Julia Zemiro Asks 'Who Cares?' — E3 — Kerry O'Brien & Zara Seidler
🤑 CHIP IN TO OUR PATREON https://www.patreon.com/ARationalFear 📨 SUBSCRIBE TO OUR EMAIL LIST: http://www.arationalfear.com/ 👕 BUY OUR MERCH HERE 🎟️ BUY TICKETS TO THE A RATIONAL FEAR OPERA HOUSE SHOW — JANUARY 29th HERE. This is the 3rd Episode of the monthly spin-off podcast from A Rational Fear —Julia Zemiro Asks 'Who Cares?' Each month for the next 4 months on the A Rational Fear podcast feed, Julia will be interviewing change makers, civic leaders, and people who organise their communities and claim their power to discover the secrets to making good things happen. This month Julia chats with two Australian very different Australian media leaders who at the opposing ends of their career timelines Kerry O'Brien— One Australia's most distinguished journalists. Kerry O'Brien may be off our TV screens, but he is far from retired. Kerry is busy, writing and thinking about journalism and democracy. In this chat with JZ, Kerry talks about how the atomisation of media puts our democracy at risk. also we hear from: Zara Seidler — The co-founder of one of the largest publishers of youth media in Australia. The Daily Aus is Australia’s leading social-first news service. Offering young Australians a digestible and engaging way to access the news, all through social media. The Daily Aus reaches nearly 300,000 young people through its Instagram, Tiktok, email and podcast channels. If you enjoyed this please drop us a review on Apple podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/a-rational-fear/id522303261 And subscribe to our Patreon so we can keep making shows like this for you: https://www.patreon.com/ARationalFear THANK YOU TO Julia, Zara & Kerry, Rode Microphones, The Bertha Foundation, Jacob Round. Jess Harwood for the amazing artwork. and our Patreon Supporters. Julia Zemiro 0:00 This podcast is supported in part by the birther foundation. I'm recording my part of Julia's Amuro asks, Who cares on the lands of the gunman? Gara and Darwell people, sovereignty was never ceded. We need a treaty. Let's start the podcast. Dan Ilic 0:18 A podcast about politics for people who hate politics. This is Julia Mira asks Who cares? Julia Zemiro 0:27 Hello Julia here and thank you again for joining me on the irrational fi podcast feed to listen to who cares this month, Kerry O'Brien and Zara sideline to people who have been and are working in the media in Australia. Zara Seidler in her 20s with Sam Koz Lasky set up the daily oz news for millennials will be speaking to her after we speak with Kerry O'Brien, of course, carries a prominent Australian journalist and author whose long career includes 28 years as a national current affairs, television presenter and interviewer. From this day to night, four corners Lateline, the 730 report where he was editor and presenter for 15 years, he's written two books, one on former Australian Prime Minister for Keating, but more recently, a memoir on the social and political upheavals he's witnessed in half a century of journalism. And that's what I wanted to talk to him about today, because one of the biggest upheavals I think, is this independent grassroots movement. And I wanted to ask him what he thought about that and where he thought it might go. Kerry O'Brien 1:41 Just in terms of the phenomenon, and it is one I think it's been in the pipeline for quite a while, it's been coming to a slowly, and I think it's probably been hastening, the more people have become disillusioned and lost respect, and grown angrier and more frustrated with the political process, I don't think the state of politics in this country has been at a lower ebb in my working life as a journalist than it is now. And there are all kinds of reasons for that. But in terms of how the media deals with it, I would say, the media in its coverage of politics really reflects the state of our society to in the sense that we are digitally disrupted, generally, in all of our individual lives, and the media is disrupted, as it hasn't been, for a very, very long time. And disrupted not necessarily in a good way. I mean, what ultimately emerges, in a sense is in the lap of the gods, it's not all that easy to predict. I hope I never lose faith in the belief that the public will always be hungry for information. And that the same reasons that saw journalism gradually proliferate through the developed world as the printing presses arrived, and, and as communications improved, and so on. So I just don't see how we will ever lose that hunger. But what I also hope is that the quality of end and accuracy and responsibility of coverage doesn't continue to dissipate as it has, because of the disruption, because of the extent to which the Internet has crowded, and got in the way of the capacity of the mainstream, credible media to function as it is supposed to. Julia Zemiro 3:34 But I don't think we're ever going to be able to wind back to 24 hours news cycle. Kerry O'Brien 3:39 Well, I just think that there will be an evolution of some kind, Julia, I mean, I don't think what we've seen in the last, say 15 years, slowly, and then gathering pace. And now Now it's kind of on us is the meeting in the middle of the various news operations, and media operations. So print and television have met in the middle, we have converged, we've been talking about convergence for a long time, we now have convergence, it's still evolving. And the final form of that convergence is still there to be kind of played with speculated upon. But print, and television and radio have all met in the middle, you can see the ways that print is adapting to that. And I think it still has quite a ways to go. Whereas in one way, it's been a bit easier for for television, and radio to adapt to its online presence, particularly the ABC, because we're just changing the written word somewhat. We're changing if we're writing for online as opposed to for television. We're writing just for the oral word and the written word. Whereas for newspaper journalists who've known only print writing for print, in their past, they've got to learn the process of writing for pictures and and writing in a different way. So they'll catch up, they are catching up. You can see it They'll they're developing the interviewing skills. I mean, I can remember when I was a print journalist, you'd go with your little tape recorder and you'd sit down, you'd have a chat. And you'd cover all the ground and you'd walk away with about an hour of stuff, about 10 minutes of which was worth using. For television, you're very conscious of the clock ticking and you are you are forced to apply a real discipline and a serious thought process to the questions you really want to explore. And you've got to have a sense in your head of how long you've got to do it in. So that's an adaptation to print. But you see, outside of those things, those things on their own, would not present a difficulty. The real difficulty lies in the fact that the traditional model of journalism has gone out the window. Newsrooms have been seriously disrupted. The commercial operation has been seriously disrupted. Newsrooms and our either the same size, but the journalists are asked to do a lot more. So the the size of the newsrooms and the resources of the newsrooms haven't grown to match the demands that are now on the journalist. And secondly, where there have been attempts to cut back on the cost of operating newsrooms, the first to go, it always pretty much starts with with the human resource, which is the costly resource. And the most costly resource in a newsroom tends to be the more experienced older journalist who spent a lifetime accumulating knowledge and history, they've got the scars, they know where the bodies are buried, but they're more expensive. So if you're an accountant sitting down, to work out where you're going to make your cuts, newsrooms have blade, age and experience. And so you've now got a situation where newsrooms around Australia are, on average, probably 10 years, at least younger than they might have been 10 or 15 years ago. So an awful lot of very smart young journalists. And they are smart, or growing up without mentors, that they are developing as journalists without mentors. And if they don't have a sense of the history that's passed, then that comes at a great cost to the quality of their journalism, because because when I watch politics being reported, now I do get frustrated. I'm not the old white guy throwing a slipper at the screen, because it's not like it was in my day. I don't want to ever make that mistake. But I do see not just opportunities going begging, I see important questions, important checks and balances in the journos process, which is supposed to be fundamental to good journalism, I see those things going begging, I see them not being done. And that really worries me, Julia Zemiro 7:34 I've only been to parliament house a few times, couple of times to you know, beg for money for the ABC and SBS. Well, you're preaching to the converted anyway, in the group that you're speaking to, I'm always amazed at how much access journalists actually have in the house. And I sometimes think of the analogy of private schools and selective schools go with me, I went to the selective school. And while we weren't, didn't have the poshness or the money necessarily surrounding us, if you went to a pub, where there were private school kids, you'd be accepted, you'd be welcomed. You could share all the information, you knew what was happening behind the veil, you could see what was happening in those private schools, how