Laurie Oakes: Viewers still engaged in politics

Nine News Political Editor Laurie Oakes addressed the Andrew Olle Media Lecture last night in Sydney, in which he spoke about politics, journalists and how reporting politics has changed under the 24 hour news ‘cyclone.’

“In today’s media world you have to grab your audience. Things are not as they used to be. Audiences now require grabbing. Many of those moaning about the media’s performance seem to think that the nation is crying out for more quality news programmes, heavy analysis and more current affairs programmes and articles,” he said.

“They’re dreaming. If that was the case, Four Corners would out-rate MasterChef, I’d still be doing interviews on the Sunday program and writing for The Bulletin magazine, and George Negus would probably still be on air.”

But Oakes also said the audiences are engaged in politics.

“It’s starting to be reflected in News coverage. Nine in Sydney has been running politics very prominently in the 6pm News, as a deliberate strategy. Far from being bored, people are tuning in as the ratings show. On morning and afternoon bulletins across all networks interviews with politicians are becoming almost standard fare now.”

However he also predicted that Bloggers will start to usurp the role of determining what is news.

“This  prediction was going to be mine when I drafted my lecture, but I find Julian Disney has beaten me to it. So I’d better give him credit,” he said.

“The Press Council chairman says the greatest challenge is the risk that the blogosphere, with its tendency to rush to judgement and circulate scuttlebutt, will push the mainstream media into a race to the bottom.”

You can read the speech in full here.

The Andrew Olle Media Lecture airs 10:30pm Sunday on ABC1.


  1. He says something about playing tricks, being dirty and conniving proving that he also wants nothing more than a tabloid headline. I found that extremely disappointing. How can anyone have faith in Laurie Oakes when he’s nothing more than a tabloid headline junkie?

  2. Australian politics is so low brow it’s no wonder people feel so apathetic and powerless. Of course people switch off. The media (TV in particular) pander to the pathetic whims of politicians far too much and should actually treat them with the disdain they deserve. Every day it’s the Julia and Tony shows out in their silly hats pushing their stupid media agendas, and the networks (ABC News 24 and Sky News I’m looking at you) lap it up so their staff can take a break and go for a coffee, by switching to these circuses live.

    Guess what? If it’s not actually newsworthy, ignore it! We deserve better.

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