Occident Prone

Welcome to Australia’s wild West

Posts Tagged ‘Media’

Here is today’s predictable column

Posted by occidentprone on June 13, 2008

Perth’s whitebread, western suburbs media is a problem. The homogenous viewpoint, particularly in the I’m-so-young-and-cool-I-don’t-need-to-think-for-myself genre. Maybe they think appealing to the masses means writing like the masses (I’m so individual, just like you.)

(NB In Perth Western Suburbs equals Eastern Suburbs in the east, if you catch my drift).

There’ll be no singling anyone out because it’s across the board in mainstream media, even in sections of the street press, but the launch of Fairfax’s WA Today underlined the problem.

Remember: There might be a boom but a lot of people are hurting now, they’re not flipping from your column to the share prices, they’re not making a killing from their investment property and they don’t give a flying whatever that airfares to Mauritius are escalating. But the great unwashed do have good stories to tell and they like to read / hear good stories told well.

Some solutions:

  1. Media owners, editors: Allow your writers some latitude. Even polarising columns / think pieces / colour stories / features are better than BLAND. Or same-same. Or deja vu. Here’s a thought: What about hiring staff who have really lived – not lived backbacking to Tierra del Fuego but lived hand-to-mouth, who had to put in an effort to pay for school or uni, who aren’t offended by Rockingham or Geraldton or Ramadan or poverty or imperfection. Get some diversity up ya.
  2. Writers: Read. Put down the moleskine you’ve taken to the wine bar, really listen and don’t try to make the scene fit the story you think you want to write. 
  3. Readers: Dump the mags / sites / papers / radio shows that offend – or don’t offend when they should be challenging us. 

Wannabe scribes, get in touch with the issues that worry the masses at Worst of Perth.



Posted in Diversions, Media, Perth | Tagged: , , , | 8 Comments »

Force eight on the bogan scale

Posted by occidentprone on June 11, 2008

Bogans and other Rockingham residents have been blown away by the impertinence of cartoonist Dean Alston. Alston commented in Tuesday’s West Australian on the tornado that whipped through Rockingham by saying it was force eight on the bogan scale.

The page 20 cartoon showed debris flying past a window in the sunny southern outpost –  suffice to say ugg boots and ciggies featured prominently. Rocky residents past and present flew into action, calling talkback radio and having their two bobs’ worth.

But it could be worse, they could live in Girrawheen, subject of another famous Alston treatment.


Posted in Diversions, Media, Perth | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

Access 31 in death throes

Posted by occidentprone on June 11, 2008

Community TV in WA is on its last legs.

The board of community TV station Access 31 plans to pass a resolution at its next meeting in favour of closing the station.

It has been losing viewers and advertisers since the introduction of digital television – technology the station cannot afford.

Board member Gerry Gannon says the former Howard government is to blame.

“We have been telling the Federal Government for the best part of four years now,” he said. (Source: ABC)

Minorities and people with alternative views get airtime on 31 when mainstream media barely glance in their direction. And L-plate media Perthonalities are trained there until they’ve lost any semblance of themselves and then are ready for the real telly.

It’s alright for the net savvy – we can YouTube ourselves till the cows come home and we’ll never be starved for alternative viewpoints. Blogs, podcasts, websites are all great tools for our myriad voices. But what will we do without community television programs with grass roots appeal, no matter how badly lit? RIP Cruizin, Science in the Pub and Sweet and Sour.

People is this what you want?

Posted in Diversions, Media, Perth | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Now that’s just a blog-o-lies

Posted by occidentprone on May 15, 2008

The blogosphere has intruded rudely on to Troy Buswell’s reality.  Blognik Matt Hayden posted a joke in January that Busty Buswell had once played quokka soccer.  

Then joke blog post became blog post became rumour became a fact in the making and before you could say PETA activist, reporters were mentioning the Q-word and intimating there had been something rotten in the state of Rotto.

So Hayden had to publish a retraction and Buswell put the rumour to rest.

We’re no experts but the question is this: If there is a clause within defamation laws to excuse clear satire, why is the onus on the blogger to clear it up if reporters can’t tell their ludicrous internet japes from plausible stories?

Ok, given that Buswell’s past carrying on has more ridiculous episodes than a Carry On film he does make it tricky, but still bloggers shouldn’t be held responsible for gullible journos.


