Greater media regulation in Australia seems unlikely despite the continuing efforts of left-wing academics to promote a last-century approach. At the same time, the ALP itself seems to be having some great success in using social media to promote the sort of diversity the ALP's media reforms were meant to achieve.
Laurie Oakes wrote on the weekend about an ALP graph on debt issued to counter a forthcoming Daily Telegraph story that went viral:
The graph was put on the ALP's Facebook page and, to the surprise of almost everyone, it took off. In the first 2 1/2 days there were 10,482 "shares" - people putting the graph on their own page.
By tracking "likes", the ALP's Digital Team was able to determine that it had been seen by 815,360 people in that time, almost 8 1/2 times more than anything the party had posted previously. Since readership of The Daily Telegraph is just over 780,000, Labor is claiming that its own version of the debt story reached more people than the newspaper's. That would certainly be a milestone.
A year ago, one person handled Labor's digital campaigning. Now it has a Digital Team of five paid staff plus interns.
An ALP source says: "Our goal was to have the capability to reach more people than some of the larger media outlets - for example, Alan Jones's radio show - and we can now do that."
Describing Facebook as "exciting and our fastest-growing platform", he adds: "We've been producing more compelling and relevant content that our supporters want to share with their non-political friends."
This just shows - again - that getting clever on new platforms is a much more effective exercise than clumsy exercises to put further regulation on old media outlets.