Judging Eureka Street

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After almost ten years, I'm into my final week as editor of Eureka Street. It's pleasing that we were successful in the Australasian Catholic Press Association 'industry' awards announced in Broome on Thursday evening, where we were named Best Online Publication and Publication of the Year for 2015. The images in the slide show on this page tell their own story.

But industry awards provide one judgment, and positive and negative reader reaction through article comments and direct communication can give more sobering feedback. Our readers rightly expect a lot of us and are often surprised to learn that our magazine staff currently adds up to roughly the equivalent of one full-time person.

Our 'unique visitor' internet statistics have always been encouraging, though it is becoming more difficult to sustain a regular rise in readership in an increasingly crowded marketplace. Subscriptions to our daily and weekly email newsletter tend to be stagnant at a time when vastly increased numbers of readers are accessing our articles through Facebook and Twitter.

These new pathways have encouraged readers to consume individual articles on the basis of merit and recommendations, rather than taking the magazine as a package. We are lucky to have writers such as Frank Brennan and Andrew Hamilton, whose names draw readers to our magazine. Increasingly this is also the case for some of our younger writers such as Ellena Savage, who started with us as an intern.

Today there is generally less loyalty to media mastheads than there used to be, although the enthusiastic and generous response to our Winter and Christmas raffles would seem to belie that reality. Our readers did not take to our early attempt to erect a paywall but, in addition to the raffles, have shown their willingness to support us through donations.

Finally it is our own judgment of our work that is perhaps the most important, certainly in light of Pope Francis' signature utterance 'Who am I to judge [others]?' Self-reflection that incorporates a process of 'discernment' of deeper and more fruitful realities is also an important part of the Ignatian or Jesuit tradition to which Eureka Street belongs.

Next week I will have some thoughts on the particular genre of people-centred journalism that we have arrived at after making a few mis-steps. I've come to see what we do as a departure from the Anglo-Saxon tradition of journalistic objectivity and have settled on the label 'journalism of empathy'.


Michael MullinsMichael Mullins is editor of Eureka Street until Friday 18 September 2015.

 

Topic tags: Michael Mullins, media, publishing, Eureka Street


 

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Existing comments

This feels sad. Eureka Street is a community. Thanks, Michael, for your writing and listening. I look forward to reading your thoughts in this coming week. And, as always, appreciating.
Pam | 12 September 2015


Its a great publication - humane, informed, thoughtful, thought provoking, sometimes tear inducing, independent. Room for debate, being challenged (even annoyed!), disagreement, inspiration. In short, a really great daily magazine. So, if you have been editor for 10 years - a long long time, then very well done indeed and many thanks.
Julian McMahon | 14 September 2015


Congratulations on the awards won and thank you for providing all the interesting, confronting and rewarding reading, that is Eureka Street. We shall miss you Michael. I look forward to reading about the next stage of your journey.
Helen Konynenburg | 14 September 2015


Michael Mullins: Earlier this year, you emailed (to me),... " the articles aim to reflect, for example, Catholic social teaching, and I believe many of them do." To paraphrase the words of Jesus, (Mt 23:23), 'These you should have done, without neglecting weightier matters.' Like most other religions, Catholic publications promote the Catholic way of life, as if , at least implicitly, it is the one and only path to God. When we say 'OUR Father, despite our name of Catholic (Universal), we tend to exclude recognition of the efforts of 'Others', although such recognition and appreciation is essential for the resolution of the religious based conflicts throughout the world. It is also necessary for preventing 'future shock' as Catholics are brought to realise that despite the great insights and contributions of Catholics, God does not have 'favourites', as both Peter and Paul acknowledged.. Some preparation for this outlook is needed to avoid disorientation when it becomes more evident.
NameRobert Liddy | 14 September 2015


Intelligent journalism such as shown in your articles much appreciated by me. 'Journalism of empathy' should allow for integrity in expression. Thank you so much for your work.
carla van raay | 14 September 2015


Thank you Michael. Eureka Street is a welcome visitor each time it arrives in my inbox. It does represent 'journalism of empathy' but also intelligent, faith-based or faith-critiquing perspectives that are unavailable elsewhere. ES is an Australian treasure and I hope it has a long life ahead, even in a more crowded house.
Steve | 14 September 2015


Thank you for giving us a journall which, by the quality of its articles helps me to come to an understanding of important issues.
Mary | 14 September 2015


Congratulations on 10 years of informing and challenging Australians to building a more just and compassionate country. Ad multos annos, Michael.
Denis Fitzgerald | 14 September 2015


Well done Michael. The publication is outstanding.
Michael Duck | 14 September 2015


