Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Twitter and journalism: can't we all just get along?

Can we really receive all the information we need to know in 140 character lots?

Approximately 55 million tweets grace the pages of Twitter every day and around 16% of them are about news articles, politics, sport, events or blogs (for more statistics click here). Yet when we hear the term 'social media', rarely do we associate sites like Twitter and Facebook with learning the news. The idea that social media is only used for 'social' purposes is outdated and twitter is taking on a much greater role as a disseminator of information.

But, if we're getting all of this information from Twitter, where does that leave traditional journalists?

Should journalists learn to embrace Twitter as a friend not foe?

Is Twitter really a reliable option as our primary source of news?

These are all questions I am exploring in my final project. I am curious about how people use Twitter for news content and where this leaves journalists.

Please feel free to leave comments on any of these issues or follow me on twitter (! I'd love to hear what you think about this topic.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Are you an ethical journalist?

One of the most important assets of a journalist is their reputation. Therefore it is very important that journalists adhere to their range of rights and responsibilities in order to behave ethically and instill the public's trust. However, journalists come under pressure by many important groups in society, which may affect their ability and judgment in acting morally and ethically.
Click here to view this picture online and for more information about the pressures facing journalists

The thing is, journalists have no legal rights beyond those of an ordinary citizen (Pearson, in Tapsall & Varley, 2008, p. 199). However, they are sometimes awarded some special privileges such as access to court documents, withholding the name of a source, etc. Yet, we are given these privileges with the "proviso" that they are not abused and that we continue to perform our roles as journalists responsibly (Pearson, 2008, p. 200). If we abuse these privileges and perform irresponsibly, we will ultimately have an issue with the law and with our accountability and reputation as journalists. With this, comes the idea that no one will buy our papers, hence, we will find it increasingly difficult to find employers. The 'public interest' expression comes into this debate quite interestingly. Differentiate between what is really in the public interest and what the public may be interested in, and there shouldn't be a problem. It's when these lines are blurred that tension may arise. 

It is also important for journalists, especially us, budding young hopefuls, to make themselves familiar with certain terms applicable to these ideas. For example, 'sub judice', meaning 'under a judge, and referring to interfering with an individual's right to a fair trial, Freedom of information (FOI) legislation (to learn more about FOI click here) and Defamation law (to view more click here) (Pearson, 2008, p. 200-211).

For any young journalists, like ourselves, moving into the industry, it might be a good idea to quickly watch this clip, which points out some of the major ethical areas young journalists may struggle with in the future. 


Kenyan, A. & Majoribanks, T. 2007. Responsible Journalism: Defamation Law and News Production in Australia, The US and The UK, accessed 23rd September 2010,

Tapsall, S. & Varley, C.  2008. 'A Question of Legality', Journalism: Theory in Practice, Chap. 13, Oxford University Press: Melbourne.

The Australian Press Council. 2004. 'The urgent need for reform of Freedom of Information in Australia',
The Right to Know Conference, accessed 23rd September 2010,
The News Manual. 2008. 'Pressures on Journalists', The News Manual, Chap. 58, accessed 23rd September 2010,

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Journalism student recognises bad 'Apple' PR

'Leave us alone', Apple chief Jobs tells journalism student

Posted: September 20, 2010

Apple chief executive Steve Jobs has reportedly come out swinging against a journalism student in an email exchange during which she sought comment from Apple, telling her to "leave [Apple] alone". Gawker reported that Long Island University senior Chelsea Kate Isaacs, 22, emailed Jobs late last week with a complaint that Apple's public relations department was not responding to requests for comment about a project she was working on.

"I humbly ask why Apple is so wonderfully attentive to the needs of students ... and yet, ironically, the Media Relations Department fails to answer any of my questions which are, as I have repeatedly told them, essential to my academic performance," Isaacs said.

Jobs replied promptly to her email with this brief remark: "Our goals do not include helping you get a good grade. Sorry."

But it did not end there. Isaacs wasn't happy with the response, so she fired off another email.

"I never said that your goal should be to 'help me get a good grade'. Rather, I politely asked why your media relations team does not respond to emails, which, consequently, decreases my chances of getting a good grade.

