Blade Runner’s lesson for legacy media

Abstract: The future for mainstream media is in the sci-fi epic 'Blade Runner'... In the opening scenes of Ridley Scott's iconic sci-fi epic Blade Runner, we are hit with his vision of Los Angeles in 2019. It's not pretty. Scott's city of angels is dark and ominous, choked by the fumes from scores of refineries; the constant bursts of flames from the sentinel steel chimneys slicing the smoke that blankets the city in otherwise perpetual darkness. And it never stops raining. The cityscape is a matte of sombre skyscrapers pressed shoulder to shoulder, at their feet the citizens scurry in and out of a frenzied jumble of Asian bazaars trying to eke out a business amidst the forgotten filth. When he made the film 35 years ago, Scott believed the skies over the city a few years from now would be criss-crossed by flying vehicles.

What glass ceiling?

Abstract: Let's discuss why the glass ceiling isn't... Every time a social commentator or political activist bleats about the ever present 'glass ceiling' hanging in the way of the advancement of women in senior management positions, I want to grab them by the ear and drag them off to the closest magazine stand. It is there where they will find the real culprit - splashed all over those glossy covers. The term 'glass ceiling' dates back to the corporate America of the early 80s. It only really became a 'legitimised' buzzword when it appeared in a March 1986 edition of the Wall Street Journal. Since then it has earned its colours as a rallying flag for feminists and equal rights campaigners. It's just a pity that their passion is blinding them to the real problem - the women themselves. They have no real interest

The unwelcome eye of journalism

Abstract: There's been a nasty shift in South African journalism... Swimming upstream is a challenging endeavour - ask any salmon - but when the end task is a noble one, even if death - as in the case of the Pacific salmon - follows shortly thereafter, it can be argued that it's worth it. However, fighting against a tide of tabloid journalism has left science journalists wondering if it isn't easier to completely change species. Anyone entrusted with trying to get more science and critical thinking into the media, will be familiar with the edict of most editors that their readers, viewers or listeners 'don't have an appetite for science'. This is of course utterly ridiculous because we are all consumers of science; there isn't a single element to our lives, and how we live it, that isn't examined or improved on by science. But

Piggy, and the death of journalism

Abstract: Look to Golding's 'Lord of the Flies' for the tragic future of journalism... You should keep this magazine; and one day in the not-too-distant future show it to your grandchildren or great-grandchildren and explain to them how in the old days you used to pay money to read something written by people called 'journalists'. They'll be amazed and surprised, even laugh at how bizarre such a notion should be. I'll be long gone by then, my final days spent as a dejected pauper, strapped to a gurney, thrashing around and frothing at the mouth, shouting between the spittle about how democracy killed a discipline and an art form, and steered humanity towards idiocy. If you have a sneaking suspicion where I'm going with this, I'd hazard a guess you've read William Golding's 'Lord of the Flies'. Like Orwell's 'Nineteen Eighty-Four', it endures as one

You know what they say about what they say

Abstract: Science explains why you should beware those who employ the wisdom of they. You know what they say: a good man is hard to find. If you're nodding your head in agreement you're guilty of employing one the oldest tricks in the book of twisted logic, as well as a form of selective thinking popular with psychology. Don't feel bad, just about everyone does it. Forget war correspondents; investigative journalists are the real hardcore purveyors of the so-called 'fourth estate', because, like Jack Russells on acid, they'll dig and dig until their paws are bloody and the evidence of their digging is piled proudly next to them. They believe in following the trail to find the original source of a claim, because that is where you'll find not only true accountability but also the real nub of a story. Science journalists have to be investigative

“But it’s in the public interest”. Really?

Abstract: Heads up if you're in corporate communications - the media have a sneaky weapon... If I had 5c for every time I had been misquoted in the press, you wouldn't be reading this. I'd be wallowing on a world cruise, travelling first class, sunning myself on deck, sipping Harvey Wallbangers and collecting cherries in my navel. But I have, and I'm not, and you're about to be the beneficiary. It's been said that I have been shaping public opinion as both a broadcaster and columnist for well over 20 years, but not everything has gone smoothly. Just as I have made comment about public events, I have been the focus of public opinion, most of it entertaining, some of it unjustified and quite hurtful, and as such, I have a renowned love-hate relationship with the media. So why am I telling you this? Because