Holly wins 2014 Walkley Student Journalist of the Year

Monash University’s journalism graduate Holly Humphreys has won the 2014 Walkley Student Journalist of the Year.

Holly, a Masters of Journalism graduate, was recognised for her outstanding story Call for better life for dairy’s rejects, which was published in The Sunday Age.

Holly Humphreys with ABC award-winning journalist Caitlyn Gribbin.
Holly Humphreys with ABC award-winning journalist Caitlyn Gribbin.

She was presented at the Walkley Young Australian Journalist of the Year Awards at the CBD Hotel in Sydney last night.

Holly’s piece was also published in mojo, an online news site edited and written by Monash journalism students.

Holly said she felt privileged to win a Walkley award, which was sponsered by the ABC.

“I must admit that I was shocked to hear my name announced as the winner of my category,” Holly said.

“All of the hard work I put into the story has paid off in a myriad of ways and being formally recognised is an event I will remember forever.

“It encourages me to strive to be a skilful journalist, no matter the hard yards that need to be dedicated to succeed.”

The Walkley judges said: “Holly Humphreys’ story on the fate of male calves born into the dairy industry shone a light on a confronting and little-known aspect of dairy farming.

“She wrote objectively on a complex, emotionally charged topic. We were impressed by her immersive research and vivid storytelling technique. Congratulations Holly.”

SBS News reporter Naomi Selvaratnam, who graduated from Monash in 2012, was a finalist in the Radio/Audio Journalist category.

Naomi’s story, Crisis accommodation shortage hits migrant women, was broadcast earlier this year on SBS World News. She is a finalist in the Radio/Audio Journalist category.

Head of Journalism, Phil Chubb, said he was speaking for all staff in congratulating Holly.

“It was obvious throughout her course that Holly had a great future,” he said.

Phil also paid tribute to Naomi, a Young Walkley finalist.

“Naomi likewise always presented herself as a student who was going places,” Phil said.

“These awards are a recognition of the huge amount of time and effort Monash staff put into mentoring students and it’s great for them, too – not just for the students – when it all comes together on nights like these.

“In many respects this type of recognition is what keeps staff going.”

Holly said she would investigate career options in foreign correspondence, “perhaps to couple my interests in Asia and journalism, but to be honest I am undecided about which medium I prefer”.

“Based on the range of young journalists I met at the awards event it has inspired me to be open to career opportunities in radio, television, online or print, but potentially online because of the rapid changes to the way we access news today and what the online platform allows for,” she said.

In 2013, Monash graduate Ashley Argoon won the Walkley Young Australian Journalist of the Year and was a finalist in this year’s Quill Awards.

Herald Sun AFL reporter and Monash graduate, Sam Landsberger, was a finalist in last year’s Young Walkley’s innovation category. Sam was also acknowledge for his series,  If you don’t mind, umpire, and his exclusive story, Drugs ban for VFL player.

The Walkley Young Australian Journalist of the Year was awarded to Sydney freelance journalist Ella Rubeli for her “outstanding and compelling work” and “extraordinary” use of video, photojournalism, print and multimedia in multi-platform storytelling.

“Ella Rubeli’s outstanding and compelling work has made her the clear winner of the 2014 Walkley Young Australian Journalist of the Year Award … an incredible job and a very worthy winner,” judges said.


Holly Humphries, Monash University, “Call for better life for dairy’s rejects”.

Judges: Jeannette Francis, Monique Schafter and Trent Dalton.

Finalists:  Ben Westcott, RMIT, “ALGA to slug councils for vote” “Ratepayer ‘no’ to yes campaign” and “Early poll to stymie referendum”

Allison Worrall, RMIT, “The other road toll”

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The Value of the Arts: a new Australian study

By Andrea Baker

 On the ABC TV Q & A program on June 9, 2014, titled Primates, Populism and Utopia, a video question from an audience member asked the panel of respected elder Australians (across the arts, anthropology, journalism and academia) whether the responsibility of art was to bring people to passionate awareness of reality.

Dr Andrea Baker.
Dr Andrea Baker.

A doyen of the visual art world in Australia, and former National Gallery of Australia director, Betty Churcher responded to the question by noting that the arts (in general) in recent times has certainly brought Australians together.

A study, The Arts in Daily Life: Australian Participation in the Arts, released in late May this year, from the Australia Council supports Churcher’s claim.

Based on national sample of 3,000 people living in Australia conducted in late 2013, the survey covered visual arts and crafts, music, theatre, dance and literature, as well as community and Indigenous arts.

It found that more than 95 per cent of Australians has engaged with the arts in the past 12 months.

Examining consumers as well as creators, the Australia Council reported that over 48 per cent of Australians were creating art in 2013, compared to 41 per cent in 2009.

The study highlighted that one in three Australians are creating visual arts and crafts, which is up to 30 per cent in 2013 from 22 per cent in 2009.

These findings support the American urban studies guru, Richard Florida’s creative class thesis which contends that over one third of today’s workforce consist of the creative types.

In despite his many critics, since 2002 Florida has argued that the creative class is the economic force of the new industries and businesses; and ‘therefore the dominant class in society in terms of influence’ with ‘the power, talent and numbers to reshape the world’. 

If Australia is aligned with Florida’s world, then we are also a musical nation where one in five Australians are making music, which is up 20 per cent in 2013 from 15 per cent  in 2009.

Literature is also important to us and reading (especially the novel) is still our popular pastime with over 87 per cent of the population reading in 2013, which is slightly up from 84 per cent in 2009.

Ninety-two per cent of Australians also feel that Indigenous arts are an critical part of Australia’s culture, a point which Betty Churcher  along with Amatjere Indigenous elder, Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, a Aboriginal activist from Alice Springs and former lead actor in Charles and Elsa Chauvels’ seminal 1955 Australian film classic, Jedda, alluded to on the ABC program last night.

Perhaps most importantly, the study found that 66 per cent of Australians think the arts have a big impact on the development of children; and can influences their participation as an adult.

This last point is of particular importance to me, as an Arts and Culture coordinator of a large undergraduatejournalism unit at Monash, which runs in 2nd semester this year.

Since 2010 in this highly popular, third year elective unit over 100 journalism students explore the research and reporting practices associated with contemporary arts and culture.

Reporting Arts and Culture canvasses contemporary issues and case studies across the visual and performing arts, cinema, comedy, music and literary reporting.

It examines the key personalities and institutions in the cultural world and critically considers the professional and social implications and accountabilities of reporting in the fields.

What the students are reporting on in (as noted in the Australian Council study) is the growing demand for cultural related events, where arts journalists (alias critics) have the  responsibility of communicating the transformative nature of the arts.

Similar to outcomes from the Australian Council study, I hope that from this tertiary arts educational experience these 18 to 24 year olds emerging cultural critics will develop a stronger ability to think creatively and develop new ideas.

As Sebastian Smee, former art critic with The Australian said: “Inside every critic is a painter, photographer or sculptor fantasising about the opening of their own sell-out show”. 

Participating and education in the arts is not an indulgence, it is a necessity. As the Australian Council reflected, it improves our sense of wellbeing, and the ability to deal with stress, anxiety or depression, which is often so prevalent in our busy lives.

More than 85 per cent of Australians surveyed in The Arts in Daily Life: Australian Participation in the Arts study affirmed that the arts have a fundamental place in our culturally diverse lives and offers a richer and more meaningful life.

Cultural activity is part of our soft power diplomacy. It is a way of understanding our national psyche. Investment in all creative fields adds cultural value to society as a whole.

But in the recent Federal budget cuts, our peak cultural organisations such as the Australia Council and Screen Australia stand  to lose more than 10 per cent of their  annual budgets, which will means few grants to artists and arts organisations.

Despite this, the Abbott government, with Senator George Brandis at the helm as Arts Minister, has sought to reassure the Australian arts community that the Government remains pro-arts, despite slashing millions of dollars from the sector.

