Friday, October 7, 2016

October 7. Day 281. Under attack

Courage under fire, my friends. This morning I experienced photo bombing. There I was at South Bank taking a photo of a curlew going about its morning routine. Out of nowhere and into the frame appeared a noise miner and then a number of his or her family and friends who teamed up for a sustained attack. The curlew seemed to be doing nothing to warrant it and even when it took a graceful retreat the miners followed in a frenzy. As it happens, it was a bit of a precursor to the topic of the guest lecture later in the morning. Journalist, author and academic Sonya Voumard flew up from Sydney to speak about her new book The Media and the Massacre. Sonya's book looked at the behaviour of the media at the Port Authur massacre and as she puts it “a story about the how, what, why, when and where of Australian journalists and the human toll that sometimes results from our deeds”. There were a couple of stand out points to me. As a career journalist, Sonya acknowledged there had been times when she had been part of that pack. When the adrenalin flows and the deadlines pressure is on, good people can make bad decisions. It doesn't make them vultures. Often these assessments are made by people from the outside who judge without knowing. The point was not to excuse or even explain just to advise those about to enter the profession to do the soul searching before the sh*t hits the fan (my words not hers). Also the point made before but well made again: What the public is interested in and the public interest is not the same. Carleen Bryant, Martin's mother, committed no crime but was hounded in a media frenzy from which she has not recovered. When she tried to tell her story her manuscript was taken without her permission. Like the curlew she felt attacked again. Sobering. Very

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