Dan Andrews is a moving target.Journalists need to improve their purpose

Journalists reporting on these press conferences have received a lot of criticism, mainly because they are watching by many. On Twitter, a choir of Greek commentators blames both individual reporters and the entire profession. Journalists have been accused of prejudice, aggression, abuse and repeated cross-questions. Alternatively, he is accused of not dragging Andrews down.

Most of these criticisms can be correct, at least for some journalists. They are also losing the point, I think.

I haven’t attended the press conference, but I’m watching. Criticism is depressing for us, where journalism is both a profession and a job.

It’s more than journalism, so it’s worth the serious attention. It’s a story we tell about ourselves at this time of the crisis, and how we operate as a community and society. It’s about how journalism is changing, and how it’s essential and unsuccessful.

In most cases, these failures are not personal. That said, let me only have one out of the way. Many of the criticisms focus on News Corp, especially political reporters in Victoria. Australian person, Rachel Baxendale, Andrews were the most aggressive questions. This is in the context of an ongoing News Corporation campaign against Andrews.


But there is a bigger point. The campaign against Andrews is not working.

Polls show a consistently high level of support for Andrews’ response to the pandemic. This is truly extraordinary given what we have experienced as a result of a hotel quarantine failure under his government surveillance.

Baxendale’s question may even work for Andrews. She treats it calmly, so she makes him look beautiful. Otherwise, Andrews will surely stop meeting.

I think this shows that there is another story here. It’s a story that journalists miss and don’t easily give in to the usual way.

Andrews’ press conference will change the operation of political journalism. Much more people are now consuming events than they are consuming the resulting journalism.

When read by critics Australian person, They will find that many of Baxendale’s reports are straightforward and unobtrusive. But that’s not what they see.They are criticizing Run A type of journalism performance Of political leadership.

Media meetings are usually internal games. Journalists and politicians understand the rules. Asking difficult questions, hectares, and five questions to provoke a grab that fits the television news is part of the ritual.

Daniel Andrews at this week’s press Luther

Even if the journalist is based on offensive, stupid, or false assumptions, he will not criticize the journalist for asking questions. Finding things is a complex and unmanageable endeavor. I want to be judged and judged by other journalists about the end result, what we publish or broadcast, rather than the messy research process.

But at Andrews’ press conference, performance becomes journalism for many viewers.

So why is this important for our own understanding of ourselves and our politics?

American journalism scholar Jay Rosen describes a series of “poor thoughts” he says are behind the failure of political journalism.

The first is the idea of ​​politics as an internal game. The role of a journalist is to say who wins and how. This type of report asks how things “play” with voters, clearly forgetting that they are in the audience. Politics is considered a spectator sport, not a stake in the public.

In this connection, Rosen called it the “cult of knowledge.” This considers their major capital as “wise, practical, informed, perceptual, ironic,” with “and not emotional in all political things.” Refers to a journalist.

It’s a kind of irony. Perhaps earlier in this article I showed it when I observed that Andrews wouldn’t have a long press conference if he hadn’t worked for him.

Knowledge aside, I may instead admit that his motive may be a public health message and a belief in the need for a strong leader visible in times of crisis.

Of course, both can be true.

Rosen envisions a thought experiment to guide journalists and their audience. A fictitious grid that plots all political coverage along its twin axes. The left side is the appearance. Right side, reality. Facts at the top and bottom of the grid arguments.

Victory of Appearance: US President Donald Trump on Truman's balcony at the White House after returning from the hospital on Monday.

Victory of Appearance: US President Donald Trump on Truman’s balcony at the White House after returning from the hospital on Monday. credit:Bloomberg

Apparently, part of the quadrant is a media stunt. Featuring a politician wearing a helmet. Donald Trump posing without a mask on the balcony of the White House. According to Rosen, this “impression management” should only be reported if it is ironic and conveys a larger message.

The “reality” sector of the grid contains real-world solutions, real-life suggestions, resulting plans, and events. Here, the fact that the second wave of Victoria was born from the failure of the Andrews government’s hotel quarantine program, and what the daily number of new COVID-19 cases mean for release from quarantine. Plot what you have.