they all behaved, and then you left with that information. And it was your little secret to keep because we're not one of them. But we're allowed in there. But we'll keep the secrets. And I sometimes feel like with journalists, they cannot really be in that house, they must know that stuff goes on that they don't report. And I'm not talking just now I'm talking 2030 years ago, and I wonder what the responsibilities there. And it can't just be about protecting a source or whatever. There's a kind of like an in joke or an inworld. That just annoys me when I hear it. And I think it's not a joke. It's not something to kind of go you're all pals and you know each other. And that's how he acts. And that's how she acts. That two I think has has come into journalism. And that's not the young ones necessarily, Kerry O'Brien 9:02 ideas, but I don't think it's quite the club that you painted to be. And I don't think it ever has been quite that club. But the aspects of it are true. Absolutely. But I mean, I can remember the wonderful mango McCallum, the late mango, in the days of nation review and mango was doing it on the Australian of all papers before he went to nation review. Rupert, by all accounts wasn't all that thrilled with the way he wrote but nonetheless, he went to Canberra and reflected this is like back in the 60s and reflect when he reflected on it, he could have sounded somewhat like you because because he was saying, even though he had gone through university, he had been a journalist. He was very well read that getting any was writing politics from Sydney to some degree, but when he actually got there, he was shocked at how little he knew. And so he made it his business to take his readers behind the scenes and give them a sense of how life really how the political process function, how the processes of government function, including the public service, how the parliament functioned. He made his business impact to educate. And he saw that as a part of his responsibility. You also got a laugh, a lot of laughs, reading it, and were sometimes scandalized as you read it. And other journalists, from time to time have reflected some aspects of that. But it's less I suspect, because it's a club, but that journalists can sometimes make the mistake of assuming that, that the kind of nuts and bolts of something is too mundane, it's not interesting enough to make it interesting for the public, which to me means that they're not doing their jobs, and they don't really understand why they're there. Or they take for granted that everyone knows. The other aspect that you touch on really is is the kind of behind the scenes chitchat, you know, you lift the phone to a politician, and you have an off the record check. But that is that has always been a part of journalism everywhere. And without that part of the process, journalism would be only ever bringing you a fifth of the story. It allows you to be more nuanced in your reporting, without necessarily reporting what the person has told you specifically, one private conversation might lead to another which leads to a story, which is an important story to get out. I look, I'm sure that some journalists have had favorite sources over the years that they have, that they've nurtured, and they don't want to burn their sources. So maybe they treat them a little gently. And I know that a journalist here or there who's who has who I've thought has done that, and I don't like it when I see it. But it is a more complex operation than then than it might appear sometimes from the outside looking in. I don't think it's quite the club you talk about. I'm sure journalists would like to be more in the know than they are, Julia Zemiro 11:48 when you watch the Westminster system that that we use that that sort of yelling across, do you ever do you ever get frustrated, there's just got to be a better way. You know, when you look at cultures around the world, you look in schools, you know, the whole idea of when you're trying to want to get to the bottom of something, you kind of you try and find ways to agree on it, rather than disagrees is constant arguing, I feel like part of the independence movement is that there might be five or six people on that crossbench being able to go well, you know what, clearly, you guys don't know how to have a conversation. So let's cut to it. And it's just not that hard. You know, I get as a trained actor, I get employed by companies to go in and help them figure out how to talk to each other, and how to communicate better. So you know, we're all happy to offer our services, our service, because we've all lost our jobs. So please, by all means, bring us in. But um, but yeah, I wonder about, I wonder about that system, will that changes? Well, one day? Well, we I mean, whether we become a republic or not that idea, it can't be the best way to spend time, because it's not it's not working. It's just not working. Kerry O'Brien 12:52 Yeah, look, I'm speaking as a journalist, but also as an individual. I do love some good theater. Julia Zemiro 12:58 Like to see some in there. Kerry O'Brien 13:00 Well, they used to be yes, the I agree with you, I go again, starting to walk down the track of, you know, the good old days. But the truth is that the standard of political debate today is about 50%, or less than what it was even say 15 years ago. There's always been a gladiatorial element. Paul Keating has maintained that, that he thinks the mood changed after the dismissal in 75. It was that the extent of the friendships across the party lines, behind the speaker's chair and in the privacy of various offices and so on, there was quite a bit of that went on. There were friendships across the aisle, and there was certainly a capacity to speak across the aisle. I think a lot of that has gone. And that is very unfortunate. I also think that the polarization of our politics is symptomatic of a wider polarization in the whole of our society. And that really, really, really worries me. Because I think, I think we're losing the capacity and we certainly risk losing the capacity to be able to talk to each other across our differences. Whether it's over the back fence, in the shop, in the pub, or in the parliament. And, and in the media. I think the media itself is polarized, like I can't remember it being polarized at any other time in my life. I think people are choosing now to to absorb the media that fits their views of the world. People who once upon a time might have read across the media that you might identify as right and left and in the middle, or various, you know, various places in between. People are choosing you know, they're calling it the echo chamber people are now choosing to learn their news get their news from sources that reflect their worldview. And you know, the the social platform for social platforms like Facebook. They exacerbate that they actually Aleut Lee exacerbate them. You know, some some bloody robot or some logarithmic algorithmic process is determining what I'm interested in and sending me stuff. And that's getting seriously creepy. But that polarization really does worry me really worries me because you look at what's happening, and if particularly if you couple it with with what's happened on the internet and social media, and America is the kind of leading edge of this, and the sort of bombardment of fake news and and attempts to manipulate us is crowding out, and D legitimizing the traditional news gathering and news gathering process that we might have once been able to rely on with greater confidence than we can now. So I just you put all of that. So so that kind of process I think, is just going to drive us into more polarization. And I think, I think it is driving us further and further away from the democracy we have known and come to take for granted. Julia Zemiro 15:58 Oh, I think it's definitely taken for granted. And you could argue that it starts in schools, and I know everyone says every, it's like, honestly, if you had to teach a kid, everything they need to know in the whole universe, it's all gonna go back to schools, and what more do they have to do in their, Kerry O'Brien 16:11 in home in the home don't fit in Julia Zemiro 16:13 the home, but gee, that's not happening, either. I mean, you know, you know, I'll sound like an old woman from the past now. But you know, my mom would by the National times the nation review the Australian, the Sydney Morning Herald, we had interesting magazines, you know, it was having a bit of everything there and having someone talk about, you know, and it's exactly what I'm talking about. Yeah, a bit of everything. And Mum would her thing was that she really wanted to compare. And she was looking at writing styles. I mean, she was a language teacher at secondary, and then tertiary. But there's a girl who, who went to school, who loved French, who had a teacher that actually said to her parents, this one should go to university. And they were like, Nah, that's not going to happen. She somehow got there, and was interested in how the place is run. But really, a lot of a lot of kids would not have that. And certainly not papers, papers, were there on the floor, and you can read them every day. We're all on our own different devices. Little may be looking at stuff, but I'm always astounded how people who I think have switched on, and also on the Women's March, you know, did you go to that? What Women's March? So people are still even though that information is there, they're not engaging with it, because they don't think it concerns them. And my way to fight against that polarization