Editor ready to face up
I've resisted it for a few years now, but I am about to take my first tentative steps into the world of social networking.
I've seen my friends wasting time and mental energy on Facebook; trying to make friends with people who aren't really, or being stalked by people they were friends with in primary school. But I have to concede now that in the news world of the 21st century, Facebook and Twitter are indispensable sources for gathering and dispersing information and also for communicating between reporters and readers. The Echo has had a Facebook page for a year or so (in fact we have two of them and are in the process of trying to consolidate) but the reality is that since the previous editor Rudi Maxwell left, it has been sadly neglected. Until now.
Every week I get sent dozens of interesting items from around the world that don't make it into the pages of The Echo because our focus is hyper-local (ie our brief is to cover what is happening in the Lismore area and the broader Northern Rivers region). But now I will start posting items I come across that I think will be of interest to our readers on our Facebook page (search for 'The Northern Rivers Echo') and also on Twitter (twitter.com/echo_news). Plus links to some of our stories online.
My first forays into this brave new world of social media are sharing a video from GetUp! that shows climate change sceptic Lord Mockton addressing a room full of Australia's mining executives about how and why they need to take control of the country's media ( www.getup.org.au/ minersmediaplan). This is a startling revelation in the light of Gina Rinehart becoming the largest shareholder in Fairfax this week, having already secured a seat on the board of Channel Ten.
The second is an article in The Global Mail by journalist Ellen Fanning about Australia's electricity network where she reveals $46 billion is to be spent upgrading the poles and wires and other infrastructure. That is $4 billion more than the National Broadband Network which has caused so much controversy and debate! Yet somehow the upgrade to electricity infrastructure has not registered even a small blip on the radar of concern.
Read 'em and weep.