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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Tuesday, 6 May 2008
Paul Keating as international chair of Lazard Carnegie Wylie referred to ACCC
Mood:  sharp
Topic: corporates

[The following receipt of our complaint was received around 5.45 pm 6 May 2008] 


Thank you for contacting the ACCC.

Where possible the staff of the ACCC Infocentre will phone and discuss your inquiry/complaint. This provides an opportunity to better understand your questions and provide a more useful response. The matters you have raised will receive attention by ACCC staff.

Please note that we are experiencing delays in responding to online complaints.

If you have any urgent inquiries please call 1300 302 502.

You submitted the following:

Complainant details

Mr Tom McLoughlin






Contact details

0410 558838

Date received

6th May 2008

Product description

public energy privatisation in NSW

Product provider

Paul Keating, international chairman of Lazard Carnegie Wylie

Complaint description

Keating says in the SMH today: "[in 1997} the power stations were worth $35 billion. A decade later the price discussion for the same stations is about $15 billion. That is, $20 billion in lost value; $20 billion that could have been spent on education, health and vital new infrastructure. A vast sum even by national government standards."

John Kaye MP (Greens) and Phd in electrical engineering no less stated today this was "deeply misleading"."Mr Keating has conveniently ignored the billions of dollars in the low and high voltage network that then Premier Carr wanted to sell off and was included in the $35 billion price tag. "He has wiped out the value of 12,440 km of high voltage transmission lines owned by Transgrid. "He has written down to zero the $10.9 billion assets of the state’s electricity distributors, including 2.2 million power poles and the 169 thousand substations. [end quote].

 Under s.52 and state equivalents of the Trade Practices Act (Commonwealth) it is illegal to engage in conduct that is misleading and deceptive in the course of business. There may be an exemption for news reportage. However we feel that Keating may be in breach of the law of the land as regards honest business practice. Certainly if he repeats these statements outside the newspaper he will be, and he may still have done so. I do believe this is a case for the ACCC to investigate as the corporate watchdog.

Posted by editor at 7:50 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 6 May 2008 8:27 PM NZT
Public energy: Keating fantasy economics exposed big time
Mood:  accident prone
Topic: nsw govt
[extract from New Matilda string, there]
Kaye MP media release is pretty right here, corroborated by Andrew Main, currently business editor of The Australian, formerly Australian Financial Review (re 1/2 industry, 1/2 value point by Kaye below). Main was not hammering this point, just a throw away line on Deb Cameron 702 this morning, and what a line it is. Back to Kaye here (with Phd in electrical engineering too):

Keating confused on power sell-off facts

Media Release: 6 May 2008

Former Prime Minister Paul Keating’s attempt at defending the privatisation of NSW’s electricity industry is based on a number of incorrect and misleading assertions, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.

Dr Kaye said: "Labor MPs should not be intimidated by Mr Keating’s self-confidence or his use of colourful epithets.

"He has displayed a remarkable level of ignorance of the NSW power sector.

"Writing in today’s Sydney Morning Herald, Mr Keating asserts that value of the power stations was $35 billion in 1997 when former Premier Carr and his Treasurer Michael Egan tried to privatise them.

"In fact this was the estimated income from the sale of the entire industry, including the wires and poles of the distributors and the transmission system.

"Comparing this to the alleged $15 billion price tag for the current proposal which does not include any of the transmission or distribution hardware is deeply misleading.

"Mr Keating has conveniently ignored the billions of dollars in the low and high voltage network that then Premier Carr wanted to sell off and was included in the $35 billion price tag.

"He has wiped out the value of 12,440 km of high voltage transmission lines owned by Transgrid.

"He has written down to zero the $10.9 billion assets of the state’s electricity distributors, including 2.2 million power poles and the 169 thousand substations.

"The former Prime Minister also alleges that much of NSW electricity is provided by private generation in other states.

"Again he is woefully ignorant of reality. The total import was just over 10% of the state’s needs in the last financial year.

"Paul Keating might well resort to name calling and personal denigration of those he does not agree with, but he should check his facts first.

"Mr Keating’s fundamental errors are cause for concern given his role with Lazard Carnegie Wylie who are supplying advice to the Iemma government on the sell-off," Dr Kaye said.