is to really be that one, that when she gets her coffee, or is at a barbecue after the niceties of five minutes, and you know, you and I get approached by random civilians all the time. I'm in, I'm like, what do you what do you get? And I don't care. Now I go straight into the conversation go, literally, what are you thinking of voting for or what, and I try and take the heat out of it, I'm not trying to have a go, I'm trying to genuinely go. And half the time. When you just explain a couple of things, or maybe offer something else, they genuinely seem enlightened by something they didn't know. And that's because you're having that one on one one to one conversation with them. And it might just sit in there for a little minute and imagine, but it's that one to one conversation with people sometimes. And we don't even have conversations without heat, let alone what we see in Parliament. So it's modeled. Kerry O'Brien 18:29 That's what I mean about about losing the skill and the capacity to be able to talk to each other civilly across the divide, becoming engaged on behalf of the ABC alumni in a process of trying to promote the ABC as a serious and important issue in this next election campaign, because the ABC as a as a public institution, which to me, is so fundamental, has played such a fundamental and important role in helping developments and sustain a cohesive fabric across our society. And this kind of seriously trusted institutions still in an age where there is no trust for anything. And and so I'm interested when I get some small insights into this sort of this independence movement that's taking place. And the idea of people having community discussions that aren't that they're roundtables. They're not even necessarily for big groups of people. I mean, the idea of community of our sights, small talk, relatively speaking, given that politicians and their apparatchiks turned their backs on the town hall meeting in the 70s. And I saw it happen. I can tell you the last election when any political leader in an election campaign bothered to go to big public town hall meetings was golf slash campaign in 77. Against Fraser, so that's how long it's been since but now you know the kind of the so called Town Hall. Meeting is coming back. Yes, yes. And that's not a bad development provided. It's not just part of some bullshit stitch up marketing process to create an illusion of something that's not real. And it seems to me that this independence movement is genuinely looking to the grass roots as a way of allowing its message and and the things that worry it that worry though those people are involved in it, about the kinds of things we're talking about, you know, they want to actually engage voters. And if there's one thing I hope, I'm going to be able to say again, and again, wherever I go between now and the election is make your vote count, not telling people how they should vote, but just saying, make your vote count, think about the issues that are important to you. And I hope that they see the ABC as one of them. Think about the issues that are genuinely important to you, not who's gonna not who's promising to give you an extra five bucks in your pocket or something. Those things are passing. Proper funding of various policy areas is important, of course, but isolate the key issues that are important to you, whether it's climate change, whether it is the ABC, whether it is growing corruption in the political process, whether it is lies, whatever, the idea that people, I believe, for this election, people should be challenged and feel challenged, and actually take, become interested in the challenge to really think, in some instances for the first time in their lives. What is really important to me, in this campaign, and how can I make my vote count, Julia Zemiro 21:41 I've always seen the election as an exam, you know, you when you go into an exam, and you've studied you feel good, because you kind of know what you're going to be saying, you can feel good about the result, the amount of times I've stood in a line at a school waiting to vote, and people are still deciding in that line. Yeah, they're still deciding in the line. And so there's something in them that goes, I won't do the homework I need to do about it. And I'm and you can that you might see someone with a friend and go with who you voting for. And it's astounding to me. So just think you can't be thinking about this right now. And I think certainly this grassroots level of independence is is more about that I, I hosted the independent candidate for Hume Penny Acuras launch. And we were in a basketball court because it was raining, we had an outdoor and indoor idea. But we went indoors in the end and 300 We didn't have a tin roof. No, we were lucky. We're very lucky that I was really worried about the acoustics as well. 350 people turned up. As you know, as the emcee, I warmed up the crowd and chatter to people beforehand. And it was really, it was quite stunning carry to see people wanting more information. Eyes wide open, for clarity for something to be able to believe in something to be a bit hopeful about, especially after the last couple of years. Others who were nervous to be there a little bit nervous, not sure why they were nervous, sort of tryna Kerry O'Brien 23:13 possibly feeling a little bit exposed, Julia Zemiro 23:15 absolutely exposed. Kerry O'Brien 23:16 One of the things that I think has happened, I mean, I've thought a lot about this, the impact of, of technological change the the impact of the digital age as it is now. And it's been a long road hasn't been that long a time coming really post war, post war, and it really only started to take off in the 70s. And the thing about the thing about the digital revolution is that it's a little bit like measuring a title, like measuring an earthquake, it there is a seismic shift going on, there is an exponential kind of pace, as you get further and further into that revolution. And we can I don't care how much thought we put into what's going to happen next. And then what happens after that. And then what happens after that. Try by all means, but don't get too bloody coordinate, because because you'll just end up being blindsided every time I think that the pace of change when you look at not just the pace of change, but the breadth and the range of change is unprecedented in human history, including I think, the the original industrial revolution and, and our capacity to try and stay pace with just left behind at every step of the way. When we first when we first saw the internet coming the very first rosebuds of the internet, and people started to speculate about where it would hit nobody anticipated. Facebook, nobody anticipated Google nobody anticipated any of these things. And, you know, let alone quantum physics and all the rest of it. So Julia Zemiro 24:55 I know I contemplated doing putting some rules around it some regulations. is around, they don't need doing it now. And at the time, you're just thinking, like even even on a level, for example, my agent for years was just worried about what do I get them to pay my actors for doing a film or television? All of a sudden, she was having to go into meetings to dis to figure out, what will I now pay my actors? What am I asking for? If the stuff goes online? If it's on the internet, what's that worth? What's happening there, the stuff just keeps moving around. If you're not gonna put a rule around it or regulation around it. It's like we let we let it all go to shit first, and then go, Oh, why people are really getting hurt by this. How do we bring it all back? Kerry O'Brien 25:37 I mean, look, there are so many things that feed into this. I've just been reading a terrific article, a guest essay in the New York Times, and it's headed for those who want to Google it. You are the object of a secret extraction operation. And it's by Professor Emeritus at Harvard Business School. Shoshana Zubov and the author of a book called The Age of surveillance capitalism, and that's what it's about. And it says that Facebook is not just any corporation, it reached a trillion dollar status in a single decade by applying the logic of what I call surveillance capitalism, an economic system built on the secret extraction or manipulation of human data. And it says the world's liberal democracies now confront a tragedy of the quote unquote uncommons information spaces that people assumed to be public are strictly ruled by private commercial interests for maximum profit. The internet as a self regulating market, has been revealed as a failed experiment, surveillance regulating market has been revealed. As I said, failed experiment, surveillance, capitalism leaves a trail of social wreckage in its wake, and it goes on, you know, this stuff is profound, the impact of it and where it's going to go. Profound. And, and most of us are sitting in our lounge rooms with the bloody blinds drawn, or the curtains drawn, and we cringing. We don't we don't just, you know, we don't just worry about the future for our kids. We're worried about our own futures, you know, a 30 Something person who has been trained for one thing, having to contemplate how they retrain, and then retrain again, and then retrain again. And then they think, how on earth do I prepare my children for this? What's going to be the story for my grandchildren, these things. And, you know, it is no mistake that we are in an age, riddled with anxiety, riddled with anxiety. It's the it's the unseen or barely seen pandemic, alongside the highly visible pandemic that we've been