I want to believe in our media. I believe the craft of journalism to be an extraordinarily important thing.
It is a critical part of our democracy. And it distresses me that I am so critical and that it has so deteriorated.
I believe that most journalists believe in their craft. And many are good. The institutions they work for have morphed and twisted so much to adapt to a changing world without being able to catch up, that the quest for market share has become so much more important than reflecting back and challenging our society, our culture and the issues that beset it.
So I am heartened tonight to discover this piece, a speech written by Mark Scott, the managing director of Australia’s ABC TV and radio. He is reflecting on the Australian election and the role played by media. By social media. How it could change. For the better.
It gives me hope.
Though we have to focus on our media.
Here’s an excerpt. I urge you to read the piece
The ABC hosted Jay Rosen for a day while he was recently in Australia. He is always good value on the role of social media and the nature of politicaljournalism – in some ways quite a contrarian – and full of encouragement about things we could do better.
He had two suggestions for the ABC, which we are exploring and will likely pursue.
The first is to provide more background, detail and context for members of our audience who are coming fresh to complex stories: like an ETS, or the NBN, or the operations of a hung parliament. The ABC has a role as a patient explainer of these complexities, to help people catch up with the conversation, understand what is being said and to make a contribution if they wish. It plays nicely to our Charter role to provide an educational service to the community. It makes policy more accessible and can bring important issues into the mainstream.
And Rosen said we should plan more thoroughly and consult more widely around what national issues are at play in an election campaign. Long before the campaign starts, talk with the community, engage with experts, undertake polling, think about national challenges: the immediate and the far-reaching.
Charter? What’s that? Planning? Backgrounding, education? Explaining complex issues? making policy accessible? Conversation? Golly. Doesn’t really feel like our media.
Hat tip @abcmarkscott (twitter)