Michael, warmest thanks from a Uniting Church reader who delights to recommend the electronic version to her UCA friends. Breakfast with Eureka Street is a must! Thank you for the breadth of your social concerns, the depth at which they are explored, the insights, challenges and confrontations, intelligence and balance which mark the articles. I have greatly enjoyed your editorship, Michael, and the way in which the church speaks to current social and political situations. (I am delighted to see articles by UCA writers from time to time!) So, my sincere appreciation for your decade of inspired editorship.
Joan | 14 September 2015


Thank you Michael for the legacy you have established of such an insightful publication on current issues. Eureka Street is one of the ways that helps me to discern the ' signs of the times' as recommended by Pope John xiii not long before his death.
Mary W | 14 September 2015


Congratulations for the well deserved award, Well done for all the contributors. Reading Eureka Street is one of the 'must do's' each morning. Thanks for such a quality online publication.
Kevin Treston | 14 September 2015


Congratulations on your 10 most fruitful years at the helm of Eureka Street and the recent Awards the magazine has won, Michael. You do mention it is a collaborative effort and the people you mention are excellent. I am amazed you run the magazine on what is the equivalent of one full-time person. It is good that you have embraced Twitter and Facebook as they are the new means of communication. Your message is one that is very necessary in contemporary Australia. Many, many more years to both you, your contributors and the magazine!
Edward Fido | 14 September 2015


'The journalism of empathy' sounds about right. Congratulations on a very effective 10 years. I am neither Catholic nor religious but find Eureka Street a wonderful source of thoughtful commentary on the joys and wickedness of contemporary times.
Robert Smith | 14 September 2015


Sad to see you go, Michael. It's been great working for you. All the best, Fiona
Fiona Katauskas | 14 September 2015


Sad to hear you are leaving as your short pieces that I read have all hit the nail on the head. Congratulations on the award! Werner
Werner | 14 September 2015


So sorry you are leaving, Michael. Eureka Street has shown the compassionate journalism I have strived for in my own exposition of church in the world and I have always admired your insightful writing as well as the ability to pull an eclectic mix of contributors. I look forward to reading you from a little more distance now. And congratulations for all those well deserved awards.
Cecily McNeill | 14 September 2015


Thank you, Michael, for your years as editor. I look forward to many years of Eureka Street continuing to provide opportunity for discussion among Australian Catholics which demonstrates balance in the various arguments current in our Church, and presenting a wide range of opinion on general current affairs.
Ian Fraser | 14 September 2015


Congratulations on the outstanding, devoted service you have given us all, Michael. Very best wishes for the future.
David Timbs | 14 September 2015


Thank you Michael for your editing of Eureka street for 10 years. I have looked forward to the articles, especially those reflecting on major current social and moral issues. I look to the articles for balanced, informed material, and an antidote to the lack of information, misinformation, and often superficial material that is easily accessible in other media. The Eureka Street staff being the 'equivalent of one full time person' brings a smile: it is the way much has been achieved with enthusiasm, generosity and quality in the Australian Catholic story. Congratulations on the awards. Thank you and all the best for your future. Jan Tranter
Janice Tranter | 14 September 2015


Congratulations Michael on a job well done. It is good to have an alternative take on current affairs that is compassionate and intelligent at the same time; not always an easy thing to be.
Tom Kingston | 14 September 2015


Sorry as well to hear of you leaving. but a hard job well done. I am very grateful. Awards well deserved.
Eugene | 14 September 2015


In the year or two since I have been a (non-Catholic) subscriber, Eureka Street has become my 'go-to' publication for balanced, informed and ethical commentary and analysis of virtually every issue that matters - or should matter - to thinking, principled Australians. I look forward to reading it every day. So I'm glad the Australasian Catholic Press Association recognises this, but I think the quality of your publication goes way beyond that. The depth of knowledge and analysis of your contributors gives real insight. And comments from readers are often just as illuminating. With observations usually illustrative of all directions in a debate, they are often as much a learning experience as the articles. I may heartily disagree with some attitudes, but most are at least rationally presented. And the Australia of today needs to be more willing to listen to viewpoints other than one's own. Publications like this should be an attitudinal model for our increasingly sadly deficient political institutions (and certain other media organisations). Congratulations, Michael, on your awards, and on your ten years at the helm. The historical concept of 'Eureka' has an idealistic, but lately often misused heritage. But Eureka Street does the name proud.
PaulM | 14 September 2015


Congratulations and Best Wishes. AD MELIORA. God bless and keep you.
Peter Watson | 14 September 2015


Congratulations Michael and blessings on the road ahead. Eureka St is always my first read most mornings
Patricia Ryan | 14 September 2015


