ABC: incompetence is a bigger issue than bias
THE explosion of online publishing has seen a breed that knows little or nothing about journalism assume posts as editors, writers, and so on.
But when one comes to such positions without understanding the finer points of the craft – as those who have either worked for, or been trained in, full-time publishing ventures do – the danger of overstepping one’s bounds is very real.
Writing is a tricky business: English is a highly ambiguous language. That is just the beginning of the area where one can sink.
Continue reading Writing the occasional article doesn’t make one a journalist
MEMBERS of the public are quite famous for lambasting journalists for not covering stories accurately or seemingly withholding facts from them.
If any form of corruption comes to light, the media is always blamed for not having exposed it earlier. The mainstream media, especially, takes an awful beating in this regard. Any little mistake — and they do make many — is leapt upon by righteous souls from the among the masses who make it their mission to blame each and every ill in society on the media.
But does this same public really want to know the truth? And when the truth is revealed, does the public act on it?
Continue reading Does the public really want to know the truth?
WHEN journalists criticise something repeatedly, those who read their offerings tend to conclude that the journalist in question has a dislike of the person or people at the heart of that issue – and that is the reason for the criticism.
But that is often not the case.
Irish journalist David Walsh was probably the only one of his tribe to be critical of Lance Armstrong when the American, on his return to professional racing after recovering from testicular cancer, won the Tour de France in 1999.
Walsh took the stand he did because he loved the sport. And he hated the idea that it was being ruined by people ingesting this drug or that and winning without deserving it.
Continue reading Pursuing Armstrong: a journo’s tale of triumph
THE story is told of a young man and his father who set out one morning for the fair, in a bid to sell their donkey. Funds were low, the rains had not come for a long time, and they needed some way of putting food on the table for the next month or so.
When they set out, the old man rode on the donkey and his son walked alongside the beast. But they had gone just a few miles, when they came upon a number of women who stopped and stared, and then started to shout at them.
“How can you ride on the beast when you have a boy of such a tender age? You are forcing him to walk while you have a nice restful journey. Shame on you,” they yelled.
Continue reading You can’t please everyone
WHAT does one call a writer who pretends that the life experiences of others are his own, and passes them off as such? A fraud? A poser? A plagiarist? I have not been able to find le mot juste.
Lest there is any mystery over whom one is referring to, I am talking about the diplomatic editor of the New York Times, Thomas L. Friedman.
Friedman has been ridiculed by journalists like Matt Taibbi and Glenn Greenwald, and rightly so, for his ridiculous use of language and his incoherent writings which appear in what is apparently the greatest newspaper in the US. (That tells us why newspapers are closing down rapidly in that country.)
Continue reading Thomas Friedman, fraud supreme
NEWSPAPERS are dying.Circulations are dropping and owners are desperately trying to find new business models to keep their companies afloat.
One of the reasons that people in the US despise the written word is because of the amount of spin that is transmitted by journalists.
And here is an excellent example of the kind of garbage that makes people ask whether journalists are in possession of their senses.
Continue reading Why journalists are treated with contempt