Yesterday saw the APG’s Battle of Big Thinking. The second session covered big storytelling ideas.
Speaker: Antony Loewenstein, Writer
Topic: Why the western press is failing to use alternative voices
Quote: “A lot of people in the corporate press are not so much afraid as unimaginative.”
He told the audience how when he worked at Fairfax he talked to one of the foreign editors. He said: “The Iraq war had just started and I remember asking why there had never been Iraqi voices in the paper. She said ‘I never thought of that’.
“If you are a media organisation you would think about publishing articles from voices you never hear. In my view bloggers can fill that gap. It seems so obvious and yet it’s not happening.
“It does not require big budgets and more money. It’s easy to speak to individuals in their own countries and hear their voices.
“In the vast majority of world events, to find out what goes on, the last place to look is the corporate media.”
My take: He’s right. It’s a simple source that papers should make more use of. But some do already. Famously The Guardian used blogger Salam Pax as an Iraqi voice during that conflict.
Speaker: Tim Noonan, Vocal Branding Australia
Topic: The importance of the voice
Quote: “When you look at something you are looking at reflections from the surface but when you hear something then what you are doing is hearing things from the inside.”
Noonan introduced himself to the audience as “a blind dude”, which he indeed is, before setting out the relationship between the human voice and persuasion.
My take: It was a fascinating argument in favour of simply listening.
Speaker: Tim Dick, Opinion editor, Sydney Morning Herald
Topic: Why the SBS should be closed and the money spent on funding more journalism
Quote: “We should use the SBS slush fund to uncover unknown stories”
He told the audience that he believed that the original purpose of SBS – to bring foreign language news to first generation Australians otherwise unable to hear it – was now superfluous because of the internet.
He said: “We can now tune into Italian radio online, we can read Indian newspapers before Indians thanks to the time advantage. $200m is a lot of money and I think it should be for generating news. There’s a better way to use the money we give to SBS.”
He argued for what he described as “another form of state sponsorship of media” to fund news-gathering via journalist-employing not profit organisations, where the market is failing to provide it.
My take: Nice idea, but it ain’t gonna happen
My vote: Tim Dick
The voting result: First Tim Noonan (54%); second Tim Dick; third Antony Loewenstein