through in the last two years, and in many ways, reaping a far greater, more tragic outcome. Because we are talking about, we are talking about the future of many of our of our kids, many of the youngest people in our society, their future is being ruined for them, as they grow towards even their teenage years. On there's so many potential threats. And I don't want to be alarmist I hate being alarmist. I, no point in being alarmist. But be and so people say, Well, how am I supposed to react to that? I don't know. That. You see, it's too big for government. And at the same time, the quality of government is in decline in Liberal Western democracies, we're seeing the growth of illiberal democracy through Europe, we're looking at, we're looking at the great miss that American societies become. And we have over the last 20 or 30 years increasingly seen America as what we want to be. Well, good luck with that. We're part we're already paying a price for Julia Zemiro 28:36 it. Yeah, I've never understood that at all. There is also another possibility. And the other possibility is to be not hopeful, because I think that's a useless word often. But there's another possibility, which is to have a kind of a vision for things that we could achieve the things that we could change. So whether it is in the renewables are kind of argument climate argument, that a renewables could make a strong economy that, you know, Australia could lead in all these ways. You know, if we could find a way I don't know, to make universities free again, and offer the opportunity for everybody to go and be in a situation where they meet different people, and do classes where you have to apply some kind of constructive criticism called critical thinking, and everyone hates the word critical thinking now. But this idea that we could also start getting excited about that kind of place to live where we have to accept change, and things will have to move. And we start to become a country that is moving forward in an exciting way. Rather than always, even though we have to be worried about the things that aren't working, and that's where our leadership can come from in terms of be it state or federal, or, you know, performers or whoever it might be that sort of has those visions in knows a bit more than us, you know, don't be afraid of being with someone that knows more than you because that's how you learn. Right? Kerry O'Brien 30:05 Yeah. Look, I think I think there is. I mean, there's the single biggest source of hope for me in the future, is the extraordinary range of great young people coming through, in through various public forums, wonderfully articulate, passionate, clear sighted, demanding a better way, demanding, demanding better actions, demanding action on climate change, because they're saying, You're robbing us of our future, how dare you. But at the moment, it's still fractured. You know, there's no sort of form to it that I can see. And which is why I find that that independence movement, so interesting, because it does seem to have developed as a grassroots thing. There's no hand from the top that has arranged all this. And if and the longer, I think that the mainstream parties choose to ignore the challenge that's being laid out to them, they're, the more they're going to be affected by it. Because ultimately, if this continues the way it is, if mainstream parties do not improve their act, do not reform from the middle and think seriously about getting back on the track that they once were on as responsive parties to their constituencies. Then you're going to see hung Parliament's and in multi party governments, as as much more commonplace than they have ever been in this country. And we already saw Julia Guillen, the low you had you had and more power to her for her capacity to actually bring those people together. She had independence from both sides of the political divide, broadly speaking, functioning very efficiently with her minority government, to keep pushing legislation through the parliament. at record levels, really, including some quite substantial significant legislation Julia Zemiro 32:05 is not the job of a prime minister to be someone who can. And I'm not saying this disparagingly about anyone, but I'm just saying surely the job, or you would want someone in that position that goes, Okay, I see your point of view, I see your point of view, we're going to bring it together, why do you think that's what's going on? Now, I'm not going to, that's the skill, right? I've got skills in what I can do, I'm certainly gonna overshoot what I can do. But those kinds of skills, that's what you need, you need someone who can do that. And they're out there, they're out there. But somehow, we're not inviting them into the fold. And it's so interesting to me, that this grassroots level of people all over the country somehow seem to be choosing in the Maine women as they candidates Kerry O'Brien 32:48 that that is a fascinating part of the equation, I have to say an impressive women, often, Julia Zemiro 32:54 grassroots movements seem to be choosing women as their candidates even though there's been men in the mix. And yet apparently, there's no place for women federally on the hill when it's done in the in the other systems. So, again, it's showing that people it's not that people don't trust women, they absolutely do the choosing them. Kerry O'Brien 33:15 This is you this is the same struggle that you've seen in the corporate world, as well. And funnily enough in trade unions, I think, I think trade unions were ahead of the game in that regard, because there have been some very strong female trade union leaders going back over a couple of decades. Yeah, that's just that's that's still catching up. And and even though there has been a significant increase in the numbers of women in the parliament, that very revealing series of Anabel, crabs, just shows how long it's taking any number of men to actually catch up with what the wider public has already appreciated. And that is that women have a huge and at least equal contribution to make, and in the whole process will only improve as a result of it. You Julia Zemiro 34:01 always hear people saying, I wish we had a just Cinder and you guys, I say she has a job already with that there were plenty of descenders around, you just have to make them get in there. And it seems like the independent way is allowing women to step up, you know, women who've already had careers and are now in the third act of something that they want to do in their life. And and it just, I mean, so eloquent, you know, zali Steggall and Helen Haynes so eloquent and how they speak and get their ideas across that I feel saying when I listened to them, I got I understand what you're saying, You're being very clear, you're being very direct, you're not mucking around, hiding anything. Kerry O'Brien 34:39 I mean, look, just so that we don't get too carried away with with what we're hoping as against the realities. I mean, the truth is, if you're an independent and you're settling on three or four or five key issues, that you're going to say these are my you know, stand against the tide, or no matter what, and I'm going to represent you on these issues more than any other but I also be very sensible and what else comes along, unlike the major parties, they don't have to have a whole platform. And that does make their job somewhat easier. But nonetheless, the role that they potentially can play is of really serious import, given the standards of politics generally today and the need for the mainstream parties to be forced to rethink, reassess, and reform in a way that is much more responsive to the broader public and going back to politics more as a vocation than as just another career. And that is a part of what's gone wrong. Julia Zemiro 35:36 But don't think that but don't you think the way they express themselves too, if you think of Rob Oakshott and Tony Windsor as well, I mean, it's just a different way of expressing yourself as well. It's, it's, they always take the heat out of the discussion and the bias. And I just saying, Well, this is how it is. And I just don't see why we can't do that more for and I hope voters start to see, that's a way of doing things that's different, that seems to be yielding more. It's an approach if you know that old you can't be what you can't see. And I know it's an old cliche term, but it's true. If you can't see that someone can actually cut through with just, you know, calm discussion. It's sort of saying, Well, I know, I know, you might not have as much power and I might still be a laborer or a liberal voter. But why can't we have more of those in our group, and there are some I'm not saying they're not. Kerry O'Brien 36:22 But don't forget the tourney, Windsor was in a mainstream party, he was National Party, he was in the state parliament as a National Party representative. So he had come out of the mainstream, he had come out of conventional politics. And I think, any smart individual who's got any understanding of politics, if you're going to be an independent, you got to be really clear about what it is that your potential constituency is going to find attractive, because if you can't work it out, goodbye, goodbye to your chances of ever being elected. Some of them are populist. In fact, I think, I'm just guessing here talking off the top of my head, but I think over the course of time, if you went back and counted them all, and looked at them, you'd probably find that most of them were populist, most of the successful ones like a, like a bob Katter. In this day