"But, forget about my individual situation; what about common courtesy, in general – if you get a message from a client or customer, as an employee, isn't it your job to return the call? That's what I always thought. But I guess that's not one of your goals."

To which Jobs replied: "Nope. We have over 300 million users and we can't respond to their requests unless they involve a problem of some kind. Sorry."

Presumably fuming, Isaacs fired back another email to Jobs, saying she was indeed an Apple customer and that she did have a problem: she needed answers that only Apple's media team could provide.

"Now, can they kindly respond to my request (my polite and friendly voice can be heard in the first five or 10 messages in their inbox). Please, I am on deadline," she said.

The final reply from Jobs came back and it was a curt: "Please leave us alone."

"Under no circumstances should a person who runs a company speak to a customer that way," Isaacs told Gawker. "I'm just enraged and I want people to know this was done."

This website requested comment from Apple's Australian public relations spokeswoman, Fiona Martin, and Jobs himself about 1pm today. At the time of publication no response had arrived. US blog Tech Crunch remained sceptical about the exchange and questioned its authenticity, saying it appeared Isaacs was at the centre of "some shady internet fame seeking business", pointing to this online post.

Sourced from the Sydney Morning Herald Website

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

PR and Journalism: Friends with benefits?

So, here’s the tough question: are modern journalists just victims of public relations piracy? Does the influence of pr in modern journalism affect journalists’ ability to present the ‘truth’ and ability to be objective?

What we do know is that modern journalists are caught between two extremes: the public’s skeptical perception of journalism “don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story” and the MEAA Code of Ethics’, “respect for truth and the public’s right to information are fundamental principles of journalism” (Tickle, 2008, cited in Tapsall & Varley). But can journalists actually tell the ‘absolute truth’? Is there such a thing as ‘complete objectivity’? What impact do PR practitioners have on these utopian-like ideals?
First, the number of PR practitioners outweighs the number of journalists in Australia. This is a fact. Approximately 80% of news stories are repackaged from other sources, namely press releases. This is also a fact. But does this really mean that journalism is being hijacked by PR? Are journalists doing a deal with the devil by working with PR practitioners? 

Honestly, I don't think so. Journalists have a responsibility to report the 'truth' and we need to acknowledge that media releases only act as an idea for a story, not as a ready-made news story and the facts need to be checked before we even begin to treat them as one. Having said that, I think journalists can benefit a great deal from the practice of public relations. We all have pages to fill and time slots to cover and if public relations can provide viable story ideas, why should we argue? Remembering that is only the story ideas.Not the whole stories themselves. And of course, it's not a one way street. Public Relations practitioners need journalists just as much. They want the exposure, the coverage and the publicity. They want to generate an understanding and relationship from their work, for their clients. If they can provide the foundations for the story, the talent, the footage and quotes, why shouldn't we take advantage of that? It's all about giving a little and taking a little. Having a good relationship with a few PR Practitioners will only help make your job easier.

Well, that's my opinion anyway. What do you think?


Black paPR Report. 2009. PR/Publicity Friends with Benefits, accessed 15th September 2010,

Digital Journal. 2010. Study: 80% of news stories are repackaged from other sources, accessed 15th September 2010,

Tapsall, S. & Varley, C. 2008. Journalism: Theory in Practice, chap. 6. & 7. Oxford University Press: Victoria.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Privacy vs. The Public Interest

What does ‘in the public interest’ even mean?

And what about ‘privacy’?

Journalists too often come under fire for publishing questionable material relating to these to terms. But do we even know what they mean? And if we do, can we tell the difference between what is alright to report on and what is not?

Kieran (1997) points out “the notion of the private delineates a sphere within which we are free to be intimate with others and pursue goals and interests we have without being subject to the public gaze” (cited in Tapsall & Varley, 2008). So, when we think of privacy we think intrusion, embarrassing private facts, and publication of false information or exploitation of someone’s name or personal information without that person’s permission. Most people will acknowledge these common understandings of privacy. So, why is there such an issue with this in the media?

Mainly because there is very little legislation for journalists to protect private matters. There are too many exemptions and loopholes for the media in current legislation, which means the media are perhaps less concerned and less aware of this issue. Even the MEAA’s Code of Ethics, has nothing binding for journalists to adhere to these practices.

