‘News Read All About It‘ by Seth Anderson
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) license / Cropped from original
Think about the last news story that you followed (whether it be the missing Malaysian airlines flight, the loss by the Eagles to Carlton, or the visit by ‘the Royals’). How did you seek out this information? What sources, medias or networks did you use? Why? How did you evaluate the relevancy, credibility and reliability of this coverage?
I’m an Australian politics junkie. I am always following what’s going on in the country, starting with federal matters and honing down to state news, when it piques my interest. Being a Victorian does not necessarily mean that I only focus on Victorian matters – all states interest me, as I see them all affecting what is happening on a federal level.
I think, because I am also interested in international affairs, I tend to focus my media interest on Australian federal politics. I am a Greens Party member, so have a left-wing stance on most issues. So, as a result, I am interested in what our increasingly right-wing government is doing on an international scale, not only nationally. I am interested in our foreign relations and alliances, how we interact on a global scale, and how we affect others in our region of the world. I am also interested in problems in the world that may not seem directly related to Australian affairs at first glance, but watch to see how they play out on the world stage. I try to prepare myself for future developments of conflicts in the Middle East, Africa, North and South America, South-East Asia, and how they will and can all impact upon Australia and its existence in an increasingly globalised world.
I subscribe to a few e-lists and RSS feeds from selected news sources such as NewMatilda, The Guardian (UK and Australia), a lot of ABC news sources (such as ‘The Drum’, ABC Radio National, Insiders, News 24, etc.). I also tend to follow the work of journalists that I particularly enjoy reading: John Pilger, Antony Loewenstein, David Marr, Philip Adams, Anne Summers, Waleed Aly, Clementine Ford, Geoffrey Robertson, Kate Adie, Jane Caro, Julian Burnside, Noam Chomsky… too numerous to mention!
As you might have ascertained, I don’t always read the “traditional newspaper outlets” – Melbourne’s The Age would be the most read, if that were the case. But, I take advantage of RSS feeds, Twitter and Google+ to receive news in areas of personal interest.
Generally speaking, I follow the current news mostly from the ABC and SBS, as the other mainstream options make my skin crawl. I find news from Sky News, Channels 7, 9 and 10, along with the Herald-Sun and The Australian as either too right-wing for my liking, or sensationalised and focused on inducing fear in the community about issues that are not life-altering or as catastrophic as they are presented to be. (There’s a theme here… I tend to stray in the other direction from Rupert Murdoch’s bias and media control in this country.) In order to obtain some balance, I do enjoy watching and reading The Drum, as this is a show/web site that permits the opinions of academics, authors, journalists and politicians from both sides of the political spectrum. I also watch APAC (Australian Public Affairs Channel) on TV as time allows – which is not as much as I’d like. However, it does provide a lot of parliamentary footage from the House of Representatives and the Senate for me to digest and loudly protest in the privacy of my lounge-room.
Parliamentary proceedings are important to me, as the information is coming straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. Then, I’ll chase up opinions and criticism elsewhere on the internet if a topic is truly resonating with me. This will lead me to absorb as many sides of the debate as is feasibly possible in my available time, and help me to form my own opinions on matters that I consider to be important. This has also led me to support organisations that revolve around human rights and environmental issues, such as Amnesty International, ASRC (Asylum Seeker Resource Centre), Medecins Sans Frontieres, Greenpeace, GetUp!, Greens Party, Socialist Alternative, etc.
As I have worked as an information specialist for a number of years, I have always sought to test and analyse the credibility of the writers I read, or the source that the news is coming from. I try as much as possible to take an objective approach to a topic (which is not always possible when one is enraged about some subjects), and ascertain the reliability of the information I am consuming. If something stands out to me as absurd or not quite right, I have been known to dig deeper and chase up the veracity of statements made in the media or the blogosphere. Plus, I have never been backwards in coming forwards with an alternative approach to an opinion or argument.
As a philosopher of sorts, I always seek to think outside the box as much as I can, and tend to gravitate towards news that either disrupts my profound empathy for others’ human rights, enrages me as unjust, or simply engages with my creative side in thinking about unconventional methodologies to solving the recurring problems we encounter in society on a multitude of levels.