and age, if you're going to be a successful, independent, other than like a, like a rogue, self interested, Clive Palmer, then you've got to be offering alternative around issues of trust and honesty, and responsiveness to the public. Those are the things that I imagine the key resonators, and so you've got to be prepared to practice what you preach or you'll be very quickly exposed. Because before you walk through the front door of parliament house for the first time, you've made a whole shitload of enemies. Julia Zemiro 37:39 And that's a technical term, everybody Shitload, there'll be in the McCrory dictionary, Shitload final question to you is, I've always been sort of, I don't quite understand why. So I'm half French, half Australian. And when I go to France, people talk about politics quite naturally, easily, openly. It can be part of any conversation. And yes, sometimes it'll get a fiery and other times, it just will not. People will protest for things much for being shut down for things go on strike for things, and it all moves along. And in Australia, I honestly feel that Australians almost need permission to speak, they like that. Firstly, they'll shut it down. And I'm talking about, you know, yes, there's a group of you know, who might have been to uni, like us, and all the rest of it, who of course, have the tools to be able to, but I'm talking about, you know, any people you meet to sort of say, you are allowed to talk about this, and you are allowed to express yourself around it and find out more about it. And I guess that's the sort of feeling I got from that basketball court of people going, I can turn up, I can be here. And it doesn't have to be under the bright lights of a q&a in an audience, which is terrifying. It can be here. And I cannot say anything, but I can sort of, I'm allowed to listen to it and maybe dare to dream or dare to believe or dare to question why Australians like that. Kerry O'Brien 39:05 Well, look, I think truly you need to unpack this. If you've got another hour, we're gonna have a crack at it not have to give it some really serious thought beforehand. Australians have always had a capacity to there's been no shortage of anger in politics 1970s, maybe even 16, the the conscription debates, no holds barred. They're in the middle of the First World War. Australia has thrown up some significant surprises in its politics. I do think that one thing that is so fundamentally precious to our system, which really works and is a shining example to the rest of the world, is the fact that our voting is compulsory, even if people aren't prepared to to pursue an interest in politics, that the Constitution is saying that, that the Founding Fathers I hope, I hope I'm reflecting the genuine view of the founding fathers that they understood how fundamentally important the right to vote It was that they were actually they took the view that it should be, you know, shut your ears antivaxxers that. And you know, please don't mandate my life, despite the fact that has constantly mandated in all kinds of ways many of them legitimate, that it was such a crucial key to, to a healthy democracy. As that they were that they've decreed that the voting that voting should be compulsory. Now, I'm not walking article on the constitution. So I'm assuming that that was there from the outset, it might have been presented some years later. One of the great things that's happened to differentiate Australian democracy from many others. And it's, and it's why partly, it partly explains America's problem and partly explains Britain's problem. People might grumble as they go to the polls, but for one brief moment, at least, they're forced to think about it. And some more so it does create conversations. If you're right, that people are kind of timid about expressing their own views. And you're probably more right now than you might have been in the past simply because of this sense of almost isolationism and and polarization. People are scared that because they might pick a fight, because there are so many angry people out there on this stuff, which is why I think it is a kind of a nice example of how things can be done, that people can decide to sit down in a civil environment and speak to each other and open their minds up to the views of others and feel confident enough to express their own views and start to develop their own views with others. Julia Zemiro 41:39 Well, on that note, Kerry O'Brien What a beautiful way to finish but a beautiful way to finish what's what's the rest of the day hold for you carry you're gonna do something raining what you ox it's pouring Kerry O'Brien 41:51 rain writing constantly but I came to a view very early in our time up here we came up to the north coast of New South Wales when I left 730 And my wife walked away from her job the Herald I learned very early on not to complain about the rain because you you appreciate it when it's the and and often it's the it's here in abundance and the bar and Bayview have a dry season is where you have four months without rain. But now it's wonderful, wonderful part of the world and the only what it reminds you of though is is that there are now so many manifestations of the impact of climate change already on us that again, nothing is predictable anymore. The only thing I think that is predictable as is being demonstrated season after season after season. Is that is that whatever weather patterns we've had in the past we're going to have in spades and we're going to have with greater intensity and at greater cost. Sorry Julia Zemiro 43:02 Jesus Christ Kerry O'Brien 43:04 was I say never asked a question you don't know the answer to Dan Ilic 43:07 what out what up Jay Z asked who cares? Sure, boy, Jay Z make some noise. No, by Jay Z joins me right. This is Julius Amira asks, Who cares? Julia Zemiro 43:19 Thank you, Kerry O'Brien isn't it great to hear Kerry laugh on to Zara Seidler What an impressive human being she is in her 20s She set up with Sam cars Lasky the daily oz news for millennials. And it's Australia's leading social first news organization. They're on a mission to arm Millennials with the tools they need to begin their own deep dive into the news. Their news recaps and explainers are read by over 100,000 Australians daily 85% of whom are under 34. They've also got a daily podcast you can check out. And it was just wonderful to hear her talk about how they got into this and why they thought it was necessary. And I started by asking her about how she got into it in the first place. And it went via possibly wanting to become a teacher going to Washington to work in politics, and finally getting a gig with Karen Phelps. Zara Seidler 44:15 Straight out of school, I thought I wanted to do teaching, I was dissuaded by those around me, perhaps because of my temperament more than anything due to that. I think that people rightly identified that I'm very opinionated, I am quite impatient at times and perhaps needed to go out there and figure out a bit more about the world and then go back to teaching a little later. So I thought I was gonna do my undergrad and then go back and do a Masters of Education. And I mean, still could happen but doesn't look very likely. So I did an international level studies degree straight out of uni, and it's a fairly open degree where you can kind of Have make your own way and figure out what you want to do. Ended up at Georgetown for an exchange and got there the weekend that Donald Trump was inaugurated. Julia Zemiro 45:10 Now that's in Washington for people. I mean, that's the heartbeat, isn't it? That's a hard day's politics. Zara Seidler 45:15 It is. Yeah, you nailed that. It was quite an awakening, I think that I had thought I was political. And then I went over there and got a whole new sense of what being political really is. My understanding of being political was caring about things. And when I went there, it was a full embodiment, it was a head to toe, you know, you have thrown your life into this, it is affecting your day to day in a way that I mean, Trump really brought a new sense to, to engage during one's everyday life. But I will acknowledge that I had had a privileged upbringing where I chose issues that mattered to me and I cared deeply about those, but day to day wasn't really affected by decision making. And so I got to see that up close when I went to DC. And I also did a fellowship with Hillary Clinton's campaign director, who was obviously quite jaded post election. And so it was this just really, yeah, it was really quite life changing. I mean, I was extremely young. So Julia Zemiro 46:29 how can we didn't turn you off, though? Zara Seidler 46:32 I just honestly, and it sounds so contrived, the passion that people had the fact that this guy was still going into Georgetown, and teaching a bunch of teenagers about politics after he'd lost the biggest election in history, I just something, it just appealed to me even more. And it made me angry, I think more than anything, because the day after Trump's election, I had the Women's March. And that was just on the complete other side of the spectrum. So both deeply political experiences, but but my, you know, interaction with those was very different. So I came back, just really excitable and I wrote myself a note, I actually found it recently that said that I didn't want to become complacent when I got back, that I didn't want to just be one of those people that said, that had an amazing experience, but then never channeled it into anything. Hilariously, I ended up coming back and working for Sky News. But what a Julia