Welcome to Issue 7. It’s been a turbulent couple of months in the media world, hasn’t it? From British parliamentary enquiries to cream pies, it seems a day doesn’t pass without some new and lurid detail about the News of the World phone-hacking scandal spilling unceremoniously into the public domain.
As we go to print, new and embarrassing allegations have been leaked about the saga, involving a letter from disgraced royal correspondent Clive Goodman, in which he claims that phone hacking was widely discussed at editorial meetings until then-editor Andy Coulson (and until recently media adviser to Britain’s PM David Cameron) banned such references.
None of this bodes well for the tarnished reputation of News Corporation and its Australian arm, News Limited; nor for the Murdochs themselves, who face the humiliating prospect of being recalled to parliament to justify their evidence given during the infamous July hearings.
But what does this all mean for the culture of journalism here in Australia? Does any of this really come as a surprise? Ben Eltham, National Affairs correspondent for New Matilda, poses some thoughtful questions in his lead feature, ‘Clouds of Rhetoric: Climate Change and the State of Australian Journalism’. Framing his article around the carbon-tax debate, he cites an alarming decline in the standard of investigative reporting, the increasing political influence of News Limited, and their deliberate and wilful misrepresentation of the science in the carbon tax.
Censorship is a reoccurring theme in this issue. Rochelle Siemienowicz discusses a documentary by director Larry Clark to explore that tricky territory of censorship and pornography, while in ‘Some Pornography is Better than Others’, Krissy Kneen makes an equally compelling case against the anti-pornography crusader Gail Dines, who brought her zealous campaign to our shores earlier this year. Further afield, the ever-satirical Ben Pobjie ponders why it’s so easy to hate Julia Gillard, and Rebecca Bowden investigates Melbourne-born Andrej Pejic’s meteoric – and controversial – rise to fame.
The issue also features new fiction from award-winning Ron Rash, who we interviewed in July, as well as stories from Nova Weetman and Christopher Currie. Kill Your Darlings also chatted with the queen of crime, Val McDermid, who has enthralled and terrorised us for years with her bestselling Tony Hill series. Her new novel, The Retribution, was published last month.
And last but not least, in Reviews Kate Harper describes her ‘spectacular and truly terrifying’ experience at a Justin Bieber concert, Daniel Golding remembers the acclaimed film composer Bernard Herrmann, and Hannah Kent says a reluctant goodbye to Harry Potter.