Tuesday 14 Aug 2018 | 19:03 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 14 Aug 2018 | 19:03 | SYDNEY

Things I have changed my mind about this year


Sam Roggeveen


9 December 2009 15:51

This is an exercise some of us conducted on The Interpreter at the end of last year, and I'd like to kick off the series this year by revising my pessimism from '08. At the top of my list of things I'd changed my mind about last year was:

1. The inevitable growth of the Australian political blogosphere: I'm less of an optimist than I used to be. I don't think our political blogosphere will ever match the influence that blogging has achieved in the US. The weight of numbers just isn't there, and our political system doesn't allow for it. But I think the Lowy Institute has shown that with some investment, small institutions can make inroads into territory dominated (or ignored) by big media.

There are a few reasons for greater optimism on this front, one being the huge popularity among our political class of Twitter, which has made blogging far more mainstream. But Twitter may turn out to be a passing phase, and of more lasting significance could be the interventions in the media debate of ABC Managing Director Mark Scott, notably in this assertive speech in October.

But it's more than just words; Scott is also throwing resources at the ABC's online presence. The hiring of high profile journos Annabel Crabb and Jonathan Green to run the newly launched The Drum site is a good example. (Side note: A good piece by Jonathan Holmes explaining how this brave new online world is changing the nature of ABC journalism.) Not that the commercial media has been left behind, with the launch earlier this year of The Punch.

Now, none of this directly contradicts my pessimism of last year — we're talking about growth at the big end of town here, not among small organisations or in the citizen-generated blogosphere. But my sense is that, as the audience arrives in bigger numbers via these popular sites, they will find their way to smaller, more specialised sites.