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.

The Super-Journalist

January 25, 2008 by  
Filed under Broadcast, Journalists, Media, Online, Videos

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Vic Ellis - One man bandCan a single journalist really be a one-stop shop for all your online multimedia needs?

I like the thought of that future, but hadn’t been able to wrap my mind around the concept of how the journalist could record audio, video, get some stills and take a few handwritten notes all at the same time.

The picture I had was similar to that of the one-man band – bass drum strapped to back, harmonica brace, foot pedals, cymbals between the knees and a violin for some fast fiddling.

But for Jane Munro, one of the Radio Online producers for the ABC, it’s just part of the job.

‘When I am shooting a video story I use the camera to acquire everything I need to publish on a range of platforms.
‘I extract the audio from the video package, and sometimes broadcast that audio unchanged as a complete radio package. I then extract still images from the video to accompany a text article. That and a compressed version of the video is published on our local website.’

More available from Issue 48 of Inside the ABC

Some journalists can’t wrap their heads around more than asking questions and taking notes. It’s easy enough to set up and leave a small camera on a tripod while you interview someone, or record audio (which many do for personal record anyway), but the problem comes in the production process.

The editing and posting online of content is where more technical skills are needed. Journalists shouldn’t be expected to learn and do these things themselves, but those who can or want to should be given the opportunity, and this is where organisation-wide collaborative systems need to be in place to make it possible.

It requires just a little effort. If a stills photographer has been taking their own camcorder out on jobs years before newspapers – let alone video – went online, it would be unwise of the organisation to not recognise that persons worth, or encourage their efforts.


July 4, 2007 by  
Filed under News

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It’s been a long time since I blogged any international events, but this one was enough to shock me out of my reverie.

Some African Union (AU) member states want to unite the entire continent – a United States of Africa, if you will.


Many Africans regard this as an unrealistic, if noble, dream. Sceptics point to decades of wars, coups and massacres that often sprang from ethnic and religious fault lines on a continent artificially carved up by former colonial rulers.

You could also argue uniting the continent would remove those artificial lines created by arbitrary colonial division, and reduce the chance for ethnic and religious conflict. But only if the united ‘states’ of Africa are not the states as we know them now.

If the same states remained the resulting union would only be as peaceful as the other continental union if it followed their same pattern – radical integration deterring conflict. In the case of the European Union, economic integration has worked. In Africa there’s not a lot of economy to share around and prosper in, so they might have to go with what the EU has shied away from, political integration.

Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi is one of the main proponents of the idea.

Find the content

June 23, 2007 by  
Filed under Media, Online, Videos

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Another reason not to dismiss YouTube as unprofessional.  It’s not about the worst content you might find there, it’s about the best content you can find there.

CNN to host YouTube presidential debates – Lost Remote TV Blog

Great Firewall of China

June 4, 2007 by  
Filed under Media, Online, Other blogs

As internet censorship in China becomes more sophisticated and crackdowns on pro-democracy bloggers have been well publicised, find out if your website has inadvertently (or intentionally) offended the authorities in China.

Is your website blocked in China? The earleyedition is! Try it out at now:

Great Firewall of China

Vale EU

March 2, 2007 by  
Filed under Pictures

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In my lecture on European Political Issues, the lecturer put up this image by Turkish artist Burak Delier, and then asked 12 people to describe the image using no more than three words.

After the first volunteer had to have it pointed out that “racist, terrorism, Muslim” was probably not the vibe the Turkish artist was going for, we were subjected to a bit of long-windedness. Terms like disestablishmentarianism, and supercalafraj – okay, they weren’t thrown about, but everyone was trying for those big, impressive words.

My favourite was ‘bandaid assimilation’. My favourite that is, apart from my own bit of three word self-congratulation.

Where the veil?

Unfortunately, I knew both the levels would be lost and my brilliance not recognised simply by saying the words, but neither could I write it out for people. Not surprisingly, “Where, that’s W-H, where the veil. Question mark”, also lost them.


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.

Kosovo non-independence

February 4, 2007 by  
Filed under News

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For years now Kosovo has been essentially an independent nation, but administered by the United Nations to ensure they don’t actually try to claim independence. Their status as either a Serbian province or nation in their own right has been in limbo while the international community has tried to avoid giving either Serbia or Kosovar Albanians what they want.

The UN finally delivered their recommendations on Kosovo’s future status a few days ago.

While the UN special envoy Martti Ahtisaari has said Kosovo should split from Serbia, it’s independence in theory, but not reality. While Kosovo will legally have national symbols separate from Serbia, and be allowed to apply for membership to organisations like the UN, they will still not be able to claim outright independence.

