“Oh my goodness”, I thought to myself. “I look like a male stripper…” I’d removed my shoes, my socks, my pants, my jacket and my shirt, but I was stuck on the bow-tie. Oh my goodness, who invented the bow-tie? I’d spent close to five minutes trying to get it right at the beginning of the night – and it’s a faux-tie, not a bow-tie by the way – and at the end of the night, close to midnight, I found myself struggling to get the bloody thing undone.
There’s usually only a couple of times each year when I get dressed up like this, and the Andrew Olle Media Lecture is one such night. I’ve been to all but a few of them over the last ten or fifteen years, and they’re always interesting, always fun, and a wonderful opportunity to catch up with colleagues. “Unlike an awards night or something like that, they always have some substance because of the lecture itself”, I told a colleague who was attending for the first time. In addition, you have the fund raising element in support of brain cancer researcher.
This year’s speaker, Laurie Oakes spoke about the industrialisation of journalism…
The trend overseas is towards more predictable news presented in more uniform formats because this is more efficient. It’s sometimes described as McJournalism or–in the words of the BBC’s respected political correspondent Andrew Marr-“bite-sized McNugget journalism.”
He spoke about the issue of declining public trust in journalism. He also argued politicians were, themselves, to blame for the so-called “dumbing down” of political reporting.
If you want to see a real dumbing down of politics, treat yourself to another look at recent election campaign commercials from both sides.
He went on to say…
Politicians make policy decisions on the basis of what will get the most favourable media coverage rather than what’s best for the nation–and somehow that’s the media’s fault. It’s tosh. The problem Tanner and Rosen describe is down to weak politicians, not the media. Can you imagine Paul Keating being so timid? The solution doesn’t lie with the media. Politicians need to grow a backbone.
As always, it was an interesting and fun night. And now, aged in my mid-40s, I no longer felt the need to go out socialising afterwards. No, I caught the bus home, and was back in my abode by about 11.30. It was some time, however, before I got to bed, thanks to that stupid bow-tie :)