About Us

Tasmanian Inquirer is an independent news project founded by three award-winning Tasmanian journalists – Bob Burton, Adam Morton and Mark Horstman – to publish high-quality, public-interest journalism on the state’s politics, society and environment. 

Existing media outlets in Tasmania have suffered significant staffing and budget cuts, leaving an increasing number of important issues unexplored. Paywalls are up, limiting access to many stories to subscribers only. More cuts may be on the way as major national media companies merge and look to cut costs further, including at their Tasmanian subsidiaries. 

Tasmanian Inquirer aims to help fill that gap. Rather than compete with existing media outlets by covering the same stories in much the same way, we plan to pursue unreported and under-reported issues, and hold powerful players in Tasmanian society to account. 

We aim for quality, not quantity. Instead of publishing a high volume of stories to a fixed daily deadline, we plan to produce quality news and analysis that is beyond the existing news cycle, about stories not covered by other outlets. With your support, we intend to publish with increasing frequency over time. 

As we believe free access to information is vital in a democracy, articles will not be behind a paywall. Nor will our website feature advertising.  

Instead, Tasmanian Inquirer aims to rely on the voluntary financial and other support of readers. Those with the means can help provide access to those without.  

We welcome your suggestions of subjects worthy of investigation and especially your tips of information that could help lead to stories in the public interest. You can reach individual reporters via a message box found at the end of each story or via mail at PO Box 35, South Hobart, Tasmania 7004. 

Our aim is to start small and build a scalable and sustainable independent journalism business. As it is currently difficult to establish a media non-profit in Australia, Tasmanian Inquirer has been established as a for-profit company.

Editorial standards

Tasmanian Inquirer will meet Australian Press Council standards. The founders are all members of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance and are bound by the MEAA code of ethics.

MEAA members engaged in journalism commit themselves to: honesty, fairness, independence and respect for the rights of others.

MEAA members are obliged to apply the following standards:
• Report and interpret honestly, striving for accuracy, fairness and disclosure of all essential facts. Do not suppress relevant available facts, or give distorting emphasis. Do your utmost to give a fair opportunity for reply.
• Do not place unnecessary emphasis on personal characteristics, including race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, age, sexual orientation, family relationships, religious belief, or physical or intellectual disability.
• Aim to attribute information to its source. Where a source seeks anonymity, do not agree without first considering the source’s motives and any alternative attributable source. Where confidences are accepted, respect them in all circumstances.
• Do not allow personal interest, or any belief, commitment, payment, gift or benefit, to undermine your accuracy, fairness or independence.
• Disclose conflicts of interest that affect, or could be seen to affect, the accuracy, fairness or independence of your journalism. Do not improperly use a journalistic position for personal gain.
• Do not allow advertising or other commercial considerations to undermine accuracy, fairness or independence.
• Do your utmost to ensure disclosure of any direct or indirect payment made for interviews, pictures, information or stories.
• Use fair, responsible and honest means to obtain material. Identify yourself and your employer before obtaining any interview for publication or broadcast. Never exploit a person’s vulnerability or ignorance of media practice.
• Present pictures and sound which are true and accurate. Any manipulation likely to mislead should be disclosed.
• Do not plagiarise.
• Respect private grief and personal privacy. Journalists have the right to resist compulsion to intrude.
• Do your utmost to achieve fair correction of errors.

Guidance Clause: Basic values often need interpretation and sometimes come into conflict. Ethical journalism requires conscientious decision-making in context. Only substantial advancement of the public interest or risk of substantial harm to people allows any standard to be overridden.

Complaints

Tasmanian Inquirer encourages any readers with a concern or complaint in the first instance to utilise the link at the foot of the relevant article. The form from that link will go direct to the author with a copy to the site administrator. Each author profile page also has one or more points of contact.

Tasmanian Inquirer aims to address all concerns or complaints promptly and correct any errors or omissions, and where appropriate append a note at the foot of the article.

Where complaints can’t be resolved by mutual agreement, readers can lodge a complaint against the author with the MEAA. The link to the MEAA’s complaint form is here.

Thank you

Tasmanian Inquirer is indebted to John Anderson from Forte Web Design, a Hobart-based web design company, for his meticulous work in creating this website. If you need a web designer, we highly recommend John.

Tasmanian Inquirer is grateful for legal support from Vanessa Bleyer and her team at Bleyer Lawyers, based in Launceston and Melbourne.

Author photos are courtesy of Rob Blakers from Rob Blakers Photography.

Funding

In line with the recommendation of the Public Interest Journalism Foundation, all donations over $1000 will be publicly disclosed.

In July 2020, the Walkley Foundation provided funding to Bob Burton from its Walkley Grants for Freelance Journalism on Regional Australia program to produce a series of articles, “Who pays the piper?” The series will be published in Tasmanian Inquirer and will be identified with a Walkley Foundation logo and credit.

Meet our team

Bob Burton

Bob Burton

Bob is a Hobart-based author, researcher and freelance journalist. He is the Editor of CoalWire, a weekly digest on the global coal industry for the US-based Global Energy Monitor, and a co-founder of Tasmanian Inquirer.

His freelance journalism has been published in news outlets from the British Medical Journal to the US-based PR Watch. He is also the author of Inside Spin (2007) and co-author of two other books: Secrets and Lies with Nicky Hager and Big Coal with Guy Pearse and David McKnight.
Adam Morton

Adam Morton

Adam is a reporter, editor and a returned Tasmanian, having moved back to Hobart in 2015. He is environment editor of Guardian Australia, and a co-founder of Tasmanian Inquirer.

He held several senior roles for The Age in Melbourne, and has reported and written for the Sydney Morning Herald, ABC, BBC and Nature, among others. He has won several industry awards, including the United Nations Association of Australia media award for environmental reporting three times.
Mark Horstman

Mark Horstman

Mark is a prodigal Queenslander who after more than a decade, now calls Hobart home. A zoologist by training, his specialty in science communication has been honed across multiple careers in conservation advocacy, Aboriginal land management, broadcast journalism with Radio National and Catalyst at the ABC, and currently with the media team at the Australian Antarctic Division. 

His role as a co-founder of Tasmanian Inquirer is to offer sage advice and provide support in social media, photography and graphic design.
Web Site development, maintenance and support.
We pay our respects to the Tasmanian Aboriginal community as the traditional and original owners and continuing custodians of lutruwita, and acknowledge elders past and present.
© 2020 Tasmanian Inquirer. All rights reserved.
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