Every year fires rage across Canada, but this year is shaping up to be extreme. More than 4 million hectares have been burnt already – that’s double the average. The province of British Columbia has exhausted all its resources, and those of its surrounding provinces, and last week around 80 firefighters from Australia flew in to help out.
As 2SER’s “Canadian Correspondent” I checked in with The Daily on Monday morning to fill Sydney in.
I asked my wonderful producer Kim Williams to choose her favourite interviews from my time hosting The Daily every Monday morning on Sydney community radio station 2SER.
Oscars Buzz with Richard Gray – Monday March 3
The 86th Academy Awards were about to begin. Richard Gray from Geek Movie Club joined me to discuss the field and share his hot tips for 2014. I started off by asking him if it might finally be the year that Leo DiCaprio won a gold statue. (Poor Leo.)
Peter Greste on trial – Monday March 10
Despite worldwide condemnation of the arrests from the White House down, the Egyptian government is pressing ahead with a trial that has already sparked global protests, with many seeing the new military government’s actions as a politically motivated assault on the freedom of the press.
I was joined to discuss both the Egypt case and the increasingly dangerous world environment for journalists by the Executive Director of the International Press Institute in Vienna, Alison Bethel McKenzie, who began by outlining the charges the Al Jazeera journalists were up against.
Unfortunately, the situation is pretty much the same now in June as it was in March.
How has the BBC handled claims of bias? – Monday February 10
By mid-February it had been a heady couple of weeks for the media following the ABC’s reporting of asylum seeker claims that the Australian Navy deliberately inflicted burns on asylum seekers.
The explosive story shone a light on the role of our national broadcaster: the line between its independence and duty to report the facts without political interference and its responsibility to report those facts truthfully and without bias.
The BBC is no stranger to politicians at times launching attacks on its objectivity, labelling it biased and calling for a review of its practices.
So how has it fared over the years in the face of such attacks? Angela Phillips, a reader in journalism at Goldsmiths University of London gave us her insight.
I began by asking her about an incident where London’s colourful mayor, Boris Johnson had a go at the BBC for being biased when during an episode of its hit show “Sherlock”, a mocked up newspaper flashed up on screen containing a story claiming the Mayor of London, in a hair-brained scheme, planned to turn the Thames into a motorway. Johnson wasn’t mentioned by name but he claims it was a thinly disguised attack by the BBC to portray him as dithering, incoherent and self interested.
For the special occasion of International Women’s Day, 2SER broadcast special programs all day on March 8th and one of them was an all-female edition of Fourth Estate. I made my hosting debut. My guests were Kathy Novak from SBS, Joanne McCarthy from the Newcastle Herald (who won last year’s Gold Walkley) and Melanie Withnall, who is the Managing Director of 2SER. We spoke about how women rise through the ranks in the current media landscape, who’s getting interviewed the most and women who are making the news.
I’m back on The Daily on Friday mornings. Every week I chat to Ed Blakely, Honorary Professor in Urban Policy at the US Studies Centre (at the University of Sydney) about what’s happening stateside and around the world. Last week was particularly interesting – gun violence, the “Prison Industrial Complex” and race relations in America.
Two of my good radio friends and I – Tawar Razaghi and Miles Martignoni – decided to enter the Third Coast International ShortDocs Challenge. The challenge was to make a short radio documentary that was somehow related to “appetite” and presented in three “courses”. It also had to have a taste word in the title. Our end result could not have been called anything other than Lemon, Lime and Bitters, fixated as it was on one man’s quest for intoxication and the resulting unease this was causing for his lady friend.
We don’t know which docs were shortlisted yet but we are crossing our fingers! (Or pressing our thumbs, as the Germans would say.)
Wind power is taking off in Australia. Last week the chairman of Suzlon Energy predicted little or no growth in the wind turbine industry this year, except in a few countries of which Australia is one standout. A bunch of Chinese energy companies are investing in wind power in Tasmania, for example. Listen to my report to learn more.
This story was featured on The Friday Daily on 2SER this morning, of which I am now a producer.