by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Panpa Bulletin : November December 2006
50 | PANPA BULLETIN November--December 2006 THE LAST WORD If there's a problem with digital media, it's that cyberspace is as endless as real space, giving publishers more space to fill, but with fewer people to do it as budgets tighten and restructures take their toll on newsroom numbers. One answer? Handing out blog spots to staffers and approved contributors. That, no doubt, is how Dominic Knight, a member of The Chaser satire team, gained his regular spot on Fairfax's smh.com.au site, in its Radar blog. But Knight's farewell piece in response to television current affairs host Naomi Robson announcement she was stepping down from the anchor job on the Seven Network's Today Tonight raises questions about the vigil pub- lishers might want to keep over their branded blogs. The hapless Robson attracts derision from insiders and public alike for her manifest journalistic shortcomings fronting a nasty lynch-mob of a show. This, combined with ex- tensive reports of her alleged vanity, ignorance, contempt for her viewer base and her capacity to mix it linguistically with the Army's finest, has given rise to questions of whether she stepped down or was pushed. Yes, everyone hates Naomi, making her a soft target for the invective of unchecked constituents of the blogosphere. Of which Knight is not one, given the sanctioned spot he occupies under Fairfax's smh.com.au banner. In the eyes of media consumers, Knight and the Chaser team reside a way upmarket from TT, with reserved space on ABC television and broadsheet blogsites. They've earned them- selves plenty of respect -- from all but their targets, and even some of them -- for a deft mix of imagination, irony and sheer chutzpah. So it's puzzling that Knight would use his Herald blog to wave Robson off with stuff like this? "Vale, Naomi. I would write 'farewell', but I don't particularly want you to, and I have every confidence you won't." There was a lofty accusation of "ankle-high journalistic standards" -- an unintended irony, given the quality of this piece -- followed by a descent through a description of Robson as "horrible and awful", down and down into "If only the Indonesian authorities who locked her up had planted some marijuana in her luggage and given her twenty years." (On assignment in Indonesia, in pursuit of a story, Robson was held briefly in custody before be- ing deported.) The flinty Robson doesn't come across as easily hurt. Nor in the short term is the credi- bility of a masthead like the Herald's. The piece was clearly written in haste, and given Knight's and his colleagues' reputation for consistently coming up with better stuff than this, it's prob- ably best to put it down to a momentary lapse of judgment. But what will happen over time to a paper that hands over a tract of sanctioned space to a blogger who generates material like this? Our award for Adding Value to a Media Awards Event must surely go to News Ltd political columnist Glenn Milne for his performance at the Walkley Awards, Australia's journalistic Oscars, in November. As crikey.com.au founder and serial failed political and boardroom candidate Stephen Mayne presented an award, Milne rushed the stage and shoved him off it, calling him "a disgrace". Once upon a time the fallout would have been restricted to print reports and a private- bin bloopers tape for insiders. But things are different now, and Milne's performance was up on YouTube -- with links gleefully provided by rival publisher sites, of course -- in a few hours. The feud reportedly arose from Mayne's criticism of Milne for reporting former NSW Liberal opposition leader John Brogden's night of grog-fuelled inferences about Premier Bob Carr and his wife, and sexual harassment of two female journalists, one evening in July 2005. (It cost Brogden his political career; he subsequently attempted suicide and spent time in hospital for de- pression before popping back up as CEO of financial mutual Manchester Unity.) Milne took umbrage at Mayne for pub- licly questioning his ethics in reporting fare that was clearly off the record. Mayne also pointed out that neither of the journalists had lodged complaints. "I just saw this man with drunken, wild eyes coming at me. He threw me off the stage. It was quite a drop and I've twinged my ankle as a result," Mayne told reporters after the incident. In a press release the following day, Milne put the incident down to mixing his migraine medication with alcohol. Bloggers ll space, but not always with grace And speaking of momentary lapses of judgment... Milne (r) exits the Walkleys by request Dominic Knight and the Chaser team make their entrance at this year s Logies Picture: Fairfax Photos Picture: Fairfax Photos Picture: Fairfax Photos