In 2010, ‘new journalism’ guru Jay Rosen suggested a radical new form of election reporting – as opposed to the usual personality-based ‘horse race journalism’.
Four to six months before the election begins, the media should ask citizens not who they would vote for, but which issues they want the candidates to discuss. The media would then pursue these issues.
The Citizens’ Agenda is a social-media based research project that puts Rosen’s idea into action, run by the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Advancing Journalism and social media website OurSay. It aims to encourage political engagement by opening the process to the people.
Voters in ten key electorates around Australia – a mix of marginal and safe seats, urban, rural and regional – will have a chance to directly influence debate and media coverage, by posting questions on the OurSay website and voting for the questions others have contributed. The questions voted most crucial will be put directly to local candidates, in a series of ‘town hall’ style meetings.
Join moderator Andrew Holden and five candidates for the seat of Melbourne (currently held by Adam Bandt) – Bandt (Greens), Sean Armistead (Liberal), Cath Bowtell (Labor), Michael Bayliss (Stable Population), Royston Wilding (Secular Party) and James Mangisi (Sex Party) as the top questions are posed, live.
Be part of this revolutionary example of democracy in action – and journalism as driven by the people, for the people.
Missed out, or couldn’t get there? Listen to the audio recording of the full event: mp3 (99 minutes, 47.5mb)
With a commitment to Australian equity, James Mangisi has travelled the farthest and most remote regions of our country working as a science communicator. He is the Australian Sex Party’s candidate for the seat of Melbourne in the 2012 Federal Elections.
Adam Bandt is a Greens MP and the Federal Member for Melbourne. He was elected in 2010 when he made history by becoming the first Greens MP elected to the House of Representatives at a general election.
Cath Bowtell is the Labor candidate for Melbourne in the Federal Election.
Michael Bayliss is the Stable Population Party’s candidate for the Federal seat of Melbourne.
Andrew Holden was appointed Editor-in-Chief of The Age in July 2012.
Sean Armistead was born in Darwin, where he lived with his father and his mother – a Ngunga Aboriginal Woman – before moving to Melbourne at the age of eight. He is the Liberal candidate for the seat of Melbourne in the 2013 Federal Elections.