Monday, September 07, 2009

Where's the Coverage?

I attended the the John Saunders Lecture in August where Dr Peter Adam discussed Aboriginal land claims, the history of injustice against Indigenous Australians, and appropriate Christian responses including the question of recompense. I followed the resulting media coverage with interest (including the SMH, The Age, and Melbourne Anglicans).

And so I was somewhat disturbed and surprised by the relative lack of coverage of the lecture in the Sydney Anglican media. Besides this quick mention in Russell Powell's weekly column and 26 words in September Southern Cross (see the picture), the lecture might well never of happened.

Despite Southern Cross reporting the lecture under the Anglican Communion Wrap: Melbourne, this landmark lecture actually took place in Sydney. I was there, along with several members of the Moore College Faculty.

Although the lecture was organized by Morling College and the Baptist Union of NSW & ACT, it had several Anglican connections. Peter Adam is Anglican, and the principal of an important Anglican theological college. The Aboriginal elder who helped organize the evening is an Anglican from Queensland. Several members of the Sydney Diocese Indigenous committee and Social Issues Executive where present. I think on the night that mention was made of support the lecture had received from the Sydney Diocese. And a collection was taken at the end of the night to fund indigenous theological training through the Baptist and Anglican churches. I thought that all this would make the lecture worth reporting in September's Southern Cross (particularity given page two caries a feature article on the bicentenary of William Cowper's arrival in Australia).

What really disturbs me is that the lecture received national coverage across the media spectrum and yet it has been virtually ignored in the Sydney Anglican mouthpiece. Peter Adam offered a Christian call for recompense that received national attention and we (Sydney Anglicanism) failed to engage with it. I know Sydney Anglican Media are facing major staff reductions, but I expected more from them. The 2009 John Saunders Lecture was of significant interest to Sydney Anglicans, and I'm disappointed that it wasn't reported to them.

13 comments:

Toby said...

You've spotted an opportunity. If you write a good article they might publish it.

Matthew Moffitt said...

Thanks, I'm planning on sending this in as a letter.

meredith said...

yeah, you tell 'em. let's hope they're all reading your blog :-)

Anonymous said...

[Jeremy Halcrow said:]

Hi Matt,

Lack of space given to the issue shouldn't be equated with lack of interest from the editor.

heh - I am dissapointed that no one from MTC or SIE told be about the event ahead of time. :)

Lack $$ means I have limited space for last minute stories, as I'm the only journo now employed on top of doing all the editing/budget etc. If I can't plan ahead, I can't do the story.

If you can do 600-800 words I'll give you a whole page in the Oct edition.

email me: jhalcrow at anglicanmedia dot com dot au

micaiahsellsout said...

I think you raise a really important point matt, not only about a specific denomination, but Christians generally and ordinary Australians even more generally! We need to change the way we view history and start thinking of it as 'invasion'. I don't know about you but I was taught peaceful colonisation at school and I think that is still how most people would describe 1788... Unless we get Australians thinking that it was nothing less than an unjust invasion, the issue of reparations will never be addressed at a serious level.

tdix said...

Hmmm...I can really empathise with what Jeremy Halcrow says. The SMH and the Age are geared towards daily deadlines but when you are a periodical print publication with few staff, last minute stories are tough. My mag comes out every two months and we actually finalise the bulk of the copy up to four weeks before it hits people's desks. When you're proofing and pulling the rest of the publication together, it can be nuts. In related news, Eternity (eternity.biz) hits churches next month and I am very curious to see what it is like.

meredith said...

Well, I think Jeremy has proposed the solution! I hope you'll take him up on his suggestion, Matt :-)

Jonathan said...

Tim, your stuff is "old news", no matter how long it takes you to get it out ;-)

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Matthew Moffitt said...

Thanks everyone for your comments.

I've been sick which why I've been delayed in getting back to this.

@ Jeremy Halcrow, I really do sympathize with the constraints that are now being enforced on Anglican Media. I'll try and write something, although I do feel that my writing style is a little inept.

Matthew Moffitt said...

FYI this article was on the Melbourne Anglican site yesterday.

Mike W said...

Hi matt, if you are feeling a little too inept, see if Dan Anderson over at papermind wants to do a review, he has an interesting reflection on it

http://andersonpost.org/2009/08/17/review-australia-whose-land-part-1/

http://andersonpost.org/2009/08/18/australia-whose-land-part-2/

Matthew Moffitt said...

Thanks, I saw Dan's review.

Shouldn't be a problem though.