Alan Jones – sincerity bypass successful!

May 4, 2007

Jones comments on Coates were ‘honestly held’ opinion. 04/05/2007. ABC News Online

Ah, Alan Jones, love him or hate him you’ve got to give the guy credit for two massive balls.
As the broadcaster of choice for a range of conservative causes he’s never short of a topic to blag about, or a strawdog to kick.
Now he’s in trouble for defaming one of Australia’s leading sports administrators. He’s going the “honest Al” route here claiming the comments were based on his sincere beliefs.
I’m sure the jury won’t be fooled, this man had a sincerity bypass as a young man, the sincerity sac was replaced with giant money bags.

Some student views on ethical fault lines

May 4, 2007

Te Waha Nui Online – AUT

My colleague, Associate Professor David Robie, has posted some interesting student work on ethical dilemmas on the Te Waha Nui website.The commentaries are from an assignment set in the AUT journalism paper Public Affairs Reporting.
Students have tackled some interesting topics:

  • When pictures may be lying: Adnan Hajj digitally altered a dramatic photo of destruction in Beirut during last year’s attacks by Israeli jets. He added extra smoke to a picture, but the crudeness of the digital manipulation meant he got caught – by bloggers.

  • Celebrity in the media: The death of Anna Nicole Smith and images of her body being manhandled into an ambulance created a media feeding frenzy that resembled the world-wide reaction to the death of Princess Diana in 1996. Why are we so fascinated with the horribly delicious aspects of celebrity drug and booze scandals?

  • Mental health and media responsibility: When privacy and the public’s right to know collide there’s always heated debate. But where is the line in the sand when the media’s exposure of a mental health patient’s work history causes him to be sacked from a job he loves?

  • Cash-for-comment Kiwi-style: If a journalist receives a grant to produce a series of stories, is their independence compromised? Does this blur the line between public relations and journalism?

  • Bloody Mary: How an episode of South Park has upset New Zealand’s Catholic Bishops and stirred the free speech debate.

Congratulations to Spike, Sarah G, Charlotte, Pricscilla, Eleanor, Todd and Sarah L.
It’s good to see that journalism students don’t lose their sense of ethics and their idealism when confronted with some of the less seemly aspects of their chosen profession. Let’s hope that as the new generation comes into its own in the newsrooms of the future that these lessons are not forgotten.

Don Imus sacking – more to come?

April 14, 2007

So there’s a fuss in the American media about racist shock-jocks and Don Imus has been sacked from his CBS gig. The Poynter Institute is one of many media organistions to weigh into this debate.
There’s another example, that’s perhaps not so well known outside Australia at least. The loud-mouthed Alan Jones, the tarnished ‘king’ of Australian talkback has also this week been found ‘guilty’ of racial incitement. His comments had much more effect than those of Don Imus.
In December 2005 Jones used his popular morning talkback show to encourage Anglo-Australians to converge on a popular Sydney beach to ‘reclaim’ it from supposed gangs of Lebanese-Australian youths.
The Australian broadcasting watchdog has found Jones breached guidelines on broadcasting racially vilifying comments. Unfortunately ACMA has so far not indicated what penalty, if any, will apply to Jones.
It’s unlikely that his employer (in which he also has shares) will sack him.
It’s also not the first time Jones has been in trouble. He was involved in the now infamous “cash for comment” scandal that rocked Australian broadcasting a few years ago. That he’s still on air is testament to the weak nature of the broadcasting laws in Australia.