The Spin Fails Here: Day One At #Media140 Sydney

Duncan Riley - Author

Jun. 16 2013, Updated 6:35 a.m. ET

At the last minute I made the decision to fly up to Sydney to attend Australia’s first Media140 conference. I mostly needed a break away from home, which makes the “blogger” pass I got into the conference sort of reasonable. The last three events in the United States I attended reporting I was given a standard media/ journalist pass…but hey, I already knew that Australia was 5 years behind, and any pass in this god forsaken backwater is a good thing….whoops, I didn’t really mean to say that…well, much. Censored Government funded fast Facebook (NBN)…say no more.

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Sadly that in the country of my birth that in 2009 I can’t get recognized as a media representative was the least of my problems for the day, because despite the good reputation of the Media140 conferences in the United States, what I heard today was Jurassic Park, but with far worse CGI.

There were 3 speakers today from “Crikey,” a paid email list that did lots of good things in 1999 until it was taken over by a compliment of Luddites. Crikey’s first representative set the tone for the day when she said that the only person who is making money in a new media model in Australia is Darren Rowse…but with the proviso that what he does really isn’t journalism. At that point, I started asking for donations because obviously I must have zero money.,,,and so maybe do the roughly 100-200 ppl in Australia who make more money than I do online.

Facts? well the “journalists” were so thin on them I may have only puked in my mouth < 12 times. But if one Crikey fail was bad enough, the Editor then made an appearance. For those outside of Australia, let me put Crikey in context: here was, at least under Stephen Mayne, an early example of what could be done in new media. Today though, they can't make a profit (and despite bringing in a range of blogs struggle with traffic), which was the justification the current editor gave today as the ONLY example of why new media can't replace old media. 10 years, can't make it work. As I book out a 10th month of profit from roughly 19 months...well, what more can you say that some people get it, others don't. Overall sadly, what I saw instead of a conference that explained the benefits of new media, was instead a conference that varied between new media is bad, and journalism is dead. Facts were thin on the ground from so many speakers I would have cried on Twitter, except that despite offering ethernet connections, they didn't offer power. Take for example the ongoing meme that journalism is dead because newspapers are dying. We heard about how tens of thousands of "journalists" are losing heritage media jobs. But of course no mention of the odd $300m into new media sites during a massive recession in the US, or how the likes of AOL, TPM and more are hiring ex-heritage media journalists. No, why let facts get in the way of a great negative narrative for the ENTIRE day. There was some good in the day, sadly it came in the last session. I wrote on Twitter after the politics session that if you ever wanted to see why heritage media is dying, watch that...but I was wrong, because there was a lot more speakers proving the point over the rest of the day. Kill them all and let Aunty and that VERY same free, competitive market that they don't see bloom...that very same market that took the ad dollars away that caused the newspaper crisis today. Some doppy political correspondent today said (and I kid you not) that maybe newspapers could get ads to subsidize them and (I can't make this up) because they use to be propped up by the circulation and people paying for the news. If Annable Crabbe is the lead political heritage media pundit in this country, god help not all Australian's, but the entire planet. Bonus points goes to the garden variety idiot (Caroline Ovington) who claims that piracy was killed by iTunes. When she said that she was the only News Ltd journalist there, I said quite loudly that she was one too many. Ironically she followed a lecture on journalists fact checking... yeah, and according to the low life cretins at News Ltd, I hacked the Prime Minister's site. If they'd even once fact checked, they'd know I don't have that skill set and was simply reporting on the know, practicing journalism....but again, why let facts get in the way, most of the MSM in Australia don't, no matter how much they claim otherwise.


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