Dancing on the graves of my enemies

johnboy 20 June 2012 30

The Beast this morning was awash with furious agreement on how wonderful the Canberra Times is and old dinosaur Jack Waterford was in to lament the future loss of his long boozy lunches (aka “quality journalism”).

So as a part of the pernicious new media tearing down the model I’d just like to say YIPPEE!

Waiting for the cut announcements at the Canberra Times is a bit like Christmas around here.

We started this site 12 years ago in part because we thought the Canberra Times did a terrible job.

(And while we’re here I’d like to say that in 8 years in the parliamentary press gallery I was constantly struck by the laziness, ignorance, and self indulgence of the Fairfax newsrooms where you could safely fire a shotgun most mornings before midday)

We don’t think it’s improved. The plummeting circulation suggests the public agrees with us.

Frankly what 80 editorial staff do out there is a mystery for what they produce.

Yes we do link to things that paper does. (Lucky we do as they periodically nuke their content leaving only our quoting for posterity).

When we do we acknowledge our source.

They lift a hell of a lot from us too, but at best refer to us as “the internet” or “a canberra website”. And we’re not the only place they steal from.

There is an inherent dishonesty at the heart of australian print journalism. The internet has allowed the public to see the report, the media releases, and the transcripts, and come to see that inherent dishonesty.

We all deserve better than that.

The cosy club of powerful people used to controlling absolutely what you were allowed to know will bemoan the passing of the ancien regime.

Roll on the future for the rest of us.

UPDATE 20/06/12 14:23: Christmas deferred it seems. The announcement is going to be next week.

But the CT to remain a broadsheet.


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30 Responses to Dancing on the graves of my enemies
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JennD JennD 2:50 pm 25 Jun 12

Gungahlin Al said :

I think Greg Jericho summed the current situation up well:
http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com.au/2012/06/fairfax-and-g20-visits-what-do-we-need.html

An anonymous blogger (for good reason) doing it for nothing and with a huge following, who was outed unnecessarily by a former CT journalist on a salary, I note.

Best statement in the piece: “The discussion, as with all such announcements, turned to the future of media and why people won’t pay for news. Well here’s a tip – I am finding less and less I have any need of what is written, and secondly less and less I trust that which I read.”

JennD JennD 2:45 pm 25 Jun 12

So what’s going to stop you from enjoying some “long boozy lunches” on us? Having had my jokey dig at you JB, i’d like to know whether there are plans for expansion into investigative journalism – it’d be so great if you could pilfer some of the better journos from CT, employ them and give them the power to do what they were trained to do… As opposed to PR pieces.

    johnboy johnboy 2:58 pm 25 Jun 12

    We’re looking for a second journo now. If we pick up some more advertisers we think we could get to 7 editorial staff which would free up some resources for real digging yes.

    It’s really up to our readers signing up for their paid subscriptions and advertisers coming on.

WillowJim WillowJim 9:55 pm 21 Jun 12

I read both RA and the CT. I have no problem with either. Both contain an awful lot of stuff that doesn’t interest me, but that’s fair enough. Both have quality issues, but that’s fair enough, too (though less forgiveable in the case of the CT, if it has as many subeditors as claimed).

But really, Johnboy, is the only reason you’re so delighted in the CT’s woes its failure to reference the RA a handful of times? All media do that to each other. You do it too, in a way. Like I said, I often read a story in the CT, then hear it discussed on the ABC, then see it here cited as an ABC story. Or I read a story in the CT, then see it referenced here as a News.com.au story (when it’s actually an AAP version of the CT story).

Why all the fuss over a story’s provenance? Media outlets don’t hold intellectual property over story concepts; they only hold IP over the manner in which they tell a story. Even then, their “ownership” of the words is pretty flimsy.

Newspapers are dying, but it will be a slow death. It ain’t gunna happen this year or next year. And companies like Fairfax will survive in a different form, despite all of the current wailing.

But why take pleasure in a company’s hardship and duress? It must have done something to you, Johnboy; something more than “steal” a few stories. In any event, RA is an information aggregator, and a damned good one. “Stealing” stories is your very business.

    johnboy johnboy 10:20 pm 21 Jun 12

    They’ve got a policy of never mentioning the site. It’s not a bit of casual lifting.

p1 p1 12:29 pm 21 Jun 12

dazzab said :

I hardly think it’s by any means accurate to describe RA as independent.

Well, there is the reptoids of course.

Dilandach Dilandach 10:43 am 21 Jun 12

One major thing that annoys me more than anything else is that you seldom have a journalist asking those really hard questions that make politicians squirm because there is the fear that the politician/party will end up blackballing the journalist preventing them from having future interviews. So we just end up with politicians giving their coached lines with the journalist lapping it up fearing to delve into anything.

Thumper Thumper 9:09 am 21 Jun 12

Whatever the case, the loss of the Canberra Times is unthinkable.

Lookout Smithers Lookout Smithers 11:17 pm 20 Jun 12

What your referring to is not by any means exclusive to the Canberra Times. Its laziness inherant in humans and can probably be attributed to many things. The fact that it is little more than a gossip rag but for the weather pages is just the way journalism has played out in Australia. Yours is perhaps more obviously one sided and riddled with personal value judgements than most, but luckily this site doesn’t claim to factually inform people of anything and I think probably part of the appeal. It is a good site for Canberrans and shouldn’t want to be any alternative to a media rag. If it was my site I would be talking to many about new media content and multiplatform intergration with more social media. Progress, do something different and innovate. Lead public opinion instead of just responding to it like the rest of the mainstream money whores. Honest.

dazzab dazzab 10:30 pm 20 Jun 12

Interesting reading. I’m not really sure what to think about it.