But, if we take our role seriously as journalists and as the 'fourth estate', don't we have the responsibility to the public to produce credible news, which we can justify as being 'in the public interest'? We have a priveleged position in society to inform the public, but we must not take this for granted simply for interesting gossip or titilation.

The main point it: the public interest, and what the public is interested in are two different things. We need to recognise this and consider the ramifications before publishing anything questionable in the eye of the public.


Research Journalism. 2010. MEAA Code of Ethics, accessed 10th September 2010,

 Tapsall, S. & Varley, C. 2008. 'Public Interest, Private Lives', Journalism: Theory in Practice, chap. 12, Oxford University Press: Victoria. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

The transformation of news, courtesy of social media

View article

Quality journalism and a 21st century ABC

I found this opinion piece by The Drum's Mark Scott, quite interesting in relation to my studies, it is quite a long piece so I have not posted the whole thing but the complete article can be found on ABC's The Drum's website...

"...The 2010 election campaign was the journalistic gift that just keeps on giving.

I had intended to draft these remarks once the result was known. But remembering that I was speaking at the Melbourne Writers' Festival rather than Improv Night at the Comedy Festival, I couldn't wait for the white smoke. This election has changed how we think of 'politics as usual' in this country. It has also triggered significant debate about the practice of political reporting. And I can't let the opportunity of this speech go by without wading into these murky waters.

So let me make some muddied observations about the campaign and how it was handled by the fourth estate and then make some tentative suggestions about implications for the media and the nature of news coverage.
Then - following the proud traditions of these events - it will be time for questions, where you can tear into me. The toughest Senate Estimates sessions are merely training for encounters like this.

I want to break with the curmudgeons who talked about a boring election campaign, saved only by a thrilling election night and the epic drama that followed.

The long-standing, predictable narrative train of the election, predestined when the Government soared 20 points ahead in the polls, was derailed in the dead of a Canberra winter's night.

Now, for the first time since 1993, we had two new leaders in the top jobs fighting their first election. The most inexperienced Prime Minister to ever face an election. A dangerously honest Opposition Leader with - to use Annabel Crabb's memorable phrase - a truth parrot squawking on his shoulder. Polls in flux, strategies in disarray. An electorate polarised, idiosyncratic, unpredictable. And important matters in play: the economy, the environment, national infrastructure. A nation at war.
Rare ingredients for journalists and journalism. A remarkable opportunity to use old tools and new tools to bring the story to the Australian people.

A few days into the campaign, the ABC launched its long-awaited 24-hour news channel. While Sky had been on air for 15 years and has increasingly focused on live events and reporting from Canberra, with ABC News 24 we created a news channel that was an option for all Australian homes, not just the 30 per cent with pay TV.

The mixed model of public and commercial news services has served Australia well for over 60 years - and will serve us well in the age of 24 hour news as well. Competition, despite the protestations of the monopolists, has been to the advantage of both audiences and practitioners. Sky, for example, greeted our arrival by winning more money from its owners and putting that to good use. They had a strong campaign - as did ABC News 24.

Modern campaigns are a political version of The Truman Show. Keep the channel on and you know what I mean. He's on a bike. She's on a train. He's running with kids. She's eating a cake. He's making a speech. She's holding a doorstop. He's looking cranky. She's looking tired. Where is he now? Why's she wearing that hat? She drinks Guinness. He drinks shandies! If he had done it in week two rather than on the final day, Abbott's liking for a shandy made with light beer could have killed him in those Western Sydney marginals.

Campaigns always had these features. But now everyone can see it. Outsiders became insiders. And now we have the truncated news cycle: which advances stories and then responses and then generates further iterations throughout the day, rather than simply setting up the evening news and tomorrow's papers.
It exacerbates the phenomenon. The politicians always seem on. And we see now what only the journos once saw: the politicians are scripted - they say the same things over and over again. Less variation in response means fewer choices for journalists to report on something you don't want. The old maxims taught to politicians apply more than ever:

"Just when you are sick of saying it, people are beginning to hear it for the first time."

