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Dancing on the graves of my enemies

By 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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Dancing on the graves of my enemies
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JennD 2:50 pm 25 Jun 12

Gungahlin Al said :

I think Greg Jericho summed the current situation up well:

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 9:09 am 21 Jun 12

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

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