“Independent media can go to where the silence is and break the sound barrier”
Independent journalism has never been more important in the Australian media landscape.
With an increase in corporate interests in the mainstream media, and a steady decline in profits amongst traditional mediums, independent and thorough investigative journalism has never been as necessary.
A week ago the Guardian broke the story of how Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s daughter, Frances Abbott, was granted a slightly dodgy scholarship at the Whitehouse Institute.
The vast majority of the follow-up, scrutiny and persistent investigation did not come from any mainstream source in Australia however. It came from a site once described as an “experiment in how cheaply a news outlet can be run”, an underdog in Australian journalism: New Matilda.
New Matilda’s coverage of this story has illustrated just how important independent journalism is. In the past week, virtually the entire site has been devoted to the Whitehouse story, something that more mainstream sources cannot afford to do.
New Matilda is a brave, stubborn journalistic organisation, one that demands answers and won’t stop until it receives them.
Since the story broke, they’ve posted numerous exclusive stories investigating this situation extremely closely, including testimonies from insiders, leaked documents, and the revelation that Francis Abbott was chosen “on merit” to help lobby federal government regulators.
All of these stories were exclusive to New Matilda, and hardly covered at all by mainstream sources, even the Guardian.
It is crucial, long-form investigative journalism, something sorely lacking from the Australian media world.
We’re lucky that New Matilda is even still around, with Chris Graham coming to the rescue after former editor Marni Cordell announced the site would be closing down as it couldn’t compete financially with larger organisations.
New Matilda’s recent performance proves why it was so important that it survived. This sort of scrutiny and demand for accountability is what defines good, influential journalism, and in many ways, these stories could only be covered by independent organisations. There are many other independent sources in Australia too, with the likes of Crikey, the Conversation, and the Stringer.
New Matilda describes itself as “independent journalism at its best”, and after the last week it’s almost impossible to argue with this.
(Photo: New Matilda)