OMG Journalism really IS cactus

Fatuous Sydney 2UE radio reporter Latika M Bourke not only won the 2010 Walkley Young Australian Journalist of the Year award but has now been employed by the ABC as its Social Media Reporter.  I’ve unwillingly been inflicted with Ms Bourke’s vacuous style of  “journalism” while using Nicholas Gruen’s Twitter feed to disseminate Missing Link Daily blog and alternative media reading recommendations.

I can only heartily endorse the sentiments of a commenter at the ABC blog where Latika’s appointment was announced:

This is truly remarkable. A person “tweets” anything and everything they see, without analysis, without discretion and often without an even basic understanding of the issues at hand and they get a job with the ABC.

There are any number of bloggers who would have made better ABC appointees because they have a strong understanding of social media and an infinitely superior grasp of politics, current affairs and logical thought processes to that of Ms Bourke.

PS Now here’s a story about a real journalist doing real journalism (and winning a Walkley for it). Strangely enough, he doesn’t seem to have done any wittering away on Twitter.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
This entry was posted in Journalism, Media. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to OMG Journalism really IS cactus

  1. Jacques Chester says:

    She ticks several political correctness boxes (female, not white, non-anglo name), plus the “we need to ‘dig it’, like those rebellious youngsters with their twitbooks. Cool, daddy-o!” angle.

    Take Perth’s ABC news reader, for example. She’s terrible. Flat, stilted reading and an unpleasant voice. But she ticks the same boxes and the ABC do love them some faux progressiveness.

  2. Patrick says:

    Well, the ABC is at least.

    My definition of journalism is already people like you, Ken, so I’m not fussed :)

  3. FDB says:

    As long as nobody says anything bad about Janice Petersen, I will be fine with this post and thread.

    Careful though.

  4. Polyquats says:

    A fair assessment. As long as she is playing with ‘Social Media’ and not getting in the way of actual coverage of political events, I guess I can continue to ignore her. She’s blocked me, so as long as the retweets don’t increase too much, it should be OK.

  5. fxh says:

    jacques – you old fuddy duddy.

    Hey do you remember Assange on irc #politics and #coders?

  6. Mel says:


    “She ticks several political correctness boxes (female, not white, non-anglo name) … ”

    Yup, if she was also a lesbian with one leg and an eating disorder, she’d be in line for an ABC board appointment.

  7. FDB says:

    Mel – have you seen the ABC board lately?

    Don’t worry, my question was rhetorical and you can slink quietly away now.

  8. Mel says:

    FDB, that’s cos it is largely unchanged from the Howard era. Besides, I’m simply being mischievious ;)

  9. fxh — no. What was his nick?

  10. proff – he only came on occasionally but the people on #coders knew him from the previous hacking stuff.

  11. Wendy Carlisle says:

    Social media is a tool, you tool!

    Latika tweets some excellent stuff, as does Laurie Oaks and Jonathon Holmes. As for the real Andrew Bolt, at least I get to see what he say’s and only have to put up with 140 characters of it.

    Ms Latika’s think it’s an excellent appointment. You wait and see.

    Oh – instead Club Troppo’s brilliant response to is to publish anonymous diss and republish blatantly sexist and racist comments. sheesh. now that’s quality journalism.

    Follow me on twitter @wendycarlisle

  12. Bernard says:

    The ABC doesn’t seem to be hiring journalists any more, but personalities. Bourke offers nothing more than a linking service for the ABC. People once lamented press release journalism. That is the norm on Twitter.

  13. Ken Parish says:

    Gee, another great example of quality journalism and deep thinking from ABC journo Wendy. Not to mention complete contempt for the (to date) unanimous opinion about Latika’s appointment from readers just about all of whom are core ABC audience. What extraordinary if predictable arrogance! We ignorant readers should just shut up and gratefully accept what our intellectual betters on the ABC staff choose to dish out for our delectation.

    As for “anonymous diss”, presumably Wendy doesn’t often read the comment threads at ABC Unleashed and The Drum, or she would know that most of the comments there are also pseudonymous.

  14. jtfsoon says:

    rather worrying that an ABC journo doesn’t know when to use an apostrophe

  15. Don Arthur says:

    Ken – Is it really fair to say that Latika Bourke was appointed just because she’s “female, not white, non-anglo name”?