"Don't answer the question they ask, answer the question you wanted them to ask."

"Don't change the argument, change the audience."

And the journalists are shunted and controlled and frustrated and increasingly sick and tired.
It might be more controlled, there might be more events, things might be more closely scripted - but this is modern campaigning. It is just that we can all see it now, live, around the clock. Every press conference, every speech, every photo op, and in the background, every nodding local candidate.

It may be refined, but it is not new. There have long been books written about this stuff: pioneered by Teddy White with The Making of the President 1960. But now we can all see how political campaigning is done - and like seeing the law or sausages being made - it's not always an edifying experience.
But it is important. The scrutiny, the performance under pressure, the way questions are answered and avoided, unexpected events are dealt with, managing the tiredness, the frustration, the disappointments - this is part of the political crucible our leaders must endure. Attention must be paid to this. There needs to be a bus, journalists need to be on it. Asking questions, waiting for the unexpected, watching it all and reporting back.
This was, after all, one of the great achievements of Tony Abbott in the campaign. The most mercurial of performers, disastrous in 2007, prone to erratic bursts, turning in such a disciplined performance. After a shaky start, he reminded me of a marathon runner, clocking five-minute miles, mile after mile. That consistency allowed people the opportunity to rethink him and what he might offer. Just as the lack of consistency from the Prime Minister, the articulated shift from the programmed to the real, caused people to rethink their view of her also.

Another great political classic of the past was The Boys on the Bus by Timothy Crouse - about the journalists covering the 1972 presidential campaign. Well now we know all about the 2010 bus. Journalists tweeting their frustrations, snap commentaries, collective fury. Live crosses back and forth - to the news channels, to local radio. The journalists add to the colour of the campaign.

Off the bus, senior journalists sit back, read, watch, review, dig and come to judgement. The field of reference is so limited on the bus it is hard to see the broader field - so many of the big guns simply don't climb on board. What was significant here was how senior journalists would break stories - good old fashioned scoops - that would set another agenda for reporters to follow up on the bus - a different one from the one prepared by the parties for their daily policy announcement.

Chris Uhlmann on the young political staffer sitting in on top level defence meetings. Lenore Taylor and her scoop on Treasury's costings of the Coalition's proposals. Laurie Oakes on the Prime Minister's reluctance to embrace parental leave. Phillip Adams, at 10 o'clock at night on Radio National, getting the former prime minister to break his silence. Stories that dominated every press conference for days after - reporters on the road following up the lead that every editor wanted to advance.

And while there has been some discussion over whether there was an over fixation on these issues, I would simply argue that at any time, in any campaign, they are great scoops - delivered the way any great journalist delivers a scoop: authoritatively, mysteriously. A reflection of experience, credibility and contacts cultivated for just this moment..."

Read more

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

JOURNALISM and its negotiation of online and social media

Whether we like it or not technology is changing and determining society. However, the perceived effects of this technology on modern journalism are divided. Is online media devaluing journalism? Is it just regurgitating content, where the journalist becomes nothing but a word processor? Or, do we sit on the other side of the fence, where technology is a reflection of our creative and constantly changing and evolving society, which helps to connect people from around the world in ways otherwise not possible? Who knows! One thing that has become obvious though, is that journalists are needing to embrace these technologies in order to more effectively communicate with their audiences and ‘do their job’ per say.

Social media has changed the way people share and consume content. Journalists need to take into account this whole new audience that social media has created. And it’s certainly not all bad for journalists. Social media can help journalists be more effective and efficient in their news reporting. Not only, is social media an effective form of two-way communication, which can not only build stronger relationships with audiences but can also gain valuable user input, it also offers an array of sources and information in ‘real time’ so audiences can stay updated and get ‘on-the-spot’ reporting in an accessible and inexpensive way. But no, I don’t believe this media can overtake traditional journalism and all traditional journalism is garbage. That’s garbage! Publications do however, need to upgrade and provide the best services available to their audiences. It's no longer about traditional journalism vs. new journalism. It's about collaborating the two. If journalists can continue to be versatile in their storytelling traditional journalism will remain a valuable news resource. So, this whole social media thing…how can journalists contribute?