Posted in Media, Perth, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Premier Carpenter talks press freedom from Siberia

Posted by occidentprone on May 3, 2008

West Australian premier Alan Carpenter is reported in The Australian as commenting on last week’s raid on The Sunday Times. Carpenter was in Siberia – no really, he was in that cold part of the former Soviet Union where dissidents and those committing crimes against the state were sent. That same Siberia which became a byword for extreme punishment in exile.

The Australian:

Mr Carpenter said Treasurer Eric Ripper “may have been annoyed” on February 10 when he read the Sunday Times report revealing his plans to use $16 million of taxpayers’ money for Labor’s re-election campaign, but he said his department was required by law to complain to authorities when it suspected the leak of a confidential document to the media.

“I understand why the Sunday Times journalists would feel as though this is completely unfair and of course I would be responding with the same sentiment but this response has not come … as a direction from me or any minister as far as I’m aware,” Mr Carpenter, a former journalist, told ABC radio from Siberia, where he was completing a trade visit.

“There is no way that we’d direct the police to respond in that way.”

Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance national secretary Chris Warren yesterday described the Government’s stance as breathtaking hypocrisy, saying the Carpenter Government was aware of the push for shield laws for journalists.

“They could go into parliament at any time and seek to amend the law and they choose not to,” he said.

The raid on The Sunday Times on Wednesday by 16 members of the Major Fraud Squad has further strained the Government’s rapport with the media.

In the metaphorical Siberia we find Troy Buswell, who admits to The West Australian that more sordid details of his escapades could emerge. That’s the problem with a life lived large – so many of the best drunken memories are hard to remember.

“I’m a robust character,” he says. Well so is Sir Les Patterson, but we don’t want his leery, drunken visage as our premier.


Posted in Media, Perth, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Watch out blogniks, you could be next

Posted by occidentprone on May 1, 2008

The Carpenter state government is full of surprises, not least its attitude to journalists. Alan Carpenter was a good and respected journalist who had worked in both print and electronic media, culminating in hosting the Perth 7.30 Report for ABC TV. And yet his government seems to treat journalists with contempt.

Yesterday we saw another example. The Sunday Times had its offices raided and a lockdown ensued. How dramatic. The paper says a reporter, one Paul Lampathakis, had written an exclusive in February which sparked yesterday’s raid by the major fraud squad. We’ll leave the tabloid descriptions of the raid to those who do it best, in this case paper’s affiliated website, Perth Now:

Police searching Lampathakis’ desk were requested to take particular note of anything from the “expenditure review committee”, which is chaired by Treasurer Eric Ripper.

The warrant executed by police was for: “Any and all documents pertaining to the information held by The Sunday Timesemployees pertaining to the investigation conducted for the article titled ‘Bid to buy Labor win: Ripper wants $16m for poll’, published on page 3 of The Sunday Times, 10th February 2008, including source details, notebook entries, records of conversation, editorial notes, scribings, telephone records, any form of recording (electronic or otherwise) and records of conversation.”

Staff were told by Detective Sergeant Alan Jane that police had been posted on all the building’s exits.

Anyone who left would have their names and details taken and would be searched in a “non-invasive” way for the items on the warrant.

Whatever you think of the paper, its style of reporting the facts (or not) and the government, this is really important stuff for us all to be thinking about.

If you want your news served up without fear or favour, if your want your favourite papers and TV stations – and bloggers – to be courageous and uncowed by the state, to bring you the facts untainted by spin, unhindered by censorship take notice of what is going on.

Attorney-General Jim McGinty has also taken on the media in this state. He has blackbanned reporters from The West Australian and Lampathakis from advance notice of media events. McGinty, whose own daughter was once an industrial organiser for the journalists’ union MEAA, has drawn himself to full height to confront The West and its editor.

Alan Carpenter, while giving his imprimatur to two journalists – Reece Whitby and Karen Brown – for preselection in the next election, has given Kerry Stokes the nod of approval to further concentrate media in this state because of his government’s running beef with the monopoly daily. Stokes failed but is not likely to slink under a rock so we will have to wait and see on the fate of The West.

No one expects a government and the fourth estate to have a mateship – that’s just wrong. They should be keen adversaries, aggressive enemies even. And the ministers are right when they think some sections of the Perth media are biased and out to get them. But when the government starts a war on the media, it is an assault not just on one reporter, or editor or newspaper. Watch out West blogniks – you could be next.

Posted in Media, Perth | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »