Future of Public Service Media – Sydney Ideas

Sydney Ideas

“There’s no universal model of public service media, in terms of content, principles or funding” was the concensus of the academics who spoke at a Sydney Ideas forum, which I attended tonight. “Sydney Ideas”, by the way, is a series of regular public forums which I sometimes go along to. Despite our “BBC model” of public service media we have in Australia, the academics spoke of the diversity of public service media. In the US, for example, they have public service media which is largely funded by the private sector. […]

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Google 4 Media Day

View from the sixth floor of Google HQ in Sydney

The view from the sixth floor cafe at Google HQ in Sydney is pretty damn good. Along with about 150 others, I participated today in a “Google 4 Media Day” held there which ended with a couple of glasses of wine. It was a lovely day in Sydney, with a nice breeze, and the perfect end to an interesting day. Organised by the Media Team at Google here in Sydney, there was an obvious PR element to the day, as we were encouraged to use Youtube, Google+, Hangouts, Earth and […]

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Andrew Olle Media Lecture

Andrew Olle Media Lecture - Cassie, James, Cath, Wendy

It was another of those regular “big nights” for me. The “Andrew Olle Media Lecture” is one of my favourite nights of the year, professionally-speaking. I get to dress up (in the same tux I’ve been wearing for several years), I get to do a bit of schmoozing, and I get to hear someone interesting talk about the state of the Australian media. According to this year’s lecturer, Julian Morrow from “The Chaser”, this was memorable as a year of comedy gaffes. He cited not only the “Make A Realistic […]

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And Then There’s Ray…

Photograph with Ray Martin.

It was the end of a memorable night at The Andrew Olle Media Lecture, the annual cross-media shindig in Sydney. The lecture was delivered by Ray Martin whose central thesis was that good commercial television journalism is often supported by passionate media individuals, the likes of Murdoch and Packer. When media companies are run by banks and other financial institutions only looking at the bottom line, he argued demonstrably that journalism isn’t well supported in the commercial television sector. As I walked around the room at the end of the […]

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Two Good Nights

Bentley Bar

It’s lunchtime Saturday and I’ve just finished listening back to last night’s Andrew Olle Media Lecture, which I really enjoyed. Last night’s lecture was given by News Limited CEO, John Hartigan, who carried on a theme earlier expressed by Lachlan Murdoch that good journalism and good business aren’t mutually exclusive. In expressing the view the digital age hadn’t “dumbed down” journalism, but had raised the bar significantly, he did however state a concern that younger journalists, these days, spend too much time in the office. As usual, it was a […]

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September 11, 2006

I remember vividly the night of the attacks. Damien and I were watching the late night news when, all of a sudden newsreader, Sandra Sulley, with an odd and confused look on her face, announced they were crossing immediately to CNN. Over the next few hours, we sat and watched, drank some wine, and for just a brief moment, as the attacks spread beyond the Twin Towers, felt a moment of fear, suspecting an attack on inner-city Sydney couldn’t be that far away. Five years later, it’s September 12 here in Australia, and coverage of September 11 is almost over. It’s been going on for a week now, and I’ve watched a fair deal of it, especially over the last twenty four hours with pretty shitty weather here in Sydney making television watching an attractive holiday alternative. And there’s been a lot to choose from: everything from the conspiracy theory film, Loose Change (which they’ve just shown on the History Channel), through to the bloke singing “God Bless America” on Fox News just a short while ago. My orgy of September 11 viewing, however, began last night with Al Gore, the former Vice President (and would be President) appearing on Denton’s Enough Rope. Gore is in Australia to promote his film, highlighting the potential dangers associated with global warming. In a softly-softly manner, Gore urged Australia to sign to Kyoto Protocol. AL GORE: Australia and the United States are the […]

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Public Service Broadcasting

As it’s been a long time since I’ve attended a university lecture, tutorial or seminar, I guess I’d forgotten the importance in academic cricles of reviewing literature and locating discussions within a theoretical framework, but today it all came flooding back. At the end of a rather interesting day at work, I went to a seminar led by Dr Georgina Born from Cambridge University entitled, “Digitising Democracy: Digitisation, Pluralism, and Public Service Communications”. Her paper canvassed a range of arguments about the degree to which cultural organisations such as the BBC (and implicitly the ABC) could or should also be agents of representative democracy. Her own personal view being that the independence of such organisations would be compromised if, by becoming agents of representative democracy, they would also become arms of government. “If you want an e-democracy, set up a new agency, don’t use the BBC”, was the essence of her argument. Dr Born provided a reasonably brief, thumbnail sketch of the BBC’s forays into digital broadcasting, including new television, radio and online services and was largely enthusiastic about the capacity of new technologies to deliver a more representative viewpoint of the UK’s cultural diversity. I’d actually hoped she’d have spoken more about the practicalities, and I asked a question about the degree to which production models and standards had changed in the UK as a result of doing more with less, but I guess I soon realised that wasn’t […]

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