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Ethical Australian Journalists Guide


June 23, 2004

Time's nearly up

June 30 is the deadline for abstracts for this year's Public Right To Know conference to be held at the University of Technology, Sydney over the weekend of 20-22 August 2004. If you're keen on presenting at this conference, please let the conference organisers know asap.

The theme for the opening night plenary session is: The right to security vs the public right to know.

The conference welcomes a broad range of participants and papers from all relevant disciplines and professional fields. This year there's two special themes:

1. What, if any, provision should an Australian republican constitution make for the media. In particular, should provision for independent public sector media be entrenched in a republican constitution, and should the ownership and operation of private sector media be regulated in any way?

2. Project Censored. What are the stories of social significance that are overlooked, under-reported or self-censored by our news media?

The PR2K conferences combine academic and non-academic presentations. They examine the importance of free communication within and between journalism, media, the arts, government, the academy, interested organisations and the community. We strongly encourage proposals for presentations of case studies that illustrate some of the principles and complexities that occur in practice.

A selection of the academic conference papers will be peer-reviewed and published following the Conference.

2004 Conference: Key dates

* Call for Papers - issued on 6 May
* Academic Abstracts - due 30 June
* Proposals for Non Academic Presentations - due 30 June
* Acceptance of Papers - notified by 16 July
* Conference Registration - commences 28 July
* Conference Opening Night - 20 August
* Conference - 2 full days - 21 & 22 August 2003

More information on the conference is available at the PR2K website:

Posted by belinda at 03:55 PM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2004

Report archive

Australian Policy Online ( is expanding its archive of reports and papers back to 2000, as well as including some major reports from 1998 and 1999. By late July, the archive will have grown to more than 1,400 items. There are also more than 200 articles in the COMMENT & ANALYSIS archive. You can access the reports archive via the TOPICS button on the left-hand side of APO's front page. For those seeking to identify or contact research organisations, use the MEMBERS button to find the organisations who contribute research to the site.
Posted by belinda at 12:43 PM | Comments (0)

Why can't a newspaper be more like a blog?

Barry Parr asks the question on his MediaSavvy blog ( The five parter, which is fairly short, raises, among other things, the issues of RSS, trackbacks, allowing comment and keeping newspaper archives open with permanent URLs. He also stresses the importance of local or community content. The first piece is at From there, you can link to the rest. Well worth a look. I like his take on news archiving. He says: "After a couple of weeks, they [online newspapers] remove stories not only from their home page, but from their Web site. The original URL is broken, and readers who followed a link to the story are invited to search the paper's archives for it and pay money to get a look at it." Not all newspapers work this way - the UK Guardian ( has an open archive, and its existence probably drives a ton of traffic to its site that would more than make up for any lost revenue from selling articles.
Posted by belinda at 10:16 AM | Comments (0)

June 11, 2004

All wrong

After years of a "white picket fence" PM, it is refreshing to read new research from the Social Policy Research Centre ( at UNSW stating that children of solo mothers are cared for as well as children of partnered mothers. The single life may also have its advantages. The report says: "Contrary to the popular expectation that being a single mother entails more housework than being a married mother, it seems that the absence of a man slightly reduces the domestic burden upon mothers." Could this be because the report shows that "fathers in families with a youngest over 5 years old actually do less [housework/childcare] than men in childless couples"? (How do they get away with it?) The report, Time to Care: a comparison of how couple and sole parent households allocate time to work and children, finds no support for the ideas that children of solo mothers receive less, or less good, parental care than children of two-partnered households. The full report is at But will John Howard take any notice? I doubt it.
Posted by belinda at 11:16 AM | Comments (0)

Advice for aspiring journalists

How can young journalists just starting out prepare themselves? Steve Outing, senior editor at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies ( and Stop the Presses! columnist for Editor & Publisher, had some suggestions in an interview with UK's dotJournalism ( Outing says: "Learn the technology. It's not necessarily about picking up specific skills ... but about understanding what's possible with the technology, and being able to work with the technologists. You are likely to be working in multiple platforms. Even if you think that you're likely to be mostly a text journalist, pick up some broadcast skills for when that's necessary to tell a story best. Learn how to take decent photographs - because even if that's not 'your job' you still may find yourself with a photo phone or digital pocket camera in hand when something important has happened and there's no staff photographer around. Learn to be versatile. Recognise that there are new jobs out there. ... Recognise that journalism is changing - away from the we-tell-you model and toward being more of a conversation between journalist and readers." The full interview is at
Posted by belinda at 09:42 AM | Comments (0)

June 10, 2004

Shock! Horror! Good news about young people

Positive images of young adults are so few and far between in the media that it's worth reporting the release of "Social competence in young adulthood: its nature and antecedents" from the Australian Institute of Family Studies ( In the report, the authors report that most young adults surveyed were satisfied with their lives. The report used a model of social competence which included five key elements -- assertion, co-operation, empathy, responsibility and self-control. The possession of such social skills was important to the well-being of the young adults surveyed. The full report is at
Posted by belinda at 05:33 PM | Comments (0)

