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Guardian switches to Twitter and converts entire back catalog too, resulting in genius tweets such as:

JFK assassin8d @ Dallas, def. heard second gunshot from grassy knoll WTF

Full article

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Every week, a journalist somewhere is killed or assaulted for simply doing their job.

This extraordinary editorial by the murdered editor of the Sri Lankan Sunday Leader was apparently written just a few days before his death.

May these brave souls continue their work. May I one day be able again to help defend them through working, as I have in the past, on press freedom issues with the International Federation of Journalists. (Download the 2007-8 report on press freedom in South-Asia -- I helped copy-edit the 2005-6 version.)

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In a last-minute fit of future-proofing, I've decided to use frequent flyer points to jump on a plane to Sydney tomorrow to attend the MEAA's Future of Journalism conference at the ABC.

Couple of questions:

a) Anyone going?
b) Anyone wanna see me outside of the conference? I'll be there till mid-afternoon Sunday.

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Farewell, Pamela Bone. You were an amazing journalist, an incredible woman, and a great inspiration to all of us at The Age. Rest in Peace.

It was a privilege to have known you.


May. 16th, 2006 04:08 pm
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I'm staring up at my panel of Transmetropolitan on the wall above my desk, in which Spider Jerusalem is in the process of kicking down a door, his big boot extending past the bottom of the frame. "I don't have to put up with this shabby crap!" he says. "I'm a journalist!"

I had a T-shirt of this made for [ profile] pluces years ago and am seriously considering getting it done again for me.

It made me think just now about my journalist heroes, though, heroes that have made a difference, whether in real life or as characters. The real ones of course are Woodward and Bernstein, Seymour Hersh, the gonzo crowd. The characters are people like Spider Jerusalem and Logan Cale (Dark Angel) -- underground figures who blog, who use pirated bandwidth to get the message out: the bastards are corrupt! I guess that's one of the hopes I had for indymedia, but few of us are doing our own investigative research and publicising it. We report on protests, we provide our own spin on corporate news.

Instead, when I teach journalism, I still have to teach 'objectivity' as a goal, that it's about balance and never to put your own opinion into the story, even though the Tom Wolfes and Hunter S Thompsons of the world so famously put themselves in and made their stories so much more vibrant. There's a difference though, in the way they did that, and the way my students stumble over what is reportage, observation, as vibrant and intense as they can make it, and what is anecdotal, personal, their own bias or their own connection to the thread of what they're writing.

I want to teach journalism as the pursuit of truth over the pursuit of balance. I want it to be about the ideals I see when I look at the International Federation of Journalists or Reporters Without Borders. I want it to shed light into dark corners and bring out the stories of those who have no voice.

I don't think I'm ever going to be one of my hero journalists, although I can try. I think I can provide a space for such things in some way and maybe I will write something one day with one of those kinds of characters, who will inspire someone to become one of those heroes.
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I am grading papers, one of my least favourite tasks in teaching, and one that always pushes me towards procrastination and reflection.

Today's fleeting reflection started out with "how can I stop all the Asian-Australian students/Asian international students sitting near each other and only quoting Asian-Australian friends as sources in their stories?" when I realised this construction is enormously problematic. Equally good question: How can I stop all the Anglo and European-Australian kids sitting near each other and only quoting Anglo and European sources in their stories?

So, here we are again with the ghetto mentality, on all sides. It just reflects what's going on in society, I guess. I have a couple of times in class asked for the 'quiet ones' to participate more and have held the brash ones back which has allowed for more balance in class between the ethnic contributions (stereotype or no, it's what happens) and I try to make sure that in small group work, there are mixed groups, and especially not groups with one Asian international student guy and a couple of Asian international student girls because they will always defer to him, whereas in a group of just girls, they will participate brilliantly.

Meanwhile, I have two Asian-Australian students who are complete geek girls into manga and SF and have to stop myself from seeming to favour them and ostracising the rest of the class.

I think, if I'm ever the one actually running a course again rather than just tutoring for someone like this is, I'll set the second assignment as one where they must write or commission a story from outside your own culture so they get that real learning/sourcing/interviewing experience instead of the quote-a-friend trend.


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