EDITORIAL: And So We Resume Normal Programming…


A monster digest this edition, due in no small part due to the fact we haven’t been able to send one out for a while. A ‘bug in the system’ has kept us out of your inbox – apologies, we’ve put a patch in for now, and are angling for an upgrade soon.

The bug also means, frustratingly, that a large quantity of readers who tried to subscribe in February, weren’t able to. But probably think they did. If you tried, and think maybe you failed (i.e. no money disappeared out of your account into ours!) you can check the status of your subscription here. We’re also in the process of contacting individual readers to let them know (you’ll get an auto email soon if your sub didn’t go through). It was obviously a pretty disappointing outcome from NM’s perspective – we need all the help we can get – but the good news is the bug has been fixed, and we’ve changed payment gateway providers.

Problems out of the way, last month saw the largest spike in paid and unpaid subscriptions in the history of the site, courtesy of Nina Funnell and my investigation into Bettina Arndt, Australia Day honouree and self-imolator. We’ve got more to come on Bettina and friends, but we’ll hold off for a little bit longer – the media gaze, and that of the nation, is quite understandably focussed on COVID-19.

WIth that in mind, we’re a small outfit – we don’t have the resources to file multiple daily updates on the coronavirus, and that’s not why people come to our site anyway. Most people visit NM for the bigger, more in depth pieces, and for the analysis of the news of the day. You can read my take on the politics of the coronoavirus here. It’s not pretty, but then most readers would be disappointed if it was.

The other thing we focus on at NM is major investigations, and we have mulltiple ones going on as we speak. There’s a new one due out very shortly, and three of the current investigations are looking into the same organisation. Obviously, can’t tell you who yet, but it’s the sort of reporting that will win us no friends in the media, but hopefully strengthen your faith in small, independent media outlets. Watch this space.

For now, there’s two major pieces out today that I think are worth a special mention – young Adelaide journalist Matilda Duncan has pulled together an excellent exposé on Tony Abbott’s final days in office. We’ll be doing more work with Matilda in the coming months (she specialises in Freedom of Information reporting, and data journalism, and she also happens to be one of the very, very talented young up and comers).

There’s also a feature on the Christchurch massacre. Amid the panic over the coronavirus, you might have missed the fact that today is the one year anniversary. Kawsar Ali, a Muslim academic from Sydney has spent a year delving into the dark online world where people like the Christchurch shooter hide. Her findings are shocking.

We’ve also got some strong reporting around Julian Assange, courtesy of Dr Lissa Johnson and John Pilger.

Finally, it’s going to a pretty challenging few months for Australia, and for most of the rest of the world. The coronavirus has already sparked widespread panic here and abroad, but the experts on this issue warn we’re only at the very beginning – things are not going to improve for a while (indeed they’re going to get quite a bit worse before they get better).

As they do, it’s worth remembering that Australia has recovered from all sorts of natural and man-made disasters before. This one is certainly going to sting, but it’s not the ‘end of days’, no matter how hard our PM prays for the rapture.

We need to start thinking about a kinder, gentler way to be, into the future. A more collective mindset. But it’s also an opportunity for us all to reflect on our past. A ‘tweet’ I saw earlier today best summed that up for me: ‘If the coronavirus has taught us anything, it’s the lengths people will go to when they’re desperate. Next time you want to judge boat people, refugees, migrants fleeing war torn lands – remember, we fought over toilet paper’.

I’ve always believed that you reap what you sow. The increasing casualisation of our workforce, and the billions ripped out of our health system by successive governments over decades, are two of the things that are now coming home to roost. There’s more due, of course, and those issues will be the focus of major features in the coming weeks and months.

Until then, stay safe, chin up, and remember that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Chris Graham, Editor

PS. Speaking of collective behaviour, we’re one of the very few of media outlets that don’t put our content behind paywalls. We keep it free because many people in this country genuinely can’t afford to subscribe. If you can, please consider doing that here – it takes one minute, and finally the bloody cart is working. You can sling spare cash via Paypal here.

Chris Graham is the publisher and editor of New Matilda. He is the former founding managing editor of the National Indigenous Times and Tracker magazine. In more than three decades of journalism he's had his home and office raided by the Australian Federal Police; he's been arrested and briefly jailed in Israel; he's reported from a swag in Outback Australia on and off for years. Chris has worked across multiple mediums including print, radio and film. His proudest achievement is serving as an Associate producer on John Pilger's 2013 film Utopia. He's also won a few journalism awards along the way in both the US and Australia, including a Walkley Award, a Walkley High Commendation and two Human Rights Awards. Since late 2021, Chris has been battling various serious heart and lung conditions. He's begun the process of quietly planning a "gentle exit" after "tying up a few loose ends" in 2024 and 2025. So watch this space.