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The Blogification of Australian Journalism? Notes from the Election (JEAA 2010)

JEAA 2010

The Blogification of Australian Journalism?
Notes from the Election

Axel Bruns

  • 26 Nov. 2010 – Journalism Education Association conference, Sydney

Full paper (PDF)

One of the notable features of the previous Australian federal election, in 2007, were the pitched battles between the mainstream media and its critics amongst our political bloggers, who repeatedly challenged especially the media interpretation of opinion polls, and highlighted the political spin inherent in such interpretations.

Fast forward to 2010, and the situation is vastly different: the battlelines between the journalism industry and its 'armchair critics' (as the Australian once thundered) have largely dissolved. Indeed, far from arriving in a future where everyone is a journalist, as John Hartley described it, it seems that everyone's a blogger now – News, Fairfax, and the ABC have all fallen over one another in the rush to set up their opinion and commentary pages at The Punch, The National Times, and The Drum, and those online properties are increasingly also finding their way into the broadcast media. Many of mainstream journalism's most fervent critics from 2007 are now regular authors for these new opinion sites.

That 'blogification' of Australian journalism is not without its own critics, of course - a running theme during the 2010 election has been criticism of the absence of actual reporting on policy, rather than on process, of the unchallenged coverage of spin without substance. The widespread use of Twitter, connecting journalists and everyday Australians, has both highlighted this focus on the everyday minutiae of campaigning, to the detriment of sustained analysis, and provided a new venue for sustained griping at the ineptitude of our media. But solutions have as yet failed to emerge. Where to from here?