Always on

In an age of instant messaging, mobile phones and email, people have more opportunities to be connected than ever before. But what about people who don't want to be contactable? Shouldn't they have the right to "switch off"? To be out of range? In the future, that may not be possible - someone may still know your whereabouts, whether by mobile phone location or Radio Frequency Identification Data (RFID) tags. Parents will be able to monitor whether their children are wearing seatbelts in a car. According to a new Research Note from the Parliamentary Library, "Where are you now? Location detection systems and personal privacy", 'New location detection systems and electronic tags now offer ways to monitor personal behaviour as never before.' The Note is at
Posted by belinda at 05:20 PM | Comments (0)

It takes all kinds

The furore about a same sex couple appearing on the ABC's Play School program is one sign that many people's views of what constitutes a suitable family unit in Australia are still fairly conservative. But according to the Australian Institute of Family Studies (, things have changed, and it's time to accept what is as opposed to what we think things should be. According to a new report, Changing patterns of partnering, "Formal marriage is no longer the only way in which people partner. Many people live in cohabitating relationships – at least for a while – and most marriages are now preceded by cohabitation. In addition, an increasing number of people are, at any given point of time, living without a partner at all." The full report is at
Posted by belinda at 05:08 PM | Comments (0)

Age has not wearied her

In 1854, one of Australia's great newspapers, The Age, was born. It is now celebrating its 150th birthday with a new site which includes a chronology and timeline, historical article snapshots and pictures, and events to celebrate the anniversary. Find it at
Posted by belinda at 09:51 AM | Comments (0)

June 08, 2004

From the front line

What's life really like in Iraq now? For people who live there? For soldiers stuck there? Use Bloggers4Freedom ( to find out. It contains first person accounts of the war zone from those actually living there or engaged in ongoing conflicts. The site aims to be apolitical and take no particular line. It includes blogs from soldiers actually in Iraq, those recently returned, and some from soldiers elsewhere in the Middle East. Iraqi blogs include some expatriate views and some sourced from other parts of the Middle East. According to the site's disclaimer, some of the Iraqi opinions expressed may seem (surprise, surprise!) "negative by American standards".
Posted by belinda at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)

Looking good

Involve your readers by seeking eyewitness feedback to inprove news stories. Make reader comments part of the story. Use the Weblog format to cover a breaking news event. How else can you improve your online news service? These ideas from Jonathan Dube's 101 ways to improve your news site could be a start, but Dube has many more at He also invites readers to supply their own. Also on the topic is Dan Froomkin's piece for OJR, entitled "Ideas for Online Publications: Lessons From Blogs, Other Signposts". Froomkin, the author of's White House Briefing column, suggests that journalists should "add relevant URLs to their stories. And reporters should routinely be churning out FAQs and primers on their beats, because on the Web this contextual information has enormous value -- and longevity." Journalists should also learn from blogs and try to "facilitate exchanges with readers." He also sees community building as key. The complete article can be found at
Posted by belinda at 10:13 AM | Comments (0)

June 07, 2004

Aid spending up, but on what?

Australia's overseas aid spending is up, but not all the money goes to worthy projects to alleviate poverty. (Australia’s Official Development Assistance outlay for 2004–05 is an estimated $2133 million.) Increasingly, money is being allocated to beefing up regional security and promoting good governance. Much of what should be pure aid money has gone to managing refugees in Nauru and on the recent Solomons mission. Overseas aid is being redefined to include things such as counter-terrorism measures. The Parliamentary Library has a two-page Research Note that lays it all out at
Posted by belinda at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

June 02, 2004

Beyond spin

Spin is the fog journalists have to pierce to do their job. But the fog is not always easy to disperse. For some tips on how to do the job in the age of the flacks, read Phil Dickie's useful two-parter, Getting past spin cycle at Phil is the author of The Road to Fitzgerald.
Posted by belinda at 03:52 PM | Comments (0)

If you build it, they will come

Does this sound like a busy journo's dream- a Web site that connects journos with experts who can help frame probing, penetrating questions in various fields, and then serve as sources? It's a reality for US journalists and it comes courtesy of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University ( The site, Nieman Watchdog, is up and running with some tough questions that should be asked on the environment, the Abu Ghraib scandal, Iraq and the US economy. See for yourself at
Posted by belinda at 03:13 PM | Comments (0)

For the count

Anyone wanting to report on Australia's health system needs to have facts and figures to work with. The Parliamentary Library has produced a new eBrief, Healthy measures - key health statistics, to inform people about what health statistics exist and how often they appear. The eBrief describes the key statistics that allow the performance of the Australian health system to be measured. These include figures for government health expenditure, Medicare, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, hospitals, medical workforce and private health insurance. International data is provided for comparative purposes. The full eBrief is at
Posted by belinda at 09:59 AM | Comments (0)

June 01, 2004

How low can they go?

With East Timor joining the group, there are now 50 countries officially termed "least developed" by the United Nations. Countries qualify for the tag if they have "very low per capita incomes, weak human resources and high economic vulnerability to shocks". Only 7 of the world's least developed countries - Angola, Bhutan, Chad, Eritrea, Mozambique, Rwanda and Sudan - achieved the 7% growth target set under the Programme of Action for LDCs for the Decade 2001-2010. Rising debt burdens, plummeting commodity prices, civil conflicts and HIV/AIDS have all taken their toll on such countries. Things may only get worse, unless international trade can work to pull these countries out of poverty. The data comes from the 2004 Least Developed Countries Report published by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The full report is available online for download, chapter by chapter. Reports back to 1996 are available for comparison.
Posted by belinda at 10:36 AM | Comments (0)