tip off

Actual journalism! Actual substance on a political dispute! Daniel Hurst of the Brisbane Times: we salute you.

Pure Poison IconDear journalists wondering how to report competing claims by opposing political parties,

Please check out this article in today’s Brisbane Times by Daniel Hurst.

In it, he takes the competing claims by the Queensland ALP and LNP candidates on the subject of how crime rates have changed under the current government, and – and this is the important bit I’d like you to notice – compares them with the actual figures. Thereby giving his readers some insight into which claims are “true”, and which parts are “true but misleading”.

For example:

The LNP, in its Tuesday media release headed “Crime worse under long-term Labor”, pointed to numerous crime categories where increases had been recorded over time.

The party correctly stated, for example, that the “actual” number of reported shop stealing rose from 13,911 in 2000/01 to 16,056 in 2010/11. However, the rate per 100,000 people in fact dropped from 384 to 349 over the same period.

So, not technically a lie – so, sorry, hacks, no quick “gotcha” – but an interpretation of the data that perhaps requires some context. Which Daniel provides to inform his readers!

See, what Daniel has done is taken the claims out of the realm of “to be balanced we must treat as equal competing claims by side A and side B”, and into the actual substance of how those well claims match reality.

I know – actual journalism! Actually informing readers! At the end of that article a Brisbane Times reader could intelligently respond to the claims of either side.

I can’t remember seeing something like that in our national media for a long time. (If you have, please link to it in the comments to cheer us up.)

8
  • 1
    Graham Phil
    Posted March 2, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    And this Daniel Hurst character probably has the temerity to call himself a journalist. I presume the Brisbane Times will be sacking him shortly for breaches of the journalist code of ethics. This sort of thing can’t be allowed.

  • 2
    Mort
    Posted March 2, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    A newspaper fact checking press releases! What The Hell!!!
    that is just too weird
    my head is going to explode

  • 3
    Posted March 2, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    My god…. Daniel deserves a medal and as thorough lauding. Have we pointed this out to Mr Denmore yet?

  • 4
    shepherdmarilyn
    Posted March 2, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    In contrast to the vile Des Houghton who tried to claim that we had to further close our borders to refugees because one person in Britain had to be released from prison after more than 8 years without charge.

  • 5
    AR
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    It is a good demonstration of the problem for mass meeja – complexity is…err..complex. Most people prefer simplicity, even when it is untrue, even when it is deleterious to them, even when it flies int he face of reality.
    Coz, see, that damn reality thingy is… complex. Why is why the vast majority prefer someone to tell them what to do, when and to whom to do it, rather than think for themselves and wear the consequences.

  • 6
    shepherdmarilyn
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    I wish he would give some of his moron colleaugues a tip about telling the truth. They still prattle about the illegal and non-existent Malaysia human trafficking deal as if it can be revived with babble.

  • 7
    michael r james
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    Hurst has blown any chance of ever getting a job with News Ltd!

    For his re-education he should read all the contortions in today’s Oz whereby Shanahan, Kelly, Maher et al perform acrobatics to disentangle their web of misinformation earlier in the week, and try to blame it all on Julia Gillard.

  • 8
    Bellistner
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    In contrast to the vile Des Houghton who tried to claim that we had to further close our borders to refugees because one person in Britain had to be released from prison after more than 8 years without charge.

    Over the last year or so, it seem to this reader that he’s becoming more like Blooter, but with more wrinkles.

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