Australian media organisations on Twitter

March 12, 2008 by  
Filed under Media, Online, Social Networking, Technology

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

March 20, 2007 by  
Filed under Broadcast, Media, Online, Videos

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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

February 21, 2007 by  
Filed under Videos

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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

December 1, 2006 by  
Filed under Media, News, Videos

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?

November 21, 2006 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

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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.


October 10, 2006 by  
Filed under Media, News

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Just some links to Crikey stories, already mentioned here in the last couple of days:

The world mourns Anna Politkovskaya
who was murdered “two days before she was to publish an exposé on the Chechen Prime Minister, Ramzan Kadyrov, a man close to Putin and accused of various human rights atrocities”.

The scary security implications of global warming
PM John Howard requests an ONA report on the security implications of global warming, while a two-year-old Pentagon report

painted Biblical scenes of global catastrophe costing millions of lives, with “nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting” that could erupt across the world and “bring the planet to the edge of anarchy.”

It’s getting hot in here

October 4, 2006 by  
Filed under Media

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Climate change has been a big issue for a long time, or a non-issue according to some governments and journalists.

This post comes from a comment at Crikey, saying peer-reviewed scientific journals are the most relevant way of determining the accuracy of…well, whatever it is they’re studying, precisely because their peers review it, and it doesn’t get published if the data is wrong. That said, there are a multiplicity of peer-reviewed papers showing “evidence that global warming is happening, that it is caused largely by humanity, and that it means we are in for a rough time”.
More importantly, “look at the number of peer-reviewed papers in reputable journals that show evidence that climate change is not happening, or that it’s not due to human influence. You’ll be able to count the number of the second kind on a snake’s right hand”.

You can read the comment in full at the bottom of this post.

Australia and the USA have, for a long time, been fairly strongly set against the Kyoto Protocol – one of their main reasons is that they claim being ‘green’ is not good for business. Al Gore recently came out with his docu-movie “An Inconvient Truth”, which I haven’t seen yet, but is getting good reviews and commendations from scientists as well.

Rupert Murdoch has backed the anti-climate change stance for a long time in his media outlets. In the last few weeks, however, two of his big papers in the UK have editorialised for environmental reform. If Murdoch has changed his mind, and all his media voices follow suit, that represents a big change for governments (and yes, one person does have that much power).

Comment from Crikey (it’s at the bottom of the page linked to).

Russell Dovey writes: It’s a shame that most people have to rely on scientifically illiterate journalists for their information about climate change. It is only because the media instinctively gives the supporters of both sides of any issue equal coverage that there is still a “global warming debate”. I say to all those interested in the truth of the matter: Look at the number of peer-reviewed papers published in reputable scientific journals that show evidence that global warming is happening, that it is caused largely by humanity, and that it means we are in for a rough time. Peer-reviewed papers are the gold standard for scientific research; they are the beating heart of the scientific body. Anyone can pick out dodgy statistics, think they’re a rebel, and write a book about it; any galah with a keyboard can spin plausible-sounding conspiracy theories about a global cabal of greenie scientists attacking the economy; but getting a paper published in a peer-reviewed journal is only possible if you work very hard to exclude any bias in gathering your data. Your experiments are checked independently by a number of other scientists in your field, so any errors will stop your work from being published. Now, look at the number of peer-reviewed papers in reputable journals that show evidence that climate change is not happening, or that it’s not due to human influence. You’ll be able to count the number of the second kind on a snake’s right hand.

Cloven Liver

September 28, 2006 by  
Filed under News

The State Coroner says Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley was responsible for the death of Palm Island man Mulrunji Doomadgee in November, 2004 after he had “punched him so hard he almost cleaved his liver in two”.

Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson believes “there are no grounds at this stage to suspend any officer”.

The Police Union president also supports Hurley, saying the coroner had gone on a “witch hunt designed to pander to the residents of Palm Island rather than establishing the facts”.


Riots in Palm Island followed the release of the first coroner’s report that said the injuries Doomadgee suffered were “consistent with a fall” (Judy Spence in link below).


Fondness of Absence

September 25, 2006 by  
Filed under Media

Whether in the military or registered as a citizen abroad, Americans get their ARMED SERVICES OR OVERSEAS BALLOT sent to them in the mail.

Often when I get these ballots there is no way to return them by the election date, since international postage delivery times don’t seem to be taken into account when they send them in the first place. And they tell me, in the material included, that whether or not you vote, it’s illegal not to return the ballot.

So I pay the $1.85 international postage and dutifully put in my votes for sheriff, county auditor, and town school board, to name the few I vaguely remember. I have no way of knowing the people I’m expected to choose between, they’re just text on a ballot slip as far as I’m concerned. They could just as well put Mickey Mouse down as a candidate for all I care. But I know Mickey Mouse – so I’d probably vote for him.

So there’s absentee ballots by mail-in, but what’s next? Electronic touch screen was used in the last presidential election, and I can imagine online voting being used in the future. Apart from security issues to do with the possibility of hacking an election – and that’s probably the biggest issue I have – I’m also worried about perceived affiliations. Just because I voted for someone once doesn’t guarantee my vote for life.

I first registered to vote for the presidential election between John Kerry and George W. Bush – 2004. It just so happened that I registered through a Democrat-affiliated organisation that was trying to mobilise the international American community. I didn’t count on the town school board being thrown into this voting bargain.

I don’t really have any concrete political affiliations. I wouldn’t vote Republican simply for the fact that they are not Democrat, or vice versa. The same goes for my Australian voting habits in relation to Labor, Liberal, Democrat, Family First, Greens or an independent.

I would argue I vote with my conscience, having taken into consideration the facts (as tenuous as that term in politics might be) as they present themselves. That’s the way democracy should work if you believe the public should actually understand the issues their vote affects. If not, then continuously voting for one particular party without care or consideration for ambiguous personal beliefs, like ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, is the way to go!

But that’s just me, and everyone brings their own ideas to the conversation. I’ll come back to online voting, and my secondary issue with it – affiliation. My point is somewhat lost, since my main example that follows isn’t online or electronic voting as such, but I’ll finish anyway.

I received an email from President Jimmy Carter three days ago. He asked me to go visit a website and request my own absentee ballot online, so I could submit it on time and guarantee my vote is counted.

To quote the beginning and end:

Dear Fellow Democrat,

On November 7, Americans throughout our land will vote in mid-term elections for the House and Senate.


Thank you for doing your part to ensure a brighter future for America in the world.

President Jimmy Carter

Don’t get me wrong, I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to make sure my vote counts, but perhaps ‘Dear Fellow Concerned Citizen’ would have been more appropriate.

I’m not Democrat or Republican, Labor or Liberal; I’m a concerned citizen with the unique privilege of having the opportunity to exercise my democratic right in two different countries at the same time. So don’t count on my association with, or support for, any one party. I reserve the right to cross the floor, in any direction I choose, to cast a conscience vote as and when necessary.

Helen Ester Interview

September 22, 2005 by  
Filed under Portfolio

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Earley Edition Podcast
As described in the earlier post, this interview is with Helen Ester, and tenuously related to her paper submitted to the Democratic Audit of Australia at the Australian National University (ANU).

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