For more information: John Kaye 0407 …. ….

Posted by editor at 12:18 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 6 May 2008 12:34 PM NZT
Public energy: It's time for Phil Koperberg to step on up to the big chair?
Mood:  not sure
Topic: nsw govt


Big Phil Koperberg MP has been on health leave. He's also been suffering blow torch burns.

But of all the people in NSW Parliament on the ALP side he has demonstrable experience managing a large number of people and concerns including in extreme and dangerous circumstances.

We vote for Phil Koperberg as an adequate replacement for the spiv forces congregating around Premier Morris Iemma, subject to his health being okay again.

Some will say he has too much baggage or bruises. On the other hand if PM Kevin Rudd can survive a visit to a strip club as Opposition Leader 'where he saw nothing', and Julie Bishop MP can remain steadfast to WA Leader Troy Buswell, just as NSW MP Reba Meagher could vouch for Joe Tripodi facing sexual harrassment allegations. Well one feels Koperberg with a phalanx of PR spinners can easily rise above that ancient history.

Posted by editor at 11:40 AM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 7 May 2008 4:26 PM NZT
Burma cyclone damage a portent of Brisbane's dangerous climate future?
Mood:  sad
Topic: globalWarming

As major issues of public policy over public energy are being debated in NSW over expansion of the greenhouse generating power industry, this front page story is a serious reminder that no city is safe from this future. Tropical and subtropical cities like Cairns, and Brisbane will move into the cyclone shadow as we understand orthodox global warming predictions:

Coverage today:


Posted by editor at 10:49 AM NZT
Public energy: Keating, Easson fail to declare financial conflict in Big Media, ABC today?
Mood:  down
Topic: nsw govt

As best we can tell Paul Keating has failed to adequately declare his direct financial conflict of interest in the public energy sale plan going to NSW caucus, as has the Sydney Morning Herald generally in his opinion piece today about public energy assets. This guy and Michael Easson are talking their corporate book. It's an outrageous breach of journalistic standards to downplay this reality:

Stephen Mayne has the story, as did the AFR previous to him: [bold,  text sizing added]

Crikey - Conflicts aplenty in NSW power privatisation debate ...

However, no one has yet mentioned the conflicts of interest involved, especially for key players such as Paul Keating and Bernie Riordan.

Riordan has a double act as ALP President in NSW and secretary of the Electrical Trades Union. He’s the Dean Mighell of NSW but rather than being expelled by the ALP he’s President of the whole show.

Riordan is a solid lefty who has led the campaign against energy privatisation. But how can a bloke who represents a special interest group known as electricity workers dictate the policies of government as they relate to those same workers?

Riordan’s conflicts go to the very heart of the ALP’s gerrymandered structure which guarantees unions 50% of the votes at party forums, irrespective of how many members the unions or the party has.

The heavily conflicted Riordan is exploiting that gerrymander for all it’s worth right now when surely the ALP would have a code of conduct that prevents individual union leaders influencing party policies that relate directly to their industry.

Such a conflict would raise plenty of eyebrows in the corporate world. Then again, this is NSW and Riordan’s left wing supporters point to conflicts amongst his right wing pro-privatisation critics.

The biggest is this: Should Paul Keating be holding meetings with Unions NSW secretary John Robertson and Riordan when he is the international chairman of Lazard Carnegie Wylie, the advisory house which landed the lucrative energy privatisation gig with the NSW Government?

John Wylie is Australia’s leading energy privatisation exponent, as you can see from this list of power deals over the past 15 years.

He led the $30 billion worth of energy sector privatisations for Jeff Kennett and his old firm CS First Boston collected more than $100 million in fees. Wylie’s share is thought to have been well over $20 million.

Wylie left CS First Boston to establish the boutique adviser Carnegie Wylie with his old Oxford mate Mark Carnegie shortly after Kennett lost office. They then came together with Lazard last year which was led in Australia by Paul Keating’s long-time mate Mark Burrows.

If Keating stands to personally profit from NSW belatedly following Jeff Kennett’s lead, then surely he shouldn’t be using his ALP connections to get involved in the lobbying ahead of Saturday’s conference.

