100 Life Changing Moments: Crafting Furniture and A Future

Tom Skeehan sitting on one of his designs, The Stay Stool, in his Braddon Studio.

Tom Skeehan sitting on one of his designs, The Stay Stool, in his Braddon Studio.

Tom Skeehan was always a creative individual, but he never imagined running his own studio all the while sitting on furniture that he designed himself.

For the 27-year-old Canberra designer, it all began when he decided to study industrial design at the University of Canberra.

“I was always a creative person… but I had no real direction as to how I would channel that and how I would become a professional in that area,” Tom said.

Tom described the decision as a big turning point for him, but it was then meeting his mentor, Alexander Lotisdane, that influenced his life again.

“Feedback from someone who is well established and famous internationally and in Australia… that was a big deal.”

With Mr Lotisdane’s guidance, hard work, and dedication, Tom’s efforts were paid off when he signed his first product to a company called Zenith Interiors a year ago.

“They took on one of my commercial stools last year. Since then, we have exhibited it in Singapore and New York,” Tom said.

This accomplishment was life changing for Tom and it has given him a multitude of confidence and energy for the future.

“You just realise that you can kind of do anything if you want it and there’s just different pathways and channels you can engage in that make that happen”.

Tom now owns and operates SKEEHAN studio in popular Braddon area, The Hamlet, specialising in commercial furniture, lighting, and product design.

But Tom has no plans of stopping there and has already got a big year planned ahead of him, including international shows and getting involved with Asian markets.

“It’s just about growing that brand, really refining my design aesthetic into products that I believe in and sort of have an honest approach and a bit of meaning and purpose out there in the world,” Tom said.

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MULTIPLATFORM NEWS ANALYSIS

In this multiplatform news analysis, the aim is to identify the ways in which different platforms cover a particular news story. To do this, the focus will be on:

THE GREYHOUND LIVE BAITING SCANDAL IN AUSTRALIA

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On 13/02/15, ABC broke the news that Four Corners, in conjunction with various animal activist groups, discovered that greyhound trainers were practicing the illegal method of live baiting. This news began circulating because Four Corners were due to release their full investigation into the story on 16/02/15.

In light of the reveal, media frenzy was created for over a month as the story continued to develop and unravel. However, this analysis will narrow the coverage down to its first moments on four platforms in particular:

  • Broadcast TV: Four Corners, Making A Killing 
  • Radio: Hack (Time: 7:53 – 26:39)

hack

  • Newspaper: Sydney Morning Herald

smh

  • Twitter: The Daily Telegraph

ANALYSIS

TIMELINESS 

Sydney Morning Herald had the quickest response as their article was released on the 14/02. The Daily Telegraph, followed by Hack, and then Four Corners ran their story on the same day, 16/02.

ANGLE

Four Corners, Hack, and SMH took a similar angle to approaching the news as they focused on the controversy and shock to portray their stories. This was especially the case for Four Corners who relied heavily upon using confronting video footage to shock audiences. The program also titled the story Making A Killing to express the horror of the news. Hack took on this confrontational approach as well by using very descriptive language to tell the story. “It smells like death” (Meldrum-Hanna, C. 2015) was a quote from a bystander the journalist requoted to portray the scene. Though, Hack differed in the fact that majority of their segment was discussion and wasn’t merely focused on the offence, like Four Corners was. Similarly, SMH referred to the events of what was happening in the industry as a “crisis” (Roots, C. 2015) to enhance the controversy.

The Daily Telegraph had a different angle in their tweets; the updates were kept to the point and condensed. The angle was simply informative of the who, what, where, and why and didn’t contain any displays of shock tactics.

NEWS VALUES

Based upon the ‘big six’ news values (Lamble, S. 2013, pp. 45-52), the following were demonstrated:

  • Significance:

Four Corners and Hack had this news value because they gave it a substantial amount of coverage and portrayed it as news that has a detrimental impact on Australians.

  • Proximity:

The Daily Telegraph and Sydney Morning Herald had the advantage of proximity because Sydney was one of the places the baiting was occurring.

  • Human interest:

This applied to Four Corners, Hack, and SMH due to the fact that there was either confronting footage or descriptive language used for these stories. It generated human interest because it was both emotional and provoking to witness the cruelty.

  • Conflict:

This mainly applied to Hack because the segment was a discussion piece between interviewees and callers which caused debate and moral conflict. Though, this also applies to Four Corners because the investigation caused argument and disharmony among those involved.

COMPREHENSIVENESS 

Four Corners was the most thorough with an in depth, 45 minute exposé piece that answered the fundamental 5W and H, Kipling’s ‘six honest serving men’ (White, S. 1996, pp. 178-185), in great detail. They used a variety of sources to deliver an informative story by having reporter, Caro Meldrum-Hanna, interview eight different people as well as having quotes from a further thirteen people. Four Corners didn’t miss any information that was vital to the story and provided an array of evidence to support their claims.