In this current post budget climate are these motherhood statements about the arts meaningless?  

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Monash graduates recognised in young Walkleys

By Todd Shilton

Two Monash University journalism graduates are finalists in the prestigious Walkley Young Australian Journalist of the Year Award.

The award recognises excellence by young Australian journalists.

Holly Humphreys is one of three finalists for the Walkley’s Student Journalist of the Year.
Holly Humphreys is one of three finalists for the Walkley’s Student Journalist of the Year.

Master of Journalism graduate Holly Humphreys story Call for better life for dairy’s rejects was published in both The Sunday Age and mojo, an online news site edited and written by Monash journalism students. 

It has already won an Ossie award for Best Convergent Media Story from the Journalism Education Association Australia (JEAA). Holly is one of three finalists for the Walkleys Student Journalist of the Year.

Naomi Selvaratnam graduated from Monash in 2012 and works for SBS News. Her story, Crisis accommodation shortage hits migrant women, was broadcast earlier this year on SBS World News. She is a finalist in the Radio/Audio Journalist category.

Both are in the running to be named the Walkley Young Australian Journalist of the Year, which comes with invaluable news experience at CNN and Twitter in the United States.

Holly said the finalist nomination was a pleasant surprise.

To be nominated by the Walkleys is an honour because the foundation strives to maintain innovation and ethics in journalism, and encourages training and education to basically better those pursuing the craft, Holly said.

To be recognised is an unforgettable compliment, which gives me courage.

Holly said her time at Monash helped prepare her for her journalism journey.

Not only did I learn practical techniques, but I also benefitted from the wealth of knowledge and quality of teaching presented by my lecturers (who were experts in the industry), which they delivered with a personal touch; they were encouraging, genuine, and inspiring, which I am extremely grateful for.

Monash Universitys head of Journalism, Associate Professor Philip Chubb, said the recognition was well deserved.

Here at Monash we get just as excited as our students when they’re nominated for awards like this, even after they’ve left us, Associate Professor Chubb said.

In this case both Naomi and Holly were identified as having great potential from very early in their time with us. We’re very proud of them.

Monash journalism lecturer Matt Mitchell said the nominations highlighted the talent coming out of the Monash University School of Journalism.

Our graduates work exceptionally hard and passionately on researching and investigating stories that are worth knowing about, Mr Mitchell said.

These nominations are a testament to the quality of that work.

The awards ceremony will be held at The CBD Hotel in Sydney on June 25.

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MFJ celebrates successful school and book launches

Associate Professor Phil Chubb launches his book, Power Failure.
Associate Professor Phil Chubb launches his book, Power Failure.

The new School of Media, Film and Journalism (MFJ) was formally launched on May 14 alongside the launch of Associate Professor Phil Chubb’s new book Power Failure.

More than 100 people including Monash’s Chancellor, Alan Finkel, and Dr Elizabeth Finkel, along with Australia’s Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb, who is Phil’s brother, and staff and students attended the joint celebration.

MFJ is the only  school of its kind in Australia housing the three disciplines Media and Communication, Film and Journalism.

Distinguished Professor Ross Garnaut launched Power Failure with the words: “This is an interesting and important book.

Professor Ross Garnaut.
Professor Ross Garnaut.

“It is a good read, and teaches us important things about our political culture. I was close to many of the events described in the book and I learned new things from it.”

The book attempts to answer the question of what went wrong with climate policy development during the years of the Rudd and Gillard prime ministerships, between 2007 and 2013.
Australia's Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb.
Australia’s Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb.
Professor Garnaut and Associate Professor Chubb addressed more than a hundred people at the launch.

Associate Professor Chubb told the audience how he had gone about conducting more than 100 interviews with politicians, public servants and ministerial staff during the research for the book.

Those who agreed to be interviewed included both prime ministers.

Read Professor Garnaut’s speech here

Power Failure Book Launch
Associate Professor Mark Gibson and Professor Bruce Scates.
Power Failure Book Launch
Dean of Arts, Professor Rae Frances (centre).
Power Failure Book Launch
Professor Ross Garnaut (left) congratulates Associate Professor Phil Chubb.



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FOI requests likely to get more expensive

By Johan Lidberg

Tony Abbott’s 2013 election platform promised to “restore accountability and improve transparency measures to be more accountable to you”.

Dr Johan Lidberg.
Dr Johan Lidberg.

In spite of this promise the first Abbott government budget will see the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) closed, and its functions assigned to other government agencies.

This back-to-the-future move is likely to make it harder and probably more expensive for long suffering FOI users.

The OAIC was formed in 2010 as part of the reforms of the federal FOI law, which sought to address long turn-around times and an expensive appeal system for rejected FOI requests that had rendered the first 1982 law close to useless.

The OIAC brought together the privacy and Freedom of Information (FOI) commissioners, allowing appeals on rejected requests to be made directly to the FOI commissioner. This proved a much cheaper process than the old system of having the appeals dealt with by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). Had the OAIC been properly staffed and funded it would most likely also helped improve turnaround times compared to the AAT.

From the budget statement, it’s clear the FOI review function will be transferred back to the AAT from 2015. Funding for the AAT will be beefed up with some of the $35 million in savings (over five years) delivered as a result of the restructure. The Abbott government claims this will make the FOI appeals process more effective.

A step backwards

In reality the budget has returned much of the federal access to information system to its dysfunctional pre-2010 state. The cost to appeal a FOI decision could increase significantly. The fee to lodge an appeal with the AAT is currently A$816. Some of the FOI reviews could be exempt from the fee and part of the cost will be refundable if you win the appeal, but in most cases the fee will increase. Add to this the cost of legal representation needed before the AAT and most FOI applicants will probably think twice before they appeal.

The Attorney-General’s department will from 2015 be responsible for overseeing the Freedom of Information Act and issuing FOI guidelines. In essence Attorney General George Brandis will be expected to drive the decades-long effort to change the culture of secrecy to one of openness and facilitation of access to information. Based on Brandis’ weak interest in the Open Government Partnership there are reasons for concern regarding this culture change aim.

What the research tells us

Preliminary findings in my research project comparing the first generation Victorian FOI law with the reformed Commonwealth law shows the federal law provides quicker and easier access to information.

In the project six members of the public were asked to seek the expense accounts (including details of travel and work dinners) of six Victorian state ministers and their federal counterparts. For all the federal ministers the information was found and downloaded within hours without submitting formal FOI requests. In Victoria FOI process, while the requests were submitted in most cases, the information was not obtained.

The federal reforms were overseen and to a large extent driven by the OAIC. The question is, will Attorney General George Brandis carry on the work of the OAIC? Openness, transparency and accountability is easy to promise when in opposition, but hard to deliver in government. This is why the Open Government Partnership is so important.

The starving of the Commonwealth FOI system in this federal budget will most likely make it harder for long suffering FOI users. This is a great pity. A well functioning FOI system creates a win-win situation. It encourages public participation in the political process and it builds trust between governments and citizens via true openness and transparency.

It is hard to see how the slashing of the OAIC will deliver on the Abbott election promise of increased government accountability. Perhaps this should be added to the growing list of “please explains” that the first Abbott/Hockey budget has created.

This article first appeared on The Conversation.

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Australia’s budget emergency: it’s all about carbon

By David Holmes

A new book released today, Power Failure: The Inside story of climate politics under Rudd and Gillard, documents the failings of the Labor government between 2007 and 2013 in tackling climate change.

Written by my colleague Philip Chubb, Head of Journalism at the School of Media, Film and Journalism at Monash University, Power Failure puts in perspective the politically “wicked” problem of climate change and the missed opportunities that Australia has had to implement policies that measure up to its global share of responsibility.

Power Failure (1)Chubb is an award-winning journalist who created the documentary series Labor in Power, and his reading of the power struggles at the centre of Labor’s climate politics is detailed and revelatory.