In the interests of full disclosure, perhaps the parties should place all the cards on the table. What is the nature of Lazard Carnegie Wylie’s contract with the NSW Government and what is the nature of Paul Keating’s contract with Lazard Carnegie Wylie?

Send your tips to boss@crikey.com.au, submit them anonymously here or SMS tips and photos to 0427 TIP OFF.



Here is Michael Easson - a long time out of the NSW union movement - and deeply in the construction and property side of the industry, none of this declared on ABC 702 morning show at 7.15 am, or a letter published in the Herald today:


Pentacle Property Funds Management - Board Of Directors 

Mr. Michael Easson, Non-executive Director

Michael has professional experience across a broad range of industries, is the founder and chairman of the EG Property Group as well as currently a business consultant to Allens Arthur Robinson Lawyers. Michael's directorships include ING Real Estate, InTech, Stadium Australia Management Limited, ACT Electricity and Water (where he is deputy chairman). Michael is a former director of Macquarie Infrastructure Investment Management Limited, the managers of the Macquarie Infrastructure Group.



Posted by editor at 9:16 AM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 6 May 2008 10:56 AM NZT
Sunday, 4 May 2008
Sunday tv talkies: PM to help Premier Iemma as ALP NSW conference reject him on energy 7-1?
Mood:  not sure
Topic: aust govt

NSW Treasuer, for now, Michael Costa.

Author’s general introductory note (skip this bit if you know this regular weekly column):



This is not a well packaged story. It’s a contemporaneous traverse of the Sunday television free to air political talkies indicating the agenda of Establishment interests: Better to know ones rivals and allies  in Big Politics and Big Media.



Indeed it’s the tv version monitoring task similar to what Nelson Mandela refers to here in his book Long Walk to Freedom (1994, Abacus) written in Robben Island prison (where he was meant to die like other African resister chiefs of history in the 19C), at page 208



“..newspapers are only a shadow of reality; their information is important to a freedom fighter not because it reveals the truth, but because it discloses the biases and perceptions of both those who produce the paper and those who read it.”



Just substitute ‘Sunday tv political talkie shows’ for "newspapers" in the quote above.

For actual transcripts go to web sites quoted below except with Riley Diary on 7. And note transcripts don’t really give you the image content value.


Media backgrounders


Refer penultimate post. Also Future of Journalism conference.


9 Sunday 7.30 – 9.30 am


Features prefaced, news roundup relegates public energy. Good feature on bulk retailer Cosco, bigger version of Aldi but also like what Campbells were but this one open to the public.


Story about hot street cars ‘their side of the story’.


Coulthard feature on Dr Reeves – grim, looking more and more like a sociopath in professional garb. Scary. Deaths of patients. Escalating crime investigation.


Adbreak is expensive spin advert by NSW govt promoting this website waterislife.nsw.gov.au which is a PR rerun of the 2002-3 electioneering agenda “It’s a living thing” fronted by Christine Anu to run effective interference on damning critique of Carr failings on the environmental promises made and broken. A premier who had run out of puff on sustainability.


Laurie Oakes interview with Robert Ray retiring building on Saturday telegraph column interesting 6 years as taxi driver, great life education, looks like he’s in grieving a little, but truth is he’s been out of the top level of power for maybe 4 years now:


Factional daleks speech – must expand it’s pool of talent. Numbers man is needed but must have wide range of talent still. Leaving national executive, left 8 years, called back 6 times. Leaving to such as Arbib. Re NSW public power assets. Synchronisation of party and membership and parliamentary party. Very difficult issue. Politics is not all bliss. Centralised distribution not generation is his view. Won’t damage Rudd, doubt wreck NSW govt. Would’ve 40 – 50 years ago. Does the national executive have power to over rule state conference. Can over rule but only if contradicts national platform. Both points of view have strongly been argued. A Govt can’t completely ignore its party.  Compare various Prime Ministers. Great in different ways.  Rudd cabinet similar in Hawke re consensus on many things. Keating invective as treasurer done without malice. 5th columnist approach in late 1991. Not so inspired by Keating. Main enemy was inside. Hawke could have won.


