Political reporters fail to tell whole story

In the wake of the spectacular coup that toppled Australia’s first female Prime Minister, journalism academic Sally Young interprets the changing role of the political journalist.

John Spooner illustration

John Spooner illustration

Her story in Melbourne’s The Age includes these comments:

“As audiences have become more critical and inquiring, they are increasingly capable of reading between the lines of news stories. And this is vital because so much of what is important in news media is never said, or else is said so indirectly that the reader has to decode it for themselves.”

“These days, audiences expect journalists to tell us what they know and, increasingly, to tell us what they think. Journalists are caught between these changing views about political reporting but they are also caught by the fact that they are a part of the political connections they write about.”

“There were also reporters who agitated for previous contenders (including for Peter Costello when John Howard was Liberal Prime Minister) but the Rudd-Gillard leadership contest has been the most sustained, media-fuelled leadership contest in Australian political history. Like many political stories, from the outside, it feels like a lot of the context is missing and has yet to be told.”

Sally Young is a columnist for The Age, associate professor in political science, and research director of Election Watch, based at the University of Melbourne’s School of Government.

Read all about it.

Results of Google search, Sally Young journalism academic.

A more detailed article by Ms Young, in Inside Story (Current Affairs and culture from Australia and beyond) examines 11 myths about today’s journalism.