"I plead guilty": Waleed Aly acknowledges his "hypocrisy" to send a powerful message.

Gold Logie winning journalist Waleed Aly has delivered an impassioned speech about the shortcomings of Australian media, saying “real debate just takes too much time.”

Delivering the prestigious 2016 Andrew Olle Media Lecture in Sydney on Friday night, the 38-year-old said,”We’ve all seen examples where some kind of performed, heated disagreement stands in for an actual debate, where people engage each other’s ideas rather than simply roll out their pre-determined talking points.”

party for freedom

Waleed Aly on The Project. Source: Channel 10. 

"What we're witnessing there is a spectacle of duelling 'received ideas'," Aly continued, adding, "And it's hard to dream up an alternative because, to put it simply, a real debate just takes too much time. So it's easier to pretend conflict is the same thing."

Acknowledging his popular and highly-shared segments from The Project, the Gold Logie winner admitted, "I am not remotely exempt from any of my reflections tonight. Whatever the shortcomings of contemporary journalism, I'm entirely complicit – at least as much as anyone else. You can save your charges of hypocrisy, because I plead guilty up front, fully in the knowledge that everything I say about journalism rebounds onto me."


The Project's main team: Aly, Carrie Bickmore and Peter Helliar. Source: Getty. 

Explaining his comments, Aly went on, "Speaking for myself, if ... I have the choice between reporting a story on, say, how superannuation tax concessions work and another story about, say, a gaffe from Tony Abbott, I'll choose the gaffe story every time. It's easy to write, easy to read and will earn me more kudos. Why wouldn't I?"

The father-of-two continued, "And if I have a choice between spending weeks or months getting to know a low socio-economic community to get a direct sense of what their concerns are and staying in my office and bashing out a live blog of the parry and thrust of the day in politics, I'll choose the blog every time. Again, why wouldn't I?" he said.


Aly at the 2016 Logies with wife Dr Susan Carland. Source: Getty. 

Aly also shared the story of his stumble into a media career during his address, saying that it almost didn't happen.

"I applied for a cadetship at The Age out of university and got asked to come in for the exam, but in the meantime, I'd been offered a legal job and the exam was on Grand Final day, so I didn't turn up."

Taking the legal job, Aly then spent years working as a lawyer before moving into academia.

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Aly on the Project with co-host Carrie Bickmore. Source: Channel 10. 

The move into the media, Aly said, only happened "because I liked writing, had a deep love of newspapers and started getting the odd column published."

But less than two years on from joining The Project, it's clear it's a mutual love, with Aly winning the 2016 Gold Logie ahead of competitors like Lee-Lin Chin, Carrie Bickmore, Scott Cam, Grant Denyer and Essie Davis.