Tag Archives: Australian media

The No Illusions Podcast #56 – Wendy Bacon on Media Bias

Wendy Bacon is a contributing editor to NewMatilda and has reported for Crikey,  the Sydney Morning Herald and The Conversation in recent times.

She is an investigative journalist with a background in social activism who worked at the University of Technology for 21 years. Although no longer teaching at UTS, Wendy is still a Professor of Journalism at the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism.

In 2011 she published a report on the bias in Australian newspapers over their coverage of climate change. The results of this report BLEW MY MIND.

I chatted with Wendy yesterday about the report and the state of journalism in Australia.

You can find Wendy’s website here and her Twitter account here.

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News Corp’s Anti-Science Agenda

“Big Bang Theory a Bust” is the way News Corp is peddling this two-year old story about Roger Penrose’s “Conformal Cyclic Cosmology” model for explaining concentric circles of cosmic background radiation. Why run the story two years late? I have no idea. But it’s the headline that is the true story.

It’s obviously written by a sub-editor to a) be sensationalist and b) discredit science in the minds of the general public. I’ve already seen people in Facebook picking up the story and using it to start discussions about how science is equal to faith.

Very similar to the HeraldSun’s approach to the now-discredited neutrino experiments out of CERN last year.

Sensationalist and anti-science. Of course, any intelligent person understands that the scientific method is a process of refinement – one experiment or, in Penrose’s case, theory, in no way “upends” or “busts” anything, especially not time-tested theories such as the Big Bang or the speed of light being the speed limit for relativity.

But I’m pretty sure News Corp cares not about such things as accuracy. It’s about sensationalist yellow journalism and trying to discredit science. Why would they want to discredit science? Because it helps them rally the Christian Right vote. Fox News has turned itself into a profitable political power house in the USA by pandering to the Christian Right, anti-science demographic and it looks like News International wants to try the same trick here in Oz.

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Unfortunate Imagery

Reading Zite on my iPad tonight and saw this headline:

Drilled down into the story to discover the young guy in the photo is actually NOT a victim (or perpetrator) of pedophilia, but is, instead, an Aussie in Japan:

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TrueLocal Advertisers Deserve A Refund

I went looking for a house cleaner today and ended up on News.com.au’s TrueLocal site. I found someone in my area, clicked on their ad, then tried to send them an email. Up popped the below contact form. But I COULDN’T contact them because the verification captcha is broken. TrueLocal FAIL by you.

When I mentioned this on Twitter, @truelocal replied

@cameronreilly Thanks for brining it to our attention, it’s an issue from our end with Firefox3.5 and will thankfully be fixed v soon

Well that’s all fine and dandy, BUT, I asked, are you going to be refunding your advertiser’s funds? It seems to me like you aren’t delivering your promised services.

So far, no response from @truelocal….

It’s not acceptable when billion dollar media companies can’t get a freakin website to work properly. My suggestion? Stop hiring monkeys.

If I was a journalist for Fairfax, I’d probably do a story on this.

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Bad news for newspapers

Bronwen has written a great piece explaining, once again, why newspapers (and the companies behind them) are at the end of the road.

Of course the argument for paid content is about defending commercial news organisations and not journalism. Problem is the two aren’t mutually exclusive anymore.

For starters, it excludes the competition from government subsidised media – SBS and ABC – who probably can’t wait for News Corp and Fairfax to start charging for their content. A senior news person at SBS told me just yesterday that he “WANTS those sites to charge!” – not because he believes in paid content, he doesn’t, but because it certainly brightens his future.

read more: bronwen clune » Blog Archive » Bad news for newspapers, great news for journalism.

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