I must admit to being surprised when I found out that RA was actually run by a professional journalist (is that the proper description?). I like the site but it just seemed like any other blog really.

I hardly think it’s by any means accurate to describe RA as independent. I do struggle with the issue that when I provide content that may add value that I receive none of that value. I suppose it’s a trade off of someone providing and paying for the venue (added value) in exchange for the content but hey, I think personal blog and other sites I operate are just as interesting if not more so. It’s not exactly rocket science to create an online presence.

Nonetheless, and in spite of my ramblings, it’s an interesting thing to watch. I’d be careful of dancing on graves though as given the nature of ‘net based business you may end up in the very next grave much sooner than expected.

It’s all very interesting though. Keep it up.

M0les M0les 2:57 pm 20 Jun 12

Aye.

Diggety Diggety 2:46 pm 20 Jun 12

Gungahlin Al said :

…dismay at extremely highly paid executives’ inability to recognise the freight train until it has wiped the tracks with their entrails.

…does anyone think Gina Reinhart would snavelled up so big a shareholding if the shares weren’t already tanking?

See the link?

p1 p1 1:59 pm 20 Jun 12

Gungahlin Al said :

I would much have rathered they show vision and morph their channels ahead of the game in order to seize the new opportunities.

Ok.

    johnboy johnboy 2:33 pm 20 Jun 12

    Christmas deferred it seems. The announcement is going to be next week.

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 1:45 pm 20 Jun 12

thehutch said :

I don’t get any pleasure watching one form of media enjoy the demise of the another form of the media. Especially when it includes local jobs.

I think everyone knows that the paper industry as it is will not be the same in 10 (even 5) years time. Who needs to gloat?

For my own part, it is not gloating at the demise of an industry, but dismay at extremely highly paid executives’ inability to recognise the freight train until it has wiped the tracks with their entrails.

I would much have rathered they show vision and morph their channels ahead of the game in order to seize the new opportunities.

But as a friend of mine tweeted this morning:
“I think online-only will be great for #Fairfax – they understand the internet better than anyone. More info after this auto-play video.”

Or as Wil Anderson deliciously summarised it:
“I’m no big-city economist but I’m pretty sure this new Fairfax plan to offer less and charge more is what people have been crying out for…”

Yep – they just don’t get it. And they drag all the good staff and shareholders down with them…

Meanwhile, does anyone think Gina Reinhart would snavelled up so big a shareholding if the shares weren’t already tanking? So there’s another serious chunk of Australian society fallout for Fairfax management to answer for.

Postalgeek Postalgeek 1:16 pm 20 Jun 12

Im starting to feel a bit of a chump paying to support media sites like Riotact.

We should piss off all professional journalism and thrive off what amateurs can muster up in their spare time and media releases.

I demand perfection and I deserve it, so bugger putting money towards this sort of stuff.

Aaroncbr Aaroncbr 1:08 pm 20 Jun 12

Good to see you took the high road.

poetix poetix 1:07 pm 20 Jun 12

Garçon. Merde on a baguette that’s annoying when it does that.

poetix poetix 12:57 pm 20 Jun 12

As the heads fall, Johnboy sits knitting, discussing the justified executions with the other tricoteurs:

Jean le gar?on: Ah, but the heads make the funniest sound as they leave the fat, overprivileged bodies!
Other one (Tim le Tam?): Indeed. Yet it is the way that they roll that adds piquancy, n’est-ce pas?

thehutch thehutch 12:45 pm 20 Jun 12

I like reading the paper (I own a tablet) but I prefer the paper version. I also enjoy reading the riotact. I think both forms of media compliment each other.

I don’t get any pleasure watching one form of media enjoy the demise of the another form of the media. Especially when it includes local jobs.

I think everyone knows that the paper industry as it is will not be the same in 10 (even 5) years time. Who needs to gloat?

pajs pajs 12:22 pm 20 Jun 12

The other point I take from the Jericho piece is the importance of getting everyday news gathering and reporting right. Accuracy is fundamental to trust. I’d pay $ for more media where the content is accurate and can be trusted. More or less long-form, deep-investigative reporting, doesn’t matter to me as much as doing a good job on the everyday stuff of journalism. This means fact-checking, accuracy, research, making an effort to get a range of sources, allowing rights of reply in stories…

I’d pay for the Riot Act, Crikey, mainstream papers etc if they got the everyday stuff right.

Funky1 Funky1 12:04 pm 20 Jun 12

Gungahlin Al said :

I think Greg Jericho summed the current situation up well:
http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com.au/2012/06/fairfax-and-g20-visits-what-do-we-need.html

An anonymous blogger (for good reason) doing it for nothing and with a huge following, who was outed unnecessarily by a former CT journalist on a salary, I note.

Just read this blog too. Great insight into what the Aussie media has become and that Trust, not Information, is the new currency.

Mysteryman Mysteryman 11:28 am 20 Jun 12

johnboy said :

Christmas and New Years Days aside there is barely a day in the year something is not announced in Parliament House before midday.

Every other news organisation up there had plenty to be getting on with, including other newspapers.

Fair enough. I don’t spend a lot of time around the press gallery so I’m not sure what they actually get up to up there – apart from leaving gear all over the hallways.

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