This week saw the launch of The Global Mail, a brand new not-for-profit, philanthropic online media organisation whose motto states that “our audience is our only agenda”
The project is funded by entrepreneur and Greens supporter Graeme Wood, who according to The Australian, has injected at least $15 million into the new media outlet.
On February 6, 2012 triple j’s Hack reported that Wood’s individual donation to the Greens during the 2010 election campaign was the largest ever in the history of Australian politics. So how can a media outlet funded by an individual with obvious political ties legitimately claim to be non-partisan? Well, you employ former ABC journalist and host of Media Watch, five-time Walkley winner Monica Attard as editor-in-chief.
When speaking with Hack’s Tom Tilley on the subject of quality independent journalism, Attard insisted that The Global Mail will not be swayed by Wood’s political or business ventures.
“I am a fearlessly independent individual and a fearlessly independent journalist. Every reporter that I have hired is fearlessly independent. In the last two months that we’ve been gearing up I haven’t even seen Graeme Wood,” Ms Attard said.
“As editor (I) would never ever ever feel a need to run by him any stories that we might be doing that might effect his interests,” she said.
But if a media outlet won’t even cater to its own founder’s interests, then who will it target? When speaking with The Australian, Attard said The Global Mail would cater to everyone.
“I had long viewed… to build a site here that carried only public interest journalism — no ads, no subscription, no celebrity stories, no spin, funded philanthropically,” Ms Attard said.
“The target audience is everyone. Seriously. We will carry everything from investigations to intelligent sport stories, photojournalism to politics in the Middle East and elsewhere,” she said.
However, this philosophy has come under scrutiny from certain sectors. Technology Spectator reported that Media Consultant and Freelance Journalist Nate Cochrane is skeptical of Global Mail’s all-inclusive claims.
“The lack of a community voice sets off warning bells for me,” Ms Cochrane said.
Cochrane is referring to the inability for readers to post comments without first having them screened by the publisher. Technology Spectator reporter Charis Palmer suggests this one-way stream of information in a new media arena may turn off readers.
In any regard, The Global Mail is a reality and potentially could establish itself as one of the most trusted sources of news in Australia.
When Tom Tilley asked how The Global Mail may impact the Australian media landscape, Attard replied,
“I hope it changes it really dramatically, really dramatically.”