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Analysis and Comment (29)

White Paper magazine offers ‘the distilled wisdom of RN’ in written form. White Paper magazine offers ‘the distilled wisdom of RN’ in written form. Constantine Belias

Radio you can read? What to make of RN’s new magazine

This month, ABC Radio National (RN) launched a pilot digital magazine, White Paper, which presents “the distilled wisdom of RN” in a monthly interactive offering delivered free to your tablet. Newspapers…
The challenge for the ABC as it faces political opposition is to remind taxpayers of the good value it represents and of the public service journalism it creates. The challenge for the ABC as it faces political opposition is to remind taxpayers of the good value it represents and of the public service journalism it creates. AAP/Dave Hunt

What would the Australian media look like without the ABC?

The Abbott government is preparing to cut funding to the ABC. The end of the Australia Network in its present form is one saving already flagged by communications minister Malcolm Turnbull. And while the…
Surf, sand and unthreatening bush? Not here, thanks. Surf, sand and unthreatening bush? Not here, thanks. ABC

Dr Blake … and cinematography as a screen character

Most Australian TV drama series are full of light … and full of surf, sand and suburbs or endless horizons and unthreatening bush. But one series that returned to ABC TV last month has a distinctive and…
The ABC has been insufficiently sceptical of video ‘evidence’ for allegations that the Australian Navy mistreated asylum seekers. The ABC has been insufficiently sceptical of video ‘evidence’ for allegations that the Australian Navy mistreated asylum seekers. ABC

ABC, forgetting lessons of 2001, pays for its lack of scepticism

The ABC’s handling of allegations that Australian Navy personnel deliberately injured asylum seekers has become nastily entangled with an array of complex issues. These include: the politics of ABC bias…
Rather than axing the Australia Network, the government should rethink our soft diplomacy strategy in spreading Australia’s message to countries such as Indonesia. Rather than axing the Australia Network, the government should rethink our soft diplomacy strategy in spreading Australia’s message to countries such as Indonesia. EPA/Adi Weda

Lost in transmission: the Australia Network, soft power and diplomacy

According to reports, the Abbott government is considering scrapping the ABC’s Australia Network in the May budget to save money, ending its role in “soft diplomacy” efforts in the Asia-Pacific region…
The Government has sent messages to business and the ABC, this week. The Government has sent messages to business and the ABC, this week. AAP/Alan Porritt

Grattan on Friday: Abbott government has the trumpet out, and not just to blast the ABC

The Abbott government has been firing rhetorical bullets at friends and enemies alike in the last few days. Some employers are weak-kneed. The ABC is unpatriotic. On the face of it, there’s little in common…
Arctic Monkeys are certain to feature in this year’s most voted songs. Arctic Monkeys are certain to feature in this year’s most voted songs. AAP Image/MG Promotions

We love music: why Triple J’s Hottest 100 still rocks

Australia’s national youth station, Triple J, has come in for some criticism lately, with a spate of articles accusing it of homogenising Australian music tastes or excluding too many local acts from the…
Is the existence of the public broadcaster necessary for a healthy democracy in Australia? Is the existence of the public broadcaster necessary for a healthy democracy in Australia? AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Do Australians really need the ABC?

Since 1803, when its first newspaper was published, Australia’s media have been owned largely by private enterprise. Except for the Government Gazette, which was confined to publishing official government…
The ABC will be richly rewarded for its decision to monitor its coverage if the analysis is robust, empirical and multidimensional. The ABC will be richly rewarded for its decision to monitor its coverage if the analysis is robust, empirical and multidimensional. AAP/Stefan Postles

Beyond ‘impartiality’: how the ABC can benefit from editorial audits

The decision of the ABC to conduct regular editorial audits of its coverage of controversial topics is a great idea. The ABC has a unique place in the Australian media landscape. Learning more about how…
There’s no clear need for a review of the ABC’s operations – and such calls have a long history. There’s no clear need for a review of the ABC’s operations – and such calls have a long history. Sarah Ackerman

What would be the point of yet another ABC inquiry?