Zemiro 47:27 great experience to be in the kind of the Belly of the Beast there and sort of go, how stuffs done here and what sort of tactics is in this world, Zara Seidler 47:37 I often find in in my role, now, I get a fair bit, not a fair bit, that's an exaggeration, I get some comments about my time at Sky News and people thinking that I am aligned with the Murdoch way of thinking. And to that I just respond that I was a young kid who needed a job, and that it was an amazing foot in the door. And when the media market is owned, you know, two thirds owned by the same person, you don't really have a whole lot of choice as a young person who's interested. So it was a really great experience. And my role there was to set up guests for their interviews, Karen was one of those guests. Kind of just tutor ear off a bit, and then sent an email out into the world hoping that it would land and somehow got put in touch with someone who puts me in touch with someone and ended up working for Karen, for a very short period, which was wonderful and, you know, reinvigorated my my love and passion for public policy and all the likes of that. Julia Zemiro 48:46 So when great when you came back from America, do you come back to Australia and often feel this Australians are just so afraid to speak up? We're so afraid to have an opinion. We will not talk about politics, we won't our cup will go settle down. I need to get excited about it. And you're like, if not, when now? If not now When? And I'm getting excited by and affected by as you said, the the daily decisions that are made on our behalf, whether we like it or not. Did you come back to Australia and have your shoulders kind of drop and go? Come on everyone? Zara Seidler 49:20 I did. I definitely did. I think that I was in a unique position because like you I grew up in a family where it was kind of always the conversation. Like there was never a time that I remember we were talking about politics. When I noticed it most acutely was with my friends. It was that I would kind of speak at them. And would it be getting a whole lot back in terms of excitement around certain things. I would say though, that if there was any time where people seem to care, it was that time it was because and I think it has something to do with the way that Americans Politics is based on this real value system that I don't think we've identified exists in Australia despite the fact that it does. And so there, it's this, like sweeping ideology that's, you know, connected to these big systems of how you see the world. And you either agree with Trump or you don't. And that's, you know, it's very two dimensional, I found that to be quite a stark difference to how we see Australia and that people consider things to be on a lesser scale for some reason. And I know, we're obviously a lot smaller, but no decision affects us any more or less than it would being in a different country with a different light on Julia Zemiro 50:37 one an amazing experience to you know, wasn't necessarily going to be interested in politics. And you have this time in Washington, you come and work with Karen and to work within and pendant at such close quarters. And she achieved so much, and was one of one of those first lots of examples of how much an independent can actually achieve. And now look what's going on. I mean, I mean, Zoe, Daniel has just stepped up as gold. It is very exciting. And I mean, you know, there is some very experienced people out there, stepping up, as they say, because it's not easy to this assumption that doing something like that. I'm sure you experienced that with Karen, and her life, but it's, you know, you're also stepping into a world of extreme dizziness, and you'll never see, again, all of that. But when that finished, did you think I'm onto my next independent, I'm going to get into this, how can I get into into the with this world, Zara Seidler 51:38 I went a different route. What attracted me so much to Karen was that I agreed with everything she was about there was there was no part of it, that I feel this with the party two party system is that you love some of it, and then you hate some of it. And you just have to take it, I never really liked that and never saw myself reflected in in that sort of style of politicking. So, with no other independent, that really appealed to me or had a job. I moved into government relations. Julia Zemiro 52:14 But sometimes when I'm on rock quiz, and I get my contestants up, and I ask them what they do, they'll say something like government relations, and I'll go Zara Seidler 52:21 and what is it? What is their lovely euphemism? Julia Zemiro 52:25 It's like, you know, I mean, communication to you, but what do you communicate? So tell me, in your own words, what is government? Zara Seidler 52:34 Government Relations is, I don't know if this is a flattering picture of it. To me, it was using the connections that you had in the political system, to affect change on behalf of a client. So ultimately, it is lobbying. And my role during that time, was to specifically have those relationships with the independent politicians, so members of the crossbench. And that was fascinating. Because the thing with that is that you get across every policy in you could ever think of because you're not married or tied to one client with one policy area, you learn about health, about science, about tech, and it's sort of just this amazing, deep dive into a whole lot of things. And I really, I really enjoyed it, I think, I think it taught me a lot, I learned so much about communication, and how to communicate a point effectively, and concisely and in a way, funnily enough, it's kind of the opposite way, but in a way that makes sense to a politician who needs to get across things really quickly. Julia Zemiro 53:43 Yeah. And he is still catching up with friends and having great discussions about this great job you've gotten. They're still blinking and going yet, when you start talking Zara about Zara Seidler 53:51 the night as a drink. Yeah, no. Julia Zemiro 53:55 And why are they interested? I mean, you've you've probably had similar schooling, you're in a similar area, are they? That this is what always fascinates me? I'm not saying you're gonna be a hardcore not about politics. But you know, you're either in it or you're not. And I still can't quite, you know, if you stopped paying someone in the street and say, Who do you think controls your life? No, I do. And you go, Well, you know, there is this umbilical cord to what's happening in Canberra, and people choose to ignore that or at their peril, or go, Look, I'll just vote for the light whoever I voted for last time. What what is it for them? Are they just busy off with uni? Do they genuinely don't see that it affects them? Zara Seidler 54:36 I think that both the media and the political class have not. I don't want to take agency away from the individual. But I think and this is the problem that I've been trying to solve, that there has not been enough communication in the style and the way that is accessible to this generation that makes them realize They care and why they need to care and what is at stake here. I think that there's a lot of assumed knowledge. Julia Zemiro 55:07 This is what the daily odds does, it makes it clear, it kind of separates, you know, the complicated set, not even the complicated stuff. It just sort of isolates those moments. And those are stories and ideas that can actually make sense to someone. Zara Seidler 55:24 To exactly it. And that assumed knowledge part. And that component was the driving force. It was, how do we provide context to the headlines that people are reading every day because people turn off when they feel dumb. And I know that, that it people in my life have said that to me before it's, well, I don't contribute to conversations because I don't know enough. And I don't want to come across as dumb or uninformed. And I completely understand that I would feel the same way. And so what we're trying to do is really provide that backstory that context to a headline, or a concept or a political mechanism, so that people feel empowered to then get into the discussion or vote a certain way, because they know that there is a level of information that sets the foundation of their knowledge. Julia Zemiro 56:15 So you're working in government relations. Lobbying, and, and what how do you meet Sam? Or how do you go on to this other? Zara Seidler 56:27 Uh, my timeframes are really murky. But Julia Zemiro 56:30 I mean, they can be general for a day. Yeah, Zara Seidler 56:34 I was sick that night. So Sam started the daily orders a number of years ago. And he, he taken the name on Instagram, he had the idea, didn't do anything about it, and then put it on either Instagram or LinkedIn, we kind of gray and saying, I want to do this with someone. Is anyone interested? And I had like, eight friends send it to me. And I say no, you know what? I know. It's as if my friends listened to me. And just kind of have to complain. No, they know, my friends are absolutely wonderful. But I yeah, I just remember being sent it. And we are part of the same community, but had never met each other. And we went for coffee. And we were like, oh my god, we're the same person in two different bodies. Like this is insane. We had exactly the same ideas we had, I mean, different upbringings, but the same values and belief system. And we have been best friends since that day. There's not been a day since then, that we haven't spoken. And I think that was four years ago, I love from there grew the daily