Why support Rudd over Beazley. Not certain but more likely. Missing generations never get to serve scared him. Beazley 1996 took on the job thinking he would never be PM. Politics is partly cyclical. Same for Brendan Nelson.


Regarding Rudd - Be aware of problem of hubris, don’t talk about natural party of govt. Get out of currency. Always be available. Not indulge in generational jealousy.







10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am


Press round up Iemma leaves conference with Costa shouting at delegates who vote against him. Sounding hysterical. [lead story SMH also very damaging, displaying strong investigative journalism parallel with Future of Journalism conference].


Mal Turnbull is the talent – 700 to 100 – huge margin, why call it on. He is a broken premier. In office to 2011. Rudd backed Iemma “very strongly” as much a rejection of Rudd. Work in progress for a long time. Politics is art of persuasion – got to think again. Turnbull leaving to OFarrell leave to his judgement. As a matter of principle generality these businesses owned by the private sector. As a citizen and shareholder looks like a distressed seller. Kennett sold at the top of the market. Selling at the bottom of the market.


Chat about baby bonus debate re middle upper class welfare. Etc. Federal budget 9 days away.


Out take first adbreak is Troy Buswell re stock standard ALP emotional violence attack about character. How senior ALP minister exposed as involved with Bourke Inc is not higher in the news is a mystery to this writer as tacky as Buswell admit to have acted.


Panel – Jennifer Hewitt Australian News Ltd, Glenn Milne ditto. Grab from Tony Abbott. Cult of St Kevin. Lucky not leader, Turnbull glinty smile says yes, due loyalty on parade for Nelson. By election in Gippsland. Prefers to not be a “commentator”. “We should hold that seat”.


Internal grassroots democracy in Lib Party etc. ‘Empower’ is very important. About leader maybe not. Healthy debate.


Economy, inflation is a problem over 4%. Agrees. Good question by JH but also looking sharp and relaxed in answer.


JH asks “Good news politician” now?




Carr fronts MTP 10 as well on the pretext of books segment and no one speaks about that.

It's all about public energy assets. Carr gobbles up the attention in his relevance deprivation syndrome - the man who said the internet was irrelevant to politics no less in 2005-6. Carr urges Iemma drive it through - like cannon fodder for Big Business which is Carr's meal ticket and loyalty to Macquarie Bank on $500K per year.

His advice is totally unsafe. Carr laps up commentary role on Premier Iemma's policy issues. Carr conceds Obama huge fundraising on net, in other words Carr got it WRONG. Alot of talk about donations as per excellent donations story front SMH yesterday (how investigative journalism is done).

Carr talks about forcing police royal commission - really John Hatton (Independent) leveraging Carr's desperate ambition but he didn't really want to do it. Claims education and health capital works programme. Also claiming vindication - on carbon trading scheme.

Not one question about books. How bogus Carr is.

Meet The Press - Watch Political Video Online - Channel TEN.




Riley Diary 7, 8.35 am


Looks like on holidays again, or different time slot? Usually at 8.35 am.







Insiders 2: 9- 10am


Casssidy leads in with federal budget when the big news surely is the rebuke to Iemma on privatization. Seems curious lead in. Valid though regarding budget in 9 days. Compare MTP lead in.


Sunday papers – re federal budget Meglo Herald Sun, Sunday Age.  5 minutes in and no mention of public power $15B issue. [this is very poor editorial focus]. Ripp off of Obama marketing song re Rudd.


Bolt on unions “dictating” to govt. “Just insane”, that’s the take out for the public says Misha. Wrong.


Emma Griffiths abc tv back from Russia, Iemma left the building, and Costa. Mussolini style flurry, shouted and jeered. More about clash of egos. His ego’s versus everyone else. Iemma crushed in the middle. Morning after, night before. Waiting to hear how Iemma will respond. Damage, opponents in party, and outside the party will exploit. Classic lose lose situation.


Wayne Swan federal budget. No question lead in about NSW power. General discussion on national issues.


Morris Iemma situation, Labor caucus will meet later this week. Iemma should be admired, not finally resolved for a few days. Entirely for the NSW caucus and their leader.


Paul Kelly blah. Meglo struggling to find narrative in this budget. Bolt duly skeptical too.


