National Security and Press Freedom

This is the second of two short pieces written for my Communication Law and Ethics unit. They aren’t anything particularly special, with only 750 words to try explain some current issues in media law, whether the current laws are effective, and the prospects for reform. Still thought it worth sharing given the drought of content on this site recently. This one covers protections for journalists reporting on matters of “national security”, a rather vague phrase used to shield the government from public inquiry and embarrassment – or accountability for criminal activity.

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2021 Reading List (Part 2)

14/12/2021

This is part 2 of my reading list for this year, continuing in order of when they were read following part 1 HERE.

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2021 Reading List (Part 1)

13/12/2021

I have not written anything for a while, having gone from taking a short break at the wind down of university and then straight back into work, and thought that I should get a head start on the yearly reading list review. I hope to add another one or two by year’s end, but I am quite happy with the amount I’ve managed to get through this year. List will be in the order I read them with comments looking back over them, and with a few exceptions I would recommend most of them. Also keep in mind the earlier in the year it was the less precise details I’m going to remember about the book, so bear with that.

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Objectivity Requires Evidence and Context

15/09/2021

I’ve written a number of pieces over the years about objectivity, whether that be reporting in the media, the recording and study of history, or relying on science for truth. As usual, something I have read and stuff I have heard puts my own ideas in much clearer language than I have so far achieved, this time in the case of journalism. John Pilger’s 1998 book, Hidden Agendas, that came out the year I was born, basically says truly objective journalism needs one key thing – context.

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The Management of Meaning in Australian Journalism

20/03/2021

The art of communication has become highly coveted in today’s global and highly connected societies and economies. Whether it’s PR spinning a positive image for a corporation, a creative team selling a hit advertising campaign, or journalists telling the news, professional communicators reach into every aspect of our lives. Some can, and do, have immense power over our perceptions of reality, particularly in the political realm. But while these communicators have the power to disperse meaning, they aren’t always the ones making it.

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First Year Textbook DESTROYS My Career

13/03/2021

Due to a complete lack of direction in life and an astounding cynicism towards the systems that govern it, I have returned to university to study the so-called final and sacred vanguard holding the world’s democracies up like Atlas does the globe – journalism! Buckle up, it’s a journey to piss off some academics and “professional communicators”!

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Journalists Must Remain Adversarial

08/11/2020

Wow. Biden managed to pull this off, pending very unlikely wild shifts in multiple recounts or some kind of unexpected coup. Joe Biden is now named as President-elect, and Donald Trump will go down in history as a one-term impeached President, one whose legacy will likely remain for decades given his staggeringly high vote count. However, while celebratory gestures for Trump’s defeat are understandable, it is a mistake to become complacent just because the Democrats, the “adults”, as some outlets and commentators have put it, are making a comeback.

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Report Truth, Not Views

23/05/2020

The idea of journalism being an adversarial “pillar of democracy” is laughable, as I have written a few times on this site before. One of the books I am reading at the moment, Merchants of Doubt, provides examples of how the “fairness” and “balance” aspects of journalism, however desirable in theory, are corrupt and abused in practice. As “conservative intellectuals” of the Internet age love to say, facts don’t care about your feelings, folks.

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Biases in Journalism and in History

28/12/2019

I have written before about E. H. Carr’s ideas of the “historian and his facts”, of how history can never be “objective” because there are always things that will influence even the most aware observers. I would put forward that this concept also applies to journalists, who are, in a sense, historians of the moment in which they report.

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Propaganda: Selecting and Misrepresenting Voices

18/11/2019

One of the things any book, article, or academic course on the media will (or should) tell you is that one of journalism’s flaws is agenda setting. Who frames the news, where they get the news, and who they get that information from are just some of the factors that go into structuring what consumers get to read and comment on. Australia is no exception, and as fires rage across the country’s east, many voices are being choked out by segments of the media.

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