The Social Media Counter-Revolution Reply

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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…

Technology : a very short history of journalists and computers 1

Australia’s most prestigious newspaper group, Fairfax Media, this week moved to sack about eighty experienced sub-editors to outsource production and cut costs. The move followed share price falls resulting from from weak advertising markets, currency fluctuations and the impact of the internet on readership. It may have long term implications for the journalism culture which has sustained quality Fairfax newspapers.

Newspapers, like the automatic wrist watch or the big gun battleship, were inventions of the mechanical age. Journalists were at the front end of an information assembly line where reporters collected the raw materials, sub-editors refined it, lay out staff boilerplated the words together and printers manufactured the industrial out put. Newspapers were called “the daily miracle”.

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Asia online Reply

Master control at CCTV in Beijing.

Global media is at a tipping point. The western news establishment is reeling as profits collapse and revenue moves to the internet. Only today, Canwest, Canada’s largest newspaper publisher, with twelve daily newspapers, sought bankruptcy protection for its entire newspaper division. Canwest is not the first big newspaper chain to go bust. It won’t be the last. The old international news order, which has been dominated by the west since the invention of the telegraph, is undergoing radical and widespread change, driven by the internet.
But what many people maybe don’t realise is that while there’s a crisis in the west, its boom time in Asian media.
Already, there may be almost three times as many internet users in Asia as in north America. As literacy grows and fast broadband spreads to even the most remote communities, the gap will grow even wider. Cheap new technology will mean that this new majority will not only be media consumers but also be increasingly sophisticated producers.
Which is why I’ve spent the last few days in Singapore.
I’ve been attending the Board meeting of AMIC, the Asian centred media research group, which has been investigating and charting these changes. Based in Singapore, AMIC is a truly international organisation with Board members from Malaysia, India, Japan, the Philippines and yours truly from Australia.
It was set up with German assistance more than thirty years ago to promote and educate socially responsible media in the interests of development and democracy. Today it runs websites, published scholarly books, organises training workshops and holds an annual conference which bring together academics, practitioners and activists from all over the Asia Pacific. This year, they will be discussing the new wave sweeping through “Technology and Culture: Communication Connectors and Dividers”.
AMIC might not have all the answers to what’s going on. But Asia is where the real questions will be asked.

Multi Media Journalism at QUT Reply

Nothing beats a well written, original news story. But these days a good story also needs to be multi-layered with images, audio, television and hypertext.
QUT journalism staff met with industry experts to review the stream of online journalism subjects being rolled out for undergraduate students.
Australian Broadcasting Corporation Acting Online News Editor, Stuart Watt said, “the challenge is to get them [student journalists] to think how best to tell a story [using technology]” They needed to understand that a story wasn’t just text, it was a combination of media. “As long as journalists can visualise the story”, he said, they could get experts create the sites.
The Editor of brisbanetimes.com.au, Daniel Sankey said that the term “online journalists” should be abandoned. All contemporary journalists should be multi-skilled; to be able to take photos, as well as write and understand the basics of new technologies. But they still needed to get a good story first.
QUT students are introduced the issues and practices of journalism on the web in Digital Journalism. The subject sought to get students to look critically at existing web-sites and evaluate them as potential journalism sources.
Dr Lee Duffield said that Online Journalism 1 would get them producing material in a blog format. The students would use a purpose built site, Sub-Tropic which would cover events in south east Queensland.
Susan Hetherington said that Online Journalism 2 would develop multi-purposing, creating more sophisticated web based products. the empasis was on re-using, re-purposing, value adding, so that a story ca be told in many different ways.
Final year students would be able to enroll in projects, which might use the web for investigative journalism, niche issues such as fashion and site management.

Alan Knight