Australian media organisations on Twitter

In a rush to get this post out, I buried it in another article, Email Old News to Gen C.
It reappears now because it needed to be republished in its own right as a review of Twitter usage in Australian media and politics.


In Australia, very few news organisations use Twitter. As full disclosure, before I continue, I work at The Courier Mail, a News Limited paper.

An informal audit of a selection of Australian media and their Twitter presence

Fairfax Digital logoFairfax masthead sites

ABC News - logoABC News

News Digital Media - News Limited logoNews Limited masthead sites

I am assuming the unused Twitter accounts above belong to these publications, but it’s entirely possible someone could simply be ‘squatting’ on the Twitter user names.
Twitter logoI set up Twitter accounts for all of The Courier Mail’s news sections in early October last year, making our newspaper one of the only two news outlets in Australia using Twitter (that I have found), and definitely one of the largest media contributors to Twitter by number of content categories, but not necessarily volume of content.

The Courier Mail’s current crop of 20 Twitter user accounts are providing free SMS/IM updates on topics ranging from sports, to business, to breaking news, all with tinyurl links to the original story content. I’m now trying to find time to play around with a Facebook page for The Courier Mail, although I rarely have any spare hours at home to spend doing that.

During the process of setting up these Twitter accounts, I did a search to see if other Australian news outlets were already using Twitter.

Of News Limited mastheads, apart from The Courier Mail, none of the other existing News Ltd Twitter users have posted.
Of Fairfax mastheads, only The Age has a single feed, last updated in May 2007.
The ABC has two feeds – one of which I follow to receive local news alerts on my mobile phone.

A search for “news” in Twitter yields a large number of results. Here are just a few (listed as their Twitter user name) that may be of interest – financialtimes, npr news, cbcnews, wired, ITN_NEWS, BBC, SkyNewsBusiness, indianews, SkyNews, and CNETNews.

In the UK, the BBC and Sky have a larger selection of Twitter updates that can be followed.

The 2007 federal election was approaching when I was working on the Courier Mail Twitter accounts so, having already written a story about politics and social networking, I had a look at what political parties had on Twitter.

At the time the results were:
Three updates in total, all on August 2, 2007, that are worth mentioning.

The Greens have established a twitter and are testing it.
04:11 PM August 02, 2007
Do you receive my Greens twitter?
04:26 PM August 02, 2007
Hrrrmmm, if I was 14 I’d know exactly what would happen
06:39 PM August 02, 2007

Liberal (both spoofs)
Labor: none
Democrats: none
Nationals: none

In 2008, however, the Greens seem to have got their act together with a Twitter page feeding from the Greens Blog website.

I also didn’t find this during the election last year , but is another spoof Twitter account.

The possibilities of Twitter as a quick and easy mass distribution method would be well utilised by politicians.

Intern again

I’m at ABC TV interning for the next two weeks, which is going well so far. I appeared scowling in the background of the 7pm news last night as Peter Beattie talked about a new water pipeline.

Last week on Friday I put together a video clip for the Courier Mail online, that can be viewed if you follow this link. It’s fairly low on informative content, but I spent a lot of time working with the transitions and timing for the music… It was fun playing with editing software (Adobe Premiere Pro) for only the second time.

Howard Obama

Not sure if this will work or not, but embedded video of Colbert’s reaction to Howard’s verbal attack on Barack Obama the other week.

Walkley Capers

I don’t know if Australian journalism is regarded by international consumers as any better or worse than their own. For most people, it would never even be a consideration but, like news everywhere, it’s what you see that counts.

A thousand stellar stories may be told through print, online, or broadcast, but not many people outside our shores are likely to see it, or care. Unless there’s EXCITEMENT, that is!

Last night at the Walkley Awards, Australia’s version of the Pulitzers, a journalist who writes for several News Limited publications attacked a well-known online journalist.

Stephen Mayne, founder of the independent online news site, was presenting an award when Glenn Milne, a prominent political journalist, mounted the stage. While drunkenly abusing Mayne, Milne managed to push him off the stage before being restrained, and was then ejected from the event.

Now there’s excitement for you. Unfortunately, this is the ‘newsworthy’ face of Australian journalism the world gets to see. Earlier this year it was one journalist pulling a gun on the other outside a pub. Oh, those drunken Australian rogues!

Crikey! News Limited journalist makes a night of it – The Age

Columnist shown exit after attack – Sydney Morning Herald (with a nice picture of Milne being escorted out by security, for the voyeurs amongst you).

The Age and SMH are Fairfax papers, The Australian is News Limited. At the moment I can’t see anything about this on The Australian site, but it is on, again with some pictures, and even the embedded YouTube video action.

Interestingly, the Fairfax wording is that “the audience, which consisted of a representation of Australia’s top journalists, looked on horrified”.

In contrast, News describes the reaction as “an audience of the nation’s media elite erupted into laughter”. Because, after all, it was just a bit of fun, yes?

Fairfax also described how Mayne considers he may have injured himself, whereas News confidently refutes that with, “the uninjured Mr Mayne dusted himself off and paid tribute to his detractor”.

I look forward to seeing how Crikey reports the event when their story goes online later today.

As a partially related aside, it’s good to see that, while the Walkley’s don’t offer any ‘online’ award categories, it at least recognises their existence by allowing an ‘online’ representative to present an award.

What’s in a name?

Ashgrove State School, mentioned yesterday, is set up for use on polling days for elections. As I happened to be living nearby for a few months when I was 20, I meandered down the street on the Saturday election morning and into the school grounds.

Having run the gauntlet of oppositional volunteers waving how-to-vote pamphlets at me, I approached the second wave of volunteers, this time sitting at desks checking voter registration. My intense concentration on the next hurdle made me feel like I was in slow motion when, clearly a few seconds later, my brain registered that someone had just said my name.

I glanced around, not immediately recognising anyone, before noticing a stationary figure amongst the moving people, his eyes definitely looking at me.

I studied the shaven head and familiar goatee – a small, blonde, triangle that clung to the chin. “Mr Welsh?” I queried.

After a brief conversation, the contents of which I’ve entirely forgotten, I cast my vote and was on my merry way. I was thoroughly impressed that my teacher from the one year at Ashgrove, in Grade 5 when I was 10 years old, recognised me and knew me by name 10 years later.

On a related tangent, something I’d never thought of before writing this post is that the school’s acronym is particularly unfortunate. I don’t remember it ever being an issue when I was in Grade 5, when quite clearly it should have been a running joke for the school’s entire history.