John Menadue’s sizzling critique of politics, the media and more

John Menadue went along to the New News conference in Melbourne last week, to discuss the opportunities of the digital revolution for supporting a healthier public debate.

John Menadue reminded those attending that while Web 2.0 may be exciting, content remains the critical issue. And we have still some way to go in working out how to resource and support those content-makers (this is an issue beyond journalism) who have the will and the skills to provide some much-needed scrutiny and analysis of the health sector and health spending and policy more broadly.

Menadue also made a number of suggestions for how some of society’s powerful institutions (not only the media) could help contribute to a more informed understanding of complex health issues.

Read John’s insights in Croakey into what is ailing the media. He also offers up his ideas for how we may combat the poor journalism many are resigned to expect from the mainstream media, and how we instead build public interest journalism.

Blog Comments

Why does all reporting about government and public policy issues have to take place through the prism of parliament?

Going back to my first year Politics studies about How A Bill Goes Through Parliament, an issue will be long debated and developed before it gets to the First Reading Speech. The media should be part of that debate with a focus on policy issues.

There is a lobbyist register which explains who is working for what corporate interest. When lobbyist A representing corporate interest B wants to speak to minister/shadow minister/independent C about legislation/ regulation/ ministerial decision D, is that not a potential story (or series of stories, maybe one suffixed “-gate”)? True, the lobbyist and the minister might not want to talk about this on the record – but it is journalistic failure just to accept that and leave it there, or to treat long-simmering and substantial issues in the community as trace elements in the froth and bubble of Australia’s best-subsidised theatre.

By the time it comes to Parliament, there is a place for Annabel Crabb-style colour reporting – the PM’s earlobes, what tie Chris Pyne is wearing, major issues like that – but this need not be as big a place as it is currently. Just because someone puts out a press release, or is going to make a speech, or has made one, this does not mean that it’s news.

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