Having interviewed 74 key political players including Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, Wayne Swan, Greg Combet and Penny Wong and relying on some surprising leaks, the book maps out the great fall of Labor from the “greatest moral challenge of our time” moment to abandoning any meaningful leadership over the problem.

The research behind the book is meticulous, and it includes a helpful timeline of the key policy and political events, tables comparing the strategies of Gillard and Rudd, polls and the key quotes and declarations that emerged at the policy pressure points.

Associate Professor Phil Chubb.
Associate Professor Phil Chubb.

As Chubb explains, from the moment he was a newly elected prime minister, Rudd was given executive power to choose his cabinet (and much more), a dysfunctional political culture was to haunt the Labor Party.

Rudd’s early decision to abolish cabinet’s climate change subcommittee and make climate his own personal crusade proved disastrous as he became disengaged from it.

Chubb argues that the communication of Labor’s climate policies was very poorly managed throughout Rudd’s term in office. So too were the regulatory concessions made to big coal, power generators and carbon-intensive industries.

Chubb shows how the period up to 2010 was marked by the appeasement of polluters, whose influence was decisive in keeping an unconditional target of 5% cut in emissions below 2000 levels by 2020: what environmental groups knew to be “shamefully inadequate”.

The fact that the Emissions Intensive Trade-Exposed Industries (EITEs) were to to receive 35% of all their permits under the 2008 settings of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme made the Labor policy not much different from the Coalition’s direct action. Chubb writes:

The government was trying to force companies to change their behaviour, but then paying them so they did not have to change.

Some, like economist Ross Garnaut, saw the policy as an international embarrassment, and questioned whether it was “even worth the trouble”. The relationships between the key fossil fuel lobbyists and Canberra are uncovered to reveal how figures like federal resources and energy minister Martin Ferguson and state premiers were courted by the “greenhouse mafia”.

The animosity between Ferguson and climate change minister Penny Wong was central to the policy paralysis that ensued in 2009. Ferguson’s decision to commission an investment bank, Morgan Stanley, to conduct an open book – and therefore confidential – study of the EITEs was a pivotal moment, in which the perspective of the polluters was able to hold sway. What followed was:

…the amount of compensation ultimately agreed to was a whopping A$7.3 billion, an increase of $4 billion on the May 2009 version of the CPRS.

Power Failure contrasts the different leadership styles of Rudd and Gillard in achieving reform. Gillard would never rival the “Kevin from Queensland” popularity with voters, but was a far better leader, negotiator and administrator.

But as prime minister, Gillard was beset with insurmountable problems, a divided party, perpetual undermining by Rudd and ubiquitous misogyny from shockjocks and the opposition.

Gillard achieved much more than Rudd ever would on climate change, and her announcement with the Greens in February 2011 of an ETS in line with policies overseas was potentially a game changer.

But the intitial fixing of the price on carbon, and the ease with which Abbott could label this as a tax – a label that Gillard herself accepted later – was the beginning of the end. Thereafter ensued what Chubb describes as:

…a public campaign of intimidation by business, media and Coalition opponents the like of which had not been seen since the mid-1970s – and probably not even then.

In opposition, Abbott was able to run with an enduring scare campaign over carbon that was more effective than Gillard and new climate change minister Greg Combet had ever anticipated.

They were never able to force Abbott into a serious debate about climate change and energy policy, as he simply fell back to cross-media reproducibility of three word slogans.

The book is important and timely because it places in context the preconditions for the inaction on climate change of the current Coalition government. The targets for carbon mitigation that were set under Labor fell woefully short of what is needed, meaning that the Coalition actually has a very easy task in matching them.

Rudd aside, it is probably Martin Ferguson who did more than anyone within Labor to ensure policy failure on climate change. Readers will recall the rare, heartfelt speech that Abbott gave for Ferguson at the time of his retirement.

But even with Ferguson’s department having lowered the bar on climate policy, there is every indication that the Coalition won’t even be matching Labor’s ineffective targets. It is reported today that the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, set up by Gillard in 2012 to fund private sector renewable energy projects, is to be axed.

Australia is using up its carbon budget at a rate well above the global targets. The Climate Change Authority estimates that total emissions of 1700 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) between 2000-2050 would give the world a 67% chance of keeping warming below 2°C.

To contribute to even this high-risk scenario, keeping emissions to only 5% below 2000 levels by 2020 is nothing short of pathetic. Instead, the Climate Change Authority says Australia needs to aim at 15% below 2000 levels by 2020 and then a whopping 60% reduction by 2030.

Up until 2050, Australia only has 10.1 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent to play with, which means – as academic and Climate Change Authority member Clive Hamilton has pointed out – we need to be very careful about when we spend it.

In other words, there really is a budget emergency thanks to Labor and it is all about carbon. Or, as Hamilton summarises the Climate Change Authority’s report:

We would have to halve our emissions in 10 years, and even then we would be left with only 14% of our total budget to cover the remaining 20 years.

Failing to achieve these cuts will make Australia, one of the wealthiest per capita countries in the world, a pariah state over climate in the eyes of future generations.

Instead, the current government is obsessing over a financial budget, and declaring a budget emergency in a week where it was up to Clive Palmer to cut through the ideological games:

The issue is that they’re trying to misrepresent the true situation of Australia’s finances so that they can justify a lot of things to give them an ideological advantage over their opponents. But, you know, we’re elected to serve the Australian people in dealing with what the real situation is.

As I said, we’re the third lowest debt country in the OECD; Australia is still one of only 13 countries in the world that has a triple-A credit rating. And if you’re having a debt levy, it should be because you’ve got a debt problem, and there isn’t a debt problem at all with Australia at the moment.

In an economy where the only budget that we should be worrying about is the carbon budget, it is truly terrifying to see that the only political actor making any sense is a coal miner.


Power Failure: The inside story of climate politics under Rudd and Gillard will be launched this Wednesday by Professor Ross Garnaut in Melbourne. It is available for purchase in bookshops and online.

This story first appeared in The Conversation

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RN’s Creative Audio Unit – what’s that all about?

By Mia Lindgren

ABC Radio National’s new Creative Audio Unit (CAU) launches on Sunday, with two new shows – Radiotonic and Soundproof– presenting a mix of fiction and non-fiction, essays, radio dramas, soundscapes, composed audio features and radio art.

Associate Professor Mia Lindgren.
Associate Professor Mia Lindgren.

So how does this fit in with the broader context of radio and the medium’s prospects?

The formation of the CAU was announced in 2012 at a time when a number of controversial cuts were being made to arts programming at RN. Its remit is to carve out a new space for creative audio work across genres, media and forms, and in service of this, a large portion of the CAU budget is allocated for commissioning new works from artists, writers, musicians and radiomakers in Australia and internationally.

It will also approach institutions such as museums, festivals, theatres and galleries to further explore the ways in which radio is made and what constitutes material for radio.

Around the world, radio is enjoying a renaissance. Creative forms of radio production, radio features and audio storytelling have become sexy and, unlike some naysayers have claimed, neither video nor new media killed the radio star.

Rather, radio, always the most versatile of media, has reinvented itself to take advantage of what digital technology has to offer. Audio content is no longer ephemeral but can now be accessed, captured, preserved, reshaped and shared with audiences through a variety of platforms.

This reinvention can be illustrated in three ways:

1) The audience is listening more than ever

2) More people want to produce creative radio content

3) The body of academic work in radio studies is growing

Listening more than ever

Audience research shows the listeners are there. The UK’s Radio 4 produced record figures for the last quarter of 2013 with a weekly reach of 11.2 million listeners, up from 10.9 million in the same period in 2012. These are the highest figures since 1999, and lead BBC director of radio Helen Boaden to remark that:

               despite the ever-increasing competition for people’s time and the growing
range of online audio providers, radio is thriving in the digital age.                                          

Audiences are also listening across markets. In Australia, a 2013 Citi Research report states that the commercial radio market is “enjoying renewed interest” with increasing advertising revenue and that the radio industry is in “a period of renaissance”.

