What’s journalism’s future? Does it have a future at all?
For the last four days, a very mixed bag of veteran journos, aspiring freelancers, impoverished writers, students, film makers, trouble makers and even the odd academic have been meeting at the Storyology conference in Sydney, trying to work out where journalism is heading. Talk was seasoned by the knowledge that even some of the more famous, who came along to chair sessions, had recently found themselves going nowhere; redundant as a digital tsunami rolled through their mainstream media. So much of the conference buzz was really about “How do I make a living?”, in a world where tech nerd start ups were eclipsing century old newspaper mastheads.
They were told to learn, evolve and take control.
New media revolutionised US Presidential elections through fund raising, fact checking and crowd sourcing, according to Tom Shaller ( @schaller67 ).
Social media offered fast, if not always accurate, coverage.
Schaller , Professor of political science at the University of Maryland, was speaking at a master class on media and US politics at the UTS Graduate School of Journalism. Tom Schaller is a regular political columnist for the Baltimore Sun and is the author of a number of books on politics. His visit to Australia was sponsored by the US government. More…
The Online Journalism blog contains more than fifteen reports on online journalism, new media and the professional use of Twitter and Facebook. They include:
Computers were introduced into Australian journalism in the early seventies by Australian Associated Press (AAP), a news wholesaler owned by the major newspaper groups.
International news came in on tele-printers, typed in capitals. Sub-editors cut sentences into strips and glued them onto paper backing.
Networks of outsourced sub-editors, linked by computers, could edit most newspapers.
Combined with good journalism fact checking, Twitter can help create an unprecedented network of sources providing global reach, diversity and credibility. More…
The Internet abolished journalists’ dominance of international news. Twitter eclipsed political reporters’ control of the political debate.
Politicians’ news conferences, broadcast live, are dissected by running commentaries and analysis by a galaxy of often anonymous microbloggers. MSM (mainstream media) journalists have been running to catch up. More…
Australia’s leading quality press, Fairfax newspapers, have taken a big step towards becoming a virtual news group.
Fairfax Media, which published the Age, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian Financial Review, today announced the closure of its major printing presses and dumping the traditional broadsheet format, while foreshadowing more than 1900 redundancies.
The impact of today’s announcement reflects the narrow ownership of Australia’s news media. Fairfax may be centred in only Sydney and Melbourne, but it represents a liberal alternative to the dominant Murdoch press and the government funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation. More…
Its wrong to think of free speech as an absolute which underpins democracy. Its really a contested event which ebbs and flows, even in stable western countries.
For the last decade, the internet and in particular social media, were seen as advancing free speech and in doing so, threatening authoritarian regimes. But Evgeny Morozov argues that authoritarian governments have quickly adapted to dash what he calls naive democratic hopes. More…
Why were new media able to topple governments in Egypt and Tunisia, but sparked new waves of oppression in Syria and Iran?
During the Arab Spring last year, citizen journalists, using Facebook, Twitter, email and iPhones, undermined state censorship and contributed to the success of massive pro-democracy demonstrations in Cairo and Tunis. Yet in Iran, many of the activists were arrested while in the case of the Iranian ally, Syria, the government simply attacked with tanks.
Citizen Journalism can flourish where mainstream journalists have been corrupted or censored by governments and corporations.
Writing in his new book, Revolution 2.0, Wael Ghonim said that social media armed pro democracy activists against the State’s “weapons of mass oppression”. During last year’s Arab Spring demonstrations in Egypt, the internet was used to keep activist organisers at arms length from security forces.
Ghonim, an Egyptian born Google executive, operated out of the relative safety of Dubai, while he ran his virtual campaign against the Egyptian government. When he did come home to Egypt, prior to the major demonstrations on January 25, 2011, he was promptly disappeared by security forces who isolated him and subjected him to psychological tortures. Google meanwhile campaigned for his release. More…
Australian media are not as accountable as a democracy might expect.
That’s the view of the Australian government’s Independent Inquiry into Media and Media Regulations, conducted by a retired judge, Ray Finkelstein.
Australia has a very narrow mainstream media ownership by democratic standards. One foreign media group dominates the newspapers, while the taxpayer funded ABC generates the bulk of electronic media news and current affairs.
Finkelstein as seen by the Sydney Morning Herald
How do you find out how journalists are using social media? One way is to post a question on a social media site such as the Online Journalism group on Linkedin, which provides connections for professionals. I admitted that I was asking an open ended question to expose myself to new ideas so that I could hopefully write more informed articles.
Some respondents said they simply used social media to publicise their stories.