I never used tags on posts as a way to organise the blog, although there is of course a search tool in the top left corner. It's too late now to start using tags, because I'd feel obliged to go back and tag all of the existing posts as well as the new ones as they appear, and the thought of doing that just gives me a stomach ache. But while there has never really been a plan for the blog, there are some recurring themes that can be usefully outlined to compartmentalise the material on it.
It won't take an Australian long to orient me politically if they read a few posts here. Broadly I'm on the Left but that mainly applies to social issues. To be quite honest I find it hard to work out who I should vote for because while I agree with social policies at the Left side of the political spectrum, I do not agree with manyh of the economic policies that are usually found there. You could say I'm politically homeless. So while many would say I'm a liberal or a progressive, I firmly believe in individual effort when it comes to earning a living.
Because I am a journalist I am interested in the way the media functions in society. What does it mean? Is it important, and why? What are its weaknesses and strengths? Can it be improved? What does society in general think of the media? I ask myself questions like this all the time and sometimes I resort to the blog to nut out some part of this complex and fascinating institution. I first became interested in the media when I took a job in corporate communications in 1992. In 2006 I went back to university to do a media and communications degree, which took two years part-time to complete. In mid-2009 I began working as a freelance journalist, and continued doing that until mid-2012 when I stopped for family reasons. So for me journalism has been a 20-year project, and I feel like the journey is just beginning.
Especially in the online space I'm interested in the way that communications technologies are changing the way people socialise and live together. New web designs, social media, podcasts, and the intersection between these things and the news media are of special interest.
It's strange in a way how your personal experiences can intersect with stories that appear in the news. Sometimes your own stories can be of as much interest as those of any person who becomes the focus of attention for the media. This can especially be the case when some part of your personal history connects with a major strand of the common narrative that animates our lives every day. And as I get older I have more time for the stories of those who came before me and with whom I am linked by familial ties; I learn new things all the time by talking with others who are linked to the same family tree.
Books have always been a big part of my life even though I started to get interested in reading quite late, only at about the age of 12. Reading off my own steam, I mean. Reading that you do because it fulfills you and enlivens passions that are located deep inside you. I also do movie reviews if something strikes me as particularly wonderful. I might even venture theories of art from time to time, unlike most critics who see their role as marking small boundaries that might when most venturesome involve the oeuvre of one writer, one stylistic trend, or one historical epoch.
The built environment
The places where we live work to define us in subtle ways and as an Australian I have lived most of my life in cities; out of the country's 23 million people over 15 million live in one of the capital cities making it one of the world's most urbanised communities. Talking about the built environment can function as a proxy for discussion of bigger issues, as it tends to obey the dictates of demographic changes, and demographic actualities lie at the root of so many social, economic and political issues.
This was a major theme for my journalism during the roughly three years that I practiced on a commercial basis, and from time to time I might review and post some of the material that I gathered while working on stories that were published in magazines aimed at the ag sector.
Human rights and free speech
Big issues like these have many strands and they are anchored in lot of different places, from Australia itself to many countries overseas. It's something I wish I could study in depth, and I also wish that I could spend more time concentrating on what it means and why it continues to be important as time passes in the absence of a major war. Global war, which had been a concomitant of capitalism for hundreds of years, has been avoided to a large degree for two generations because of commitments made by the world's nation states to a few basic principles that are public and easily accessible.
From time to time an irritant will compel me to indulge in writing a made-up news story. I particularly enjoy doing these pieces and so far I haven't encountered any real trouble as a result, although some people respond by throwing up their hands in confusion. Others fall for the bait and might even remonstrate with me. Spoofs on the blog are not labelled as such, so it's up to the reader to beware. Can the use of spoofs endanger the reputation of a blog that aspires to engage in serious debate? I'm not sure, but rising pageviews tell me that at least some people are coming back to read more.
The rest of the fucking posts.