The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that, for the past few weeks, stories have been going up on the New Matilda website almost daily. This has many advantages both for our readers and for us in the office.
The global news cycle is such that a weekly email is no longer adequate. In the past, we’ve sometimes held stories over for up to a week by which time they’d start to go stale or needed extensive updating. More commonly, we’ve passed up on news stories that we knew would not fit with our Wednesday email deadline.
By putting stories up on the website more frequently we can tap into fresher information, quicker. This will change the balance of the site’s content, so there will be more quick-response-type articles and reportage, to go with our regular stable of commentators and columnists.
Posting stories more frequently will also attract a different kind of reader to the New Matilda site and free us from an over-dependence on traffic generated via the email. More readers are sourcing their news and other information directly from internet sites. They are used to roaming the Web and they are attracted to sites that change regularly at least daily, but certainly not weekly.
We are not contemplating doing away with the weekly email, but it will now serve as a kind of summary of the previous week’s stories rather than the definitive issue of New Matilda that it has been.
We encourage you to regularly visit New Matilda‘s website at: http://www.newmatilda.com
A new feature being inaugurated in today’s posting is our new Commentariat section which will present occasional pieces analysing the work of columnists who fill the opinion pages of our daily newspapers. These ‘opinion makers’ don’t face the same pressure as other journalists to substantiate every claim they make, and they are often flexible with the truth twisting facts, massaging statistics or simply leaving out pieces of information that are inconvenient to their arguments.
Commentariat will pair a New Matilda writer with their favourite outside columnist. It will be our writer’s task to follow their columnist’s musings, and fill the rest of us in on the bigger picture by checking facts, examining sources, pointing out holes in arguments, and picking up on inconsistencies or shifts in position. We will expose hidden agendas, make explicit unspoken connections with broader movements or campaigns, ridicule the repetition of pet subjects and hobbyhorses, and look for contradiction, sloppiness and hypocrisy.
The Commentariat section will not try to counter rant with rant or drivel with boring dissertation. We don’t want bitchy tirades or holier-than-thou deconstruction about why our writer’s political opinions are more valid than their beloved columnist’s. Rather, we want to present analyses of influential Australian columns and we want to hold these columnists accountable to the facts and logic.
Above all, we want fair and well structured analysis, which includes giving praise where praise is due.
This week, Helen Pringle inaugurates Commentariat with ‘Janet Albrechtsen Knows Best’, an examination of some of the columnist’s opinions about the guilt or innocence of Mamdouh Habib and David Hicks and how she came to her conclusions.
We are looking to adopt a broad range of columnists. Keep an eye out on the website, as we bring them on-stream.
On the subject of changes at New Matilda, I want to take this opportunity to welcome Rachel Hills, Akshay Shanker and Sallie Don to the fold, as Associate Editor, Marketing Manager, and Office Manager respectively. Thanks are also due to Jemise Anning who is co-ordinating the Commentariat section. New Matilda is evolving and these new ‘matildans’ are already influencing our future directions with their talents, networks and skills.
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