Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Chuck Testa

I really should be studying, but 'collective ministerial responsibility' just isn't doing it for me. 


Also, read this.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Lecture 12

Today we were blessed with the hilarious Steve Molk, the self-made entertainment blogger. He offered the class of JOUR1111 some valuable advice regarding journalism as a career path. 

Gem number 1: As a journalist, find your demographic; find your audience. Essentially, you can't please all of the people all of the time. So find who you can please, and write for them. Write about what interests you. It's bound to be your best work. 

Gem number 2: The way you represent yourself determines your future. Market yourself in a way that separates you from the crowd. 

Gem number 3: Discipline yourself, and write everyday. 

Gem number 4: Engage in social media, i.e. Tweet as much as you can.

For more gems, follow Molk's twitter here, and view his blog here.  

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Pharmacy News Story

Reporting on location. Filmed on my HTC Desire HD. 

Shopping List: Spinach, Soap and Sudafed

Australian pharmacies must prepare for yet another profit blow, as supermarkets stock medicinal products. Starting from April, Australia’s leading stores will attempt to collect an increasing part of the annual $9 billion per year pharmaceutical sector. Self-medication, and ill-advice will arise as great problems.

Johnson & Johnson Pacific will launch iconic pharmaceutical products, Sudafed and Codral in the grocery channel. These mediations will not contain the regular scheduled doses found in a pharmacy, but should act as a mere sub-therapeutic.

Pharmacists and trained healthcare professionals seek to give patients quality medical care, including the correct medication advice. Supermarkets cannot offer healthcare. Pharmacist Hugh Ada, proprietor of Ada and Flynn Pharmacy, Grafton, asks, “How many people now buy their medication for coughs, colds, pain, warts, acne, tinea from supermarkets without having the ability to ask somebody who knows what they are talking about? Checkout-chicks have no formal training.”

Hugh Ada glares at the competitor. 
“Coles and Woolworths see pharma cies as the only small business that they don’t yet control. They’ve taken over bakeries, butchers, petrol stations, liquor stores, and newsagencies. The only thing left is pharmacies. And if they stock unscheduled medications, they will. Supermarkets aren’t interested in an individual’s health; they’re interested in their wallet.”

With an ageing population, Australia relies on medications for common problems including diabetes and high cholesterol. Patients should consult medical professions before self-medicating, as drug-interaction can be a serious detriment to ones health. 

Livers Livin' Longer

Nearly 2000 Australians are on organ transplant lists. A new organ could give these people a new life.  Dr Constantin Coussios, a biomedical engineer from Oxford, has discovered a new method to greatly increase the viability of the liver. This will save lives.

Currently preservation methods for livers involve cooling the organ down; not dissimilar to the method we use to preserve meat. This method slows down the rate of metabolism, and extends the life of the liver to 15 hours.

Coussios’ new method involves connecting the liver to a blood supply, which tricks the liver into thinking it’s still connected to the body. The liver continues to metabolise, and even produce bile.

Coussios told ABC National Radio, “We estimate that we could increase the number available livers for transplantation between 50% and 100%”. Coussios’ method gives a promise of new life.

William Coorey

Dr William Coorey, from Grafton Northern NSW, also recognises the importance and potential of the discovery. “An increased viability, would allow livers to reach further.  Coussios’ technique could lead to an increase the willingness to donate, as people know that their liver could be kept alive for a greater period of time, increasing the hope of reaching a potential recipient. Essentially, it gives a face to organ transplantation.”

Despite new discoveries, Australia is a mile behind in the organ transplant race. Although is a world leader for successful transplant outcomes, it has one of the lowest donation rates in the developed world. As Dr Coorey recognises, “Although organ donation is an ethical conversation for doctors to have with patients, it is widely ignored. Organ donation should be a topic in the public consciousness… Public consciousness has the ability to save lives.”  
For more information on organ donation, visit

Ballets Beer Goggles

For Eric Gravolin, leaving the ballet industry was sobering. “When you’re immersed in the ballet industry,” he said, “it’s like wearing beer goggles. You see ballet dancers as fit, muscular and tough. As soon as you leave, your perception changes, and you realize that they’re all just skinny, hungry and weak. I call it one-night-stand syndrome.”

Eric Gravolin practicing his arabesque. 
Eric was a student at the Australian Ballet School, before being accepted into the Queensland Ballet Company. After a serious back injury, ballet’s continual quest for physical perfection proved too demanding, and he turned his attention towards acting.