More people want to make radio

In an interview last year, Claudia Taranto, Executive Producer for the flagship ABC Radio National documentary program 360Documentaries described how five years ago she received an average of one story proposal a week from freelancers. Now she gets one a day.

Additionally, numerous new podcasts are being created and coming online. In the US, PRX’s new Radiotopia podcast network is described as a “collective of the best story-driven shows on the planet … a new model for audience engagement and revenue growth in public radio”.

The network brings together a range of dynamic, creative podcasts – such as Roman Mars’ 99% InvisibleRadio Diaries, and Benjamin Walker’s Theory of Everything – under one umbrella, and is rapidly expanding the number of podcasts on offer and the audience for creative audio documentaries.

Academic interest

The third sign of radio’s comeback is the marked increase of academic work in the field. The academic journal Australian Journalism Review is dedicating a special issue to radio this year. The first issue of the innovative Australian open-access journal RadioDoc Review was recently published and has been well-received by international scholars and radio practitioners alike.

RadioDoc Review aims to build and sustain a new radio documentary literacy, and will preserve the canon of works it critiques, with metadata at the National Film and Sound Archive, Australia.

Why does radio endure?

Radio scholars have described the radio medium as blind, invisible, ephemeral and conversational – and therefore less mediated than other media. Listening is generally secondary to other activities, and as such radio is often taken for granted, but radio can create an intimacy unparallelled by other media.

But through the dimensions of sound and power of voice, radio creates an intimacy unparallelled by other media. Its ability to remain flexible in form and relevant in topic, coupled with the ease of distribution through technology, ensures it will continue to thrive in a fragmented media environment.

Radio literacy is increasing and audiences are eager to hear more innovative sounds and stories. The establishment of the CAU is the next stage of Radio National’s long legacy and commitment to exploring the possibilities of radio. And importantly, it’s a response to the growing international audience for creative audio content.

Building on its long and illustrious history, the future of radio is exciting, unknown and alive with sound.
This article was co-authored by Miyuki Jokiranta, a presenter and producer with the new Create Audio Unit at ABC Radio National. This  article first appeared in The Conversation.

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Students retrace the steps of World War I Diggers

Monash journalism students are retracing the footsteps of Australian soldiers as part of the Herald Sun’s Great War Centenary project.

Interns Robert Moseley, Louise Almeida, Elizabeth Johnson and Jason Walls are researching the Australian stories behind World War I, under the guidance of senior journalist Nick Richardson.

Robert Moseley.
Robert Moseley.

Mr Moseley said the Herald Sun internship had been an exciting experience.

‘We’re trying to pull back the myth and uncover the human stories,” Mr Moseley said.

“Old newspapers, letters, war records and photos from the Australian War Memorial are our main sources of material.”

Mr Moseley contributed to a key story, Diggers bring footy to London, published as an digital interactive special on April 22.

“The story is about a wartime football game played by Australian soldiers in Britain,” he said.

“It’s exciting when all the research and writing finally takes form and you see it published with your name attached.”

Louise Almeida.
Louise Almeida.

Ms Almeida said the Great War Centenary project was a challenging and exciting.

“My time at the Herald Sun allowed me to flourish as a journalist in a professional setting,” she said.

“The hard work paid off - I will never forget the rush that came with seeing my first published article in the paper. The experience was truly exhilarating.”

Ms Johnson said she enjoyed the “taste of real-world” journalism.

“Having a name like the Herald Sun behind me has helped to really find the story and people have been really helpful,” Ms Johnson said.

Elizabeth Johnson.
Elizabeth Johnson.

“I’ve also been given a fair amount of freedom when it comes to angle of the story and finding the right story.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing how our trip to Gallipoli and the Western Front will help us with exclusive work at the Herald Sun.”

Mr Walls said the opportunity to work with the resources and know-how of a major metropolitan newspaper on a significant project was an enormous privilege.

“Nick Richardson has worked closely with us all to guide us through the process and draw on his wealth of experience,” Mr Walls said.

“The opportunity to work alongside the guy who edited the text book for one of the units you’re studying while you’re still at uni is pretty special.”

Jason Walls
Jason Walls.

The students will travel to Gallipoli and the Western Front in July to experience the historical significance of World War I.

Professor Bruce Scates, who is the director of the National Centre of Australian Studies, is overseeing the exciting Arts unit in Europe.

Prof Scates has also led several historical tours of the battlefields and commemorative sites of the Great War, including the Premier of Victoria’s Spirit of Anzac.

He is the author/co-author of five titles with Cambridge University Press, including Return to Gallipoli: Walking the Battlefields of the Great War, A New Australia, and Women and the Great War. 

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Are we still on the highway to hell?

By Andrea Baker

Dr Andrea Baker.
Dr Andrea Baker.

By the time you read this, AC/DC may have hung up their guitars and school uniforms for the last time. Or they may have announced a new album, to be supported by a sell-out world tour. Such has been the speculation surrounding the band today.

An email sent to Perth radio station 6PR kicked off the retirement rumour frenzy. It continued with an article in The Australian suggesting the rumours weren’t true and that the band had booked six weeks in a Vancouver recording studio in May.

But – if the end really is nigh – what musical legacy will the2003 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees leave? (That’s a trick question; the answer is: an enormous one).

I’ve spoken to several people today about the band, among them Associate Professor Shane Homan of Monash University, who has written extensively about Australian music.

“AC/DC manager Michael Browning’s sustained campaign in the 1970s to break the band in the UK succeeded, where others had spectacularly failed,” he told me. And for that alone, he said, they deserve huge credit.

Clinton Walker, author of Highway to Hell: the Life and Times of AC/DC Legend Bon Scott, held a similar view. “Before AC/DC, Australia never had a rock and roll band which consistently broke the UK, and then the US, market.

“AC/DC paved the way for other Australian bands and famous music exports like Nick Cave to succeed on the world stage.”

Today AC/DC remain one of the highest grossing hard rock bands of all time, having sold more than 200 million albums worldwide, most of them in the United States. Rolling Stone magazine lists the band as one of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

The potted history of AC/DC will be known to many.

The band was formed in 1973 by Scottish brothers Malcolm and Angus Young, who moved to Sydney as children during the 1960s with their family.

Their older brother George Young was first to learn the guitar and became a member of The Easybeats, one of Australia’s successful bands in the 1960s.

Walker contends that AC/DC’s success during the 1970s (and beyond) was “big brother’s George’s revenge on the music industry”. The Easybeats were an international one-hit wonder with Friday on My Mind – and George was determined to help his younger brothers Malcolm and Angus (and AC/DC) to succeed for a sustainable future, where The Easybeats failed.

George introduced Malcolm and Angus to another Scotsman,Bon Scott (born Ronald Belford) who would later became AC/DC’s iconic lead singer, after founding vocalist Dave Evans left the band in 1974.

Bon Scott was the charismatic, bagpipe-blowing, kilt-wearing front man of AC/DC until his untimely death in 1980 after a massive night on the town.

At that time the band was working on one of its most successful albums, Back in Black, which sold more than 50 million copies worldwide.

Scott was replaced by the English singer Brian Johnson, who stepped in as lead vocalist for Back in Black and has fronted the band ever since.

It would be hard to name many bands who could go through such a major change in personnel and continue their ascendancy, although the revolving door and AC/DC are well acquainted.

The initial AC/DC line-up also included Larry Van Kriedt and Colin Burgess, the former drummer from Masters Apprentices, who was sacked for being drunk. Members Mark Evans, Neil Smith, Ron Carpenter, Russell Coleman, Noel Taylor, Peter Clack, Rob Bailey, Simon Wright and Chris Slade have all come and gone.

The current line-up includes Phil Rudd, Cliff Williams and Brian Johnson – but Malcolm and Angus remain the core.

The band’s name was conjured up after Malcolm and Angus’s sister, Margaret, saw the initials AC/DC – alternative current/direct current electricity – on a sewing machine. Like Young’s characteristic school-uniform attire – also Margaret’s suggestion – it proved an apt idea.

