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Ethical Australian Journalists Guide


March 31, 2004

Hydrogen extra

The Australian Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources ( has also recently released a report on the hydrogen economy. The report The National Hydrogen Study was prepared for the Department by consultants ACIL Tasman and Parsons Brinckerhoff. It suggests that the Australian demand for hydrogen as a fuel source could be as great as 18 million cubic metres by 2030, with up to half of all mobile phones and 20% of vehicles using the clean new fuel. The study is available at Thanks to Fiona A for the tip. ACIL Tasman also has an Issues Paper for further information.
Posted by belinda at 11:12 AM | Comments (0)

If the Brits can do it, why can't we?

A new web log, Downing Street Says, reports the outcomes of daily 'official briefings' of political journalists (the group known as the lobby) by an 'official spokesperson' for UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. The site reports these twice-daily Q&A sessions in full. The aim of the site is to report what the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman actually said in response to the lobby's questioning, rather than what he was reported as saying in pieces lobby journos write for newspapers or other media. See for yourself at
Posted by belinda at 11:06 AM | Comments (0)

Running on hydrogen?

Could we switch to hydrogen as a major fuel, and if we did, what would it mean? The US National Academies Press has released a pre-publication version of a new report called The Hydrogen Economy: Opportunities,Costs, Barriers, and R&D Needs, which looks at the issues in detail, including the switch from carbon-based fuels in cars. It would only be workable if hydrogen could be produced domestically in a way that is both affordable and environmentally benign, and if hydrogen technologies, such as fuel cells for cars, could gain sufficient market share. Obviously such a radical move would have strong implications for energy and transport policy. You can get the full report for free online at Well worth a look.
Posted by belinda at 09:43 AM | Comments (0)

March 26, 2004

Under the Mexican sun

Nice work if you can get it? Around 200 of Rupert Murdoch's senior staff, most from newspapers, have just finished up a five-day stint at the Ritz Carlton in Cancun, Mexico for a News Corporation get-together. Details of the week have been reported by the UK's Daily Telegraph at Apparently the Aussies were responsible for the conference being "less abstemious" than previous ones - some stereotypes never die.
Posted by belinda at 03:20 PM | Comments (0)

Who's hot

Wired News has released its 2004 Rave Awards for people it wants to honour for being "the mavericks, the dreamers, the innovators. The 20 people paving the way to tomorrow and inspiring us to follow in their footsteps." First up (for film) is Peter Jackson, for Lord of the Rings. Other categories include Art, Books, Business, Science, Software, Architecture and Renegade of the Year - take a bow, Steve Jobs. Each category lists some also rans as well. See the full 15-page story at
Posted by belinda at 11:13 AM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2004

Could do better?

Uncertainties about how to be a good parent, how to build better relationships with children, how and when to discipline, and how to find time for kids when work pressure is great were all concerns expressed in the recently released report, The concerns of Australian parents, researched and written by Joe Tucci, Chris Goddard and Janise Mitchell for the Australian Childhood Foundation ( Parenting doesn't come naturally to many people and most want help and advice on how to do things more wisely. The report is part of the ACF's Every Child is Important campaign against child abuse. The ACF was formerly known as Australians Against Child Abuse and the full report is at Information about the Every Child is Important campaign is in the press info at
Posted by belinda at 01:21 PM | Comments (0)

March 19, 2004

Wireless broadband

Wireless broadband sounds like a pipedream but it's on trial in Sydney right now, according to a story today in Wired News. The company launching it, Personal Broadband Australia, (, claim laptop and PDS users can roam up to 9 km from a base station and still achieve good connection speeds using their iBurst service. They claim 1 Megabit per second download speeds. Other companies are also looking to bring such products to market. Wireless broadband won't come cheap, but if it works, it might be a godsend in the bush too. Read the full details at,1282,62684,00.html/wn_ascii.
Posted by belinda at 03:51 PM | Comments (0)

A Burnt Out case?

While most people agree we need better child protection, many people are swift to blame failures on social workers and other caring professionals. Yet jobs in child protection can be exceptionally tiring, risky, stressful and unrewarding, as new research from the Australian Institute of Criminology ( shows. Their new research paper, Violence, threats and intimidation in the lives of professionals whose work involves children, details the threats and abuse, including physical assaults, that child protection workers themselves face, much of which can lead to illness and burnout. If we want a better system, we need to take account of where (and why) it's at risk. The full report is at
Posted by belinda at 09:58 AM | Comments (0)

Sign of the (LA) Times?