Congratulations, Michael -for both the award and your negotiating Eureka Street through a decade of change. Its accessible, intelligent and pithy articles never fail to provoke and deepen awareness - leading to feisty dialogue. In this forum the secular is truly the sacred, and vice versa! Thank you.
vivien williams | 14 September 2015


Michael, you will be missed. Congratulations on all of your achievements at Eureka Street and all the best for the future.
Maureen O'Brien | 14 September 2015


Michael, congratulations and many thanks for facilitating this great online publication.. You have provided us with writing that gives hope, shape and enlightenment to our day .Eureka Street gives many of us a spring in our step ,a place to be heard and a place to listen/read and understand. With poems , film reviews , articles on a wide range of contemporary issues you and your staff nourish us daily. Have a good rest , recharge your batteries and then embrace the next phase in your life.
Celia | 14 September 2015


good luck, Michael!
Alison | 14 September 2015


Thank you Michael, for your support and critiques of my occasional contributions. ES and the comments it evokes are blessings in a cynical world.
Frank | 14 September 2015


Congratulations, Michael, and also for a fine job over a decade. I trust the future will have many more challenges (of the exciting kind) in store for you. Warm regards Morag Fraser
Morag Fraser | 14 September 2015


Many thanks
Peter Goers | 14 September 2015


You've set a benchmark for your successor, Michael, and it's a high one. Thank you for these years of service to the community - and for the next.
Joan Seymour | 14 September 2015


Congratulations of the well deserved awards ES - way out there in front with quality journalism. Thank you Michael for your wonderful contribution over ten years. Every blessing for the future of ES and yours Michael.
Anne Lanyon | 15 September 2015


Best wishes for the future Michael. ES has a well deserved reputation for sound thought mixed with compassion mixed with intelligent if at times robust debate. You guided it well. Hope we haven't seen the last of your contributions. Cheers!
Brett | 15 September 2015


Thanks, Michael, for your dedication to Eureka Street; blessings on your new endeavours.
Jack | 15 September 2015


Eureka Street has always been my "go-to" place when considering the meaty issues of the moment. I have found it challenging, informative, stimulating and entertaining. I have loved the inclusion of poetry from time to time. Congratulations on a wonderful 10 years at the helm. Marg
Marg | 15 September 2015


WELL DONE, Michael. Here's hoping Eureka Street keeps going in the same vein, John Magee
JOHN MAGEE | 15 September 2015


Thank you so much Michael for all your work for Jesuit Publications and Eureka Street. I'll be sorry to see you go..We will really miss you. Blessing for your future.
Paul Collins | 16 September 2015


I join the chorus. Thanks to Michael for his open mind and open heart over the years. I have been reading the Street since its papery days under Marcelle Mogg, and I do not know of a magazine in the world that is as consistently stimulating, open-minded, enlightening, educational, and often moving -- sometimes even the hilariously testy comments. The Street, I think, manages a wonderful balance: it is proudly and thoroughly Catholic, and at the same time gloriously open to all voices, all threads of thought and story. There is a quiet proud humility about the Street that I much admire.
Brian Doyle | 16 September 2015


Yes, thanks for your writing and your reading. It's extremely rare in this day and age to have an editor who's so positive and supportive to his writers. Thank you.
Sarah Klenbort | 16 September 2015


Raindrops fall and soon we have some puddles; puddles run and soon we have some streams; streams run and become rivers and rivers join the sea - I say 'hurrah' for such as ES raindrops of contribution to the paddlers on the sea who enjoy the journey on the waves of intelligent sharing and the ripples of truth's wile ways.
Paul Goodland | 16 September 2015


Thank you Michael. I too have greatly appreciated what you have done over the years.
Ginger Meggs | 17 September 2015


On 15 September someone posted a comment on this article using the name that I had hitherto also used, to wit "Marg". Whether this is an honest error or a deliberate hijacking of my Eureka Street online identity, I do not know. However, for the sake of disambiguation I will now be known as Marg M. So other "Marg" feel free to be "Marg". But "Marg M" should be mine. This may also clear up some confusion. If readers have noted my posts on other articles over the years, they would know that I do not share Marg's views of Eureka Street. I would not be nearly so fulsome in my praise of the site.
Marg M | 18 September 2015


Congratulations on 10 years of consistent excellence with "Eureka Street", Michael. I am always pleased when "Eureka Street" pops into my Inbox as I know its articles will inform, challenge & entertain me. Readers can be harsh & only make contact to complain. Take heart in a ministry well & truly done!
Elizabeth Harrington | 18 September 2015


Michael, Thanks for the tremendous work editing Eureka Street. Best wishes for your next ventures.
Bruce D | 21 September 2015


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