Sudan and Serbia

June 29, 2004 by  
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We’ll try this as an email post and see how it goes. (it didn’t work, I had to edit this, email posting is useless)

A piece by Poynter on Sudan and the editorial (journalistic) approach to it. The highlights from the story

  • When Sudan gets only a few column inches, how can readers understand the nuance and scope of the crises? Do
  • While 300,000 corpses might be a story, 300,000 people starving to death one by one seems to be a harder sell.

And from Serbia, Boris Tadic is the new President of Serbia and Montenegro in what has been covered by many news agencies as the Serbian people voicing their will to turn away from isolationist policies and hardliners, and embrace reform.

What I haven’t heard from mainstream news is how close the vote really was. Tadic took 53.7%, Nikolic 45% – a difference of only 275,055 votes. Nikolic put it down to farmers taking advantage of the sunshine to plough and pick cherries, while the young people came out to vote. It’s interesting that he seems to accept that young people don’t support him or his association with Milosevic. Thank God for that.

The only place Nikolic beat Tadic was in Kosovo – 72% of the vote to Tadic’s 27%. The next closest region was Central Serbia, where
Nikolic trailed Tadic by only 2.3% (50.4 to 48.1%). It was almost to the opposite extreme in Belgrade, however, with vote going to Tadic 60-40.

Now that I’ve bored you all to tears, rack off then.

I may have been a bit harsh on my employer. It’s not all advertising. And I’m not actually being given the paid advertorial, although that is an aspect of what’s done here and I have had to do some of it. Maybe I’m just getting disillusioned with journalism in general which, again, could be a result of being here, not anything to do with journalism per se.

Relief, sweet relief

June 25, 2004 by  
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My first week of my second stint down here is about to end. It’s been a disappoiting one. I’ve found it hard to get back into the swing of things, which probably comes from a whole semester of not writing any news copy. The writing problem, however, extended beyond news copy.

I finally handed in my international relations (IR) assignment today. It was, officially, seven weeks overdue. I think my tutor is going to give me some sort of overall pass in the subject. For this I will love her forever. I do not deserve it, and anyone who did any work in that subject can be justifiably angry that I might be given credit for the amount of effort I put in. If you count depression and angst as effort, I experienced plenty of that.

I worked straight through last night as I tried to finish my assignment; I hit the wall about an hour ago and everything started going downhill. I’m a little more perky now that I’m blogging.

I’ve had little motivation this week, this year. Every time I sit down to write lately I’d rather be doing something else. I don’t think it’s a healthy situation for a wannabe journalist to be in. The IR boogeyman is no longer hanging over my shoulder, constantly reminding me I should be working on something, should be getting it handed in, so tonight I can relax, without guilt, for the first time in two months. My semester finally officially over and behind me, I can get back into real life.

I’m not sure how much I should write here about where I work. Not the town, but the paper. I want to be a journalist. Some of what I do here is not journalism, it is advertising. Paid editorial copy. Last time I was here for six weeks I got the idea that journalism was basically advertising for whoever you were doing a story on. That’s what this paper taught me. I don’t believe it anymore. That’s not what journalism is always like, is it? It is so incredibly boring to write what are essentially press releases. I need more.

This weekend I’m working some. I go to the speedway on Saturday to cover the last race of the season, and back out to WW on Sunday for a 100th birthday.

I have 105 unread messages in my Gmail account. Not because they’re spam, not because I haven’t checked it every five minutes. I just don’t care to read them. Don’t fret, they’re unimportant. On that note, a reminder, I still have two Gmail accounts I can give away. 1 GB of storage space…
The coffee and sugar is wearing off and I’m falling asleep again. It’s time to go. Have a good weekend everyone.

Road to WW

June 22, 2004 by  
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The road to ‘WW’ is paved with good intentions, and cotton. Really, check it out.

That thar’s cotton. I forgot I can post by email.

Here I am. Out in the sticks. Sometimes I wonder what people really think of themselves. How ‘good’ do people consider themselves to be? I guess it depends on what ‘good’ means to you. I don’t wonder because I want to judge them, I would be interested to know if, given the opportunity to reflect on something they’ve said or done, would people regret it?

I went to ‘WW’ today to cover two things. One was the official unveiling of a mural painted by high school kids on the side of the police station to celebrate diversity of culture and the need to work together towards the future. The opening involved Aboriginal Lands Council representatives, police, the mayor, about 1/8th of the high school, teachers…it was a big deal. The majority of the mural’s artwork was done in Aboriginal dot-painting style, using both ‘european’ and traditional paint colours for further symbolic meaning.

So amidst this feeling of intercultural cooperation, friendship, positive community work – I return to ‘N’ to overhear some town locals talking about a function they would be attending, and insisting it couldn’t be too near the river because that’s where the ‘coons’ hang about.

I didn’t say anything.