Only in California! The Los Angeles Times has just launched a new Web section on their site - Cosmetic Surgery of Southern California. While other papers start wine and food sections or liftouts aimed at investors, the LA Times has set up one that covers everything in the nip'n'tuck line, from botox injections and hair transplants to tummy tucks and chemical peeling. Presumably they know their target audience well. See for yourself at
Posted by belinda at 09:13 AM | Comments (0)

March 16, 2004

State of the News

"Journalism is in the midst of an epochal transformation, as momentous probably as the invention of the telegraph or television", according to the recently released report, The State of the News Media 2004: An Annual Report on American Journalism. The report surveys newspapers, online news sites, network and cable TV, magazines, radio and the ethnic press in order to understand the changes. It identifies 8 major trends:
  • A growing number of news outlets are chasing relatively static or even shrinking audiences for news.
  • Much of the new investment in journalism today - much of the information revolution generally - is in disseminating the news, not in collecting it.
  • In many parts of the news media, we are increasingly getting the raw elements of news as the end product.
  • Journalistic standards now vary even inside a single news organization.
  • Without investing in building new audiences, the long-term outlook for many traditional news outlets seems problematic.
  • Convergence seems more inevitable and potentially less threatening to journalists than it may have seemed a few years ago.
  • The biggest question may not be technological but economic.
  • Those who would manipulate the press and public appear to be gaining leverage over the journalists who cover them.
Worrying stuff - see it all, including the methodology of the study at, The Executive Summary is at
Posted by belinda at 11:16 AM | Comments (0)

March 12, 2004

Could we give any more?

Forget poor intelligence or mistaken judgments about Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction, says Derek Woolner, a Visiting Fellow at the University of NSW at ADFA. That's not the issue - ANZUS is. He asks: How much sovereignty are Australians prepared to give up to stay on good terms with the United States? Good question. Read his words at
Posted by belinda at 02:27 PM | Comments (0)

In and out

According to Professor Graeme Hugo, consultant to the Social Policy Unit at the Parliamentary Library, "The last few years have seen a transformation of the scale, characteristics and significance of international population movements. There has been a massive increase in global movement and an increase in the complexity of the types of movement—permanent and temporary, legal and illegal, forced and voluntary. It is argued that much of the thinking and research on immigration in Australia neglects this new reality". Hugo has produced Research Note 46, entitled A new paradigm of international migration: implications for migration policy and planning for Australia. Among other things, Hugo says: "There is a tendency for Australia to be thought of purely as an ‘immigration country’. Yet it has a substantial outflow of emigrants which has increased in recent years with the internationalisation of labour markets and other globalisation effects." The full text is in HTML or PDF from
Posted by belinda at 02:20 PM | Comments (0)

March 11, 2004

Big toys

If gadgets are your thing, plug into Engadget and stay on top of what's new in mobile phones, audio and video, laptops, tablet PCs, handhelds, wireless and other expensive toys. It's a blog and it's at The compiler, Pete Rojas, used to write for the Gizmodo ( blog which is also gadget-lovers' heaven. The photo quality is pretty good so you can see what's what.
Posted by belinda at 01:42 PM | Comments (0)

US opinion

Anyone who wants a taste of US editorials and opinion page pieces will find a new weblog called - wait for it - editorial and opinion useful. Subtitled A daily index of opinion from mainstream American newspapers, it's at and it aggregates a whole range of links to today's op/ed stuff in the US. The site is organised by topic, (e.g. Election 2004, Gun control, Iraq), by source publication (e.g. Boston Globe, Washington Post) and by columnist name (William F. Buckley Jr, Maureen Dowd), e.g. so you can skim it pretty quickly.
Posted by belinda at 12:44 PM | Comments (0)

Navigating the shallows?

If the meaty part of the Web is the Deep Web, what does that make the rest of it? The Shallow Web? Whatever - there's a whole lot of it and finding information is still a tricky business. A very long article on Effective Web searching can be found at 80 pages plus but you're sure to find something handy in there.
Posted by belinda at 12:14 PM | Comments (0)

Deep but not unfathomable

If you suspect there is more information on the Internet than search engines retrieve for you, it's time to discover the Deep Web. The Deep Web is the new name for what used to be called the invisible Web - so-called because the information stored in there was invisible to Internet search engines. Why so? Much of it is stored in databases that search engines cannot crawl, either because the information is password-protected or because it is dynamically generated in response to queries and doesn't last long enough to be crawled like an HTML page can be. Think of the phone book - a search tool can tell you the White Pages exist but can't look up a number for you - you need to be on the site itself to run the query. The Deep Web is full of such database-style sites where you need to use the site's search technology to find information. Why bother? The Deep Web contains some of the most useful information online - databases, directories, statistics, full text legislation and court decisions, full text news archives, image and film databases, lists and rankings and so on. How to fathom it all.? Have a look at Bright Planet's Deep Web White Paper at The paper is also available for download as a PDF ( You'll get a good grounding here. The best finding tool for what's in the Deep Web is DirectSearch ( A Deep Web research blog is at Another useful updater is DirectSearch's Gary Price's ResourceShelf blog (
Posted by belinda at 11:49 AM | Comments (0)