NATO and EU forces would remain, and it pretty much looks like things would stay as they are now. I’m not really sure how this resolves Kosovo’s status.

Kosovo’s decisive step to statehood
Serbia rejects Kosovo breakaway

Barracking for Barack

January 19, 2007 by  
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Barack Obama has virtually decided to run for president of the United States. I say virtually because until February 10th, when he will make an official announcement of intent, he’s formed an ‘exploratory committee’. Presumably it’s to see if he wants to run a campaign, but the chances of that happening are fairly high.

The fun bit is that if a Democrat is elected president, they are almost certain to be either America’s first black or female president, since Hilary Clinton is the only other likely contender.

Obama’s big strategy seems to be a little too, how shall we say, optimistic?

Today our leader’s in Washington seem incapable of working together in a practical, common-sense way. Politics has become so bitter and partisan, so gummed up by money and influence, that we can’t tackle the big problems that demand solutions. That’s what we have to change first, we have to change our politics.

Good luck. I thought ‘bitter’ and ‘partisan’ was what politics was about, not to mention money and influence. Of course rival politicians aren’t going to work together for the common good. It’s a sign of weakness to agree with your opposition’s positive measure, as it’s often claimed to be an obvious lack of policies or initiative of your own. Nobody’s brave enough to say, “I think you should all listen intently to this brilliant idea my rival has”.

Fix politics. I’ll have to remember that for the second edition of my book, Standing by the Wishing Well. The best-selling first edition featured that wish popularly know as ‘the beauty pageant’: world peace. It’s available at all good book stores and self-help centers.

If you want to watch it, this is the video of Barack Obama’s announcement.

Presidential Elections ’08

November 17, 2006 by  
Filed under Media

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Voting is still open for President of the United States, 2008 (see the sidebar). Currently four votes have been counted, one each going to Hillary Clinton, Colin Powell, John Edwards and Oprah Winfrey. It’s starting to look like a Democratic candidate runoff, but they’ve all demanded a recount.

Cast your vote today! Polling closes Sunday night.


November 4, 2006 by  
Filed under Media

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This would have to be rather unsettling for Republicans, for whom Rupert Murdoch’s FOX News has been a very strong supporter

When asked, ‘what if the Democrats win the next two elections?’, Murdoch responded:

It’ll be terrific. People will be watching Fox News like crazy.

Lost Remote TV Blog – Murdoch on Fox Business Channel, Democrats

Again saved in drafts, this from almost four weeks ago will be interesting to follow in four days time… In the meantime, cast your vote for President of the United States, 2008! Here or in the sidebar on the right.


November 2, 2006 by  
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It’s that time again, and while I only recently returned a vote to the US for some county school board decision, yesterday I sent off my sheet for the November 7 elections. Actually, Iowa isn’t being contested for the senate, but they packed the ballot card with other votes.

I voted for: US Representative District 4, Governor and Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Auditor of State, Treasurer of State, Secretary of Agriculture, Attorney General, State Representative District 7, County Treasurer, County Recorder, County Attorney, County Public Hospital Trustees, Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioner, County Agricultural Extension Council, Court of Appeals Judges, District Court Judge and District Associate Judge. They also tried to get that sneaky school funding proposal through again with different wording.

I actually don’t know anything about that school funding proposal, just as I don’t know anything about the people running for the positions mentioned above, but I voted against it anyway.

As always, I hope my vote gets there in time for November 7! There was a short story recently in the International Herald Tribune about the difficulties overseas voters face.

And while we’re at it, why not produce a quick poll here? It has nothing to do with the current elections, which are senate elections, but if you could, who would you vote for as President of the United States in the 2008 elections? If you’re interested, you can find some more information about a few of these people (the real potentials) by following the link above to the potential candidates for 2008.




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.”

Hit job

October 9, 2006 by  
Filed under News

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An investigative journalist in Russia, critical of Putin and particularly the war in Chechnya, was assassinated yesterday.
Anti-Putin journalist killed in hit | The World | The Australian.

Serbia and Fundamentalism

October 7, 2006 by  
Filed under Media

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As with the post on Israel and Fundamentalism a few days ago, now it’s evangelicals supporting Serbia over Kosovo. Read more at B92, where they say “Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson have joined forces with the Serbian Orthodox Church in the campaign against Kosovo independence” because it “would create a base for an extremist Islamic Jihad”.

The B92 story was based on this (much more comprehensive) Financial Times article. It seems reasonable to expect that Kosovo would be much more violent if they don’t get independence…

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