If you know anything about me – and let’s assume you do if you’re reading my blog – you know I’m a journalist. I love to know what’s going on (and if it’s before anyone else that’s even better!). I think I’m so lucky that my job means I get to learn about the things happening in our world that matter to us. Here are my top 11 news events of 2012. They’re not in any particular order.
I have always loved the Olympics. I am in awe of what some people can do and I was not disappointed this time around. Although most of the coverage by Australian media was about the lack of medals Australia’s swimmers won in the pool. I really don’t know why there was such a focus. Yes I understand media outlets need to cover the Olympics and fill time in their bulletins or centimetres in their newspapers…. But surely it’s not that hard to find other issues to cover. For someone to get into the Olympics it takes years of hard work, sacrifice and dedication. I really felt for our swimmers who were the subject of so much criticism. It even led to Swimming Australia announcing a review. Here’s a link to an online story to refresh your memory. http://www.news.com.au/sport/more-sport/swimming-australia-appoints-consultants-to-review-london-olympics-performance/story-fndukor0-1226515794631
Speaking honestly, I’ve never actually cared that much about the US election process. It bored me and dragged on forever. But this year I was part of the ABC News 24 team’s special coverage of the election. The lead up to the day was really interesting and I finally became swept up in the US Election hype. The actual day was lots of fun… seeing predictions and reactions from people on the streets of the US and finally the speeches by the two leaders. I think the best part was when we realised Barack Obama had been returned to office and we went to air with that news before anyone else in Australia. http://www.abc.net.au/news/specials/us-election-2012/
The story of the Wikileaks founder has been around for a few years… but the development in 2012 was that the Ecuadorian government agreed to provide him a safe haven at its embassy in London. You may remember Julian Assange’s speech from the window of the embassy a few months ago. If he steps foot outside the embassy its likely British police will arrest him. The US government wants to prosecute Julian Assange for publishing classified information… while Swedish police want him in relation to an alleged sexual assault.
It’s fair to say this issue is quite close to my heart. This year in Australia about 2000 journalists and people in media production lost their jobs. Newspapers announced they were changing their format and reducing their staff… television networks facing huge debts cut jobs to save money. Then I read this article on the job prospects (next to nothing) for journalism students. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/degree-of-doubt-for-journalism-students/story-e6frgcjx-1226330666395 If nothing else, this year I’ve really realised how lucky I am to be a working journalist for an organisation I love… and I’m only a few years away from long service leave (gulp!). But aside forgetting me, the media industry is probably not looking particularly appealing to those on the outside as an industry to w=get involved in.
Died of Shame
There are some media jobs I wish would disappear. Alan Jones. Ugh. In September he made horrible comments about the Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s father, saying he died of shame because of her political polices. The comments were recorded and he appeared at a media conference to try to dull the fallout. I really don’t need to say more on this. I’m sure you all remember his comments and have made your own opinions about it.
This news event is still in the media so I’m sure you don’t need too much of a refresher. Two Australian radio DJ’s made a prank call to the London hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge was being treated for morning sickness. They recorded a nurse revealing the Duchesses medical condition. Days later one of the nurses caught up in the prank was found dead. This is a horrible story. I expect it will lead to a fairly major overhaul of the rules that govern radio broadcasting in Australia.
The UK’s inquiry into phone hacking and freedom of the media, known as the Leveson Inquiry, began in 2011 and Lord Justice Leveson handed down his findings in late November. The inquiry was sparked, as the Executive Summary of Lord Justice Leveson’s finding says, “by public revulsion about a single action – the hacking of the mobile phone of a murdered teenager”. It was then expanded to cover more broadly the standards and ethics of the British media. The hearings lasted months and included people such as the parents of the murdered teenager, the parents of Madeleine McCann – the little girl who is thought to have been kidnapped in Spain, actor Hugh Grant, Rupert Murdoch and Rebekah Brookes and former Prime Ministers, including the current Prime Minister David Cameron. There was much speculation about what the recommendations would eventually be. Lord Justice Leveson has recommended an independent body be established to oversee the media, replacing the existing self-regulatory system. Some were hoping full control would be given to the government. Here’s the link to the Executive Summary.
The disappearance of ABC staffer Jill Meagher after a night out with colleagues in Melbourne triggered a massive response from the community. When her body was found and police made an arrest, that outpouring of support continued. Tens of thousands of people spontaneously marched through Melbourne’s streets to show their love and support… as well as their disgust at what had happened to Jill Meagher. The man charged with her rape and murder is due in court early next year.
Child Sexual Abuse Royal Commission
Pressure on the government led the Prime Minister Julia Gillard to announce a Royal Commission into child sexual abuse. The government is yet to appoint commissioners and outline the exact details of the inquiry. It will however examine all areas of the community that care for children such as scout groups, cadet groups, churches and other community groups. We’ll hear a lot more about this next year and most likely in the years to come with some predicting it could take a decade to complete the inquiry.
This is a story well known to my West Australian readers. In 2007 Corryn Rayney was found buried in a shallow grave in Kings Park. Her husband Lloyd Rayney – a senior legal figure in WA – was charged with her murder. His three month trial played out this year. He was acquitted by a judge alone. The question remains… who killed Corryn Rayney.
Anti Islam Film
The film Innocence of Muslims sparked worldwide outrage earlier this year. The film depicted the Prophet Mohammed as a ‘thuggish deviant’ which offended Muslims around the world. Angry protests were staged in dozens of countries and led to a number of deaths, including the US Ambassador to Benghazi. There were even protests here in Sydney. The filmmaker was charged with violating a probation order for fraud charges, completely unrelated to the film.
What are your top news stories of 2012?
Thanks for reading. I hope you come back soon.