Homan describes the band as “a ferocious live set built upon a great rhythm section, front man and lead guitarist”.

Helen Marcou, co-founder of the music advocacy group Save Live Music Australia (SLAM), told me “they laid down the template for raw rock that has been replicated by generations of musicians.

Marcou and her partner Quincy McLean named their son, Angus, who is also a musician, after the legendary AC/DC guitarist.

“They redefined the simple form of rock ‘n’ roll, stripping it back and giving it to us in its purest form.”

“It was the AC/DC anthem chant Long Way to the Top that helped us [SLAM] rally 20,000 protesters to march on Victorian parliament in defence of live music back in February 2010.”

Walker said the band, nestled somewhere between glam rock, local punk and the heavy metal scene in Melbourne, “cut a huge sway in the 1970s when they started because they were playing simple, direct, down to earth (and funny) hard rock and roll”.

“The critical difference between the punk movement and AC/DC in the late 1970s, and which was why AC/DC was always more successful than the Sex Pistols or The Clash were ever going to be, was that AC/DC was rooted in rhythm and blues, which was the same as The Rolling Stones. You know, Chuck Berry. Little Richard.”

According to Homan, AC/DC were “the clearest example of a working-class band speaking to and for their pub (and stadium) working-class audiences”.

During the 1970s, AC/DC lived together in St Kilda, Melbourne (at that time Australia’s musical heartland) which Malcolm Young later described as “some of the happiest, and craziest, times of their lives”.

Today some of AC/DC’s lineage is still in St Kilda, with Dave Stevens, the son of Bon Scott, owning an independent record store, Pure Pop Records, on Barkley Street.

Of course, 40 years and 17 albums later, the band has left other marks on the city, not least the change of “Corporation Lane” to ACDC lane (but without the slash) in 2004.

Will there be more to come from them? Is this really it? Their legacy seems intact either way.

This story first appeared in The Conversation.


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The inside story of a wicked problem

Associate Professor Phil Chubb.

Monash’s Head of Journalism Phil Chubb’s book, Power Failure, will hit bookstores on May 12 and will be launched by eminent economist Professor Ross Garnaut on May 14.

The book’s publisher is Black Inc.

Phil’s work explores the reasons for the successes and failures in climate policy development and analyses the related leadership issues and political strategies of Prime Ministers Rudd and Gillard.

Phil interviewed more than 70 politicians, ministerial staff and public servants and has also been able to get hold of numerous confidential government and ALP documents.

Power Failure (1)Here is a preview from Power Failure’s book cover … 

What should Australia do about climate change? A succession of leaders has tried to answer this question – and come unstuck. Politicians and public servants call it a ‘wicked’ problem – one highly resistant to solution – and many approaches have been developed and discarded by the major parties. Some believe Australia’s dependence on coal makes effective action impossible.

In this book, award-winning journalist Philip Chubb examines the tenacity of fossil-fuel interests and their allies in business, politics and the media when their power is challenged. He reveals and analyses the political strategies of prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard as they tried to overcome the obstacles created by Australia’s carbon-intensive economy.

This is a dramatic study of leadership replete with new revelations. Using more than 75 interviews with key figures (including Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd, Wayne Swan, Greg Combet and Penny Wong), freedom-of-information requests and good old-fashioned leaks, Chubb gives a persuasive account of success and failure in climate policy, and of the strategies that leaders must use in future.

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Arielle’s world-desk post in Jakarta

Monash University journalism student Arielle Milecki won selection to participate  in ACICIS’s Journalism Practicum Placement in Jakarta, Indonesia. This is her story on her experiences in Jakarta.

The ACICIS journalism program was an excellent learning experience in which I picked up an array of skills that will definitely prove invaluable to my future as a journalist. 

Arielle Milecki (front) in Jakarta with ACICIS students.
Arielle Milecki (front) in Jakarta with ACICIS students.

Leading up to ACICIS I had never worked in a newsroom before. Aside from a studying a subject ‘Islam in the Malay World’ and plenty of travel abroad, my knowledge of Indonesia and Asia relations was insignificant.

My placement in Indonesia helped me gain insight into the many issues occurring daily, across the Asian region from a different, non-Australian perspective.

My time at an Asian newspaper gave new perspectives on the value of news from different countries, to the paper you are writing for.

I was posted to The Jakarta Post on the World Desk. The Post does not employ any international reporters but takes all their articles from international agencies. Initially I was hesitant that this would negatively affect my experience.

I was wrong. This turned out to be totally beneficial as there were no other journalists to compete against for story ideas.

I was sent to embassy events, (two being on the second day) on my own, and told, with very little guidance, to produce articles on a topic I knew little about, in a very short period of time. I attended an economics talk on my second day.

The American expert spoke mostly in acronyms I had never heard of about a topic I had little to no knowledge about and I had 30 minutes to produce an piece and send it through to my editors.

Through these experiences, I learnt valuable lessons on time management, working on deadlines and choosing angle’s that are important for specific readership.

I produced work on various world events such as Tunisia’s new constitution and Japan’s commitments to Indonesia. I was also given the opportunity to explore the Australia-Indonesia relationship in a 1000-word feature, a highlight of my time at The Post.

All of my articles were published in print and online.

The first two weeks of the program were spent at Atma Jaya University where we engaged in a Indonesian language program and lectures on various topics helpful for our placements in Jakarta.

The teachers were great and despite only a short amount of time in the classroom I was able to learn enough to get around Jakarta easily.

The ACICIS Journalism Practicum is a fantastic program.

Despite the flooding, traffic jams and belly aches, all experiences were enjoyed and I recommend it for all students looking to broaden their knowledge in a new and exciting environment.

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Hands-on journalism experience the key

Alexandra Bathman.

Monash University journalism graduate Alexandra Bathman still can’t believe she has landed a job she is totally passionate about.

“I sit there doing my thing and I’m like,  ‘wow … this is a job’,” she said.

Alexandra, who has been appointed a feature journalist at the Shepparton News, said the hands-on experience in Monash’s journalism course was invaluable.

“I always tell others how great the journalism course at Monash University,” Alexandra said.

“The fact that I have a job as a feature journalist at the Shepparton News before my graduation ceremony is proof.”

Alexandra said the advice and encouragement she received proved helpful.

“I cannot thank the tutors enough. Not only did they teach me how to be a journalist, I was always given encouraging advice to keep persisting, practise my skills and that the right attitude will get you to where you want to be,” Alexandra said.

“They were great mentors and I still keep in contact with today.”

Alexandra said the structure of Monash’s journalism course enabled her to gain necessary hands-on skills in real workplaces.

“I was able to do many placements at different media outlets, which gave me any networking opportunities,” Alexandra said.

“These outlets including the Shepparton News, the news program Weeknights aired on Southern Cross Ten, 95.3SR FM, The Business Spectator, WIN News in Shepparton and the Channel Nine studios in Melbourne and Sydney (GTV and TCN).

“The most exciting thing for me as a student was seeing my own news reports aired for Weeknights, WIN News in Shepparton and two stories being published with The Age’s online publication Life&Style.”

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James Campbell awarded the Gold Quill

HERALD SUN state political editor James Campbell has won Victoria’s top journalism award, the Gold Quill, for his secret tapes report in relation to key Liberal Party advisers.

Campbell’s investigation triggered the resignation of then premier Ted Baillieu.

Campbell, who taught political science at Monash University, also won the Grant Hattam Quill for Investigative Journalism.

Melbourne Press Club judges stated: “The impact of Campbell’s work was strengthened by the publication of excerpts from the tapes on the Herald Sun website, an impressive marriage of print and digital media.”

In his acceptance speech at Crown Palladium on Friday, March 21, Campbell thanked Herald Sun editor, Damon Johnson, editorial director Peter Blunden, national political editor Ellen Whinnett, his state rounds colleagues and his wife.