First, take twitter. Twitter can be used as both a primary news source, working alone to produce the news and also a supporting news source, in collaboration with traditional media to disseminate or build the news. Think about it, these days twitter is one of the main sources where people get their news and honestly, it’s the main way I get my news and it’s certainly the first source I learn news from. From following an array of news twitter sites, including the SMH, Daily Telegraph and the 7pm Project, to following newsworthy individuals themselves, twitter is good for getting information quickly, and often more accurately, especially when hearing it from the horses mouth. I mean, who is more credible to give news about the Kardashians than Kim, Kourtney and Khloe themselves? When I read the daily papers, I’ve already heard the news. Another interesting element of twitter is the fact that I get to choose my own news. I get to choose what I need to/want to know. I can follow whomever I want and therefore, to a degree, choose the information I receive. With newspapers-we’re told what we need to know. They’re deciding for us!

So, should engagement with social media like twitter be a compulsory part of the journalist’s job? Social media isn’t only good to disseminate information to audiences in a more efficient and perhaps effective way; it’s also a good tool for journalists to inform themselves about conversations around their topic, from around the world. If journalists can learn the vocabulary of modern social media, they can engage their audiences to get information from these resources. It’s all about pooling resources for the better of news…or is it?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Globalisation vs. Localisation: The Debate

This is the basic guideline of my part in our class seminar on this topic.

Bruner (2004) says global media giants should “Think Globally, Act Locally”. This gives the idea that the global companies should build local roots but I’m not so sure this is a good representation of what TNC’s really symbolize...

Globalisation, or commonly known as commercialisation, within the context of the media, means local publications are receiving their news stories from the same, global source. This could mean that news stories and the way they are told can be very similar in quite different publications from different locations.

Kirby stated that “television, radio, satellites, direct-dial telephones, mobiles phones, digital technology and modems have radically affected ‘the actions of the media and the messages they present’” (cited in Breit for Tapsall & Varley, 2008). The invention of these new technologies, especially the Internet, has created an environment called the ‘global village’. The term ‘global village’ refers to the way in which people from around the world can communicate with one another more easily making the world seem smaller and more like a ‘single village’. Holm (2002) describes the process of globalisation as the “gradual erosion of borders-physical, cultural and social...” Breit states that new technologies are linking humanity in all parts of the world, enabling this ‘global village’ to become more and more connected. He states, “technology has given the media a global audience, but corporatisation has given them power, with ten ‘super corporations’ dominating the global media...” (cited in Tapsall & Varley, 2008). Hence, the commercialisation of this ‘global village’, has lead to these Trans-National Corporations (TNCs) threatening the integrity of journalism. These TNCs are:
• Time Warner
• Disney
• Bertelsmann
• Viacom
• Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation
• Sony
• Universal
• NBC, and
• Polygram
(Herman and McChesney, 1997, cited in Breit)

The Australian media is dominated by two such corporations: Rupert Murdoch’s News Limited – the Australian arm of News Corp and Kerry Packer’s PBL – a second tier of multi-million dollar corporations that dominate the niche markets within specific areas.

The first 60 seconds of this animation gives a good indication of how many people feel about the owners of these TNCs and the news they generate.

Obviously there is a strong backlash against this increasing concentration of media ownership but there are some who believe the effects of globalisation are positive, which will be discussed later.

Breit states “with globalisation the independence of society’s two most important watchdogs, the media and the judicial system, is being undermined” (cited in Tapsall & Varley, 2008). He says the integrity of journalism is being threatened and the public’s “right to know” is being ignored in favour of the commercial interests of media owners. Greirson (2006) calls this “framing knowledge”. She says globalisation has given big media corporations the power to frame the knowledge of nations. This is where the issue of “shaping the agenda” comes into play.

In this clip Murdoch talks about how large, powerful news corporations can ‘shape the news agenda’.

I just thought that it was interesting that he admitted to trying to influence public opinion and his papers supporting President Bush’s policies. I just wonder, if this is being done with every major issue, are we only ever going to hear Murdoch and Packer’s versions of the news?