I was angry and sad at the same time. Angry because they said it. Sad because they didn’t give it a second thought. Would they have reconsidered their choice of words if I’d spoken up? If they’d changed the words, would it really have changed the attitude?

Another day passes in a small country town.

Reshuffling the Desks

June 20, 2004 by  
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Thanks to everyone who’s been visiting. I leave tomorrow for my six hour drive to a small country town to do journalism work experience for the rest of the mid-year break. I won’t be blogging at work, which means not surfing the web to blog about things, or read other peoples blogs! So this blog could take a slightly different direction during the next five weeks.

I’m thinking, ‘the life and trials of a cadet journalist at a rural outpost.’ Although it won’t be the whole life, just five weeks of it. We’ll see what happens during the week and when/how I can post.

But it’s 3am now and I must sleep, or stay awake a little longer and sleep on the road tomorrow… I choose sleep now. Packing involved grabbing a handful or ten of clothes and throwing them in the car. It’s a delicate and precise operation.

The Wiz

June 20, 2004 by  
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I went and saw The Wiz last night with a bunch of friends. Not the movie (where that link goes), but the musical, on stage. A good friend was involved in producing it, as well as one of the lead roles.

Before going, I had never heard of this musical/movie. I probably should have heard of the movie at least. It starred Diana Ross as Dorothy, Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow, Richard Pryor as The Wiz… This was all excitedly explained to me by one of the girls who knows all the songs and grew up with it being a big thing at their house.

It was billed as a Motown version of the Wizard of Oz and I really enjoyed it. The music was great and the whole thing was funny and entertaining. Tonight was the last night, so all you Brisbanites hanging out for it… too late!

I’m not averse to the odd musical. Favourite is Les Miserables, especially the 10th anniversary concert.

State of Origin

June 19, 2004 by  
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I just realised how I may be able to explain to some Americans the rivalry that is State of Origin.

State of Origin is a best of three series held each year between the Australian states of New South Wales (where Sydney is) and Queensland (another state you don’t care about).

The sport is rugby league. You can liken it somewhat to a game of American Football where you are only allowed to pass the ball laterally, ever. And instead of having offensive and defensive linemen square off nose-to-nose, everyone starts 10 meters apart, and you’re only allowed to tackle/push/punch the guy with the ball. No blocking. Before you faint, I’ll let you quietly mull over these concepts, and we’ll let it stand at that for now.

Now that you are experts, imagine one team has been chosen to represent the Confederate South, and another the Union North, based on where they’re actually from, not where they play now, so they feel it! It’s North vs South, and they’re playing for blood. Here, Queensland represents the Confederacy. Nationalist emotions are stirred up to remind hick Queenslanders how those arrogant New South Welshmen think they’re better than us, but we fight for pride! A pride those big-city (Sydney) types would not, nay can not, understand!

So us Queenslanders tend to get more worked up about it. Similar to how the South still holds grudges against them Yankees…

This year, NSW won the first game 9-8 with an extra time field goal. Queensland won the second game 22-18 in regular time on Wednesday just gone. Three weeks till the decider in Sydney.

June 19, 2004 by  
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Yahoo! News – Annan to Visit Sudan to Press Government on Darfur

On first reading this headline I thought, “This is a good thing!” And I guess, in a way, I still think it is good they’re recognising something needs to happen, except for one little problem. Nothing is going to happen. What does Kofi Annan say? “…it is the responsibility of the government to protect the population, and we need to encourage it and must insist it does it.”

You….idiot. Problem one: government forces are intimately involved in the ethnic cleansing taking place, side by side with the enlisted help of the janjaweed militia. Problem two: that was the UN plan in Rwanda, alert the government that a massacre might be about to take place so they could take necessary steps to avoid it. Too bad it was the government planning the massacre, but thanks for the heads-up guys!

June 18, 2004 by  
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Assignment to write. Car to fix (stare at dolefully – I find cars manage to fix themselves this way, you should try it some time). Dinner and show to go to.

Shrek2 was good, government is bad, exam done, back bruised; but I don’t have time to tell you all about it. Haircut had. Essential measurments taken for tux for wedding. Not mine.

I’ve never been measured before, so I’ll put them here for posterity:

  • Chest: 39
  • Waist: 34
  • Seat: 40
  • Outsleeve: 24
  • Outleg: 38
  • Neck: 41 cm

All those measurements are in inches, except the one that isn’t, obviously. I should have asked when I was measured, “Does a ‘seat’ bigger than my chest mean I have a big butt?” Am I abnormal? Oh no, where does life go from here? Can it continue?

It’s the question on everyone’s lips, I just thought it would be better if I was the first to verbalise it!

