The Costello enigma

Aspiration to the highest office in the land is the ambition of most senior politicians.  So after so many years coveting that position, it came as a bolt from the blue when Peter Costello declined leadership after it was offered on a plate right after the 2007 election.  A role outside of politics was mooted, but as time passed and nothing suitable eventuated, the backbench seemed all that was to be had.  But from time to time, like a smouldering fire smoking on the crest of the mountain, speculation flares about his return to active political engagement. Yesterday was one of those times.  More...

Who do you want at the helm?

Metaphors abound around the global financial crisis.  The Government says we’re facing a global tsunami, and we can’t swim against that sort of tide.  We’re in a ship in stormy waters battling the elements.  In the wake of Victoria’s bushfires, it’s surprising that the ‘firestorm’ metaphor has not much been used. 

In today’s Australian George Megalogenis heads his well-balanced piece Leader’s bounty kept ship afloat Michael Stutchbury, in an even-handed video clip We’re in recession  avoided metaphors, but in McCrann on Australia’s recession, Terry McCrann, so prone to exaggerated language, couldn’t resist.  He has the global economy “slowing to a walk”, the Australian economy in a “twilight zone” between the good things and the bad things, and accuses the Reserve Bank and the Government of “over-egging the pudding”.  His piece was nonetheless reasonable. More...

Dangerous and dishonest predictions

So much of life is predicated on a capacity to predict.  We want to know what the weather is predicted to be tomorrow, this week, next week.  We want our doctor to predict the likely progression of our illnesses and the effect of treatment.  Investors would like to know what the stock market is likely to do this week, this year.  All of us would like to know if climate change is a reality, and if so, how it was generated and how fast it is predicted to progress.  And at this time of financial uncertainty governments need to predict where the economy is heading, and assess the likely outcome of its legislative moves.  Accurate prediction is crucial. More...

What makes good online journalism?

Recently Mark Bahnisch of blogsite Larvatus Prodeo said he "...would be interested in what LP folks think makes an excellent piece of online writing in journalistic form...a set of criteria distinctive to feature writing or reportage produced specifically for the online medium rather than print..”

In responding to that request, I took the view that good journalism, whether in print or online, had many features in common.  So I compiled a list for online journalism, but many of the items are just as applicable to print journalism.  This is my list, enlarged on reflection.

Readers’ additions would be welcome, as well as comments about how well The Political Sword meets the listed criteria. More...