Discuss Liberal leadership re Nelson sucking up the pain. Press keen for change. Bolt not keen on Turnbull, as not ready.’ Refer to Rudd in Time 100.


Costa footage going like a vaudeville mad man at the microphone, which is “ugly” given he is treasurer and meant to be an authority figure. Totally unsuited to the job. Meglo says the vote 7-1 was about who is unfit to govern. [Cassidy is quite clearly pro privatization of the public’s energy assets. ]


Winnie the Pooh images at campaign headquarters for libs last federal election.


Home page is http://www.abc.net.au/insiders/

Posted by editor at 12:00 PM NZT
Wentworth Courier in $ydney's eastern suburbs on public energy
Mood:  energetic
Topic: nsw govt


This cover story image above reflects the significant Liberal Party opposition to the sell off. It might be opportunistic. It might be sincere. But the ALP rump led by Iemma claim that the Liberal Party are universally for the sale may be as shaky as their grip on control of the ALP Government itself and the merits case for the sell off policy which was defeated by about 700 to 106 on the ABC tv news last night.

The Carr-Iemma image in yesterday's Saturday Telegraph is from the 2020 Summit gathering only 2 weeks prior showing their real big business alliance. All the same Morris Iemma is looking personally fairly relaxed. Our impression/speculation this is a man who misses his young kids and won't mind if the job is taken off him. If he goes, his kids will surely be better off for it, like young Nathan Albanese/Tebbutt. And if Morris steps down Costa will go too.

By our reckoning former leader Debnam above (who lost his own privatisation policy election and seems to have duly adjusted his thinking), and former NSW attorney general John Dowd (Liberal Party) have both publicly declined the sale policy now. Mal Turnbull on MTP 10 this morning has similarly praised the theory and stood off the practicality of "a distressed seller".

We also notice in terms of commercial tv coverage both Ch9 and 7 are not covering this story as nearly as prominently as the ABC or SunHerald Fairfax today:

Iemma loses power battle Premier Morris Iemma suffered an embarrassing defeat in his bid to settle power privatisation dispute.

Carr fronts MTP 10 as well on the pretext of books segment and no one speaks about that. Following is real time comment typing:

It's all about public energy assets. Carr gobbles up the attention in his relevance deprivation syndrome - the man who said the internet was irrelevant to politics no less in 2005-6. Carr urges Iemma drive it through - like cannon fodder for Big Business which is Carr's meal ticket and loyalty to Macquarie Bank on $500K per year. In other words Carr is talking his book, not the ALP's best interests.

His advice is totally unsafe. Carr laps up commentary role on Premier Iemma's policy issues. Carr conceds Obama huge fundraising on net, in other words Carr got it WRONG. Alot of talk about donations as per excellent donations story front SMH yesterday (how investigative journalism is done).

Carr talks about forcing police royal commission - really John Hatton (Independent) leveraging Carr's desperate ambition but he didn't really want to do it. Claims education and health capital works programme. Also claiming vindication - on carbon trading scheme.

Not one question about books. How bogus Carr is.

Posted by editor at 9:21 AM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 4 May 2008 10:40 AM NZT
Monthly readership figures for SAM micro news site April 2008
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: independent media

As they say in business and government 'if you don't measure it you can't manage it'. Here is our April (to May 3rd inclusive) pageviews screenshot with trend figures and a little comment* below:

 * We peaked about April 30 2008 with 23K plus montly pageviews for April which has as much to do with reader figures around the same time of month for late March which presumably was quite high. So why the down swing to $19K plus? Well it could be variable content - though we feel it doesn't change in character or quality that much. Or it could be the niche audience (political folks media and party etc) majorly distracted with another event (say this weekend's NSW ALP conference, or indeed Future of Journalism conference hosted by the ABC et al). 

And there is another factor - the power of links: As explained at the FoJ conference a link at say Drudge in the USA skyrockets the web traffic for local News Ltd or Fairfax online operations but it's a shooting star effect (and of no commercial value either they say with USA readers beyond local advertisers catchment - though Time.com say it's good value to them). We don't suggest a Drudge link to SAM which would be fantasy but there may be a micro parallel going on locally with a link back to SAM from another prominent blog in March that we didn't get in late April.