Prime minister Tony Abbott may be a fan of institutional inquiries and a critic of supposed ABC bias, but he has nothing to gain by responding to calls for yet another review of the ABC. First, there’s…
Known for good political antennae, ABC chief Mark Scott has come under fire for his decisions around the Snowden spying leaks. Known for good political antennae, ABC chief Mark Scott has come under fire for his decisions around the Snowden spying leaks. AAP/Alan Porritt

ABC could learn from BBC realpolitik over spy leak fallout

The current stoush between the ABC and the government sees two competing perspectives on the role of public service media in play. The Coalition, on the one hand, regards the ABC as duty bound to serve…
Chairman of the ABC James Spigelman delivered his National Press Club address in Canberra. Chairman of the ABC James Spigelman delivered his National Press Club address in Canberra. AAP/Stefan Postles

Attempts to stand over ABC nothing new, says chairman

ABC chairman Jim Spigelman has strongly defended the national broadcaster against political attacks and complaints about its competing online with commercial media. Spigelman said there was nothing new…
Does the ABC have any business providing entertainment to the masses? Does the ABC have any business providing entertainment to the masses? ABC TV/AAP

Public interest or public choice? Your $1.2bn ABC

Australia is about to have a debate on the role of government in business. That debate is going to be spread over several issues – Qantas’ junk bond status, Holden’s Australian manufacturing decision…
The news media and politicians often squabble over whether an issue is the public or national interest, renewing a centuries-old debate. The news media and politicians often squabble over whether an issue is the public or national interest, renewing a centuries-old debate. AAP/David Crosling

Right to know: the ‘nation’, the ‘people’ and the Fourth Estate

We might forgive politicians for putting the “national” interest before the “public” interest. But when the news media makes the same mistake, it is time to be worried. The Guardian and the ABC rightly…
The full story of the Keating years – and their aftermath – is both far more complex and contentious than the man himself would have us believe in his ABC interviews. The full story of the Keating years – and their aftermath – is both far more complex and contentious than the man himself would have us believe in his ABC interviews. AAP/David Crosling

Keating: interviews for the true believers

The ABC’s four-part series of interviews with Paul Keating, which has just finished airing, displayed the former prime minister and treasurer in all his complexity, both at his best and at his worst. This…
Supposed savings on children’s television are based on flaky figures. Supposed savings on children’s television are based on flaky figures. ABC

Give Hoot the boot? Let’s not downsize ABC’s kids offering

In a report published this month by the Centre for Independent Studies (CIS), Simon Cowan advocates the downsizing or sell-off of ABC3 – the dedicated channel for Australian school-age children – as a…
The ABC’s Four Corners program investigated the people smugglers allegedly behind this asylum seeker boat, which sank off the coast of Java in September this year. The ABC’s Four Corners program investigated the people smugglers allegedly behind this asylum seeker boat, which sank off the coast of Java in September this year. AAP

Four Corners: human smuggling and the spectacle of suffering

Last night, the ABC’s Four Corners program fed us with yet another 50 minutes worth of emotional, heartbreaking and harrowing testimonies of traumatised survivors of yet another human smuggling tragedy…
Shows such as Kitchen Cabinet can elicit unexpected – and genuinely newsy – responses from guests. Shows such as Kitchen Cabinet can elicit unexpected – and genuinely newsy – responses from guests. ABC

We still want to consume news – but tastes are changing

Earlier this year, the ABC’s managing director Mark Scott announced Australia’s public broadcaster would begin a search “to find creative ways to deliver news to children and teenagers”. In the announcement…
Wherever the leaders went on the campaign trail the media followed. How can we assess the media’s performance? Wherever the leaders went on the campaign trail the media followed. How can we assess the media’s performance? AAP/Alan Porritt

Election 2013: the role of the media

In one sense, the Australian media did a good job under difficult circumstances in this election. The difficult part was how predictable the campaign was and the increasing inevitability of the outcome…
While reporters' political biases are always hotly debated, other biases remain - including too few voices from diverse backgrounds. While reporters' political biases are always hotly debated, other biases remain - including too few voices from diverse backgrounds. AAP/Alan Porritt

