Online news in Australia

Regular readers of this blog have come to trust Rachel’s Rhapsodies as a constant provider of hard-hitting journalism.

However, while I was providing you with the issues that matter such as why Kate Bush is amazing and my Easter special, music videos with bunnies in them, I neglected a compulsory blog topic for my online news unit.

This one requires us to assess the online presence of Australian news organisations. My previous blogging efforts probably suggest my most frequented ‘news’ websites are music ones. And honestly, a day rarely goes by where I haven’t given NME, Stereogum, Pitchfork and The Vine a quick visit.

But believe it or not, I also use the internet to consume ‘real’ news! These days I am becoming more and more reliant on twitter for this. I’ll scan the headlines and read more when it takes my interest. Every journalism student I’ve spoken to found out about Osama Bin Laden’s death via twitter.

Alongside my international favourites; BBC and the Guardian (yes, my British obsession extends to the news), ABC’s website is my first port of call for a round-up on the day’s events or where I go when a huge story breaks.

I’ll continue with the Bin Laden example. On Monday, when news broke that President Obama was about to give a statement, most likely announcing the death of Bin Laden, I immediately clicked the link to the White House homepage that had completely taken over my twitter timeline. I quickly grew impatient with the blue screen that simply said Obama was about to address the nation and instead opted for my trusted ABC.

Information was thin, nothing had been confirmed yet. But I could stream ABC news 24 to keep me entertained while I waited, and sure enough I was able to watch Obama’s statement live in a UC building 9 Mac lab. Soon after, the ABC had utilised graphics, video and text to tell the story.

Today on the ABC’s website you can find a photo gallery, google map of Abbottabad, a map of the compound, a storify on how the news unfolded on social media as well as analysis, video interviews and links to other news organisation’s obituaries. The story was told in a much more thorough and interactive way online than it was in the newspapers and TV news bulletins.

Another Australian news website completely different to the ABC, that I frequently visit is RiotACT.

RiotACT is an independent Canberra news website, it started in late 2000 as an ‘open journalism project’. Anyone can submit a post. This means the content is as varied as political opinion, local art exhibitions, and even hairdresser advice. You’re certainly not going to agree with everything that’s posted here, but that’s part of the fun. It’s alerted me to events or inspired ideas a few times, saving me from last minute assignment stress. Once a serious look at homelessness in the ACT, once in the form of a naked bike ride.

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