Gerbner states, “Technology is giving the media a global audience and strategic alliances are giving the media immense power, but this has not created a global voice”. He says the TNCs have created a ‘homogeneity’ of information that is pitched at a predominantly middle-class and western audience (cited in Breit for Tapsall & Varley, 2008). This means, the information we are receiving from all of the different media outlets in Australia is basically the same. The same stories, the same angles, the same ideas. Gerbner calls it a “standardisation” of information and audience where large sections of the world are left under-represented.

However, The Age’s, editor in chief, Steve Harris aims to argue against these ideas when he states, “diversity of ownership and diversity of source has never guaranteed diversity of opinion, and...Independent ownership has never guaranteed quality, just as group ownership does not guarantee the absence of quality” (Gratton, 1998, cited Breit).

BBC News Online’s Michael Elliot agrees believing globalisation gives millions of people new choices, raises incomes everywhere and allows us to build “One World” (BBC News, 2000).

But if we’re thinking about local communities we can see the real issue in getting ‘quality’ information. There has always and will always be news happening in smaller, regional, local communities, but increasingly, this news is being overlooked for the standardised, global content that is easier than going out and reporting on what is actually happening in towns. Funding for independent local media is also becoming increasingly difficult with advertisers favouring the larger media outlets owned by the TNCs. So, where do local journalist’s wages come from?

The main point of localisation is-we want to know what is going on in our own back yard. We want news from where we belong, from the “local public sphere” (Ninan, 2007). We want local journalists out there in the community investigating local stories instead of generating copy purely from press releases and larger news providers. But how far should localisation go? Aiming for localisation is a position “whereby everything that could be produced within a nation or region should be” (Hines, BBC News, 2000). But is this really what the public value?

And the main question is: will people be willing to fight for and support their local news?


Banerjee, I. 2007. ‘Globalisation and Localisation - Dynamic Processes of Cultural Change’, The University of Wollongong’s School of Journalism and Creative Writing, accessed 22nd August 2010,

BBC News, 2000. ‘Globalisation for and against’, BBC News Online, accessed 22nd August 2010,

Bruner, R. 2004. ‘Think Globally, Act Locally’, The Batten Briefings, accessed 16th August 2010,

De Block, L. & Buckingham, D. 2007. Global Children, Global Media : Migration, Media and Childhood, Palgrave Macmillan: New York, accessed 22nd August 2010,

Dimitrova, A. 2002. Challenging Globalisation: The Contemporary Sociological Debate about Globalisation, accessed 22nd August 2010,

Greirson, E. 2006. ‘Between Empires: Globalisation and Knowledge’, Critical Perspectives on Communication, Cultural & Policy Studies, Vol. 25 (2), pp. 66, accessed 22nd August 2010,;dn=322890166146513;res=IELHSS

Holm, H. 2002. ‘The Forgotten Globalisation of Journalism Education’, Journalism and Mass Communication Educator, Vol. 56 (4), pp. 68, accessed 22nd August 2010,

Ingram, J. 2002. ‘Hegemony and globalism: Kenneth Burke and paradoxes of representation’, Journal of Communication Studies, Vol. 53 (1), pp. 4, accessed 22nd August 2010,

Ninan, S. 2007. Headlines from the Heartland, SAGE Publications: India, accessed 19th August 2010,

Tapsall, S. & Varley, C. 2008. ‘Journalism in the Global Village’, Journalism Theory in Practice, pt. 6. chap. 14, Oxford University Press: New York.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Future of Journalism: Who will pay??

So, we’ve heard it before and we’ll hear it again and again; traditional journalism as a form of media is on its way out.

As people continue to demand for information to be delivered to them more and more quickly technological advancements are allowing for journalists to tell their stories in more and more ways. But the question is: while print publications are loosing their audiences and advertising revenue to the Internet, how will ‘quality’ journalism survive? Who will pay for this ‘quality’ journalism?

The main idea? Audiences will have to pay for online news content if they want quality information. 

Rupert Murdoch’s alleged plans to persuade newspaper readers to pay for online content, could determine a lot for the future of journalism. But would Australians really pay for journalism?

7 out of 10 Australians say NO, they will not pay for online news content. Obviously this was a small group of people surveyed, but still, the results are alarming for Murdoch.

This is because people expect online content will be 'free'.

