Citizen Journalism

Posts Tagged ‘Canberra Press Gallery’

The Press Gallery contemplates reform: Join the conversation

In Fifth Estate, Journalism, Margo Kingston, MSM on May 2, 2013 at 2:48 PM
Source: http://pressgalleryreunion.com.au/

The PG at old parliament house before the big move. Source: http://pressgalleryreunion.com.au/

By Margo Kingston

May 2nd, 2013

The Canberra Press Gallery is in a reforming state of mind, and to my surprise I’m making a contribution, thanks to Twitter. And thanks to the Press Gallery Committee President @David_Speers, Tweeps can have an input too.

The PGC decides who joins the club. In the old days we knew who belonged, journos chosen by their media employers. So there are no criteria for entry, no standard form, no process apart from emailing the president and obtaining a signature for Parliament officials to issue a press gallery pass. We all knew who belonged and who didn’t.

Times are changing. New media is moving in, old media is contracting, and the very definition of ‘journalism’ is contested. The increasing direct involvement of citizens in public political discourse is intensifying demands for transparency in the media, which has somehow kept its internal workings secret at the same time as it successfully demanded ever increasing transparency in the political institutions it interrogated.

The casual, oral tradition of volunteer working members of the Press Gallery exercising what amounts to secretly exercised, discretionary power is under serious pressure, exemplified its recent refusal of membership to @callumdav. His account in @independentausstory triggered Tweep questions on how the PGC worked and where they could access a list of PG members. Although I was a member for many years I didn’t have all the answers, and @walter_bagehot kindly briefed us.

I was surprised that the press gallery membership list, readily in Parliament House, was not a public document, and tweeted David for a a copy for  publication. Having received no reply, I lodged an FOI with the Department of Parliamentary Liaison, which has the list because of its duty to maintain the security pass database.

As a result, PGC secretary @Jamesmassola had a go at me by tweet: ‘FOI seems like a sledgehammer to crack a nut.’ David then asked for my email address. Here is our correspondence.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Pity the poor journalist…

In Journalism, Sally Baxter on February 24, 2013 at 7:27 PM

The End of Newspapers

By Sally Baxter
February 24. 2013
Source: SallyBaxter 

Pity the poor journalist.

For every pompous hack filing his or her daily lecture to the nation, there are countless others trying to do more and more every day with less and less.

At the same time, if they’re smart, they’re trying to get a handle on the shape of the future. Which way, Journalism? And, not unimportantly, will it pay?

And will it be worth the constant nit-picking and sometimes outright abuse on social media that seems to go with the job these days?

Is the good ship of the traditional publisher going down or is it just shifting course?

And what, in the future, will distinguish a professional journalist from the many competent amateurs already out there with their blogs and their wonky charts?

Journalism academic Jay Rosen recently identified five distinct power shifts between writers and publishers which may give a hint of the way forward.

Not all of us can be technology bloggers Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg (the subjects of his article), but their story highlights how niche journalism is developing well beyond the traditional specialist publication model.

Rosen observes correctly that modern readers simply have less of a need for publishers. Traditionally, news was bundled together into a single package which tried to include something for everyone.

Put the package online, says Rosen, and the bundle falls apart.

And there’s the rub. As consumers we are no longer prepared to wade through all the bits we’re not interested in to get to the few stories we do want and the telly listings.

An exchange on Twitter between Australian blogger Greg Jericho (Grog’s Gamut) and Marcus Priest of the Australian Financial Review encapsulates Rosen’s point, and the dire predicament of traditional publishing.

Jericho commented to fellow blogger Paula Mathewson (Dragonista’s Blog) that he’d like to see the AFR return to a pay-per-view model so he could read just its political coverage.

You can read the full exchange here  (thanks to Matthew Lee for Storifying it).

Priest’s defence of the traditional bundle is robust but can’t alter the fact that a growing segment of news consumers – like Jericho, like me – no longer want it.

Encouragingly perhaps, Rosen thinks that puts writers in the ascendant.

As he sees it, it’s simple economics. People will pay for something which is scarce. And that’s no longer ‘news’ which, we all know, is with us 24/7 in a bewildering array of formats, nor the ability to distribute it.

What’s scarce is good journalism which serves its community.

And there are readers – like Jericho, like me – who will pay for it. Just find out how we want it, and give it to us just that way, as I’ve said before (Does journalism die not with a thunderclap but a tweet).

In the Netherlands there’s now an app for that. It’s called DNP and its readers subscribe to specific journalists who edit and market themselves. Seed money included around E25,000 raised through crowdfunding.

According to DNP managing director Jan-Jaap Heij, the journalists don’t have to invest anything, not even a start-up fee and revenue is split at around 50 per cent each between journalist and host.

Heij says the venture started out with 11 people and now has about 200 lined up to join. More details at Journalism.co.uk (and thanks to Margo Kingston for the link). Read the rest of this entry »

Independent media must take Fairfax’s place

In Fairfax, Margo Kingston, MSM on February 11, 2013 at 2:27 PM

266646-120619-smh-greg-haywood

By Margo Kingston
Source: ABC The Drum
June 25th 2012

So, it’s finally over. Although it has been coming for a long time, really. What happened last week was just the full stop.

Decades of mismanagement and executive asset stripping now sees Fairfax on its knees, bending to Gina. And there is the real prospect that hard copies of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age will cease.

What next?

It is not on to have one big newspaper group in Australia. Fairfax hasn’t done the job of serious, gutsy competition for years, but at least it was there. Now that Murdoch has just bought the excellent online ‘Business Spectator’, that refuge for top Fairfax business reporters and analysts, that vehicle for getting the truth out about Murdoch is no more.

And where’s the protest at the prospect that he will control Foxtel by buying out Packer’s stake? He nearly got a similar prize in the UK until The Guardian finally broke through on phone hacking.

The challenge is much broader than Murdoch, of course. We’re going to be losing many, many journalists, and that means fewer competitors at the micro level. For example, there will be one film critic across Fairfax. And presumably one environment reporter, etc, etc. That gives enormous power to the few now covering special topics, in one way. In another way, though, it weakens their power, because if the boss puts the kybosh on a story, there’s no risk it will be broken elsewhere.

And with Fairfax, a creature of Gina or at best an online-only tabloid site, the ABC comes under enormous threat. What would an Abbott government do to funding? Think John Howard in 1996. Remember Murdoch lobbied hard in Britain to cut funding to the BBC. Without a well-resourced, strong ABC, there is no scrutiny. Just one agenda setter.

All in all, an awful state of affairs for Australia and our democracy. So what is the solution?

The way I see it, the various independent online media groups need to get together, pool their resources, and step up to become a genuine media alternative to Murdoch and the dregs of Fairfax. Media academics could also be around the table.

It will take real money, and as I’ve long argued, the best model is a trust with sufficient capital to finance a long-term project of creating the new Fairfax. I’d like to see Crikey, the Global Mail, New Matilda, and Online Opinion come together. And the best specialist bloggers need to be under the umbrella. Read the rest of this entry »