Saturday, May 22, 2010

MEDIA WATCH. An excellent and timeless article of a few years back by Greg Barns ....and....a mission statement from TT about what the Tasmanian Times used to be like.

Bloggers note - I stumbled across this older article the other day.
Once upon a time I disagreed with Greg Barns on this.
Not so much anymore.
I certainly dont agree with everything Greg Barns says, nor am i a fan of the Tasmanian logging practices or the proposed Tamar Valley pulp mill. That is well known. However i do like to think, talk and write about other things and i believe the left wing media should also

However if forestry is all you ever think about and you can keep your contrarian views to yourself then the Tasmanian Times is for you. Submit an article. Make a comment See what you think.

Greg Barns writing for The Mercury, Monday, June 20, 2005
THE majority of Tasmanians probably don’t know it exists but those in the media and politics certainly do — and it’s won a couple of awards and been written up in The Australian newspaper.
It’s the website tasmanian
The aim of this site—that it “exists to be a forum of discussion and dissent, a cheeky, irreverent challenge to the mass media’s obsession with popularity, superficiality and celebrity’’—is one that’s rarely met.
There is nothing feisty about it. It is self-absorbed and boring, the antithesis of what a challenger to the established print medium ought to be.
Why does it matter? Because, as the owner of this newspaper Rupert Murdoch rightly noted earlier this year, people are turning increasingly to various forms of internet media for the news and information they want.
“We need to realise that the next generation of people accessing news and information, whether from newspapers or any other source, have a different set of expectations about the kind of news they will get, including when and how they will get it, where they will get it from and who they will get it from,’‘ he told a conference of American newspaper editors.
However, if you’re a Tasmanian who wants to find a reliable internet source of information, views and ideas about your state and what’s happening in it, will not help you.
In contrast to other Australian sites, such as Australian Policy Online and onlineopinion (I am a director of the company that owns onlineopinion), which are diverse and intellectually engaging, seems stodgy and complacent.
Like many writers in the state, I have written for and had articles I’ve had published elsewhere republished on the site; I have participated in the online argument and commentary section of the site.
However, I’m always left wondering “Why bother?’’ There’s a cricket team of individuals who dominate the site. Nearly all have a similar world view: that Tasmania is corrupt, dominated by conspiracies and that Bob Brown will save us all one day when he ascends to the green heaven.
Let’s take the fellow who calls himself “phill PARSONS’‘. Here’s the opening paragraph of Mr Parsons’ latest offering, published on June 7:
“Suddenly realising that there is at least a changing climate, perhaps even a looming global emergency, but no, not a crisis, never that, all sorts of reverse and rear-end lights are mouthing on about some need for clean electrical energy’‘.
One assumes Parsons means to tell us there is a debate about energy sources, given the climate change crisis. Then again, maybe not. His opening paragraph is as clear as mud.
Then there’s the character known as “The Hag’‘. Here’s the contributor’s breathless story of May 19 this year:
Hag, shambolically reminiscing on great carousings past, was staggering around the top end of Paterson St, Launceston last week when she thought she saw the eminent Apologist For All Things Forestry, Mont, and former Chief Media Harasser for the Bacon Government, Kenny, heading towards The Examiner building’‘.
Talk about keeping it all in-house. Who the hell are these people? I mean, I know—but does the average reader?
The dominance of forestry on the website is its downfall
Every day (almost literally) there is some person somewhere ranting about Gunns, Forestry Tasmania, the Lennon Government, chemicals in the water, Recherche Bay, log trucks disturbing their kids’ sleep, smoke from forest fires or logging. Rarely is there any attempt made by the site to balance the anti-forestry tirades or to check their accuracy.
Then there’s the comments section. Here, for example, is Mr Paul De Burgh Day, a regular commentator on the site, on the state of Tasmanian democracy:
“Politics anywhere on this darkening planet is all too often dismal in the extreme. Tasmania has to be near the bottom of a slops filled bucket’‘.
Oh, please! Tell that to the people of North Korea, any number of Middle Eastern countries or to those who suffer daily at the hands of megalomaniacal African dictators.
Tasmanians have more politicians and levels of government than they can poke a stick at and the media are as accessible as anywhere in this country.
The site’s layout is dull, uninspiring and reflects the paucity of meaty content that gets uploaded on to it. In an aesthetic sense, the layout is also a poor reflection on the state’s presumed creative capacities.
Tasmanians who seek sources of news, information and entertainment — in addition to the three newspapers that serve the island — deserve better than the myopic and clubhouse style banter of
It might have started its life as a good idea but it has failed for lack of editing, new voices, new issues and decent writing".


Here we stand- From the Tasmanian Times
"As Tasmanian Times has written before following an earlier legal threat (from former Premier Jim Bacon) Tasmanian Times believes that Tasmania’s future is best served by the truth, and so it will continue to bring you the truth about Tasmania, even when it offends and threatens the powerful.
Our masthead comes from a reference in John West’s History of Tasmania (1856). West was in a great Tasmanian tradition of dissenting journalists that begins with Henry Melville, who was imprisoned by Governor Arthur for his views.
John West — ironically — the Editor of the Launceston Examiner in a period when that paper was a major force for change in mid-nineteenth century Tasmania, went on to become the first great editor of the Sydney Morning Herald …
Defamation law is complex. Tasmanian Times urges its readers to study it for themselves. Of particular relevance are Sections 13, 14, 15:
Tasmanian Times exists to to be a forum which takes seriously a democratic society’s right for individuals to express their opinion on issues heartfelt or fleeting. Tasmanian Times is particularly concerned with issues of justice and the just treatment of individuals.
This forum is open to allcomers.
Tasmanian Times takes seriously its role as a forum which will publish all views. It has published immediately trenchant criticism of itself – witness Premier Paul Lennon’s statement that it is “f … g useless”.
(Cough, cough, splutter, choke, splutter....oh please!)

BLOGGERS NOTE - This blogger can testify from personal experience that once upon a time the Tasmanian Times did live up to the above mission statement. 
Well at least i thought it did.
I personally dedicated hundreds of hours of writing articles and comment for the website over a 6 year period. All of which i gave freely. I had many nervous days hoping i would not go to the letter box to find a nasty lawyers letter from some polly or businessman I had offended.
I was never paid a cent for my writing. When the editor asked for more, I gave more,  putting my neck on the chopping block by writing articles critical of powerful Tasmanian politicians and companies like Gunns.
However I noticed a distinct change once my articles dried up and I started to question some of the comment being written by Tasmanian Times stable of uber green opinion makers. When i tried to blow the whistle on some of the nastier going's on in the local environmental movement I hit a brick wall at the Tasmanian Times.
When my critical comments did make it to print (benign that it was) all of sudden I started recieving abusive emails, phone calls & threats of litigation from zealots and hard nosed idealogues on the site. People i once thought were friends turned on me savagely.
My comments were being censored, something that had never occured previously. I had to struggle, argue &cprotest to have the most benign comment published. All of a sudden I became dispensible and was eventually shut out.  Things were o.k whilst i was writing media analysis critical of other Tasmanian media outlets, however when I focussed my pen on TT and some of its content things got difficult.

The last paragraph of TT's mission statement says.....
........."Tasmanian Times takes seriously its role as a forum which will publish all views. It has published immediately trenchant criticism of itself – witness Premier Paul Lennon’s statement that it is “f … g useless. This is robust, honest reaction. We welcome it."


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