Sep 15, 2011

The logic of an inquiry into a media model under siege

The media inquiry is less an attack on freedom of speech than a search a solution to the basic problem of the newspaper model. Good luck fixing it.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Intriguingly, after knocking back an inquiry into the future of manufacturing and what the government can do to support it, Labor has agreed to a similar inquiry into the future of newspapers, another traditional sector struggling to adjust to structural change.

Manufacturing merely employs 9% of workers. Newspapers are much more important than that. Well, they are to politicians, and to journalists as well. That’s why there are acres of analysis and commentary today on a subject in which 98% of voters have absolutely no interest (as if, given the ensuing 1200 words, I’m in a position to criticise that).

Free Trial

Proudly annoying those in power since 2000.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

57 thoughts on “The logic of an inquiry into a media model under siege

  1. guytaur


    Regulation in the Internet sphere will work only to support quality jornalism. That with difficulty.
    This is because a citizen can have their blog hosted just as easily in the US or other countries outside Australia’s Regulatory reach. So not even usung shield laws as a bargaing chip may work.

  2. Stevo the Working Twistie

    The only issue worthy of an enquiry is concentration of ownership, and that issue is not included in the terms.

  3. Mark Duffett

    An effective complaints process may be problematic for bloggers? I’d have thought that, barring unreasonable moderation, the comments stream on a blog is as effective, certainly as open a complaints process as you’re ever likely to get.

  4. Gavin Moodie

    Not only am I very ill disposed to a quality journalism fund but I find it hard to imagine how it would work. Even assuming that it is arbitrarily restricted to quality journalism published on dead trees, papyrus or clay tablets, how would one distinguish the broadsheets from every other newspaper such as the ethnic press, Green Left Review, the War Cry, etc.

  5. Zjonn

    Perhaps the question should be; “why are sales, advertising, readership, viewing etc. down” for newsprint, radio and free to air TV. Ask this question and perhaps the answer might lie in the content, or mediocrity or lack of it which they provide.
    Newspaper reporting these days is virtually non-existent, it consists of printing press releases, press releases by politicians, lobbyists, PR companies, all telling us that black is white and white is grey and grey is really black.
    The only unique aspect of the print media lies within the columnists they employ where they give their perspective on all that matters to them which must make it valid for everyone because they comment on it so the perception must by obvious extension make it so.
    Very little of the content provided by these spruikers of public opinion, be it in print, radio or current affairs (TV) is actually balanced so as to make it appear to be impartial comment, yet the fact that they expound those opinions and some, often very few, people actually read or hear these comments, this somehow gives some sort of relevance and perceived credence to their verbal diarrhea and is assumed to be public opinion because it was in the paper, on TV or on the radio.
    If the media provided relevant content to the majority, perhaps they would be better supported by the public, as it is, each have decided to cater for a certain demographic profile thus excluding the many other potential customers.
    People don’t support much of the media because most of the media’s content is either disagreeable or irrelevant to them.

  6. Clytie

    I seriously question whether the Internet is responsible for an interest (even obsession) with gossip. People have been gossiping since humans could talk, and I well remember the smutty headlines in tabloid placards outside shops, when I was a kid in the sixties.

  7. Scott

    Waste of time and money in my opinion.

    There are enough protections in law regarding both press freedom and individual privacy….Apart from the odd dodgy incident, I think we have the balance pretty much spot on.

    As for media diversity…well look at how many sources of news we have now vs what we had 20 years ago. It’s not even in the same ball park.

    For mine, this is just “the left” having a winge because it’s champions (Bob Brown and the government) are taking a few hits from an embolden right wing press. Well, this is what happens in a power vacuum when there is a deficit of strong, quality leadership…people (and organisations) step up to the plate and have a swing. But it is the sign of a strong democracy that this can happen.

    I would be more concerned if there was no dissent and the media were all nodding their heads along with the government. Then we would truely know that democracy was in trouble.

  8. jonah Stiffhausen

    Why does being concerned about/ defending free speech, make one “right wing”?

    Does that mean the Left is anti? I think we should be told.

  9. Bernard Keane

    Mark I agree but suspect the traditional idea of a “complaints mechanism” is what is being aimed at by the Press Council, complete with a response/investigation/retraction process that consumes resources and time.

  10. TheTruthHurts

    The Greens reckon News Limited needs a spanking for not saying the sort of stuff it wants.

    I say to the Greens, start your own newspaper, stop trying to shut down others.

Leave a comment

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details