June 17, 2004 by  
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This is great. Tadic (presidential candidate in second round against Radical candidate Tomislav Nikolic) and Kostunica (current Serb PM) have apparently been bitter political foes since they differed on sending war criminals to the International Court in the Hague or trying them in Serbia. I said earlier how Tadic was likely to win the second round if the votes of other democratic candidates came his way. All other parties had expressed the desire for their supporters to vote for Tadic in the second round, except Kostunica, who hadn’t endorsed either candidate until now.

In this article, Nikolic challenges Tadic to debate, Nikolic tried to woo Kostunica’s endorsement and votes by saying, “Kostunica is an honest man and I’m proposing that we honest people get together on one side and let the criminals be on the other.”

But no, Kostunica party supports Tadic. Seems Kostunica decided not to side with the criminals after all.

June 17, 2004 by  
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General. everybody likes the general.
I played rugby for a chiropractic school in the US for three months, and flatted (‘roomed’ for Americans) with a final year chiropractic student for four or five. Chiropractic adjustments before rugby, after rugby, at the college 2-3 days a week, at home…. free, on-demand chiropractic care.

I haven’t been to a chiropracter since I left the US to return to Australia. That’s 19 months. My back is a mess and my neck is out, but, give ’em a good twist and crack, ahhhhhh, endorphin release. I know Nottger and Schwartz are wincing just thinking of that… but who will fix me for free?

wait…. *crack* ohhhhhh *crack* yeahhhhh

June 17, 2004 by  
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Oh yes, and going to watch Shrek2 with some journo student friends, sometime after my meeting with Centrelink tomorrow… hopefully it’s uproariously funny and escapist, because I’m thinking by then I’m going to be in definite need of a good laugh and no significant use of the squishy gray stuff contained within my skull. (3pm -probably, or 3.45 – at BCC Indooroopilly if my stalker, you know who you are, or someone else I know reading this wants to turn up)

Yahoo! mail got freaked out by Gmail’s 1gB of space methinks? They’ve gone mental and increased from 6mB to 100mB of storage space. Which reminds me, I think I can ‘give away’ or invite people to have…two gmail accounts. Let me know if you can’t get, but want one. If it turns out I can’t actually give it to you, I take no responsibility for your suicidal depression on being informed of this. You are hereby warned.

June 17, 2004 by  
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Yahoo! News – Iraqi Cleric Signals End to Shi’ite Revolt

Moqtada al Sadr has told his Mehdi Army to “go home”. Nice gesture if he means it, but even if he does, will they listen to him? If they really are “ragtag fighters, mostly from the slums of Baghdad and impoverished southern villages”, they may have nothing to go home too, or even a home. Sadr seems genuine enough now that he thinks he may have won himself some political clout in a future government. But I read a good quote (that will be used in the assignment I should be writing-yes, this is the height of procrastination)…

ahhhhh, typical. I can’t find it. bodes well for my assignment. Anyway, the quote was something along the lines of, ‘in ensuring future democratic society, it does not help to hold up obviously undemocratic leaders in the present because they can hold the status quo for the time being.’ or some such. Now I must sleep, tomorrow is a big day.

June 17, 2004 by  
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Soccer. Premier League.
Rafael Benitez confirmed as new Liverpool manager
Good news. Looking forward to see how he handles Liverpool next season. Hopefully a little more solid than the last three years with Houllier. And Claudio Ranieri has replaced Benitez at Valencia. I would love to see Valencia v Chelsea….

June 17, 2004 by  
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Queensland won! 22-18. What did I say, I didn’t care? I’m not particularly ecstatic we won, but I was loudly armchair-coaching and yelling throughout. It was a great atmosphere on the big screen with a bunch of friends and a few New South Welshmen to trade insults with… nothing like the atmosphere of Lang Park (Suncorp Stadium) though.

If anyone is feeling charitable, feel free to help me find a precedent case in Australia where a university student has successfully challenged the government in court about switching from Youth Allowance to Austudy (student welfare for Americans). That’s what I’m looking for right now.

June 16, 2004 by  
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I wasn’t going to post until I finished my assignment, but there you go. The second State of Origin game is on tonight. First game was lost 8-9 to an extra time drop-kick, so if we lose tonight that’s the series to NSW. Go Queensland! I’m not as militant about it as I used to be, so not greatly concerned.

I have an exam tomorrow, meeting with those-that-would-rob-me-blind (government student allowance people), and an assignment still to finish. This Saturday we have a soccer game and I have the feeling I’m going to go off on someone if I’m not careful. There’s a lot of built up stress from this semester that is approaching imminent explosion. I’m sure I’ll contain it, but I can’t wait to go all out.

This is the problem with soccer, there is no real stress release. Hopefully down south I can convince the rugby team to just give me five minutes on the park. It’s been too long, and there’s a certain peace and serenity gained while tackling someone at a full run…

I leave to head down south for five weeks on Sunday. Vive le journalisme et le journaliste! Or something…

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