As we always say, we have faith in growing readership from  discipline, endeavour, honest effort, natural creativity. That kind of thing. We don't believe in shooting stars. We do believe in turning up for work every day not least improved grammar and writing with practice. We feel okay about the trend line which does indeed go up.


Previous monthly reader pageview figures for 2007, 2008 verified by screen shot (web host provider monthly pageview account details) posted on or about 4th day of the month found in this thread:

  • April 08 - 19,250 
  • March 08 - 20,803 
  • February 08 - 13,109
  • January 08 -  19, 898
  • December - 11,627
  • November - 10,220
  • October - 9, 100 
  • Sept -  8,100 (roughly, no screenshot)
  • August - 8,845
  • July - 7475
  • June - 9675
  • May  - 9, 059
  • April  - 12,087
  • March  - 6,684
  • February - 5,372
  • January 07 -  2800 (3rd Jan - 3rd Feb 07)

Posted by editor at 8:54 AM NZT
Thursday, 1 May 2008
Future of Journalism conference in Sydney Australia #1
Mood:  chatty
Topic: big media


Picture (above):  A blurry Mark Scott managing director of ABC gives a lively opening speech alluding to power players Eric Beecher (Crikey etc) and David Kirk (Fairfax) in a cage fight, best man wins. Scott was 2nd off the block from Chris Warren of the Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance (ie journo union) but as you can see we had technical problems with his picture too.


As prefaced in our penultimate post we are no journalist though we have interacted with them a good 16 years now. This might help with reportage on their sector with our ngo, legal and science smarts.

We cycled into the registration desk at ABC building from Marrickville on our 150 year old technology which somehow seemed ironic given the online superhighway discussed for the rest of the day. In equal measure interest, fear and loathing it sounded to us.

We revealed our amateur status further by misjudging camera exposure on 'no flash' setting hence the blurry image above (with a somewhat artistic effect we feel). Actually we were overcompensating being nervous our flash would disrupt the tv cameramen but they assured later of no probs either way even if just sitting just behind them.

 Chris Warren as federal secretary of the journalist union noted the "frisson of unease" about the online changes and "pause" after job shedding at New York Times, and Newsweek of 100 in each case in the USA.

Mark Scott as MD of ABC launched straight away into 'where we report the news we don't make the news'. Resonating that - given power games regularly on display in the private sector. Referred to need for 'understanding between newsrooms and boardrooms' and "post proprietorial world" and challenge to find a 'sustainable [financial] model'.

[This echoed our side conversation with USYD academic Fiona Martin just prior.]

Scott reckons cost of Oz drama or telemovies at $1-2M per hour to make is a good parallel with cost of 'quality journalism under threat'. This industry sector run by media industry 'aggregators' are now 'fragmenting' and this is manifesting as 'market failure' which is a nice line for a publicly funded organisation holding out the hat to federal govt. It also rings true.

We found this a little confronting in the reflection stakes - given we at SAM are a fragmentary force here too one presumes - bringing legal, science and ngo skills, combined with vocational zeal, all out of Whitlam's free education of the 70-80ies.

On the other hand later on author/media analyst Meg Simons referred to the 'great gig traditonal media has been for so long'. The implication is that it has become vocationally flabby and needs to get its fitness regime back.

 Picture: Professor Jay Rosen doing a damn fine impersonation of Norman Jewison who directed pseudo dystopian (1970ies anti corporation/hegemonic) action thriller Rollerball. Made after the Munich Olympics (mid 70ies) in a disused (1936) Olympic venue in Germany. Talk about gutsy guy. Also made classic Fiddler on the Roof. Rosen's thesis is "migration" to the online future for the journalism profession "some are there already", some "don't want to go", not at all interested in 'the commercialisation of the emerging online sector' rather to study 'the problem'. Rosen had a charming tone of vindication/hubris/compassion/burning intellect and was a highlight by satellite with brightly lit Empire State Building behind.


Picture: Display by the Walkley organisation of 50 years of coverage of their profession with some very amusing covers, also sponsoring the 2 day conference with ABC and MEAA.