Incorporating the other axis (arguments and facts), it is plotted in the upper left of the grid’s fake and forged controversies.

Also, under false arguments, I list some of the intellectually lazy claims to journalists: they are all as bad as each other, all federal pawns, all corrupt, all incompetent. That is.

There is a real discussion in the upper right. This is a report of competing views on the pandemic approach. You can also plot here the actual consequential controversy as to whether the Black Lives Matter protest should have taken place. Bottom right: Straight facts. Bottom left: False allegations of suspicious facts. Think of playing cards.

So where on this grid would you place Daniel Andrews’ press conference?

In all quadrants – every day, we move from question to question.

The premiere was a moving target at his 100 press conferences.

The premiere was a moving target at his 100 press Armao

After Health Minister Jenny Mikakos resigned, Andrews was asked if the rest of the ministers were confident. Of course he said so. Others and his minister would have had to resign. So this was performance and appearance management.

Journalists will certainly argue that the question is appropriate and timely. They were asking Andrews for an explanation. But were they really? Andrews was in politics and journalists were in journalism, but we didn’t learn anything.

At the ultimate exhibition of journalism-dominant performances, Peta Credorin – a former staff member of Tony Abbott and now Sky News – appeared and asked questions on Friday.

I thought her question was good. Given the mystery of who decided to use security guards in the hotel quarantine, would Andrews publish his relevant phone records to the inquiry?

Andrews said he would do so if inquired. But in addition to that, there were many postures on both sides.

Within minutes, both Sky News and published their reports. The SkyNews article headline is inaccurate, suggesting that Andrews refused to publish his phone record.

Both reports emphasize the performance of Credorin, not Andrews. News Corp reported that it was an “enthusiastic exchange” and an “ambush.” That’s not what I saw.

In Rosen’s quadrant, the question Credorin asked is in the upper right – an obvious attempt to get the facts. But the report reveals the reality. This was all manufacturing controversy regarding appearance.


Then there’s a never-ending question about what Andrews might or might not do on October 19th, hoping for some relief from the restrictions. Everyone welcomed us with the variation “I don’t know yet, wait for the data”.

Journalists will say they are asking this question because the audience wants to know. Still we learn nothing but Andrews and his supportive cast chose to speak to us. Mainly facts. Some avoidance. Some spins.

This is the point of the Rosen schema.Journalists Judgment About what is true and what is not. And this will lead them to “appropriate alignment with the needs of the public”.

So what does that mean to improve journalism? Andrews’ press conference is important, but only a basic report is needed.

Rather, we need a journalist to cross-examine the institution. They do this with their skills and their subtle social licenses that allow for powerful leaks and calls to background briefings. The investigation process is not open to the public. It’s not journalism performed.

Journalists are doing these things. That’s why we know about sports rot and branch stacking.

This type of journalism is most likely to reveal the important story behind what went wrong with the Victorian public service of Andrews watches, as revealed by a hotel quarantine survey. ..

But in addition to all this, new that allows journalists to capture the essential background stories that play the social stories behind those unrecognized polls in our neighborhood. Or think about the traditional method.

Yes, fewer journalists are hitting the streets these days. The business model that supports most news media has been at stake for decades. (That’s why we have a lot of opinions and it’s cheap in every sense.)

Daniel Andrews stands in front of the press for 99 consecutive days.

Daniel Andrews stands in front of the press for 99 consecutive Armao

But beyond all this, hidden by an internal game and knowledge cult is a deeper Stoic story. After a few months of trauma, we are still united. In most cases, we work, think, discuss and act compassionately in an almost functional society, not only in compliance with the law, but also in citizenship.

Today, Daniel Andrews steps up again, shuffles notes, asks journalists if they’re ready, and starts performing as usual. “First of all …” and tell the facts and numbers.

Perhaps the main message is that he is still there. And so are we journalists and citizens.

Dr. Margaret Simmons is a freelance journalist and honorary principal of the Center for Journalism Promotion at the University of Melbourne.

Margaret Simmons is an award-winning journalist, author of many books and essays, and a scholar.

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