I spoke today with a long time friend who used to work in the Canberra press gallery. I asked him for his opinion of the current cadre. His thoughts were *very* interesting. Firstly, he is an old-style journo of high repute. He has little if any regard for the current cadre. “Mostly lazy, and think that an answer to a “gotcha” question qualifies as a story. In his opinion, it’s symptomatic of the abject laziness of the current press gallery. It used to be a prerequisite for press gallery journos to live in [Canberra]. Today, they are mostly [Fly In, Fly Out] and often don’t even bother turning up to [Parliament House] on sitting days. They rely on politicians to come to them with stories rather than the other way around. He noted that there is an absence of collegiate thinking in today’s cadre: they don’t seek each other’s counsel, and certainly don’t respect boundaries. Rather, they are all hyper-competitive and think nothing of nicking stories off their compatriots. Importantly, he noted a distinct absence of senior mentors in the gallery. There is no Laurie Oakes, Mike Carlton or Paul Bongiorno to show them how to research and analyse a story, rather than go for a lazy “gotcha” or gossip moment. Overall, he rates the current press gallery as lazy, juvenile and overly competitive with no sense for “digging in the dirt”.
[P.S. This Steve Conroy is not the retired senator]