hours. And for a number of years, it was just a side hustle. There was nothing else to it, it was it we'll do this everyday because we want our friends to have something to talk about on a date, or we want to not have friends, which very much happens and family members texts made the morning of an election saying Who am I voting for? So it was an attempt to address all of those issues with the one answer, which was, let's give you accessible, digestible Quick News bites and not actually disrupt the way that you consume information, we're going to just put it in your way so that when you're going about you're scrolling, you get a chunk of information, and you're smarter than when you started. Julia Zemiro 58:29 And how do you know it's working? You know, you're starting it off. And like anything, it starts slowly, and I knew it sort of jumped and grew. But how do you know that this side hustle is making a difference of people getting in touch with you? And they're saying, I get this now? And I'm getting interested? Like, have you seen people go down new kind of, you know, wormholes of inflammation or Zara Seidler 58:51 school question. I think for the first little while, it wasn't like, I don't think there was any indication that it was working, or that it was successful. But we just kept doing it every day, because we loved it. And we didn't really have an audience. As it grew, it became very clear to us through just anecdotal evidence that people were starting to rely on it as their sole news source. That's a massive responsibility for people that are doing this before and after their very long day jobs. That was terrifying. But also, we have always positioned ourselves we say we're the entree to the news diet. So take us, you know, it come with us and then off, you go into the world and you can consume whatever else, and at least you again, have that foundation. So we grew more. Yeah, our audience grew and then COVID happen and then here we added COVID affect you. Everyone suddenly had a reason to care about politicians, because in a way that I think, like we discussed earlier Politics had touched people personally in their day to day life before, especially the more privileged among us. This affected every single person. So no matter who you are, no matter where you lived, no matter what you did. And so suddenly, we had people who previously wouldn't have known the name of their premier or chief minister, texting saying, What time is it on? Like, I need, I need an update. I need everything. And so we went from whatever we were doing before to doing just, we will translate these press conferences for you. And that was just clearly what people wanted. Yeah, yes. And we just continued to grow and grow. And we started hearing more about what our audience wanted. And that was a really gratifying thing to have that audience important to have young people saying, I've heard this around. Can you just explain it for me? And so it continued to grow. There were a number of other events. And I've spoken about this before, but Black Lives Matter movement, the US presidential election, and COVID taken together or really just, yeah, put a rocket ship under our I don't even know what the word for that is. Julia Zemiro 1:01:11 They put a run. Wherever it did it blue thing. He got it going? What a rocket. Zara Seidler 1:01:18 Yeah, yeah. Yeah. That. And yeah, yeah. Julia Zemiro 1:01:22 It's, it's hard to find good things that came out of COVID. But one of them is that yeah, there's definitely. And the thing is to it doesn't even have to be the word politicization. It's actually just being involved in a civic engagement and engagement. Yeah, with what's going on around you. The work is so great. On daily ours, it's so accessible, it's so clear, it does, it's not dumbed down at all it is the clarity of it is what I love so much. And I know that people who, as I said before, it's not just 20, that 20 year old group that that listens and reads, what shocks you, as you're putting work together is anything that you see in the way it's all put together, or what's out there, that shocks you about media, Zara Seidler 1:02:05 just how much assumed knowledge there is. And it's not even about the concept. It's about the historical happenings that kind of predate that event, I just Julia Zemiro 1:02:21 so what happened you just so how can we change that? Like, you know, I still think that, like, I think, I think, say in terms of the arts, for instance, you know, we still have such a problem in this country, just legitimizing it full stop, people have gone to see shows, sure, but in terms of training in terms of what needs to be done in terms of the discipline involved in in terms of it being a full time job, if you're lucky. And not being a side hustle, and don't keep asking people to do stuff for free. I sometimes think Well, the best way to make good audiences is at school, you give them the jargon and the vocabulary to read a play on stage to understand what that there's a stage manager to understand what film is to understand that there's layers of meaning and understanding to go to dance and go, I'm not quite sure how to get into this, but I'm feeling something I'm not sure what it is. Like, for me, it's art. I don't know enough about it. And I there's no point me going to a gallery unless I'm with a friend who just gets it right. And it's so different. It's so good. Because you they go oh my god, you've got this whole knowledge and you can share it with me. I'll hopefully I can share some rock music with you later. But um, but it's it's a sense of going you make better audiences for something and not by necessarily marking them on it. Maybe we could just do it because it's interesting and fun, and makes you feel good to sing a song every day. That's cool with a whole group of people and go and we're not getting marked on that. We just generally did that because it was enjoyable. Great. Yeah. Maybe we could do that with media unless you unless you take Media Studies at school. Zara Seidler 1:03:55 That is something I have thought about for so long, is actually texted some of my old school teachers to just say whether there would be an appetite, because having media literacy at a school age. I mean, our school leavers are at voting age, and it's too late, then it is too late when we are trying to mean it's not too late. It's never too late. But I think it is later than it should be when we're at the daily hours are intercepting these people. I think it should be as early as possible. And it's a completely a political non partisan. Yeah, I think in my head, I've always thought of a civics and a media course. And I've always thought of someone coming in. I mean, at school, we had all of these like study skills, things that they just brought in external people to run. And they were like, cool, hip, young kids, and you're like, Oh, I like you like maybe I'll listen to what you say. And in my head, I think that way of doing it would be really useful and working with the teachers alongside them. but actually having experts in the room to talk to the need for media literacy, so that when these people go and finish school, they have at least that foundation of knowledge to then go out and seek out their own information. You cannot expect a school age student to know what they can't know. And I really see it as something that needs to happen. Julia Zemiro 1:05:22 But yeah, the media literacy thing would is ridiculous that we're not sort of harnessing it there. And then people are lost and absolutely feel stupid. And no one knows. Zara Seidler 1:05:32 Exactly. And I think the big thing to point out is that, no wonder no wonder you feel that way. And that's not wrong. And you're, you haven't done anything wrong to feel that way. You've just been underserviced in this department, for lack of a better term. And I think, often times there can be this condescending tone that is implied when talking to people who might not be involved in our, you know, civil society, when it's how can we actually engage them? Let's not isolate them further. Let's try bring them in. And how do we do that? Julia Zemiro 1:06:09 There was a time when I remember when Natasha stopped Despoiler joined Parliament, and we're a similar age. And I remember thinking, wow, I mean, and a lot of fuss was made about how young she was. And because she did it with the Democrats. Maybe that was the only way that could happen. It could only happen through a slightly off center party. But um, but she was about the only one really, I mean, or maybe I paid attention because she was a woman. But you know, it's not. And what's interesting to me is that now all these independents that are stepping up, they're mostly women. Yeah, I mean, bar a couple. And it's interesting to me that all of a sudden, you know, apparently, we're a country that doesn't like being run by a woman. And yet grass roots are going, we absolutely choose you to be the person to run, Zara Seidler 1:07:00 you know that it's electorally advantageous to have someone that will appeal to the electorate, and it's just turning out to be women every day. Julia Zemiro 1:07:09 Good grace. Now, when you when you got into the daily Oz, surely part of the enjoyment too, is that you have creative control. Zara Seidler 1:07:18 I mean, I actually, we had a job interview today with someone who we are looking at hiring. And they asked about the bureaucracy of our organization, and what bureaucracy? What red tape there is done? Yeah, I mean, it is, we, I think this was something that was really important during COVID. We don't