The somewhat worrying signs for Canberra’s current live music scene

CANBERRA’S live music industry is currently going through a testing period, with the recent closures of Academy and Kyte nightclubs in Civic, as well as venues such as the Phoenix struggling financially.

A popular and iconic live music venue, The Phoenix, located on Civics’ East Row (Picture: Tim Warren).

The closure of these venues has been put down to the size and cost of leasing space in the City centre, as well as new residential developments, which are all hurting live music venues.

MusicACT President David Caffery, has stated some areas for improvement for live music venues will come from relaxed sound laws, easier liquor licensing for venues, as well as more 200-400 capacity, mid-sized music venues in the Canberra city.

The front entrance of Civics’ now former Academy nightclub (Picture: Tim Warren)

“Mostly we’re focussed on lobbying for better policy around the music industry at the moment. We also have a really good one stop shop for event approvals through the ACT Government called Access Canberra” said Caffery.


Successful local folk musician Liam Wright, has played a countless number of gigs at the Phoenix and says there are some issues why live music venues are struggling, but more importantly has suggestions to improve Canberra’s music scene.

“I think the biggest thing to improve on is the consistency of people going out to these gigs. If you have a broader look at it all, there’s actually a lot happening and the reason why it’s dropping off is because people don’t realise that” said Wright.

An example of a gig at a successful live music venue in the City, The Transit Bar (Picture: Tim Warren)

Caffery believes that the key to reignite Canberra’s somewhat dwindling music industry is to come up with more innovative music events, such as the ANU pop up village, laneway parties and the support of bands by pubs, to engage the interest of the audiences.

“We need that diversity of options for the musicians to be able to play and to create employment for those musicians, you can get more innovative sounds coming out.

The venues are more conservative and book acts they know will pull people, whereas at events you can experiment a bit more and it’s proving to pull out some new artists as well” said Caffery.


17-Year-old girl allegedly assaulted over altercation regarding biscuits at a Canberra aged care facility

A 68-year-old Macgregor man who allegedly grabbed a 17-year-old female co-worker around the throat, has pleaded not guilty to one charge of common assault at the ACT Magistrates Court today.

(Tim Warren reporting outside the ACT Magistrates Court on October 16, 2017)

Lakshman Senanayake, an employee of a Canberran aged care facility, was accused of assaulting the teenage staff member because she didn’t check if there was sufficient biscuit supply for the day for their residents.

The teenager said that herself and Mr. Senanayake had been working together in the kitchen serving breakfast for residents on June 9 last year, when at about 8:30am Mr. Senanayake got aggravated with her.

She then went on to say that while he was firmly squeezing her throat for a of couple seconds, Mr. Senanayake said in a loud and raised voice that “I could kill you,” she said.

The teenager said she then pushed Mr. Senanayake back and said “you’ve gone too far this time”, referring to previous occasions during that week where he had criticised her job performance.

Police arrived on the scene at about 9:38am and intervened, after they were called by senior staff, and took photographs of red marks on the teenager’s neck, supposably caused by Mr. Senanayake.

Mr. Senanayake was arrested and said in a police interview later that day, with the help of a Sri Lankan interpreter, that the accusations were completely false and that he had only touched her hand.

“I am more experienced than her and she is very jealous of me,” Mr. Senanayake said during the interview.

While there were no eyewitnesses in the kitchen area at the time, the female teenager agreed with Mr. Senanayake’s defence solicitor during the cross-examination that residents could have been sitting at tables nearby, although she couldn’t recall exactly.

The court hearing has been adjourned until Wednesday, December 20, where the verdict will be handed down.

500 Word Reflection:

The trip to the ACT Magistrate’s court was an eye-opening experience and one that a lot could be learned from. First of all, we had to enter through the main doors with everyone else and get scanned for any unpermitted items in the court rooms as a safety precaution. We were also asked to dress professionally as it is good practice and a serious environment where a good reputation is important. When entering and leaving the courtroom, it is a standard etiquette to acknowledge the bench by a head nod, while causing minimal disturbance. When the judicial officer entered and left the courtroom we were required to stand. Recording devices were not permitted in the courtroom, meaning all phones and laptops were to be switched off and we could only write hand written notes. Also, talking levels could only be whispering or not at all. The professional media are required to carry ID at all times, but as only students we did not adhere to this. Although the Magistrates court is open for the general public to sit in, the media must acknowledge that it’s a privilege, not a right, to sit in on court proceedings, unless the Magistrate tells them they can’t report on a case and must leave the courtroom. All these procedures were based on the ‘MEAA Journalists’ Code of Ethics’.

