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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Saturday, December 17, 2005

The bottom-up approach

The BBC director of nations and regions has called for an end to "air-conditioned journalism", which, simply put, is related to "hotel journalism" and "mouse journalism."

Journalists should get out of the office. Reporting political and business leaders sprouting daily drivel may be what corporate media encourages, but this is not what journalism should be about. As John Pilger told me late last year:

"...Journalism is reporting from the bottom up, not from the top down. And it seems to me that once within the system, young journalists are groomed to report from the top down, not from the bottom up. Their scepticism is aimed not at power, but at people. You hear their contempt for readers, viewers and listeners; they call them apathetic and say they don't care and all they're interested in is the footy. They rarely disparage those at the top in the same way."


Blogger Wombat said...

I could not agree more with with the BBC's sentiments, though they could take a dose of their own medicine.

As always, Pilger is right on the money. Dahr Jamail has expresse the same sentiments with respect to reporting in Iraq.

Saturday, December 17, 2005 11:47:00 am  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Indeed. The BBC is, with notable exceptions, the voice of the British establishment and always has been.
Wonder if Dahr Jamail will come to Australia. Perhaps I should try and organise it, now that I'm on the board of Macquarie Uni's Centre for Middle East Studies.
Food for thought...

Saturday, December 17, 2005 11:56:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

Way to go Ant. That would be awesome.

Saturday, December 17, 2005 12:30:00 pm  
Blogger Rich Bowden said...

Congratulations on your appointment Ant. Like Addamo, I believe it would be marvellous to hear the views of independent journos such as Dahr Jamail in Oz.

Saturday, December 17, 2005 3:39:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

I'm involved in organising a major event/conference in mid 2006 at Macquarie about the media and the Middle East. Hope to get some big guests.
Watch this space.

Saturday, December 17, 2005 3:41:00 pm  
Blogger Pete's Blog said...

Onya AL!

I suggest you invite Professor Amin Saikal from ANU along.

He's a secular left Afghani-Aussie who knows all about Iran etc. In fact he was just publishing "The Fall of the Shah" just BEFORE the Shah actually fell in 1979.

Saturday, December 17, 2005 9:36:00 pm  
Blogger anthony said...

Just to be the voice of dissent:

Why did they appoint you? You've always claimed to be a Journo, not an academic.

That said, congratulations...

Sunday, December 18, 2005 12:42:00 am  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

I was appointed because I'm a journo. The board comprises many different sorts. They wanted someone young (ish!), involved with the media and bringing a different perspective on Mid East matters.

Sunday, December 18, 2005 10:23:00 am  
Blogger Glenn Condell said...

Goodonyou Ant

love to see someone like Amira Hass or Neve Gordon out here, perhaps to share a stage with Hanan Ashrawi or Saeb Erekat, so that people can see for themselves that the doom and gloom, busted arse ME paradigm we are fed (and which the trolls here retail furiously) is not the only story, and that in fact the personnel needed for a mature and respectful rapprochement already exist.

Merry Xmas, Happy Hanukah, a festive New Year etc to you Ant.

Sunday, December 18, 2005 11:14:00 am  
Blogger M.Y.M.C. said...

And what about a bottom up approach in our own backyards?

Eastern suburbs dwelling Sydney journos positively TREMBLE at the thought of heading out (south)west and getting their hands dirty talking to the 'other'.

A case in point: the anglo-centric perspective of journos in the wake of the Cronulla riots.

Even with well-meaning, culturally sensitive motivations...journos this week were limited to speaking to ex-cops, established academics (incuding the excellent but very European Australian Mary Kalantzis) - and we read very few Arab or Muslim Australian opinions that were given the space to be insightful and expansive!

In the press's attempts to write broader opinion pieces that probe the collective, diverse subconscious of Sydney and explain the current tension - the cultural capital of journos collectively is revealed to be pretty threadbare on this issue.

Unfortunately, the 'Muslim arab' bogey man remains - even in the hands of the most sympathetic media worker - a mute figure. One we must either help in a paternalistic manner, or castigate scronfully.

Notable exception of the last week: Tom Morten of Background Briefing.

Sunday, December 18, 2005 11:15:00 am  

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