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100 articles – ‘In defence of quality journalism’

A Martin Flanagan blog post extolling the human element of journalism has been selected by Chris McNamara as one of the '100 articles' about journalism that every journalist should read. Maybe with a beer in hand.

In Defence of Quality Journalism’ by Martin Flanagan

Martin Flanagan is something of an old-fashioned communicator. His writing is imbued with the sense that if he wasn’t a journalist then he would still be telling the same stories over a beer in the front bar of his local. To him journalism is a craft, a trade; it ‘isn’t a science’. In his words: ‘Journalism is inherently imperfect.’ 

In this piece written for his blog, Walking the Dog, in September 2008, Flanagan tries to identify what makes quality journalism. In keeping with his philosophy of craft, rather than science, these qualities are less about quantifiable factors and more about the human element of journalism.

In his normal tangential style, Flanagan weaves George Orwell, Aboriginal relations and football into a yarn that identifies curiosity, self-revelation, open-mindedness, consistency and community as being what he considers the important factors at the heart of quality journalism.

Don’t read this piece if you want a simple list of dos and don’ts. It’s not that easy with Flaagan. His writing is always about the journey as much as the destination. Just relax and go with the flow. Maybe grab a beer and imagine that you’re having a yack with him down at your local.

Chris McNarama is completing a Bachelor of Journalism degree at La Trobe University.

Want to contribute to our list of the 100 articles every journalist should read about journalism? Full details here.

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