Certain laws were relevant upon reflection of the individual case that I saw live and wrote my court report about. In courtroom 4 of the ACT Magistrates court at 10 a.m. on Monday the 16th of October, I sat in to report on a court case that had ethical issues that had to be strictly followed when writing the story. This case was about a common assault case against a 17-year-old female teenager, at a Canberran aged care facility. As the female teenager was under the age of 18 at the time, she was classed as a child by law and could not be named in any media related articles. According to the Pearson and Polden in the 4th Edition of the ‘Journalist’s guide to media law’, regarding children in court; “all states and territories ban the identification of children charged with criminal offences. Jurisdictions vary in the other aspects of reporting cases involving children. Court reporters firstly need to know the age at which young offenders will be treated as adults under the law. A person aged … eighteen is deemed an adult under all other jurisdictions” (Pearson and Polden). Furthermore, laws in this textbook, state that journalists cannot mention any details about the defendant or victim that might give away their confidentially, including suburb, appearance, race, or other remarkable or unique detail. We had to follow all of these laws regarding the restrictions on reports of proceedings involving children, in order to abide by the correct newsworthy standards of professional organisations.

Up and coming Canberran football referee one step closer to achieving ultimate goal after selection into National Youth League

It has been a lifelong dream for 19 year-old Harrison Shield to become a professional football referee, with his recent achievement proving hard work and perseverance pays off.

Harry Shield Ref Pic
Harrison Shield, 19, excited to take the next step as a football referee. (Photo: Tim Warren)

Shield’s life changing moment came in early August this year when he received the news that he had been selected to referee in the up coming season of the National Youth League (Y-League).

Harrison received an E-mail from the FFA (Football Federation Australia) and follow up phone calls from Capital Football representatives, stating that he was among one of the finest young talents in the country and rewarding him with the opportunity to referee in a professional competition.

Shield was nominated for this position by Capital Football as a referee with lots of potential, but wasn’t daunted by the prospect that he was being secretly accessed by talent scouts prior to his selection.

The Y-League, a national competition specifically designed to accommodate Australia’s best players under the age of 22, is just one rung below Australia’s premier and most elite football competition, the A-League.


Y-League logo. A competition that consists of Australia’s best under players aged under 22.

Shield hopes that with consistent and reliable refereeing performances in this seasons Y-League competition, commencing in summer, he can continue to explore higher pathways in the football landscape and further his career opportunities into the A-League and beyond.

His refereeing selection in the Y-League gives Harrison the opportunity to work with top officials from all over the country and referee some of the best young male players in Australia.

“I look forward to officiating in the Youth League, it’s a completely different style of football and environment to what I’m used to,” he said.

While Shield is currently extremely driven with his refereeing obsession and striving to achieve even more, he admits there were times where he thought about giving up, due to outside time constraints including university studies, his job at a hotel and social life commitments.

He is required to train with the ACT referee academy at the AIS at least two nights a week, while officiating National Premier League (NPL) and club football matches on the weekends.

Harrison attributes his love of football from an early age, playing for the Brindabella Blues Football Club in Tuggeranong, as well as his dad’s guidance as a key factor to his passion and success in the sport.

Listen to more about Harrison’s achievements and journey in the interview podcast below.

Multi-Platform News Analysis: Melbourne DFO Plane Crash

Five people were killed when a light aircraft crashed into a popular shopping centre in Melbourne of the 20th of February. This news story, arguably one of the biggest in the nation this year to date, was heavily covered by the media with it receiving breaking news across multiple news platforms. The similarities and differences across three of these news platforms will be analysed by how the news originally broke and how the story was covered.

dfo plane crash main image
PHOTO: Firefighters containing blaze in DFO shopping centre after light plane crash. (Supplied: ABC News/Metropolitan Fire Brigade)

Pilot Max Quartermain, as well four passengers which were American tourists, took off from Melbourne’s Essendon airport just after 9:00am on the Monday morning. Shortly after take-off the plane experienced severe engine failure before crashing into the nearby DFO shopping centre, located in very near proximity to the airport’s runway.

As the disaster happened during the mid-morning, it was very promptly covered and reported with breaking news across popular breakfast talk shows, including Sunrise and The Today Show.

Channel Nine News Melbourne released one of the top rating Tweets about the incident with a video news report, about an hour after the initial event. The Tweet included helicopter footage and inclusive interviews with Victoria Police.

Another media platform that covered the Essendon Plane Crash incident was ABC News online, with them publishing a news article the next afternoon (21st of February) after the previous day’s events. This article went further into depth with finer details and quotes from various stakeholders in the matter.

ABC news article
Screenshot from ABC News Online Article.

Finally, the third media platform that will be analysed is a Television Bulletin uploaded to the Sky News website on the 22nd of February, which included a recap of the story and interviews with fellow reporters.

sky news video pic
Screenshot from Sky News Australia TV bulletin.