have to wait on anyone, we don't have to get approval for anything, we don't have to fight upwards for anything it is, we do what we want. And I think that lends itself to listening a lot more to what our audience wants to. And so we're really guided by what is happening in their lives, what they are interested in what they want, you know, as a talking point, before a date, and to have that freedom. I mean, it's just, I'm in my dream job. And I'm 24 I can't quite imagine a world that is better than this. It's amazing. There's a lot Julia Zemiro 1:08:18 of fast made about how the young uns Sam, but I kind of think God, I mean, in your 20s, if you switched on, that's where you have a lot of energy, Zara Seidler 1:08:25 you've got a lot of couldn't do this at any other point, I'm exhausted, you know what I mean? It's like, you've Julia Zemiro 1:08:31 got this amazing energy, and it's like, I'm going to use it while I'm here. Well, I can. Yeah, it's a good, good idea. You also incorporate serious news story. I mean, you know, Sam puts it as the necessity of news. It's sort of having that in there. You do hard news, you're not going to be doing, you know, fun stuff for fun. But you're doing intent, you do tend to include a good news story. And what was the idea behind that? Zara Seidler 1:08:57 That a lot of people said that they didn't read the news, because it made them feel really shitty. And I understand that it can be really shitty, just not a good enough reason to turn off. And I also think that you can turn off if it doesn't affect you, which again, goes to one's privilege. So I just wanted to eliminate that excuse altogether. Yeah. And like, Yep, the news can be shitty. Here's a great story to end the day with. And I'll tell you finding the good news is the longest thing. It is the longest task in a day by an absolute mile. It is so difficult to find a good news story every single day of the week. And that is horrible. I don't blame the people that say it's dark. It is dark, but we always find them. Julia Zemiro 1:09:47 But the funny thing is, though, you is it isn't a good news story, what we want to try and turn our bad news stories into because you know, if you see that something's been dressed, addressed if you see that climate change is being addressed, or we're going to start Looking at renewables in a fundamental way you go, that is the good news story. You know, today having a liberal across the floor for for something is the good news part of saying, you see, you can work together, we can have those conversations. But again, there's a lot of assume knowledge into why that could be seen as a good news. Zara Seidler 1:10:18 Exactly, exactly. There's a lot of assumed knowledge. And also, I mean, this goes against what I've said this whole time at, I've been speaking in a personal capacity and in a professional capacity. We we really value impartiality. And so we've taken a position on a couple of issues, things like climate change, not political, not a political game. It is our future. We care deeply about that. We will always put good news that is about action on climate change. Yeah, that can be seen as political for a couple of people. Yeah. As they make it known to us every single time it happens. But that's just the editorial position that we decided to take. But yeah, what's good news to set, one person might not be good news to another person. And that's when you have a quarter of a million people who are following your every move that can get quite sticky very quickly. Julia Zemiro 1:11:11 And do you feel a pressure though, that one day, you'll find yourself trying to please your audience more than saying, Well, hang on, we started this because we're into the hard news, and we're into the necessity of news. So no, we've got to, we've got to stick to what we initially said. Zara Seidler 1:11:29 I don't see it becoming an insurmountable problem. It's, it's like they're always going to be there. We respect the opinions and the views of our audience. And as I said, we will take, you know, guidance from them. But we this is our thing, they can go elsewhere, if they don't like honestly, yeah, like someone said something about the way that we were reporting COVID numbers, and I was like, mate, just look for them yourself, then like, it's just, you can seek out the information without coming here. It's a freemium news service that no one is making, you follow. But I mean, we have to do stuff that some popular all the time in the subject matter itself, like no one wants to write about taxation. And that doesn't mean we're not going to do it, because you need to know about it. And so it's funny, because an indication of success for us at a very superficial level is no likes and comments, which is bizarre. And so there's a very quick rate, and we can gauge very, very quickly what the audience cares and doesn't care about. But to us, that doesn't ever affect the editorial process, it really informs it. Julia Zemiro 1:12:41 I think it's something like tax to you know, people are horrified that say, in a country like Denmark, you know, half of their salary goes into tax, but they have paid parental leave for men and for women, you know, they want for nothing, their university is free, because they believe that, you know, every kid no matter where they come from, shall be able to have the choice to go to uni, if they want to go to uni, I mean, free university, I had free university in, you know, the age I'm at, but um, I mean, that's a pipe dream. Now, you know, and it would be so that mean, that would be a monumental thing to be able to say you can go to uni for a certain amount of time, at least for free. Zara Seidler 1:13:19 It's really, I haven't thought about this before, but I'm thinking about it now. And you say that what I feel is missing right now, at least among the cohort that I speak to and hang out with, is there is no sense of aspiration in our politics, no one is aspiring to reach, you know, the levels of Yeah, of what you just described of having free, you know, it's just like, how do we, how do we change what we're in now? I could better within the limitations of what we know, I don't get a sense that there's any like big thinking happening. Julia Zemiro 1:14:04 But there's no big thinking happening from the people in charge of Zara Seidler 1:14:07 who it is probably that trickle down effect. It's that there's no big thinking at the top. So how can there be big thinking at the bottom? Yeah, I'm Julia Zemiro 1:14:16 behind. Yeah, yeah, we really are. Oh. Now, as we, as we finish off, what do you do you and Sam see yourself doing the daily AWS for another five years, 10 years, you hand it over, and then you do something else? Zara Seidler 1:14:35 I mean, I don't want to be the person that I refer to earlier, which is a person that thinks that they are among peers, and speaking to peers when they're not. So when we are no longer the age of our audience, I think that that's a good indication that we're in the wrong place. For now, it's really great that we feel like we're growing with them that as they learn, we learn and it's just this beautiful to full relationship unless someone forces me and I'd like to stay. We're just starting to grow our newsroom. were recruiting lots of young journalists and to have you know, that just passion and excitement and people wanting to rock up to work every day. I'm not quite sure I'll find it anywhere else. Julia Zemiro 1:15:19 I know you've kind of quit, you know, when you create your own job Zara Seidler 1:15:22 peak too early. I know. I know every disappointment. Julia Zemiro 1:15:26 But at least you've seen disappointment too. You've seen a lot of hard work going to a campaign like Karen's, and you see that there's incredible highs and incredible lows. And absolutely, until you've you kind of do need to experience that I guess to kind of go Oh, yeah, well, you know, and q&a. What was that? Like? How did you find that show? Zara Seidler 1:15:45 I felt like it was studying for the HSC. Yes, I like tried to get across so much. And then they ask you one specific thing on something you're like, Oh, wow. Not quite where my mind was gonna go with that one. Um, I think I mean, it. It was my dream as a kid to be on q&a. I just like, in I am. I'm Jewish. No, I said that so strangely, but for my Bar Mitzvah. When I was 12, my friends did a speech for me. And in it, they like embodied different parts of my personality. And one of them was them pretending to be on q&a. And they've nose just kills me and ham raising it. Yeah. Lots to lots to learn lots to improve on but it was just I'm so lucky. That that's all really I was very fortunate. And I will. Really, yeah, remember that one? Julia Zemiro 1:16:42 Zara. What a delight to talk to you. Onwards and upwards. Young lady. Zara Seidler 1:16:47 Thanks so much lovely to chat Woman of the Year. Dan Ilic 1:16:51 Julia Zemiro asks, Who cares? A big Julia Zemiro 1:16:53 thank you to Kerry O'Brien and Zara Seidler for talking with me today. And a big thanks to irrational fear our Patreon supporters, the birther Foundation, and to our post producer Jacob Brown, who makes us sound great on equipment from the wonderful people at road. Join me next month, which will be 2022 to find out who else cares. I promise I'll find people. We do care and I do hope you'll get to have a break and arrest. Alright, see you soon. Bye A Rational Fear on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/ARationalFear See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
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