Whose views skew the news? Media chiefs ready to vote out Labor, while reporters lean left

Most Australian journalists describe themselves as left-wing, yet amongst those who wield the real power in the country’s newsrooms, the Coalition holds a winning lead. But while the media’s political…
The ABC will be left with significant holes in their schedule after the BBC signed a deal to share their content with Foxtel last week - will they fill it with more local content? The ABC will be left with significant holes in their schedule after the BBC signed a deal to share their content with Foxtel last week - will they fill it with more local content? EPA/Andy Rain

The Foxtel-BBC deal: implications for Australian television and content

The ABC’s 50-year TV partnership with the BBC is at breaking point after a landmark deal between the British broadcaster and pay TV provider Foxtel was announced last week. Under the new deal Foxtel will…
BBC Director-General George Entwistle has been forced to resign, plunging the public broadcaster into crisis. BBC Director-General George Entwistle has been forced to resign, plunging the public broadcaster into crisis. EPA/Facundo Arrizabalaga

BBC scandal: lessons for the ABC to learn

As the BBC considers splitting the role of its chief executive and editor-in-chief, should the ABC give serious thought to adopting a similar model? The ongoing turmoil at the BBC over an ever widening…
Any restriction on buying painkillers needs to be consistent with national privacy protection. Any restriction on buying painkillers needs to be consistent with national privacy protection. Nils Geylen

For your own good? Privacy law and enthusiastic pharmacists

Earlier this week the ABC reported that a handful of pharmacists in Tasmania had engaged in community policing. They’re tracking the purchase of codeine-based painkillers, sharing information with their…
No longer a free-for-all: how will paywalls affect the content of Fairfax’s news websites? No longer a free-for-all: how will paywalls affect the content of Fairfax’s news websites?

In the digital age, paywalls will force a paper tiger to formulate a content strategy

As a graduate student at the University of Sydney in the 1980s, I worked with a professor who had over 15 years of copies of The Economist in his office. Stacked from floor to ceiling in the corner office…
Fairfax Media needs a patron - and the one on offer is Gina Rinehart. Fairfax Media needs a patron - and the one on offer is Gina Rinehart. AAP

Fairfax is broke and dying before our eyes - it needs Gina

Every business needs paying customers. Who those paying customers are varies from business to business. The single largest paying customer for Australian universities, for example, is the federal government…
The Convergence review’s final recommendations have fallen short when it comes to Australian content. The Convergence review’s final recommendations have fallen short when it comes to Australian content. AAP/Dean Lewins

Convergence Review: missed opportunity with Australian content

The Convergence Review Final Report released yesterday appears at first blush to promise major changes to the Australian media landscape. The report flags the creation of a new communications regulator…
Mark Scott, managing director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Mark Scott, managing director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. AAP/Alan Porritt

Mark Scott on the future of your ABC

Welcome to In Conversation, our series of discussions between leading academics and major public figures in Australian life. In this instalment, Mark Scott, managing director of the Australian Broadcasting…
The way the Federal Government has handled the Australia Network tender could see it forced to pay compensation to Sky News. The way the Federal Government has handled the Australia Network tender could see it forced to pay compensation to Sky News. AAP

Is the Federal Government legally liable for treating Sky News unfairly?

The Australian Government’s handling of just who should run the Australia Network is manifestly controversial. And it may have put itself in the position of having to pay out compensation to the passed-over…
Julia Gillard is portrayed sympathetically in the new ABC satire. Julia Gillard is portrayed sympathetically in the new ABC satire. ABC Television publicity

‘At Home With Julia’ exposes obsession with personality over policy

Does the ABC’s new hit series At Home With Julia demonstrate an unreconstructed sexism in Australian political satire? Should we be cringing at our cultural immaturity again? If the 2010 Election (or subsequent…

Research and News (4)