We owe an apology to Chris Warren for no picture here. We enjoyed his discussion/interview with 'Meg' Simons author of "Content Makers". Their Q & A threw up themes around 20C political economy shifting and media with it. MS pushed the notion 'the gift economy' online is here to stay [like this blogger on say 20K readers per month] as a feature of 'wealthy societies' [actually a feature of Aboriginal society for 60K years too] noting such as 'wikipedia based on kudos/satisfaction'. But such as these projects are 'not sufficient' though not going away given academics and others behind this action.

CW and MS noted the press in late 17C [eg pamphleteers in England?] were like bloggers today finding it 'fun and empowering' to give voice to their knowledge. True. Journo skills are still great value but not really trained up on 'having conversations and building community'.

[Quite right, more trained up on the infamous 'little betrayal' news gathering, and haughty disrespectful attitude mode of operation living high on the hog we feel.]

MS corroborates our comment just now with need to be 'more humble' in the profession and this theme is echoed by Scott and other captains [eg Uechtritz, possibly Reid] about the 'audience knowing more than the journo who then mediates these sources'. What is published is thus 'provisional' [and this 'evolving story construction dynamic' is teased out later, much like our little postscript device sometimes here on SAM].

The 'gatekeeper role is reduced'. Blogosphere is 'still derivative' to a large degree and there is still a great need for trade skill..

MS: 'Niche media will increase versus mass media, perhaps not even the main thing in future'. Crikey.com.au is an example of niche 'on a sustainable model'. CW noted localism has not been done well by the Big Media. Niches include buinsess ezines by Kohler/Bartho/Gottliebsen for 'insiders' like Crikey too. Also say technology specialties.

Interesting discussion of ABC taking steps to commission content - is this risky asks CW regarding separation of the state from the free press with increased dependence of the latter? MS refers to academic Phillip Myer view that not for profits will sustain standards until this massive transition is dealt with.

[This reflects directly the experience of New Matilda functioning via philanthropist, competing effectively with ABC's Unleashed, unleashed to the extent of being a great service and outlet to the 'Friends of the ABC' affinity but perhaps not really sufficiently independent of the ABC corporate self interest to as Scott has said 'manage and mediate the national conversation'. The implication is 'on our terms' as a job creation scheme.]

CW refers asks about ethics pressue? Yes, says MS must keep these to protect their media 'brand'. Refers to The Age internal frictions as systemic more than personalities. Rather more about 'the model'. Hopes for a negotiated outcome there and support for journalists there.

Amusing reference to Mark Day projecting his relations with Rupert onto MS relations with her boss/employer Eric Beecher. MS notes News Ltd may be overtaking Fairfax now online.

We wanted to ask in the question time how Simons felt in hindsight about declining the federal govt invite to participate at the 2020 Summit, maybe we will in person today. She did mention the mushrooming significance of social networking sites, and Chris Nash and academic (from UQ) highlighted the temporal disjunction, that is previously decades to manage revolutions in platform ('radio and tv still happening' says MS) compared with 'financial urgency now'. [This all sounded like the Chinese leader response to the French Revolution being an experiment still in progress. Talk about philosophical perspective.]

[7 more pages of notes to follow roughly with these pictures below, time to get on the 150 year old technology to enjoy day 2].


Picture: Battleship, or is that fully armed navy frigate, Margaret Simons (Simmons?) talks to former UK editor and now 'for media' blogger at The Guardian there, union member 43 years (resigned over demarcation 'farce' of UK unions). Pithy, alternatively bouncy and gloomy, veteran long view, with a hint of crust (!?).

Picture: Cover from about 2005 - the industry saw the future, and this writer having northern European maybe viking in the genes, and blogger, was amused by this metaphor. Indeed we were pretty much 'the enemy' in some ways in the conference, albeit friendly and on good behaviour rations. 

Picture: Wise owls to borrow a phrase Quentin Dempster (ABC), John Cokley (UQ), Eric Beecher (Crikey.com.au), Trevor Cook ('Corporate Engagement')

Picture: Another profound cover. Online is 'as profound as the printing press' says Simmons and others because at low cost one can publish to the whole world the first time in human history. 'This inevitably will bring systemic change - just as the printing press created the journalism profession.' 