Hack also had an informative story because Caro Meldrum-Hanna joined them for an interview which made them privy to an investigation that hadn’t been released yet. However, only about four minutes was actually dedicated to the news itself until it turned into a discussion piece for roughly another fourteen minutes. Hack featured seven different callers, two interviews, and the several text messages that were read on air which all made for an extensive look into the news.

Sydney Morning Herald’s story was a 359 word article which is quite short. However, in that space, SMH had a complete story that provided all of the essential information. Though, they only quoted one person which meant that the article wasn’t as strong as it could have been if more sources had been included.

Lastly, The Daily Telegraph’s twitter feed was the least comprehensive. Though, this is because they did not have the room to go in depth due to the character restrictions on Twitter. So when considering what they had to work with, it’s still worth noting that The Daily Telegraph managed to answer the 5W within two tweets.

FAIRNESS

Hack conducted the fairest report because they talked to an array of diverse people with differing opinions to share their thoughts and personal experiences on the topic. Sydney Morning Herald displayed no obvious signs of bias and the report remained quite factual and opinion free. Contrary to this, it is arguable that Making A Killing by Four Corners was bias in not conceding any defense for the greyhound industry and not showing an accurate depiction of the sport in full.  “It’s… a sport with blood on their hands.” (Kerry O’Brien, 2015) this represents the type of generalisations the program made. While Four Corners may have had a one-sided story, it is not to say that they exaggerated their findings.  Their evidence supported what was said and it is fair to say that they did not sensationalise the material. Lastly, The Daily Telegraph’s tweets did not stray away from the main facts or display any bias and the information remained in proportion.

PROMINENCE/PLACEMENT

Four Corners solely dedicated their time to the story which means that they had the most prominent position in highlighting the news. Hack committed the majority of their air time to the news, so it did have a significant place in their program as well. However, the Sydney Morning Herald had the least prominent placement of the news as the article was printed on page 49 and remained in the sports section.

SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES

Platform created major differences in the news especially for comprehensiveness and the news value, significance. For example, the platform that struggled to capture the main values that a good story should be built on – quality, novelty, and usefulness (Blaine, M. 2013, pp. 4) – was Twitter because they were tightly limited to a fixed amount of characters per post. This meant that the significance and thoroughness in what was reported may have been somewhat missed because there wasn’t enough information to depict these values.  This is disadvantageous because when platform sacrifices some of the main ideals of a news story it impacts how much attention the audience cares to pay.

However, twitter had the greatest opportunity to stream updates and deliver the news immediately because unlike a platform like broadcast TV, there is no fixed time to be able to share the story.  The Daily Telegraph took this opportunity by posting an update as the news changed to suit the proximity of the newspaper. The first tweet had no location details, but the second focused on Western Sydney.

The greatest similarity between the platforms was the confrontational angle that reoccurred in broadcast TV, radio, and newspaper which then had an influence on the news value, human interest. Because these platforms had the time/space to project such detail they used a graphic angle to gain human interest.

These variances that come along with multiplatform journalism need to be considered when deciding on what platform to publish a news story because they each have advantages and disadvantages. It’s important to understand what platform is most suitable to the story so that no key values that are vital to the news are sacrificed as a result of choosing a less suitable platform.

REFERENCES

Hack 2014, audio podcast, 16 April, presented by Tom Riley accessed 23 March 2015, http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/triplej/hack/daily/hack_mon_2015_2_16.mp3

‘Making A Killing’ 2015, Four Corners, television program, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Sydney, 16 February.

Four Corners, 2015, Making A Killing, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australia, accessed 23 March 2015, http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2015/02/16/4178920.htm

The Daily Telegraph, 2015, RSPCA probe launched into allegations of live-bating by greyhound trainers, featured tonight on #ABC #fourcorners, Twitter update, 15 February 2015, accessed on 23 March 2015,  https://twitter.com/dailytelegraph/statuses/567178206738796544

The Daily Telegraph, 2015, Western Sydney greyhound trainers may be using live animals to ‘blood’ their dogs for racing, Twitter update, 15 February 2015, accessed on 23 March 2015, https://twitter.com/dailytelegraph/statuses/567180998266593280

Roots, C. 2015, ‘Greyhounds crisis as trainers stood down’, Sydney Morning Herald, 14 February, viewed 23 March 2015, https://global-factiva-com.ezproxy.canberra.edu.au/ga/default.aspx

Lamble, S. (2013). News as it happens (2nd ed., pp 45-55). Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Blaine, Mark (2014) Digital Reporter’s Handbook, New York: Routledge.

White, S. (1996). Finding the lead. Reporting in Australia (2nd ed., pp. 178-185). Melbourne: Macmillan Education Australia.