Citizen Journalism

Posts Tagged ‘Miranda Devine’

Sorry, @mirandadevine: @catharinelumby reflects on Twitter ethics

In Catharine Lumby on May 11, 2013 at 12:39 PM

duty_calls

By Catharine Lumby 

May 11, 2013

A couple of nights ago I rang the News Limited columnist Miranda Devine. I had gone to some lengths to obtain her mobile number. I needed to apologise to her in person for retweeting a tweet by Mike Carlton that I did not read carefully enough before flipping it on to the Twittersphere.

Carlton’s original tweet read: “@mirandadevine is ‘embedded’ with the Police Riot Squad, as she puts it. What, all of them at once? Must be exhausting”. What caught my eye at first glance was the notion that the Australian police had adopted the practice, familiar from the invasion of Iraq, of ‘embedding’ journalists. I retweeted it  and less than a minute later, I read my retweet and realised that Carlton’s original tweet included a very offensive sexual subtext that I missed when I first read it. I immediately retracted my retweet and apologised on Twitter.

Like many people who inhabit the Twittersphere, I was working on my laptop while scrolling the Twitter feed on my phone when I sent the retweet. I wasn’t prepared to excuse my retweet as mere carelessness because I knew that there was a real person at the other end of the tweet and my retweet.

Miranda and I are at very different ends of the political spectrum and she has been less than kind about my views in some of her columns – as she is entitled to be. I don’t know her well but when we have bumped into each other socially I’ve been impressed by her warmth and her openness to dialogue. When I rang her she was gracious enough to accept my apology. Others on the right, however, saw my retraction as ‘bizarre’ and implied that I was intentionally maligning Miranda because I thought it was OK to cast a slur on someone with different opinions.  So I copped my own abuse that same day and it behoved me to take it on the chin.

It’s a small story that contains the seeds of a much larger story about the world of potential pain which unfolds every day on social media. Miranda Devine and I are from the same generation. When I started in journalism at the Sydney Morning Herald, in 1987, Remington typewriters were still lying around the newsroom among the computers. At one point in my endless apprenticeship to what was still called a trade, I was assigned to the Letters page. My major task, apart from deciphering the spidery handwriting of Retired High School Principals from East Lindfield, was to call the writers chosen for publication and verify their identity and get them to agree to me editing their copy down to one paragraph.

It seems a world away now. The public sphere has been democratised in ways we could never have imagined before the digital, online and social media era. The media no longer operates one-to-many. Everyone with access to a computer or a mobile phone can have their say – even if they are sitting in a café sending 5,000 angry tweets frustrated that only have five followers. As someone who passionately believes in dialogue – and most importantly civilised dialogue – I love the fact that the public podium has been opened up to everyone. What I don’t like is the level of vitriol and abuse that so often characterises debate.

I suspect many people feel the same way. Neither the Left or the Right have a monopoly on ethical engagement. As a left-leaning  feminist commentator, I have had far more abuse and defamatory comments angled at me from people who are supposedly on my ‘side’ of politics. My problem, perhaps, is that I refuse to take sides. I genuinely care about having a conversation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Using Thatcher’s death to rewrite history, past and present

In Ideology, Misogyny, News Limited, Sarah Capper on April 18, 2013 at 5:17 PM

Thatcher-loc

By Sarah Capper, Sheilas Editor

Source: Sheilas
18 April 2013

When Germaine Greer penned a piece on the late “crocodile hunter” Steve Irwin for the Guardian shortly after his death from a stingray puncture, it was followed by howls of protest from all parts of the globe. Greer ended her ‘barbed’ take on the much-loved ‘Aussie legend’ with:

“The animal world has finally taken its revenge on Irwin, but probably not before a whole generation of kids in shorts seven sizes too small has learned to shout in the ears of animals with hearing 10 times more acute than theirs, determined to become millionaire animal-loving zoo-owners in their turn.”

As a result, Greer was lambasted as insensitive, cruel and GASP, “unaustralian” for daring to write such a critique. Some called for her to be banned from entering the country again. The National Portrait Gallery replaced a picture of Greer with – you guessed it – Steve Irwin.

In such situations, the assumption is that we should never speak ill of the dead, even if those who have died have been major public figures and divisive ones at that.

