I found this guidance note on the ABC’s website; it’s about differentiating analysis from opinion. Although it’s predominantly for a TV medium, it struck home a little, particularly in the last two points…
Typically, ‘analysis’ –• carries the name of the author• is made by a person with professional expertise orspecialist knowledge aboutthe subject matter being analysed• is grounded in reporting work, usually done by theperson making the analysis• refers to the information on which it is based• is based on information that can be verified• is not purely speculative or based only on faith or belief• is not partisan or ideological• will often discuss options and their pros and cons• refrains from public advocacy• aims to inform and explain more than to rouse or persuade• does not prescribe what should be done nor urge what the audience should conclude.
It’s very easy to slide into arguing for a solution at the expense of explanation. Take a look at most terrorism studies writing and you’ll notice it’s nearly all prescriptive, and solution based. There are lots of reasons for this, but one worth noting is that it is exceptionally hard to get work published that is not prescriptive. In my view, this needs to change.
These guidelines are not perfect but it’s nice to see that at least there is an awareness of this problem on the part of the ABC. Sadly, it doesn’t seem to be common place among media, or in the terrorism studies area of academia for that matter (and International Relations more broadly).
I’m putting this up now as I’ll be referring to it in a forthcoming post or two, if I ever get my workspace sorted and internet back on before I leave on my next adventure. As thankful as I am to my friend for her hospitality in letting me come over, commandeer the couch and use her internet, I don’t want to subject the household to my blog writing rituals, or efforts to rediscover how to format blog posts, which as this mangled post shows, I’ve managed to forget.