Have you ever wondered where journalists source their news?

I clicked on a link to this Sydney Morning Herald article, George Brandis to repeal ‘Bolt laws’ on racial discrimination by Jessica Wright, who we are told, is a “breaking news reporter for The Age”. Here is an extract from the article:

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Attorney-General George Brandis will fulfil an election promise next week and introduce legislation to repeal a section of Racial Discrimination Act that conservative journalist Andrew Bolt was found guilty of breaching.

The repeal of the laws that make it unlawful to offend and insult people because of their race will be the first legislation Senator Brandis will introduce to Parliament, according to The Australian newspaper.

Senator Brandis told The Australian that he was certain that the changes to the act would be viewed as the government condoning racist behaviour, but said he believed ”you cannot have a situation in a liberal democracy in which the expression of an opinion is rendered unlawful because somebody else … finds it offensive or insulting”.

Did you see what I saw? In case you missed it, here it is: “according to The Australian newspaper” and “Senator Brandis told The Australian“.

I’m sure that Jessica Wright is a good journalist who has no doubt produced some outstanding articles. I’m also sure she’s not the first journalist to source her story from another journalist, but you must wonder if this is the best our political journalists can do.

We saw this far too often in the lead up to the 2013 election, with the ABC being the biggest culprit. Obviously they aren’t alone.

So if you’ve ever wondered where journalists source their news, now you know: from each other.

The article, in the Sydney Morning Herald, by a breaking news reporter from its sister paper The Age, was based on an what had been said by a journalist in Murdoch’s The Australian.

18 comments on “Have you ever wondered where journalists source their news?

  1. “Doing research, real research, reading the facts and obtaining the data about the issue from a variety of reliable sources, turns the journalist into Everywoman (or, of course, Everyman), the voice of the people, not the voice of Rupert (vox populi, not vox dei). People are not interested in he said-she said journalism games, where they are told first that the world is round and then, equally convincingly a moment later, that it is flat. They want, I think, a journalist who has done enough research to know that “the world is flat” theory is a dead duck (an ex-parrot), and can therefore ask questions, based on its roundness, about, say, seasonality, or airline schedules”

  2. Jessica Wright says “journalists” got a result on rorts – Can’t defend why nothing was done by these “journalists” before the election when documented details are all over twitter and blogosphere…

  3. “As for you non-journos out there who are reading these awful stories. You! Yeah, you! The one clicking the story about Jennifer Anniston’s weight gain. I see you. STOP IT! C’mon. You’re better than this. Don’t get me wrong, in quiet, dark places I am one of you, but I am trying to stop. I’ve found some ways to deal with the urges to click on these banal stories and I am willing to share them with you:”

  4. Following on from the previous topic, we now have journalists interviewing journalists to fill in programs such as Insiders and The Drum.
    Since when do the public care what journalists opinions are? Some of the journalists are paid by the taxpayer and I was under the impression that we paid them to report the facts as best as they could.
    We, as taxpayers don’t pay them for their opinions.
    I’ve been a supporter of the ABC and SBS all my life but the time is rapidly approaching where they will be nothing more than a televised forum for reporters and journalists to blather on to each other while we’re supposed to take them seriously.
    The world has changed and news now hits our computers way before a reporter even gets out of bed.
    And no, the items aren’t posted on the net by reporters in other countries they’re posted by anybody and everybody with all manner of electronic social media devices.
    As for reporters having access to some politicians, what a joke, politicians use them as a conduit to drip feed the public.
    As much as I detested Jackboot Joh, I now think he was correct, treat them as chooks.

  5. I’ve always believed reporters get their material when sitting around waiting for PR handouts to arrive in their Inboxes. Journalists, however, get off their arses and go find. How easy is it, then, to allocate the correct noun to any one of ’em?

  6. So, things advance another step. Various journalists and commentators have been saying when the L-NP government favours one news media outlet over the others, the brown stuff will hit the fan.

    According to his adviser (I apologise for not having his name handy), Rudd got into a tangle when he released a story to a single outlet during the recent election campaign. Of course, by then, Labor was so on the nose with the news media that it hardly mattered anyway.