Ashley Argoon
Ashley Argoon.

Monash University alumna, Ashley Argoon, was highly commended in the Melbourne Press Club’s Young Journalist of the Year.  Ashlynne McGhee, an ABC reporter, won the coveted award.

Argoon, the Herald Sun’s gaming reporter, won the 2013 Young Walkley Journalist of the Year.

She is renowned for exclusively interviewing Tania Hird, which led to further vigorous reporting on the Essendon supplements investigation.

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Sheahan looks to a brave new world in journalism

Mike Sheahan. Picture: Herald Sun

Leading sports journalist Mike Sheahan, in a lively Q&A session with Monash journalism students, predicts the inevitable rise of digital journalism over print. He also offers his 12 commandments for young journalists. 


A new era is coming in journalism, says Mike Sheahan, one of the legends of contemporary sports reporting in Victoria.

Although now a TV presenter on popular AFL talk shows such as On the Couch, Open Mike and Talking Footy, Sheahan’s long professional background is in print, but he was not hesitant to speak of its demise in the face of the digital age.

“My guess is that The Age as a hardcopy Monday to Friday [newspaper] will be gone within three years, selling only about 120,000 to 130,000 copies a day,” predicts Sheahan. “The Herald Sun will probably have a spike, because a lot of people do like having newspapers, but it’s clearly the digital age and I think they [newspapers] are probably all doomed.”

But the ushering in of digital has also put pressure on quality – copy is not as clean and crisp as it should be, Sheahan warns. “It’s much easier to get away with something in digital, because it’s just on your screen and it’s gone, but print stays forever, so the safety net is not what it used to be.”

Having written for both The Age and the Herald Sun, Sheahan reflected on his own difficulties transitioning into writing for the digital age.

“When you get to my age, your nerve becomes a bit frayed,” admits Sheahan, talking about  his move from writing to presenting on TV.

The pressure of having to upload every story as quick as possible is  a worrying factor for online journalists. Print media offers more flexibility with time, he says, ensuring greater accuracy before stories are printed the next day.

Digital media seems to be a game for the digital generation and this is reflected by the interests of young people. “Technological changes happen every minute of the day; you guys won’t be aiming for newspapers like we did, because they were the attraction at the time,” says Sheahan.

Sheahan  believes the public decline in interest in newspapers is the spillover effect of the digital age.  “There are so many people who have got their headphones on, listening to music, presumably. When I was growing up, even later than that, most people on the trains would have a book or paper.”

Sheahan recounts a particular train ride a few weeks ago. None of the 63 passengers he counted going from Camberwell to the city were reading either a book or a newspaper.

“For me it was sort of emotional to just think how could people have turned their backs on newspapers like that,”  he says.

“But that’s the reality of it. It’s no good for me to say, ‘come buy a newspaper cause you’ll love it’, people have already made a choice. But it is really disturbing the way newspapers have gone.”

Recounting his first big break, things certainly do not seem as easy as they used to be. Sheahan says  he was introduced to the owner of the new local paper in Werribee by his best mate at school. He got they job and worked there for the next five years.

And for Sheahan, hard copy is still the best.

“I love the feel of newspapers; my ideal time would be to have three hours – three hours is probably not long enough – and just sit there and read them and fold the paper. I’ve grown up doing that.”

Mike Sheahan’s 12 Commandments for Journalists 

1      Don’t guess, ever. If in doubt, leave it out. Hoping something is correct won’t make it correct and it is a poor defence when you are proved wrong

2      Read your story one last time, then again before sending. Finding one significant mistake a year makes it all worthwhile

3      Suggest a heading for your story. That way, at least the subs knows what you believe the story to be about

4      Always make one last call. The more ingredients you have, the better the product

5      Never fashion quotes. What appears in quotation marks must be verbatim, bad grammar included. Trim but don’t correct. If you can’t quote verbatim, paraphrase

6     Know your subject. Read the papers every day

7    Ring the subject sooner rather than later. You’re going to have to do it at some point. Much better to have it in hand than missing the person

8    Don’t waste people’s time. Do not ring busy people and ask them how they are and what’s doing. You’re ringing them for information and answers

9      Bleed when you get something wrong, as you inevitably will. Be embarrassed. It will ensure you get fewer things wrong in the future

10   Read the good journos, read them like your reading a textbook. Absorb, learn

11    Use the library. The world is at your disposal online. If you need help, go to the trouble of asking for it

12    Don’t be bullied. If the story doesn’t come up to what the news editor or chief of staff wants, tell them it doesn’t stack up. You damage the reputation of the newspaper – and yourself – with stories that are seen to be incorrect.

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Riffing on global music cities at SXSW

By Andrea Baker

Dr Andrea Baker
Dr Andrea Baker

The world’s largest annual music conference South by South West (SXSW), wrapped up in Austin, the capital of Texas over the weekend; and the dynamism behind creative music cities such as Austin, Melbourne and Berlinwas the topic of a panel discussion I moderated.

So what, if anything, ties these cities together?

As the programme guide highlights, Austin, Melbourne and Berlin sit at “far corners of the world with different cultures, climates and distinct sounds”. But each has something in common – they are hubs of intense musical activities and have a high concentration of live music venues (including live music in bars, cafes and restaurants) in their respective countries.

Austin, a hippy, college town and home to the Texan parliament, has moved beyond its Americana roots (with music greats such as Janis Joplin and Willie Nelson) and has embraced the contemporary indie music scene.

Today Austin (population of about 1.8 million) is world renowned for its 230 (or so) live music venues. This is more than its fierce competitor, Nashville, the capital of Tennessee (population of about 1.5 million) which has about 100 live music venues.

Like Austin, Melbourne is also known for its hyper-concentration of live music venues and has been called the “Austin of the Southern hemisphere”.

The 2012 Victorian Live Music Census reported that Melbourne has more live music venues (470 plus) than any other city in Australia.

Melbourne was home to Australia’s post-punk movement in the 1970s and nurtured world famous music exports such as Nick Cave. Since the 1980s the city has fostered a vibrant independent music scene.

During the 1980s Germany’s former West Berlin also nurtured the careers of the expat Nick Cave and his band. They converged on the divided city after famed, exiled musicians such as David Bowie and Iggy Pop made their mark there during the 1970s.

Today Berlin and Melbourne have roughly the same population (3.5 million) and about the same number of live music venues, if you also include Berlin’s ground-breaking post-wall techno (such as Tresor) and club culture scene, a scene which continues to fuel contemporary Berlin’s music economy.

With reunification in the late 1990s, Berlin regained its capital status of Germany and today is home to one the world’s most famous music clusters, known as the Media Spree, which is situated in no mans’ land between the former East and West Berlin.

During the 2000s the Media Spree area, which consisted of abandoned industrial and service buildings (unknown to gentrification) from the former German Democratic Republic, was home to Berlin’s post-wall techno club scene.

Today the Media Spree has gentrified to accommodate the German headquarters of Universal Entertainment Inc, MTV Germany and Nhow, the world’s first music hotel, which since 2010, has played host to the city’s annual Berlin Music Week.

Held each September, Berlin Music Week is run by the City of Berlin and evolved out of another music event called Pop.com, which was moved from Cologne to Berlin.

Similar to Berlin, Melbourne has an annual music week (Melbourne Music Week) organised by the City of Melbourne, which was also set up in 2010 and runs each November in the central business district.

Austin’s SXSW festival was created by a local business called SXSW Inc in 1987, and by the late 1990s had earned a global reputation as a breeding ground for new music ideas and creative technologies.

Each March, SXSW, with a music cluster along its famous 6th Street in downtown Austin, attracts more than one million visitors.

Austin, Melbourne and Berlin’s live music industry contribute generously to the cultural economies in their respective countries.

In the late 1990s with the rapid growth of SXSW, Austin became the self-proclaimed “Live Music Capital of the World”, and the local music industry earns the city roughly US$1.6 billion a year.

