Oz downunder at first glance

Strange, leaving summer going into autumn and arriving at winter going into spring. There is green everywhere and the local farmers market is selling seedlings and some of the best looking veggies and fruit I’ve seen.
Brisbane is in the midst of a drought. Mil (sister-in-law) informed me that we are limited to once a day three minute showers, but hey – I’m a Californian too and have lived through several long droughts, so no big deal. The weather is pleasant…fog in morning most days and warm to hot in the afternoons.
I took to the wrong side of the street driving like a native…the first time making a turn was heart-stopping but then my logical side took over and it was enjoyable. If the pattern holds true, the problems will begin when I get home and try to stay on the left side.
Newspapers…been reading the Courier Mail every day. It’s a large tabloid and the fourth largest paper in the country. Taken a look at Australian Weekend. Watched Channel Two last night. There’s still the same type of news here, but with a subtley different twist. Sports and politics are bigger over here than back home. The headlines tend to scream a bit more in the papers. Many of the stories are the same silly types we do back home – notable one today is “Bearly hanging on after a wrong turn.” On page 15 of the CM with photos of a bear clinging under a bridge in California that was recused by a volunteer group. They are big on photos here – at least one photos and one big story per page and lots of color photos. More photos of young women and a bit more sexism than we’d get away with in politically correct California. And the headlines – again the headlines. Some of them take a few moments to absorb due to linguistic differences. “Horse flu jab course begins” means that vacinations of horses for horse flu are beginning. “Your shout, so ear’s luck” take a bit more knowlege of the local venacular. A shout means you are treating friends to a drink. The story, it turns out, is about how alcohol can affect your hearing and cause temporary deterioration in hearing.
TV news…is what I remember from the sixties and seventies in the states. One anchor at a time please and just the news. Very factual and no teases or downtalk or useless chatter. From past visits (and I am checking up on this on this trip) I learned that there are news readers (we call them anchors) and journalists (the folks who gather and report the news). They are separate jobs. One is window dresssing, but very serious dressing. The other are the workers – the ethics-driven folks who find, write, and get the news on air.
Visually the newspapers are more stimulating, although (personal opinion) the photography is generally pretty straightforward at the Courier Mail. I see good solid craftsmanship and the occassional picture that makes me look. A lot more head shots than are used in yank papers. I don’t think I got to see much in the way of local videographer work last night – most of the stories were national or international. Will keep an eye open though.
Go here to check out the Courier Mail and here to look at the ABC/Australian Broadcasting Company.
My biggest issue is Macs are in a definite minority over here and I’ve been having trouble playing video back from some sites. In looking at local professional organization sites I get the feeling that unions play a strong role in determining the course of how news is covered. There is great concern that shifting even a few jobs to videojournalism will affect both the quality of news and result in job cuts. And Australia is a working man’s country. More later.


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