I started this website back in August. My first post talked about how same sex marriage was coming sooner than a lot of people realised. This was before the announcement of the plebiscite. Less than six months later, we have a result that’s life-changing for millions of Aussies.
This time a year ago I wanted to switch off the news and permanently disengage. Trump’s victory seemed to prove humanity’s most tired aphorism: ‘the world is completely fucked. Why bother?’
Slow News Weekly emerged out of that question. A fiercely political friend of mine died this year, and I wanted to do something for him. So I got a free WordPress site and went to work. I set myself a challenge: every post in a thousand words or less. Get to the point. Don’t waste time. Don’t glamorise. Simple and direct. The one criteria: fill in a blank that most news leaves behind, and report on anything that actually affects the ordinary lives of Australians.
What happened next surprised me for a number of reasons. If you’d asked me before I started, I would’ve said that being more informed about the world would make me more anxious. Watching news is bad for you, right? It gets you into that ‘world is fucked’ state of mind. But that wasn’t the case. When I approached research with curiosity and an open mind, the world actually seemed a far friendlier place. I became calmer and more optimistic about the world.
Actually understanding North Korea, for example, means that you know nuclear armageddon is far from inevitable. And for all of the noise in mainstream news, I found I wasn’t writing about Trump that much at all. His actions don’t affect most Australians, and almost a year on from his presidency, I believe the lives of many Americans are worse, but the sky hasn’t collapsed. The system has kept a lot of his more outrageous notions in check.
Meanwhile, in Australia, I’ve realised more and more that politics is moved by those who are informed. A little public pressure goes a long way. Just look at what’s happened since August:
- The majority of Australians weren’t fooled by a well-funded campaign to de-rail same-sex marriage, and thanks to public pressure the matter was expedited to pass Parliament before the end of the year;
- The Turnbull government struggled with creating an energy policy that reflected the needs and wants of Australians, mainly because Australians were so diverse in their opinions on the issue. The eventual emphasis on renewables was a response to public pressure;
- The Queensland Government, absolutely best mates with the Adani corporation only a few months ago, fundamentally changed their approach to the massive coal mine project. It’s now under significant threat. Queenslanders liked this so much they voted the government back in, rejecting One Nation’s ultra-conservative platform;
- The Australian public won’t let the Turnbull Government forget its obligations to refugees or the indigenous population of Australia, as much as it would like us to. In the last few months, the Prime Minister’s office has been bombarded with letters and phone calls demanding better.
The world moves by those who give a damn. You don’t have to tie yourself in knots about it and become a self-righteous bore, you just have to read enough about the world to be reasonably informed, and have your say on issues that matter to you. That’s how change happens.
So Slow News Weekly will return in 2018.
I’m going to build a new website, and give you guys more ways to access the content that matters to you. I’ll also be providing new ways for you to support the blog. We’ll also be moving from this URL.
We have a new logo, with massive thanks to Sean Dowling. Look at us, in all our purple splendour:
The best way to stay on top of everything is to join the e-mail list. So do that if you haven’t already. I’ll be giving out some exclusive rewards to those on the e-mail list in 2018. Hop on board now to secure some cool free stuff and to stay up to date. Make sure you don’t lose us as we move to a new address. Sign up now.
Finally, a massive thank you to those of you who have read every week and shared the blog around. I’ve been so grateful for the support, and really buoyed by the success of this little project.
Slow News Weekly will return in mid January, 2018.
I’ll see you then. Hope you have a fantastic holiday season and an absolute corker of a New Year.
The world’s a great place, and we’ll keep making it better in 2018.