    Twitter may change journalism. If you’re in the thick of things, you can report a fast breaking story as it unfolds — in words and pictures and with links to supporting material. Unlike radio or tv, the medium allows the audience to follow multiple sources at once.

    Whatever you think about the content of most of her tweets, Bourke has mastered the medium.

    The ABC is exactly the right media outlet to pick this up and see where it goes. It doesn’t need to make money out it.

    I’m interested to see how the ABC’s experiments with social media go. And provided she doesn’t burn out from the non-stop high volume tweeting, it will be interesting to watch Bourke’s career develop.

    Do we have to be so mean spirited about this?

  16. Ken Parish says:

    I don’t endorse Jacques’ comment. I do however think Bourke’s output is vacuous. I would have a similar reaction if the ABC appointed (say) Paul Sheehan or Andrew Bolt. I’m also interested in the development of social media (evident from my postings) but it certainly won’t develop usefully unless smart people with interesting things to say are appointed to these positions. Ms Carlisle mentioned Jonathan Holmes as someone whose Tweets are worth reading. I agree. Bourke’s aren’t. It is neither racist nor sexist nor mean-spirited to say so.

  17. Don Arthur says:

    Ken – If you were choosing someone to do social media for the ABC, what criteria would you use and who’d be on your shortlist?

  18. “The ABC doesn’t seem to be hiring journalists any more, but personalities.”
    The same is true of all MSM, I think, but bloggers are going to have to accept that that is just general mainstream practice – vaccuous journalism, think dispoable 24/7 news and infotainment – y’know?

    Latika Bourke is ok, but it is just more vapid nothingness in a vast sea of vapid nothingness. I can’t believe Kochie is writing for The Punch – OMG! Journalism? They don’t have the opportunities Linton Besser has, however, not many journos do. It’s a rare paid job that affords a journo a chance to develop their investigative skills and almost unheard of in MSM.

    I don’t know too many IJ’s who get paid for their research and I know several real die-hard heros of IJ who have had to fund their research themselves outside of work hours. It is the nature of the world MSM that they dumb the public down – it’s social control – and this is the pervasive, insidious way it is done.

    It’s easy to knock journos, their mistakes are out there for the world to peruse, but a lot of good nuts and bolts types of journalism take place everyday without us noticing it’s importance – like the tragedy that occurred off Christmas Island, today. That said, MSM pat their own backs way too much, and don’t challenge enough the editorial biases they work under.

  19. Tel says:

    What extraordinary if predictable arrogance! We ignorant readers should just shut up and gratefully accept what our intellectual betters on the ABC staff choose to dish out for our delectation.

    Let loose with the stick Ken, it’s a refreshing change from your usual marshmallow on a pillow held with kid gloves approach :-)

    … a lot of good nuts and bolts types of journalism take place everyday without us noticing it’s importance – like the tragedy that occurred off Christmas Island, today.

    I was actually trying to watch the banking inquiry (which was live) when they kept interrupting for an interview with Wayne Swan where he categorically explained to the cameras that he knew nothing… about anything… had nothing to say… and was waiting for a report… from someone… to tell him what to think. Then they followed that with a bit of video that was cameraphone quality and almost certainly purchased from one of the locals (or maybe downloaded off youtube).

    Information content contributed by Wayne Swan — 0%
    Information “value add” contributed by reporter — 0%
    Information contributed by local with cameraphone — 40%

    After they interrupted the live inquiry not once but repeatedly with the same bit of useless interview and no new information at all, I figured it was a waste of time trying to watch anymore. And people wonder why governance is so poor in this country and the public is so badly informed. The ABC gets paid out of the taxpayer’s pocket precisely so they can focus on issues that don’t have that sensational sparkle but yet do matter in the bigger picture.

  20. Ken Parish says:

    Quite tasty and nutritious marshmallow though … Anyway, it’s a deliberate dead bat approach designed after years of trial and error to avoid creating a nurturing environment for trolls and dickheads. But just occasionally I lose patience. Anyway, the occasional bit of snark can be quite refreshing, especially when unleashed on a patronising wanker of an ABC journo.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.