Nicole Hasham’s story on page three of the Sydney Morning Herald today is a great example of simple, clear reporting: Politics of prejudice as cultural cowboys court xenophobic vote.
It’s about Nick Folkes of the Australian Protectionist Party running in next month’s council elections. She interviewed Folkes, mentioned his previously unsuccessful run (0.6 per cent of the vote in Balmain last year), interviewed Professor Kevin Dunn from the University of Western Sydney (who researches immigration, multiculturalism and racism), and interviewed Peter Wong, founder of the Unity Party and briefly outlined that party’s political history. All that in a 456 word story.
(The funniest bit was finding out that Sergio ‘Say no to burqas mural, aka Muslims aren’t allowed to tell women what to wear but I’m allowed to tell women what to wear’ Redegalli is running for Marrickville Council – one of the most multicultural electorates in the state. Yeah, good luck with that.)
It’s 475 words about a report that he doesn’t name so readers can’t easily find it and therefore have to take his word for it that he’s reporting it accurately (I assume it’s The Critical Decade: International Action on Climate Change), with a quote from Opposition climate spokesman Greg Hunt that ranges from clearly wrong (South Korea) to somewhat wrong (the US and Canada) but is left unchecked by Cubby. Like all politicians, Hunt knows that he can pretty much just make shit up and journalists will report it without pointing out that there’s no evidence to support the claims. There’s a general quote from Minister for Climate Change Greg Combet and a general quote from Climate Commissioner Tim Flannery that sound like they’re from the media release that arrived with the report. I’m happy to be wrong about that. If a journalism student submitted this story for an assignment, they’d be lucky to pass.
But back to the good bit. Nice work, Nicole Hasham.