Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Yes, but it depends on the question.

If the aim is to boost income and productivity, well, the situation isn't as clear as you might think.

How do we know?

Try this study . . .


A simple idea: the failure of our rhetoric to match our reality.

Journalists spend ages attempting to craft their stories to make them 'accurate'.

But what happens when you know that what you're meant to report on - be it the assurances contained in the government's 'Asia White Paper', or the solemn protestations of a politician pretending to assure us of 'x' or 'y' - is rubbish . . .

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


The biggest question faced by the military is always money. 

The initial challenge is getting enough from the government, then fighting for a greater proportion of that pie. 

This analytical piece appeared in a Canberra Times Defence Supplement . . . 

Monday, October 29, 2012


Maxine McKew's a great journalist - but that doesn't mean that everything she's written is objective.

Particularly when it comes to politics.

That's hardly surprising. One of the things that makes for great journalism is passion, and McKew's passionate about politics. This is (sort of) a review of her book, Rudd's chance to return to the Lodge (virtually negligible) and Gillard's prior knowledge of the coup (I believe she did know prior to the morning she announced her challenge) . . .


I've written a few comments to help my students as they struggle with writing a news story . . .


Julia Gillard just doesn't understand. Why we are alive? To make money? To be a multi-factorial input for the production process? Or for some other reason.

Amidst all the verbiage launching the Asia White Paper today she listed the reasons we need to engage with the region.

Money, economy, security - all of the usual suspects were front and centre, just as you'd expect. Yet how utterly devoid of imagination!

The reason to be engaged with Asia is because it's interesting, exciting, challenging, fun and wonderful and to interact with foreign cultures . . .

Friday, October 26, 2012


When you see old pictures of Jimmy Saville and hear his catch-cry - "Ow's about that then!" - armed with the knowledge that he preyed on young girls, it's difficult to restrain utter disgust at the way the BBC protected their pin-up pedophile for so long. 

But it can be difficult for a columnist to evoke feelings amongst readers. It's not enough to simply assert Saville/the BBC was/is disgusting - you need to create those emotions amongst the audience. 

I reckon this op-ed piece from Allison Pearson (London Daily Telegraph) is a great example of the style . .  . 

Thursday, October 25, 2012


The unkindest cut of all.

Just like Brutus turning his dagger on Julius Caesar, Superman has departed the Daily Planet. He won't be using his alias as a reporter any more, because, let's face it, there soon won't be a paper to report for.

This extract is straight from the amazing;

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Over in the UK todays 'big scandal' is, understandably, the BBC coverup of the Jimmy Savile affair (the now-deceased preformer was, apparently, effectively able to utilise the Corporation as a procurement agency to provide him with underage girls for sex).

The BBC's current Director General appeared overnight at a parliamentary inquiry into the affair .

What astounds me is a comment half way through this report . . .

Monday, October 22, 2012


Another election, this time in the ACT. Another disaster for Labor.

Because of the usual strong Labor vote in the territory, Labor didn't lose and will probably be able to form government. The last time the Liberals came this close to having a Chief Minister was in 1995, just before the Keating government lost in a landslide.

This column considers the dynamics behind the vote:

Monday, October 15, 2012


Last Tuesday, Julia Gillard gave a passionate speech about sexism in Parliament. 

It was strong, forthright, and failed completely to address the serious issue of criticism of the Speaker (who she was defending). 

Because I'm a man, I am, by dentition, unable to refute her claims. However, as I hope this column makes clear, I think it's unlikely she's won many votes as a result . . . 


Those in my journalism tutorials will be aware the next couple of weeks are involved with reporting the courts. Your assignment will be worth about a third of the marks for the course.

The details of the work are on the Moodle page.

This is a bit extra . . .

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Perhaps it's time for a new financial system.

If you were going to have one you'd have to begin by reforming the Reserve Bank, so perhaps that's a good place to start.

This column published in the Canberra Times considers the Bank, and then the banking system . . .

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


I'm sorry about this post's title, but I was intrigued by something in a (London) Telegraph article by Willard Foxton.

"It may surprise you to learn who Britain's third most popular "porn babe" has been for the past couple of weeks. It was none other than the Duchess of Cambridge, the former Kate Middleton. Until last week, she was listed in the top five most searched UK "babes" on, a site which aggregates free pictures of mostly porn actresses, but also celebrities . . .

"Indeed, I feel a little guilty writing this piece, as my own disapproving post on the Middleton nudesgenerated 300,000 hits for the Telegraph." 

So, will the words "Porn Babe!" and "Middleton nude photos" spike traffic to my blog? I'll let you know what the stats are soon . . . 

PS. Foston's post is at:

Monday, October 1, 2012


The war in Afghanistan continues - yet there's been little analysis of what's occurring from an Australian perspective. 

Until now. One of the former Australian commanders, Maj Gen John Cantwell, has released an extraordinarily honest book about his life. 

This was my take on the book . . .