Unlike Austin, Berlin’s music industry had a “poor but sexy” image, which a post-wall slogan was given to the city by its then, Mayor Klaus Wowereit to attract creative types.

United and revitalised, contemporary Berlin is emerging as the “music paradise” of Europe with a local music industry reportedly contributing at least €1 billion a year. This is more than any other German (such as Hamburg or Cologne) or European city noted for its music culture

In March 2013, the global live music centre and stats tracker Pollstar confirmed Melbourne’s placeas the Live Music Capital of Australia, with a local music industry which contributes more than A$1 billion a year to the state’s economy.

A case study of global music cities such as Austin, Melbourne and Berlin suggests an intuitive link between a vibrant music culture and a growing, cultural economy – and can hopefully give us some ideas of how to capitalise on the successes of others.

Dr Andréa Jean Baker is a music historian and journalism academic from the School of Media, Film and Journalism at Monash University.

This article has appeared on The Conversation.

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Pistorius case witnesses silent on the Blade Runner

Outside the courtroom, key witnesses of Paralympian Oscar Pistorius’s murder trial refuse to speak out.  The threat of civil action, or retaliation after the verdict of Pistorius’s trial, troubles the powerless witnesses. Julie Tullberg spoke to witnesses in South Africa.

Digital journalism coordinator Julie Tullberg.
Digital journalism coordinator Julie Tullberg.

DARREN Fresco is reluctant to speak about the incidents leading up to the shocking death of his dear friend, Reeva Steenkamp.

The South African model was killed in the Pretoria home of the Blade Runner, Oscar Pistorius, on Valentine’s Day last year. Pistorius, 27, claims he accidentally shot Steenkamp after mistaking her for an intruder.

The prosecution argues that Pistorius killed his girlfriend following a heated argument.

But Fresco, a key witness in Pistorius’s murder trial, was uncomfortable with the idea of opening up about Steenkamp, the best friend of his partner, Gina Myers. Fresco was apologetic but most likely advised by a lawyer to avoid speaking to the media.

“Sorry if I seem harsh but I’m not getting involved with this at all,” Fresco said, who was wary of repercussions of the case.

Character portrait

Fresco, an IT network engineer from Johannesburg, was granted immunity after a shooting incident — also involving Pistorius — in a Johannesburg restaurant.

On the witness stand in the North Gauteng HighCourt in Pretoria last week, Fresco revealed Pistorius as someone who was reckless with guns.

During a troubling incident, Fresco told the court Pistorius accidentally fired a bullet into a restaurant floor last year. Fresco admittedly took the rap to avoid negative media reports of the world-famous athlete.

But Fresco’s account of Pistorius firing a shot through a car sunroof revealed an angry young man with disregard for the law.

“I apologise, My Lady, but I asked him if he was f***ing mad,” Fresco told the court.

On Fresco’s Facebook page, there are no posts about Pistorius and his actions. Facebook users are afraid to speak their minds. There is just full-blown grief for one of Fresco’s best friends – Steenkamp.

“My heart is on the verge of exploding with the pain of such a sudden loss of one of my best friends,” Fresco wrote on Facebook hours after the tragedy.

“The tears have been building and subsiding throughout the entire day. What I do know is that it’s going to be the most terrible time ahead as it takes so much time to learn to deal with the pain that has sliced through my life today.

“It feels beyond surreal to me and I am waiting to wake up from this torrid nightmare and phone you and hear your infectious laugh and life-altering smile.”

Fresco was not the only person who was unwilling to talk. Steenkamp’s  “Joburg dad”, Cecil Myers, the father of one of Steenkamp’s closest friends, clammed up after first speaking out against Pistorius.

Myers said he would only speak again if his daughter, Gina, was willing to talk. She wasn’t. The trauma runs too deep.

Myers was reportedly the most outspoken person before Pistorius’s trial, as he revealed the track runner’s “dark side”.  Myers told a reporter Pistorius would avoid conversation when he picked up Steenkamp at the Myers’ family home.

The murder trial has forced Steenkamp’s closest friends to stay mute, until the trial is over.

Strong defence

Pistorius’s defence lawyer Barry Roux ripped apart disgraced lead investigator Hilton Botha during the bail hearing in February last year.  Botha resigned from the police force soon after Roux exposed his failure to collect all evidence at the crime scene.

But after his resignation, Botha’s outspoken remarks have created ripples.

Speaking to Vanity Fair, Botha said: “There was no forced entry. The only place there could have been entrance was the open bathroom window, and we did everything we could to see if anyone went through it, and it was impossible.

“So I thought it was an open-and-closed case. He shot her—that’s it.”

Since Botha’s Vanity Fair story was published last year, lawyers have intervened. He’s been gagged from talking about the case ever since.

The prosecution is yet to decide whether Botha will be called to the witness stand at Pistorius’s trial.

Botha told The New Daily he was not permitted to speak about the Pistorius case – and apologised.

“Sorry but I was instructed not to talk to anyone,” Botha said.

Botha’s hands are tied on the matter. He declined to refer a lawyer to take questions.

The trial witnesses indicated they had no choice but to protect their comments in the tense build-up and during the trial of the century.

Pistorius has endured sickening testimony for days – and he is likely to continue suffering during the course of the trial.

Only Pistorius has the key to the true answers in a case that has fascinated the world.

This story first appeared in The New Daily


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SXSW talkfest on global music cities

Dr Andrea Baker.
Dr Andrea Baker.

The global music cities of Melbourne, Austin and Berlin will feature in a talkfest chaired by a Monash University academic at the world’s largest music and media conference in Austin, Texas next month.

Music historian and journalism academic, Dr Andrea Jean Baker from the School of Media, Film and Journalism will chair a keynote panel at this year’s South By South West (SXSW), which will look at Global Music Cities such as Melbourne, Austin and Berlin, and their contribution to the cultural economy – Dr Baker’s current area of research.

“Melbourne, Austin and Berlin sit at far corners of the world with different cultures, climates and distinct sounds, but each has one major thing in common – they are branded as three of the most supportive cities for live music in the world,” Dr Baker said.

“However, high density living, residential development, local planning, regulation and licensing laws continue to impact on these cities, which are noted as some of the globe’s busiest live music corridors.

“In this scenario, Melbourne, Austin and Berlin’s pro-growth live music industries have needed a united community voice and perhaps, a seat at the government table to help maintain their global music city status.”

The Global Music Cities panel will also include Nick O’Byrne, Don Pitts and Christian Morin.

Mr O’Byrne is the General Manager of AIR, the Australian Independent Record Labels Association.

He is also the Executive Programmer of BIGSOUND – Australia’s largest music industry conference and festival for emerging artists. As well as this, he manages Australian musicians Courtney Barnett and Sterling Silver.

Mr Pitts is the Music Program Manager at the City of Austin (Texas), and has more than 25 years of experience in the music industry, including sixteen years in the Entertainment Relations Division with Gibson Guitar.

Mr Morin, who was involved the underground clubs in the former East Berlin in the early nineties, Morin set up the music agency Headquarter entertainment in Berlin, was founding member of the Berlin Music Commission and helped to establish Berlin’s Music board, a German government initiative to promote contemporary local music, in early 2013.

“The panel will allow us to explore to how these three cities are best able to support live music and the lessons learnt which might be able to be translated for other cities around the world,” Dr Baker said.

SXSW is the key event on the music calendar. It is attended by over 75 per cent of the world’s music industry, and over 19,000 people will have the opportunity to hear from the panel.

In 2013 Dr Baker had research residences at the University of Texas (Austin) (and attended SXSW) and at the Freie Universität’s Institute for Arts and Media Management in Berlin (Germany).

She is also a project leader for the annual Melbourne Music Week, and a founding member of the St Kilda Live Music Community, which deals with issues surrounding live music.

In July 2013, she was appointed the academic representative on the City of Melbourne’s Music Strategy (2013-2017) whose aim is to present Melbourne as a dynamic, global music city.

