Debelle mulls OTT journalism for Walkleys

Banking Day staff Other topics
Pilloried for being wrong on a house price slump, and now praised for passing the RBA punditry test: Professor Steve Keen of Kingston University, London
Pilloried for being wrong on a house price slump, and now praised for passing the RBA punditry test: Professor Steve Keen of Kingston University, London

Citizens “need to be informed” of the bleakest forecasts that haunt capital markets “but not bombarded with them” Guy Debelle, deputy governor of the RBA said yesterday at a journalists union function in Sydney.

Recruited to help the Media Alliance name the shortlist of finalists for the 2018 Walkley Award for business journalism, Debelle mused on uncertainty in life and finance, and concluded “we seem to have a surplus of Cassandras” in Australian business media.

In published remarks Debelle did not chastise any outlets, accepting that “financial media is very important to the Reserve Bank, playing a critical role in helping us communicate our message to the public”.

“A housing market crash,” he said, was the type of topic on which pundits could serve readers better - "They need a time frame and they need some numbers," he said.

“Probabilistic statements should be falsifiable and they should be verifiable”, he said, thinking of the scientific method entrenched since the work of philosopher Karl Popper.

“Journalists (and policymakers) need to filter and clarify,” Debelle declared.

Hats off to the three finalists in the business journalism category of the Walkleys.

They are Leo Shanahan (Sky News, for combative follow ups to the Commonwealth Bank money laundering fracas), Jonathan Shapiro (Australian Financial Review, for an expose on the shady financier Big Un Limited) and Edmund Tadros (also from the AFR, for a #MeToo investigation on the chauvinism and harassment of women at the larger accounting firms).