Today’s feedback section carries a strong letter from Nicola Paris
pointing out my conflict of interest in writing about People Power’s
campaign to win the balance of power in Victoria’s new upper house,
especially yesterday’s link to the start-up party’s donations page.
She’s right on this last point, so we’ve decided to lay down some
grounds for the next five months.

I’ll be devoting about half my time to People Power up until polling
day on 25 November, but much of that will be spent gathering
information about Victorian politics and disseminating it. There will
be two vehicles – Crikey for brief but worthy news and commentary and a
regular and free People Power email newsletter which will contain more
information on the Victorian campaign than you will find anywhere else.

Crikey subscribers who are interested in all the fine detail of our
campaign and Victorian politics generally can sign up to the People
Power newsletter on the home page. This is partly copying the jeffed.com
model from 1999 – if you can’t get your message out through the
mainstream media, build your own outlet with compelling content and they
will come. Jeffed attracted more traffic than the ALP site during the
final week of the 1999 campaign and was widely credited with helping bring down Jeff Kennett.

However, to ban me from writing about the forthcoming Victorian
campaign on Crikey would be to abandon a practice that has been part of
this ezine since in was launched on 14 February, 2000. It’s called
immersion journalism and this involves blending activism and journalism
by directly becoming involved with a story and then writing about the
experience.

We’ve literally published millions of words about my previous 28 tilts,
so why stop now? As has happened before, the likes of Charles
Richardson and Christian Kerr will be perfectly free to rubbish People
Power’s policies and prospects on Crikey. Subscribers and rival parties
are free to sledge away in our feedback section.

When you run for office you learn a whole lot more about an issue than
if you just remain on the sidelines as some independent journalistic
observer. It’s the same with investments – when you’re a shareholder
you take a greater interest. This insight will generate some unique
content for Crikey. Sure, no mainstream media outlet would do that, but
this practice is one of the things which makes Crikey unique.

As long as the conflict is declared, there isn’t a problem. But you
won’t see any more links to People Power’s donations page or clarion
calls for Crikey readers to sign up as members of candidates. All that
sort of guff will be part of the mix in the People Power newsletters.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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