Click here for more details of SXSW’s Global Music Cities’ presentation


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Kim reveals reindeer danger in Sweden

Journalist Kim Paul Nguyen.
Journalist Kim Paul Nguyen.

Former Masters journalism student Kim Paul Nguyen has written an outstanding piece in The Guardian, published in its world section.

Kim reveals the impact of mining in environmentally sensitive communities in Sweden.

Mine dust can kill the lichen, in which reindeer eat during the winter months.

Kim writes that an Australian company plans to mine iron, copper and gold which could impact on reindeer herds in the vicinity.

Kim’s piece, Reindeer herds in danger as Australia’s mining boom comes to Sweden, can be viewed here.

(c) Guardian News & Media Ltd.

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Why journalism is one of the world’s best jobs

Journalism student Alfred Chan
Journalism student Alfred Chan.

Masters journalism student Alfred Chan seized his chance to enjoy a successful internship at The Age newspaper. Alfred shares his views on why journalism is one of the best jobs in the world.

Interning at The Age’s newsroom was wonderful experience which opened my eyes to the ups and downs of journalism.

It provided me with the opportunity to work with some of Australia’s most decorated journalists and editors, while getting on-the-job experience beyond anything than can be achieved in a classroom.

During my 10-day internship, I was given the opportunity to source and develop my own stories whilst also given leads from the news desk to follow-up and report on.

Taking into account my past experience, I was also given the opportunity to work with the sports desk where I was given the opportunity to attend and report press conferences with high-profile athletes.

Getting the chance to meet and interview Chris ScottNathan LyonJames PattinsonBrad HodgeVictoria Azarenka reaffirmed my belief that being a sports journalist is one of the best jobs in the world.

Going into the internship, my experience in reporting sport would be useful but I made the conscious decision to expand into other areas of news.

I got that chance in probably the last place I would have expected – health.

One afternoon while dilly-dallying on Twitter looking for a story, I came across a press release by the department of health regarding a measles alert.

Noticing it had slipped past the news desk’s attention, I alerted an editor and traced it back to the Philippines.

Like any newsroom, it wasn’t all fun and games and it was good to see a few slow news days to learn what professional journalists do when not much is happening.

The surprising amount of social media shares and comments a story about Melbourne taxi fares achieved showed me how different my perception of news can be from others.

One of the many highlights of the fortnight was being asked to report on breaking news, as it happened from the scene.

After the news desk received a tip about protesters picketing in Collingwood, I don’t think even the editors expected the event to transpire into a story which rival newspapers would run on their front page the next day.

As the first reporter on the scene, I witnessed police engaging with protesters and the Alexandra Parade roadblock.

I was subsequently amazed by how other news outlets dramatised the event in their reports.  I learned a crucial lesson about journalistic integrity.

The internship ended with mixed feelings. While investigating the measles scare earlier in the week, a source alerted me to declining immunisation rates against measles and I decided to investigate further.

I got in contact with a few people at the centre of the issue and started writing a feature on alarming statistics I had uncovered about the increasing amount of Melbourne parents opting not to vaccinate their children.

I was informed there was a lot of interest in the story and the editors would like to run it in The Sunday Age and my eyes lit up.

After writing the feature-length story with expert sources, graphic quotes and sending a photographer out to capture the accompanying image I had envisioned, I was surprised by the editing of the story to remove critical information and quotes yet still pleased to see The Sunday Age run it on page two.

Being such a controversial issue and knowing so when I wrote it, I knew there would be backlash despite being filed as a balanced story.

When working in the public space, it came as no surprise that backlash ensued from activist groups on both sides of the issue through social media but the debate was ignited and people were engaging in serious discussions.

To have achieved 15 by-lines and three taglines published by The Age in both print and online media were a pleasant reward.

While it may have been easy to sit around and wait for a lead, these internships are really what the intern makes of them.

I have previously completed internships in other fields where a program is set in place but due to the frenetic action of a newsroom, such structure is not possible which was why it worked out so well.

Rather than being shown what they want you to see, The Age provided a transparent view of life as a journalist and that is something no textbook or classroom will teach me.

I greatly appreciate Monash journalism’s efforts in maintaining good relationships with Melbourne’s newspapers to give Monash students the wonderful experience I had with The Age and look forward to the next one.

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Jonno lands top newspaper gig

Jonno Nash has scored a reporter's job at the Herald Sun.
Jonno Nash has scored a reporter’s job at the Herald Sun.

PERSISTENCE and patience have been key factors in Jonno Nash’s rise through the ranks at the Herald Sun.

After becoming a Herald Sun intern in 2011, Jonno, who completed Monash’s journalism program two years ago, made the most of every opportunity.

Jonno later became a contributor to Herald Sun sport’s Statewide section, and then worked on the news desk until scoring a full-time position as a news reporter.

“My first break came in 2010. I was an intern at Inside Football magazine and later became a paid employee,” Jonno recalled.

“I became an intern at the Herald Sun in March 2011 and after speaking with reporter Matt Windley about an article I wrote on former AFL player Shane O’Bree returning to play in a one-off match with his junior club, he told me to rewrite the article for the newspaper.

“Windley made me a regular contributor for Statewide from here on.”

The sports editors gave Jonno greater responsibilities and gradually he enjoyed more opportunities.

“This experience allowed me gain internships at Crocmedia, AFL.com and Channel 9,” Jonno said.

“I still make an effort to contact members from these outlets to keep my name in the back of their minds.”

Jonno said he made great sacrifices to work his way up at the Herald Sun.
“I turned back opportunities to play football for top-line interstate teams and have hardly travelled abroad in favour of establishing a career,” Jonno said.

“At times, I felt I’d made the wrong decisions. My reward – a reporting position at the Herald Sun – hasn’t come easily.

“Job cuts, particularly in the print industry, forced me to be patient. I was an editorial assistant for two years and with the News Corp Australia Traineeship postponed indefinitely, I strongly considered pursuing other opportunities. I’m grateful my faith and hard work has been recognised and rewarded.”

Jonno believes journalists are intellectual labourers.

“Like a brick-layer or carpenter, a journalist can pour hours of hard work in establishing a story and admire the finished product in the newspaper,” he said.

“That’s the most satisfying part, seeing all your hard work come to fruition. Being trusted to present a great audience-engaging piece makes me feel I’m servicing the public.

“It’s a trusted responsibility.”

The Monash experience

I found the journalism writing courses the most valuable. Regular classroom practice and feedback helped me develop a strong writing style which allowed me to jump straight into the newsroom during internships.

Monash’s diverse range of journalism subjects helped me identify what sort of journalist I wanted to become and what medium I wanted to specialise in. Initially I had my sights set on becoming a TV journalist but following an internship at the Herald Sun I fell in love with the written word.

I made a real effort in my final year at Monash to undertake as many internships as possible across the traditional mediums – print, radio and television. I was able to establish integral contacts, which I still call upon today, and earned paid work following my stints at these outlets.

Advice for journalism students

Media is still very much a who-you-know industry. It’s important to immerse yourself with as many prominent people as possible.

I have arranged meetings with media identities over Twitter and have learnt how some they forged their careers.

One of the best investments I’ve made is buying people coffees. Some of the more inspiring conversations I’ve had with people are at a cafe. I have researched the journalists and presenters I aspire to be like and have attempted to emulate their pathways into the industry.

A useful tool is to compare your work with the final published product. Most copy is tweaked and it’s important to learn why your piece was edited, whether it be would be learn why and be apply those changes in future works.

You can’t beat practical experience. The formula is simple – with more practice, the better you get. Embrace every opportunity to test your skills.

Be sure to embrace your errors, especially journalism faux pas.  Mistakes, particularly as an inexperienced journalist, are inevitable.

You’re easily forgiven but be sure to learn from them and not make the same mistake. In contrast, celebrate your successes. At times you need to be able to give yourself a pat on the back and acknowledge your efforts.

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