Posts tagged ‘media’



So, I walked past some news today on my way home. As you can see, it was pretty impressive. It’s not every day you see a collapsed building. Roads were shut off, people were milling, TV crews were talking into their cameras. All very exciting.

And so then I think to myself, “I’ve got my camera. I could take a picture.” Almost half of the people there had the same thought; you can even see a reasonably elderly woman taking a snap with her camera phone, presumably so she can then twitter and facebook it to her peeps. But suddenly the idea felt creepy. Had people died? Would it be wrong to be casually snapping away at the scene of a fatal accident? News photographers do it all the time, but they’re servicing the public interest, or at least managing a close approximation of it. Does my massive contingent of 29 followers count as the public? I doubt it.

Anyhow, it turns out no one died and so I vaguely regret not trying to get a good photo. But I can’t quite decide though if I’m a bit disturbed by everyone milling about and recording the event, or whether I’m impressed by them actually doing something vaguely constructive by spreading the information around their various networks.

And briefly, an old man rant: One of Channel 7 News’ leading stories today consisted of announcing that Britney Spears had entered the country, that they hadn’t been able to get an interview or footage of her, and reading out what she tweeted when she got off the plane. This followed the startling revelation that the winners of the Melbourne Cup were “happy”. If I could remember Seven’s news tagline, I’d quote it here, ironically. That’d show ’em.

Posted by Tom Charman to , | 3 Comments »

St Leonard’s is Famous!

Unfortunately, it’s famous for having really stupid kids.

Just the other day, the news broke that the Valedictory Dinner had been cancelled by the principal, Dr Hayward. Apparently, about thirty students were involved in trying to put a big banner up on St John of God’s tower next door to the school. I’m not entirely sure how thirty people can be involved in putting one banner up. Were twenty of them standing around cheering people on? Or are we counting those who helped paint the banner as implicated?

What hasn’t been reported as much is that apparently the kids were banned from the traditional walk from the beach to school on Muck Up Day, which seems a bit dumb. If you’ve got students doing something safe and stupid on the traditional being-stupid day, why would you ban it?

And then there’s the matter of the 150 or so students that didn’t put the banner up. Why do they get punished, exactly? It’s not like it’s hard to work out which kids are the dicks and which aren’t. Better for one or two students to get away with something than to punish 150 unfairly. Especially since one of the prime reasons for the Valedictory Dinner is to give the prizes to the clever kids.

But even after this embarassing story, today we get the news that St Leonard’s Year Nines were caught by teachers buying marijuana in Fiji, as reported in the Herald-Sun and The Age. Good move, kids. You watch the news, you know it’s safe. Hayward’s quotes actually sound reasonable in these stories, even if the Herald-Sun did plaster a picture of him grinning alongside theirs. In their initial story, The Age mentioned him defending the staff’s decision not to submit the children to the authorities, though this aspect is not as strong in the story as it stands currently. Presumably because not many people would read that story and think “those fifteen year olds need to feel the full force of the law, hanging’s too good for them.”

(The Age‘s story mentions, presumably as corroborating evidence, that the year nines were “rowdy” on the plane home according to talkback callers. Shit, really? Kids rowdy? On a plane? Let us also take into consideration that talkback callers are amongst the most intolerant, self-important people on the planet.)

So, Hayward is in favour of excessive punishment, except when it might kill the students! Hah! Oh, alright, that’s actually consistent. In any case, this has got to be the worst publicity St Leonard’s has had since it allowed those stinky boys to start attending back in the seventies.

Posted by Tom Charman to , | 5 Comments »

Is it safe to come out yet?

Having spent the last few years scaring the shit out of us all by predicting our imminent and painful deaths (e.g. “Bird flu fear: A Melbourne man has been rushed to hospital with suspected bird flu symptoms.” Would those also be the symptoms of that other lesser known disease, regular old human flu?), the Murdoch papers were in a bit of a predicament when, despite Tom’s unending cynicism, something bordering on scary actually happened this week with the terror arrests: How to convey the new seriousness of actual scary rather than pretend scary? I must say I was impressed with the ingenious solution the editors of the Herald Sun and MX came up with. HEADLINES ALL IN CAPITALS. They left themselves a little room to ramp the fear up another notch by keeping the trusty exclamation mark in the bag for now but I bet they have their fingers crossed that someone hurries up and invents electronic paper so they can do flashing red headlines for when bird flu goes pandemic-y.

No one does scary news as well as the Americans, although in their case it is as often unintentional as not. Such as this story about Kansas’ decision to once again change its education rules in favour of intelligent design. Among other things “the board rewrote the standards’ definition of science, so that it is no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena” and is merely a “systematic method of continuing investigation”. Umm… ok. I guess if you can’t get religion taught in a science class, you just redefine science until it includes religion. Personally, I’ve always found the definition of religion as “belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe” a little narrow. I’m not even sure Baoism would make it in, lacking as it is in a story of creation. Any ideas on how to make the definition a little less discriminatory?

Posted by Andrew Coulthurst to , | 8 Comments »


Only the Herald Sun could take something which isn’t actually an issue — the existence of fee paying places in our premier state schools — and use it to peddle what seems to be some kind of racist agenda on their front page.

Because, not for the first time, foreigners are taking things from us. They’ve always taken our jobs, but now they are taking our kid’s spot in a good state school.

I’ve been told from an extremely reliable souce that fee-paying spots aren’t at the expense of free ones, making the whole article pointless — but that isn’t the issue I want to talk about.1

It’s the Herald Sun’s ridiculous emphasis on the fact most of these places are held be foreigners. This may be true, but it’s also completely irrelevant. Surely the only issue should be that there are fee paying places, not who has decided to buy them. The fact that foreigners have is completely coincidental and barely worth mentioning, let alone in a massive sub heading on the front page of the paper. Although in defence of the journalist who wrote it, they don’t actually get to decide the titles.

In any case, in a society which seems largely xenophobic and always on the search for a scape-goat, it seems wrong and irresponsible of one of our major papers to promote those kinds of attitudes.

People don’t need to be pushed much I find.

  1. Although we can go into it if you’d like.

Posted by Jackson Kearney to , | 3 Comments »