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Journalism is dead: Long live journalism

Journalism is dead: Long live journalism

Worried that jobs in journalism are disappearing? Or are you fired up by new media? Does the future belong to reporters who blog, tweet or post their way to on-line fame, or has new journalism led us all into an ‘all-about-me’ blogosphere black hole?

Add your voice to the old-versus-new media debate! Make a firm date with WIM to attend “Journalism is Dead: Long Live Journalism”, our first 2013 event on March 20.

Meanwhile, here’s what some of us think…

“OK, I’ll admit it – I don’t do Facebook, I don’t use Twitter and I don’t have my own website. I have an i-Pad but no smart phone. For years, I wrote stories without a single resort to the Internet. It didn’t exist until midway into my career in journalism.

Of course, I now use the internet every day, for research and for communicating with various commissioners of freelance work. But my kind of journalism has largely remained obdurately connected to the real, not virtual, world. I make periodic contributions to a couple of websites, but mainly I write words that appear in a paper or magazine or – on a few occasions – book.

I do the odd radio interview, but that’s no different from the days when I was working in TV and Radio. But today journalists are expected to be more opinionated, to become a commentator on the story, even part of it, via Twitter, Facebook, blogging and endless opinion programs like The Drum.

If I describe myself as a Luddite, it’s because I don’t mind appearing as old-fashioned as the meaning of the word itself. I am not interested in raising my personal profile beyond the act of placing my byline on the odd story; I don’t want to comment online on a swag of unrelated issues or events. I don’t want a following or fanmail.

I like to investigate a story, visit, talk to real people and write it up. So in the new era of social media and personality-centred journalism, I’m probably doomed.”
Victoria Laurie
Freelance journalist

“Why new media? Remember back in the 90s when people thought the internet was a passing fad and computer geeks were sneered at? When we used to think that only established journalists could report from the scene, produce in-depth reporting, cover local and international news and effect change?

Thanks to technology, the media landscape has changed – much as it did when typesetting was replaced by photosetting, and then replaced again with the digital era. To engage with Twitter, Facebook, podcasting, blogging and so on, is to engage with audiences that we’ve always needed to reach: by developing and adapting much needed skills in technology and communication.

I use new media because it enables me to connect and communicate the views of experts, who are able to deftly dissect and cover topics, during a time where established outlets are losing ground and audiences.

When the public loses trust in traditional media, this is where podcasters and YouTube content creators step in. When specialists and experts are sidelined due to economic hardship, they appear on Twitter and blogs, producing content and linking to support their sources.

As a podcaster for The Token Skeptic, I have independence and a passion for communicating the latest in science communication – and like other new media creators, I’m encouraged by an audience that is growing every day.”

Kylie Sturgess

“The proliferation of freely available news via social media is having a profound effect on traditional media. We all know that. But what about journalists’ job security?

Journalists in the old media world are losing their jobs, and in the new media environment journalists tend to give their work away for free.

With less trained newsgatherers paid to shine the light into places that might otherwise remain unexplored and unreported, what are the implications for the strength of Western democracy? Who will wade through countless pages of documents requested through FOI? Who will trawl endless transcripts and annual reports? Who will do the investigative digging that unearths the stories that need to be told?

Aside from the problem of a viable business model for quality journalism, I’m entirely conflicted about the information on social media platforms. I can see that Twitter is brilliant for connecting us to original sources of information – reports, empirical research, transcripts – and helping us to find excellent journalism. But while this is a boon for transparency, I struggle with the loss of privacy that accompanies so much of social media.

I also find it slightly galling that people feel the need to broadcast their every move and that journalists today, yes, even journalists, mistake the minutiae of their jobs for something of public interest. Surely the story is the real story? I don’t need to know that you’ve just jumped in the car to go to the ALP presser, all I want to know about is the story. But maybe I’m missing the point. Is the vast ocean of ancillary information – even the downright trivial – helping to heighten our understanding of a complicated world?

Perhaps the engagement now possible between a journalist and their audience is better because it is more direct, more transparent. The blurring of public and private might worry me but maybe it’s a helpful handmaiden to the social project of public journalism; a boost to democracy; an unprecedented method to foster trust and accountability.

There’s so much to discuss – the topic is enormous. So here’s a challenge: can someone give me some clarity on all of this – in 140 characters or less?”
Mignon Shardlow
Journalism academic