Wednesday 20 October 2010

Credit Where Credit is Due

Anyone actually reading these rants has probably noticed that I can be harsh to journalists.

My father was an old journalist, when journalists were not graduates and the distinction between a journalist and a proof reader was how many years experience they had, and how popular among the bosses they were. (Dad soon became pretty unpopular, and, for diverse reasons, including lack of personal forethought, ended up his life as a proof reader, working two full-time positions).

I myself once was a proof reader in a big daily broadsheet.

I say all of this as a justification, if you will, for what I am going to say next: in my experience, journalism may have either a heroic or a mediocre side.

In other latitudes journalists often have to make a choice: either to pay a price for saying things like they are, or lead comfortable lives. And frequently, the price to be paid ranges from simply becoming unpopular, to fearing for their personal security.

And yet, often journalists choose to pay the price and to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.

To a great extent, I write these lines to leave the written testimony that Australian journalists apparently refuse to leave: reality can be much less rosy than commonly depicted in our media.

However, these days I have found an unlikely exception in the Australian media: a young journalist who is actually willing to search deeper than official press releases and say uncomfortable things.

These are some of her pieces:

We're all worse off if the rich get richer while the poor get poorer. 20-10-10.

Home price rises mirror the city's income divide. 08-10-10.

Incomes rise in the east and set in the west. 07-10-10.

The big divide: the super rich versus struggle street. 06-10-10.

So, today, for a change, I will praise a journalist: good on you, young Ms. Jessica Irvine.

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