March 10, 2004

Could have told them so

You can't see past them, they guzzle gas, their bullbars are ridiculous in a city environment and they are killing people at more than double the rate of ordinary cars. What are they? Four-wheel drive vehicles. Don't take my word for it - the Parliamentary Library says so in Research Note 27: Road Safety and 4WDs. According to the research: "Almost ninety per cent of children killed in NSW driveways in 1998 were run over by 4WDs or large commercial vehicles". How come? You can't see past them for a start. Though people often buy 4WDs for safety, the research shows that "a higher proportion of 4WDs was involved in fatal rollover crashes compared to normal passenger cars (35 per cent and 13 per cent respectively)." It goes on to note that: "In using a 4WD, instead of a normal car, one's chance of death or serious injury falls by 4 in 1000. But the chance of killing or injuring others rises by 11 in 1000, with a resulting cost to the community." The note is in HTML at and in PDF at Wouldn't drive one myself - did I mention that I really hate not being able to see past them on the roads? Time to downsize, folks.
Posted by belinda at 11:47 AM | Comments (0)

March 09, 2004

Private schools do well

According to an updated Research Note 41 written by the Social Policy Group of the Parliamentary Library, "The current trend in Commonwealth funding for schools, with an increasing share for the non-government school sector, is expected to continue." The note provides tables of figures since 1996 to enable comparisons to be done over time. The note states that: "While Commonwealth SPPs (Special Purpose Payments) during this period have increased in real terms for both government and non-government schools, the share of funding between the two school sectors has changed. The share for government schools has dropped from 42 per cent in 1995–96 to an estimated 33 per cent in 2003–04." The note is in HTML at or in PDF at
Posted by belinda at 01:20 PM | Comments (0)

March 08, 2004

Making a dollar

The first part of a piece on 'What Newspapers and Their Web Sites Must Do to Survive' has just been published on Online Journalism Review ( Written by online publishing consultant Vin Crosbie, the piece alleges that : "Printed editions are becoming ever less relevant and less popular in most people's lives. Worse, the decline in newspaper readership is accelerating." In response, he claims that "the newspaper industry has spent billions of dollars during the past 10 years creating and publishing online editions", many of which may be making money, but have yet to recoup their start up costs. He offers a three-part solution to newspapers on how to survive. Read the whole piece at It's all part of a wider look at OJR at the future of online news
Posted by belinda at 11:28 AM | Comments (0)

March 05, 2004

Comments not welcome

There has been a comment option on this blog for some time, but it has increasingly been used by spammers. Since I don't want to remove endless Viagra ads, I have closed down comment for the moment. Apologies to anyone who would like to comment. Please contact me directly at belinda AT if you want to comment and I will post your remarks. I'm not in favour of censorship but it's really time something was done about spammers - they really are a dreadful blight on online use. As someone who gets at least 50 spam emails a day, I resent the time I have to spend deleting them!
Posted by belinda at 10:28 AM | Comments (0)

March 04, 2004


If the voice at your call centre sounds Indian, it probably is - many jobs are being outsourced to India to cut costs. If you are a journo reporting on this issue, the South Asian Journalists' Association ( has a whole page of information and links to help you write on this issue. It links to both stories already published, cartoons on the topic and provides contacts who are pro-outsourcing and anti-outsourcing for comment. Find the page at
Posted by belinda at 03:10 PM | Comments (0)

What's in a FTA?

After all the argy-bargy about the PBS, sugar and what will be on TV or at the movies if it goes through, what does the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement actually say? Find out at What's up there is only in draft, and may be subject to change or negotiation.
Posted by belinda at 02:54 PM | Comments (0)

March 02, 2004

Going for global

They may be small geographically, but Ireland (1), Singapore (2) and Switzerland (3) are the most 'globalised' countries in the world. Western Europe claimed 6 out of the 10 most globally integrated countries. The figures are taken from the fourth annual A.T. Kearney/Foreign Policy Globalization Index. Measures are taken on four main areas:
  • Economic integration (trade and foreign investment)
  • Technological connectivity (internet penetration and usage)
  • Personal contact (such as travel and telcommunicating)
  • Political engagement (treaties, memberships of international organisations).
Australia came in at an unlucky 13th, behind New Zealand (8th), the UK (12th) and the US (7th). The US's economic integration was lowest of all top 20 countries. See the figures and a number of related stories at The data from the index can be downloaded as a zipped file and data from the previous three years is still available.
Posted by belinda at 12:04 PM | Comments (0)

March 01, 2004

Number cruncher

Anyone doing surveys should find the Sample Size Calculator handy. You can use it to determine how many people you need to interview in order to get results that reflect your target population to the level of precision you need. You can also calculate the level of precision in any existing samples. You can opt for different confidence levels. It's at and terms such as confidence interval and confidence level are explained in plain English.
Posted by belinda at 12:46 PM | Comments (0)

Running one? Reporting on one?

If you want to start a not-for-profit organsation, or if you are a journo trying to figure one out, the Australian Nonprofit Management Resources Guide is a good place to start. It's free, and fairly comprehensive, covering issues from ethics and human resource development to legal matters, marketing, program management and governance. It's available at and is a publication of the Nonprofit Governance & Management Centre (
Posted by belinda at 12:35 PM | Comments (0)