I took on a difficult commission during the recent election, writing about the fall of the Rudd Government before it fell. Yeah, it seemed like a foregone conclusion and in the end it was. But nobody who does this kind of work has ever forgotten the image of Truman holding up that newspaper screaming out in 300 point type 'Dewey Defeats Truman'.
You don't even have to go back very far in local political history to find an equivalent. Paul Keating's defeat of John Hewson surprised everyone so much that even Keating himself had no victory speech prepared.
I also didnt want to do the standard news review piece where you just regurg' a couple of pars from Fairfax, a couple of pars from the Oz and call it balance. As far as possible I wanted to avoid talking to any of the usual suspects.
Partly that was because I was writing for Anne Summer's new online mag, ASR, and they want to be different. Partly I know from personal experience that 'churnalism' where you just throw in all of the usual ingredients and give it a stir, has no intrinsic value. Hence my decision to interview bookmakers rather than pollsters, and the former soc-media wrangler for Telstra, rather than, say, former party leaders. As the initial commission was framed in terms of explaining Rudd's inexplicable popularity - then reframed as his numbers collapsed - I even considered talking to Lara Bingle about the fickle nature of fame and love.
But she was doing a nude shoot and proved unreachable.
Anyway, the article is at annesummers.com.au
It's an online PDF-based magazine (which should really just become a web and/or native app, perhaps when prss.com finally launches) and you need to subscribe to get the content. But the subscription is free. You can donate if you like, or you can save your coins for yet another Candy Crush rip off.
I think it's an interesting response to the death of the old media and I was going to write about it at length here, but put that off when they commissioned me.
Anyway. Below is my fave par from the story.
... But since 2007, the desire of the parties to conventionalize and control online media has misread it, and Rudd in particular has suffered because so much of his apparent popularity was nothing like the tribal loyalties inspired by the demands of old-school political allegiances and combat; it was more akin to the hyper-accelerated sequence of emergence, metastasizing popularity, over-exposure, backlash and collapse that characterizes the shortened life-cycles of internet phenomenons. he was, in the end, just a trending topic, with less staying power than Justin Bieber.