It dawned on me last week that I might be editing Australia’s last newspaper standing. Honi Soit, Sydney University’s scrapbook of student musings, has been published since 1929 and, unlike many other esteemed publications, looks set to remain in print for a long while to come.
Though not exactly rivers of gold, Honi is funded by a fairly consistent pool of funding from the Students’ Representative Council – which, though damaged by the introduction of voluntary student unionism under John Howard, has recently been boosted by the Gillard government’s student services and amenities fee.
Honi has no commercial imperative: indeed, it has no identifiable raison d’etre at all, other than to provide a platform for student writers and agitators to practise their craft. But practise for what?
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Bear Grylls makes brilliant telly. If watching a bloke sleep inside a camel carcass doesn’t make for a top night in front of the box, then what does?
And what about the time the former SAS man ate a giant larval worm which he described as tasting like a sausage made up of his mate’s boogers. The guy should try the café at the bottom of our building some time.
For all his showmanship and icky stunts, you sense there is a subtext to the Grylls gross out. By showcasing his own bravado and survival skills in some of the world’s greatest wild landscapes, he’s teaching his global audience of 1.2 billion about the wonder of the wilderness.
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Is it time for Australian media powers to draw up a code of conduct to deal with spin doctor demands?
Championing the media and their moguls may not be fashionable right now given the UK’s phone hacking scandal, and Labor and the Greens calling for their own inquiry off the back of it.
Nevertheless public relations spin is endemic and enduring.
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For newly minted parliamentarians interested in building their media profile to doors, or not to doors, has always been the question.
For the uninitiated the doors in questions are the front doors of Parliament House. Each sitting day a gaggle of journalists guard the doors and throw questions at eager - or unwitting - MP’s and Senator’s walking through.
Attendance for the politicians is voluntary. If they want a shot at getting their mug on TV they chance the doors. If the risks seem too high, they scurry through the underground garage, safe but wallowing in anonymity.
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The world - largely thanks to the internet - is getting overloaded with more pseudoscience, psychobabble and outright bullsh*t than ever before, and we need a groundswell of logical thinking to fight it.
Skeptics used to come under fire because people saw skepticism as inherently negative.
(It’s hard to work out whether that was because the critics just didn’t know the difference between cynicism and skepticism, or were just fundamentally ignorant of the philosophy of science.)
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