Former British Prime Minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher was indeed one such public figure, who at the helm of the United Kingdom during the 1980s presided over policies which had huge impacts on the people she governed. Her passing last week led to a barrage of global tributes from political leaders of various persuasions.

In response, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said that “as a woman, I am admiring of her achievements on becoming the first woman to lead the United Kingdom”.

Locally, conservative columnists took the opportunity to elevate the memory of Britain’s first and only female PM as a chance to sink the boot into Australia’s first and current female Prime Minister.

Under the headline ‘JULIA’S NO MAGGIE’, News Limited columnist Andrew Bolt lambasted Gillard’s response to the news as “pathetic and graceless”, as “Thatcher never sold herself as a victim or just a representative of her gender”.

Bolt used his column to have another spray at Emily’s List, a terrible organisation in the eyes of the Bolt’s of this world, which, god forbid, aims to support progressive women in political positions within the Australian Labor Party.

Referring to an Emily’s List function two years ago, Bolt quoted Gillard at the event as saying she “didn’t get here [to be Australia’s first female Prime Minister] alone … I think of all the women who made my journey possible … a century of activism by women of matchless courage and resolve.” Read the rest of this entry »

Citizen journos unite!

In AFHP, Journalism, Margo Kingston, MSM, The Hanson Affair on March 15, 2013 at 9:01 PM

mpic

By Margo Kingston
March 15, 2013
Source: Sheilas

Sarah Capper, Sheilas editor: Veteran political journalist and author Margo Kingston is back! And just in the nick of time with an election year upon us.

After some time off, Margo returned to writing at the end of last year, spurred into action when she heard Opposition leader Tony Abbott attacking the Prime Minister over the so-called ‘AWU’ slush fund. In her best-selling book ‘Not Happy John!’ (recently relaunched by Penguin as an e-book), Margo examined Tony Abbott’s own involvement in a ‘slush fund’ – with the dubiously named ‘Australians for Honest Politics’ fund that was set-up to bankroll court action against Pauline Hanson. Margo reminded readers of this with articles published on the Independent Australia website, and was then further encouraged back into writing when former Webdiarist Tony Yegles created a website under the same fantastic title of ‘Australians for Honest Politics’. Welcome back, Margo!

In terms of returning to a ‘virtual reality’, she explains:

After seven years in the real world I’m back in the virtual one until the election. Once I dabbled on twitter and realised the extent of the collapse of the mainstream media as an accountability mechanism, it was inevitable. So I have deferred the final year of my nursing degree, accepted the services of the geek who created a website, and got to work with fellow citizen journos. I’m excited to be again fulfilling my vocation, this time watching the death of the old media and playing a part in the creation of the new.

We hope to publish more of Margo Kingston over this election year and link readers to articles on her new site. In this piece for Sheilas, Margo looks at what’s been making news through Twitter over the last week – click on the links below to be redirected to articles:

On March 7, Australian Women’s Weekly editor-in-chief Helen McCabe linked this post on Twitter:

Miranda Devine on “mummy bloggers” and the PM’

I came across it on International Women’s Day. Grrrrr. It read to me like sour grapes from a columnist who had privileged access to the former Prime Minister John Howard, and was now pissed off from feeling a little, well, displaced.

Helen McCabe is an old friend – we did the road trip chasing Pauline Hanson in her 1998 election campaign – so in response, I tweeted:

Why Miranda on PM dinner, Helen? Why not run someone AT dinner? ‘mummy blogger’ sexist on IWD!‘.

Vigorous twitter talk ensued, and Helen asked for pieces – which she paid for – on why the phrase mummy blogger was not OK.

Mandy Lee wrote ‘‘Why I hate the term mummy blogger’ .

Zoe Arnold wrote ‘Why mummy bloggers are so much more than their condescending name suggests’ .

Kim Berry wrote ‘Don’t call me a mummy blogger’.

To Helen’s credit, she then used her gig on Network Ten’s The Project to put the wider world in the picture.

This is what can happen on Twitter.

I felt uncomfortable watching Tony Abbott use his sister to remake his image on Sixty Minutes.

So did Shelly Horton, Sydney party reporter for the Sunday tabloid the Sun Herald. She tweeted:

‘I don’t think Tony Abbott is a reformed woman-loving gay-accepting man. I just think he’s been media trained to be polished liar’.

Her personal opinion on the Abbott interview summed it up for so many that the original tweet was retweeted nearly 500 times. Read the rest of this entry »