The life of an actor is tough, but not as tough as a professional dancer, according to Eric. Acting is challenging him to forget the dangerous and obsessive quest of physical perfection sough by dancers. “Coming to terms with the idea that there isn’t just a right and wrong was an enormous challenge”, said Eric.  “The way I’ve been programmed is to see technical perfection as being paramount. Artistic self-expression comes last.”

“The pressures put on dancers for the longest legs, and the thin physique pushes us to dangerous levels. Now, when I return to the company I see a room full of sick people.”  Perfectionism is a very real characteristic of ballet, and its constant pursuit can lead to perilous disasters. This pursuit for sheer excellence is an ongoing frustration to ballet dancers, but paradoxically, it “fuels one’s motivation.” 

Eric’s one-night-stand with ballet is currently on hold, as he turns his fantasy to the commercial industry of acting. “Maybe I’ll be forever searching for perfection… forever searching for the unattainable,” Eric remarks, after a quick glance in the mirror.  Maybe so. 

Happy Jubilee

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Lecture 11

Week 11. Investigate Journalism

Before exploring the subject of investigate journalism, one must question; isn’t all journalism investigative?

Quoted from the Journalism Fund.
“In the view of there is no final definition of investigative journalism. On the contrary – it should be a vivid process to strive for investigative journalism and any definition must be scrutinised over and over in an ongoing debate among journalists. However we would like to contribute to this debate by adding some crucial points from several parts of Europe.
“Investigative journalism is critical and thorough journalism,” according to the definition of the Dutch association for Investigative Journalism, VVOJ.
Critical means that journalism is not merely passing on ‘news’ that already exist. It implies news, which would not be available without any journalistic intervention. This can be done by creating new facts, but also through re-interpretation or correlation of facts already at hand. Thorough means that one makes an own substantial effort, either in quantitative terms – much time spent in research, many sources consulted, etc. - in qualitative terms - sharp questions formulated, new approaches used, etc., or a combination of both.
Based on this definition we discern three types of investigative journalism. Incidentally these categories might overlap.
  • Uncover scandals. Aimed at detecting violations of laws, rules or norms of decency, by organisations or individuals.
  • Review of policies or functioning of government, businesses and other organisations.
  • Draw attention to social, economic, political and cultural trends. Aimed at detecting changes in society. 
The leader of Swedish TVs investigative magazine Uppdrag Granskning, Nils Hanson, has the following definitions on investigative journalism published in his book Grävande Journalistik from 2009:
  • Critical approach - focus is on what does not work and in one way or another can be described as anomaly. 
  • Important subject - only a question of importance for the common good can motivate the amount of effort and resources, that very well may have to be invested in the research as well as the criticism uttered in the publication. 
  • Own initiative - journalists/editors decide, what is important. 
  • Own research - the reporter gathers information and documents, sometimes in spite of tough resistance. 
  • Own analysis - the information gathered and the documents are evaluated. An expert can assist in the analysis, but publication does not depend on what someone says. 
  • Exclusivity - the public learns important information, that else would not have been in the open.
According to the Center for Investigative Journalism at London City University, ”UK and US colleagues tend to define IJ in its moral and ethical purpose and obligation, rather than as a slightly more serious version of ordinary news reporting. “In the service of the Public Interest, our purpose is to uncover corruption, injustice, maladministration and lies.  As a duty to readers and viewers as well as self-protection in a hostile legal environment, investigative journalism seeks above all to tell the documented truth in depth and without fear or favour. It is to provide a voice for those without one and to hold the powerful to account. It's to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. 
Is it critical and thorough?  Yes, but investigative journalism is skeptical and keen to bring information that someone wants to be keep secret, into the public light.
Sheila Coronel from the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University in New York in her book Digging Depper from 2009 has five definitions of, what investigative journalism is NOT, and three of what it is:
Investigative journalism IS NOT:
  • Daily reporting
  • Leak journalism
  • Single source reporting
  • Misuse of information
  • Paparazzi journalism
Investigative journalism IS:
  • Watchdog journalism
  • Exposing how laws and regulations are violated
  • Holding the powerful accountable.”

The In’s on Investigate Journalism
Inside information
Invest (time, money, and yourself)

Investigative Journalism is seen to have a deeper meaning and purpose. As a journalist, one is a custodian of conscience. This means that journalism provides a ’civic vice’ for citizens to respond. Most importantly, investigative journalism intends to provide a voice for those without one. It has the ability to hold the powerful, accountable, and must seek to provide social justice. In this light, journalism is a very respectable career. 

Historical trailblazers for investigative journalism include Moonlight State led by Chris Master. Masters’ investigated police corruption in Queensland, and even inspired a judicial inquiry the day after the broadcast. Moonlight State is an example of civic duty at its best. The broadcast is available to watch here