 Picture: These guys are the online "conquistadors" from one (cynical?) perspective as online editorial for News Ltd, Fairfax, Ninemsn interviewed by Dominique Schwartz at right (ABC SA). Two at left were in particular very understated and impressive in their tone and 3rd from left no slouch either. Presented like De Castellas running a marathon every day, hardly a layer of fat on them (like Beecher too above and Campbell Reid below). We commented to another in the audience 'hope they get paid alot because they look like whippets' - cross referencing SMH TV Guide article a fortnight back about US based bloggers stuck on 24 hour obsessive work schedule from home on 5 figure incomes dying of heart attacks. Whoa - it's supposed to be a fun vocation here, not death.


Picture above: As reported in press recently and noted on ABC TV Insiders, Cheryl Kernot is back in Australia post Rudd election. But here she is on a cover back in 1997-8 or so after expose she'd had the mother of all conflicts of interest having bedded a former ALP Minister while in another political party.

 Picture above from left: Hard men all. Campbell Reid (News Ltd), Max Uechtritz (former ABC, NineMSN), Mark Scott (ABC MD), Roy Greenslade (The Guardian, ex editor Daily Mirror). Interviewed in turn at right by very accomplished, brainy Helen Dalley of Sky News (previously Nine).

Picture: A young David Brill still reporting in 2008, recently from India on Free Tibet democracy protesters on SBS Dateline. That's one hell of a career David. Great report from Darfur too in recent months.

Posted by editor at 11:22 PM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 26 November 2008 8:25 AM EADT
Future of journalism - is non journalists too?
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: independent media


We are off to the Future of Journalism event partly hosted by the ABC and other big wigs in the journalism profession. We even shaved.

We at SAM blog on 20K readers per month (down 3K overnight - damn!) are not journalist trained. But we are enthusiastic, with legal and science smarts. And we are likely part of the future as a committed blog slogger some 5 years in one form or another.

Gratitude to ABC News Marketing for the nod. We will do our best to justify the entry with constructive attendance and faithfull feedback back to the slogosphere. In other words no disruptions to Big Mark Scott or similar VIP presentations. God forbid. It's enough for us to wear Glen Milne on our T-shirt as per crikey.com.au promo fame.

Here are more details here;

The Future of Journalism summit

How will quality journalism survive will be the question on everyone's minds when some of the leading news media experts gather in Sydney next month for a landmark summit on the digital revolution.

The Future of Journalism is hosted by the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance and The Walkley Foundation at the ABC's Eugene Goossens Hall at its Ultimo headquarters on May 1 and 2.

Guest speakers will include Roy Greenslade, the provocative media writer for the UK's Guardian newspaper, and Michael Elliott, the International Editor of Time Magazine.

Giving the Australian perspective will be online entrepreneur Eric Beecher, new media guru Margaret Simons, Google Australia's Karim Temsamani and a cohort of senior journalists and academics.

Subjects under discussion will include economic models for the survival of journalism, citizen journalism, the integrated newsroom, the future direction of advertising revenues, what makes "digital natives" tick and Search Engine Optimisation and its implications for quality journalism.

The summit will break new ground in the discussion of the changing media landscape in Australia.

According to Eric Beecher, it is long overdue.  "Why, when almost everyone in journalism in other self-respecting democracies is talking about almost nothing else, is there no substantial discussion about the future of journalism in Australia?"  He has written in the current issue of The Walkley magazine.

The Future of Journalism is an Alliance initiative and will comprise the Sydney summit, followed by a series of state-based roadshows through the year, and an ongoing research and training program which will roll out over the next 12 months and aims to equip Australian journalists for the pace of change that is affecting the news industry.

"Today's journalists are living the digital revolution everyday of their working lives," said Alliance federal secretary, Chris Warren.  "This is a conversation the industry needs to have if we are to prosper through the years ahead.  The time has come for co-operative thinking and an industry-wide approach to research and training.

"The Alliance, in partnership with The Walkley foundation and in co-operation with the leading journalism schools and our major media organisations, is well positioned to provide that leadership."

Posted by editor at 9:24 AM NZT

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