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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The power of the "FOI exclusive"

It's not all bad news,however.

Peter Meakin director of news and current affairs at Seven Network in yesterday's Australian, on how Freedom of Information can help to build a reputation in the news business:

"To establish a reputation in this business you have to rock the boat occasionally. Our viewers need to know that we care about our society and those who threaten its stability. Governments pay lip service to freedom of information laws, but most bureaucrats seem to have modelled themselves on the secret service. Nevertheless, a dogged investigator like our freedom of information editor, Mike McKinnon, can prise some remarkable secrets from their tightly clenched fists. It's not just a case of the public's right to know, it's good journalism. Agenda-setting "exclusives" such as our recent reports on dodgy search warrants in Queensland and hospital deaths in NSW reinforce any news provider's credentials. Now that Gold Walkley winner Ross Coulthart has joined our ranks, we intend to make even more mischief."

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