Similarities and differences between stories across news platforms:


In this news case of the plane crashing into the DFO shopping centre in Melbourne, Twitter was the first news platform to break the story. This is due to the quick simplicity of the instant posting that Twitter provides for reporters and News organisations. The example Tweet by Nine News Melbourne, as linked above, was posted at 10:24am on the morning of the incident, which is extremely quick compared to the other two news platform examples. The online news article from ABC, although going into a greater depth of detail was released almost 30 hours after the original breaking news tweet. Furthermore, the Television panel discussion on Sky News Australia was released on the Wednesday, two days after the initial incident, however analysed the aftermath of the crash with more available knowledge.


 Angle of the stories:

 All three of the news platforms had similar sentiments regarding the nature of the story. They all had the element of disaster and tragedy involving the horrible accident and the pending/confirmed deaths of all five passengers on-board the plane. However, there can be slight differences picked up between the separate news stories. For example, in the Channel Nine’s tweet, they had linked in a video of a press conference with reporters interviewing a police officer. The interview was fairly short and frantic as a lot of information was not yet known, and some of which was protected for the integrity for the investigation.

The ABC online news article the next day however could provide more extensive details, such as confirming that there had been five casualties in the plane crash. Other details that were in the online news article but not the tweet was the pilots name, the original desired destination for the aircraft, a background on the passengers, and a general recap of the disaster. The Sky News Television report obviously had more graphical content then the other two news platforms and could the utter destruction of the plane crash and could further analyse the repercussions pf the incident a couple days on with expert analysis. All three of the news platforms shared the same tragic view of the event and each of the stories had the key underlining messages, although presented in different formats.


News Values:

 There are a number of similar news values that appear in the plane crash stories of the three aforementioned platforms. News values are extremely important as they are in almost every news story and defines if a topic is indeed newsworthy or not. “There has been considerable research into news values, much of it focusing on analysis of news content published and broadcast by different media outlets on different platforms in different markets” (Lamble, 2013, pg.45).

The four out of six news values that are similar and consistent across all three news platforms in this story are significance/impact, conflict, human interest and proximity.

Significance (or impact) is arguably the most important news value as it affects a large number of people and is usually a major event that happens in society. The DFO plane crash for instance affected the five deceased, Essendon airport, slowed the traffic flow on the highway due to debris, closed the shopping centre for a couple days and members of emergency crews. 


Comprehensiveness of the story:

The online news article by ABC News and the TV bulletin by Sky News were far more comprehensive and detailed than the Twitter counterpart. The article and TV bulletin were published the day’s following the incident allowing reporters to gather more substantial details and facts regarding the news story. The Channel Nine Tweet, while although was the first released, did not go into any specific detail about the plane crash as they did not yet know them. Tweets limit users to a small maximum of 140 characters per post, though also giving the ability to include external links or videos. “Social Media is often seen as a tool used by publishers and journalists to distribute content, brand individual journalists and publishers, and to engage with audiences, and it certainly fulfils those functions” (Dunlop, 2016). Although social media is the easiest platform to break new content first, it generally isn’t the most comprehensive.


Fairness and balance of reporting:

 All three news stories surrounding the DFO plane crash were fair and accurate to what we know. Also, the main details were consistent throughout the three different platforms, which means there was no alternating facts or cause for arguments between opposing news stories. Furthermore, none of the three news organisations; Channel Nine News, ABC News or Sky News, had a personal agenda to write about which dissolves any basis for a biased news article. The news story came about because of a freak accident and therefore no news organisation had any prior knowledge to the events that would evolve. The fairness and balance of reporting in the three news stories is reliable and there is no reason for the facts and/or opinions too be undermined or accused in any way for wrong doing.



The Essendon plane crash story is probably the biggest this year to date and is still receiving media coverage. At the time of the accident, the story was breaking news all over television and Twitter. The story was at the start of each news bulletin on TV and was the top trending story on Twitter while the story was breaking and many days following.



The three news stories spread over the three different platforms of Twitter, online ABC news article and the TV bulletin are all more similar than different. They all share roughly the same news angle, news values and fairness of reporting, while varying slightly on timeliness and prominence. All stories captured the tragic aspect of the whole plane crash disaster.



Dunlop, T. (2016) Media Innovation and Disruption. Chapter 6, Pg. 69. (Class reading).

Five killed as light plane hits Essendon shopping centre. (2017). ABC News. Retrieved 11 March 2017, from

Lamble, S. (2013) News As It Happens: An Introduction to Journalism (Pg. 45). Melbourne, Oxford University Press

Nine News Melbourne. (2017). Retrieved 14 March 2017, from (2017). Search for answers over Essendon plane crash. Retrieved 15 March 2017, from