    Abbott is trying to wind back the 24-hour news cycle. He’s missed the boat. The news media need content and they won’t allow this to happen. If he forces journalists to start digging deep, he’ll soon regret it.

  7. When it comes to political discourse and “what the government will do”, the Jessica Wrights of this world don’t have a lot of options. If Senator Brandis wants to talk to his good buddies at News Corp in the fair expectation of getting a sympathetic ear, then I don’t have a problem with other non-News outlets re-reporting it; Brandis is not going out of his way to brief the Age/SMH.

    If we don’t allow the re-reporting of things given to News, with its privileged position of trust, then Fairfax and ABC are just going to hurt themselves. Non-News outlets need to report on government news – wherever it is sourced.

    Expect more of this going forward, as Peta tries to strike a more friendly relationship with the media. We can’t have the likes of Laurie Oakes criticising the government; we need to make sure that our friendly mouthpieces are appropriately briefed. Gotta feed the beast.

  8. lets see how the journo’s go now that abbott has put a stop to the 24/7 headlines,
    It is going to make a nice change to see them having to do some investegating before they can print their stories,but then again they can always print opinions,
    as they have done for the past six years,
    abbott has got what he wanted,AND HE PLAYED THE MEDIA AS FOOLS,

  9. The print newspapers have few resources for real journalism and more pressing matters to expend them on than the political cycle. I wouldn’t expect a lot of insightful, politically damaging revelations any time soon. Apart from press releases and media conferences, I don’t see that the political journalists have a lot of other sources to turn to.

    That kind of investigative political journalism is only going to be done by the fifth estate – i.e. us. Starting with groups like the Ashbygate group. Expect the media to jump all over it – as soon as it’s been basically proved beyond doubt by people who are actually motivated by things other than advertising dollars.

  10. I wonder if Abbott’s and obsession with his cries of turning back the boats, is beginning to backfire on them.

  11. http://imputeation.blogspot.com.au/
    “Hockey’s own Age of Entitlement. Joe the Farmer’s travel claims
    Joe Hockey has talked of the end of the age of entitlement, and spoken of how we citizens have unreasonable expectations and need to be more self reliant. It seems proper therefore to scrutinize JoHo’s own behaviour and expectations.”
    “Running, swimming, cycling & volunteering: What Abbott said then v what Abbott says now
    The Pollie Pedal: Then it was about doing something a little bit selfless. Now it’s very serious community engagement”
    “Abbott’s age of entitlement: Tony’s Top Twenty-five
    In 2009 Tony Abbott falsely claimed flight and comcar costs while promoting his book and had to repay $9397.42. Here are 25 other examples of Abbott’s work-related claims:”

  12. I’m not surprised. I always thought she was a decent journo compared to the old hacks but that view was destroyed a year or so ago. At the time I had live-tweeted a press conference a Roxon called when she was AG. Now I’m very particular about my tweets, if I quote someone directly I will use quotation marks but sometimes it’s hard to remember everything so I just write words to the effect. *But I never use quotation marks if I do so*.

    So there was one point where Roxon was saying something like Abbott was being rude and lacking manners. I forgot exactly what it was and having only 140 characters I settled on tweeting ‘Roxon – Abbott being uncouth about [blah blah blah]’. This got retweeted several times and I know JW follows some of my followers so she must have seen it because lo and behold the article on that story:

    [Attorney-General Nicola Roxon subsequently called a snap media conference to berate Mr Abbott for “politicising” the issue and said Mr Abbott’s decision to hold a doorstop at the memorial showed a lack of judgment.

    It was “uncouth” and “inappropriate for the Opposition Leader” to field questions from journalists on political issues such as the carbon tax and Senator Bernardi at the Bali memorial, she said.]


    It was used as a direct quote of Nicola Roxon when she never even uttered that word, it was only ever a word I used in my tweet.

    So Jess Wright also uses Twitter and it seems she doesn’t even bother watching events as they happen. I lost respect for her that day.

  13. Now that Brandis is repealing the “Bolt vilification laws” can we now refer to Bolt as a “clog-dancing, tulip-eating Dutch Kaaskop”?

    Or will “c*nt” still do?

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