This picture represents a common misconception that 'anyone can be a journalist'. This is where the idea that everything we read online should be free. Sure, "anyone can be a blogger" but "not anyone can be a journalist". Papworth (2008) states, "Journalism costs money. Journalism attracts different kinds of audiences. Audiences attract advertising. Advertisers tend to pay the most for independent, credible media. That is what journalists provide."

So the question is: will audiences pay for this "independent, credible media"? When you're buying a print publication are you just paying for the medium, the labor and printing costs? Or are you paying for the words? This question will determine whether people will be willing to pay for online content. Journalists need to be inventive and find a way to deliver traditional and 'quality' journalism in a more attractive and valuable way.

For example, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald have introduced their new iPad Applications where the version for the iPad mirrors that of the print version. This is where we need to be headed. Online content has devalued the journalist. However, Jay Rosen believes what journalism was, what it could be and what it should be are all ideas that are still up for grabs...

We are leading to the reinvention of journalism and with more ways to generate revenue than ever we need to be exploring what audiences are willing to pay for and embracing and adapting to this new technological age. If not, quality journalism may in fact die.

Sources: 2010. 'Will Aussie's pay for Murdoch's News?', Crikey Online, accessed 18th August 2010,

Papworth, L. 2008. Australia: Social Media Freelance Journalism, accessed 18th August 2010,

The Age, 'SMH, The Age iPad editions on the way, accessed 18th August 2010,

Monday, August 16, 2010

Is this citizen journalism at its worst?

MARK COLVIN: Channel Nine says it's still employing the former Labor leader Mark Latham to report on the federal election campaign despite his run-in with the Prime Minister.

Mr Latham confronted Julia Gillard in Brisbane on Saturday. The Nine Network's chief executive David Gyngell has apologised to the PM for the encounter in which Mr Latham claimed she'd complained about his presence. She denied it.

Nine's political editor Laurie Oakes said on air last night that Mr Latham was only posing as a journalist and that he was concerned about damage to the network.

Brendan Trembath reports.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Channel Nine's newest news and current affairs recruit scored an impromptu television interview with the Prime Minister in Brisbane on Saturday.


JULIA GILLARD: Hello Mark how are you.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: It started well but ended badly.

MARK LATHAM: Can I just ask you why the Labor Party's made a complaint about me working for Channel Nine?

JULIA GILLARD: I don't know anything about that, Mark. If you want to work for Channel Nine, that's a matter for you.

MARK LATHAM: Well, you've made a complaint and I think I should be allowed to make a living. If you'd agree to the request to have an interview there would have been no need to make any complaint about anything.


MARK LATHAM: So if you want to make complaints, you really should make them about Rudd. He's the one who's sabotaging your campaign.


MARK LATHAM: So have a dig at him instead of having a dig at someone trying to do a job.

JULIA GILLARD: Ah, nice, nice to see you and I hope you enjoy your life as a journalist now.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Prime Minister Julia Gillard kept smiling and wished Mark Latham luck. But she wasn't impressed.

Later, in an interview on the ABC's Insiders program, Ms Gillard described the former Labor leader's conduct as inappropriate.

The Nine Network chief executive David Gyngell has apologised to the PM. Mr Gyngell says in a statement that the Prime Minister of Australia, whomever that might be and whatever their political stripe, deserves to be treated with a due level of respect.

The network's political editor, Laurie Oakes, was offended by Mark Latham's interview too. Mr Oakes let it be known in a live cross with news reader, Peter Overton.

PETER OVERTON: Now Mark Latham continues to be a major distraction for Julia Gillard. He was in Brisbane today. How damaging is he, do you think, going to be for Labor?

LAURIE OAKES: Well, Peter I'm more concerned with how damaging he is for the Nine Network. That was an ugly incident yesterday with Julia Gillard and Nine's CEO, David Gyngell, was right to say Mark Latham crossed the line and to apologise.

The trouble is I'm not sure that Mark Latham knows where the line is. He's not a journalist. He's still full of bile and settling old scores. I don't really think it does 60 Minutes or the network much, much of a favour really to have him posing as a journalist.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: A spokeswoman says the Nine Network is entirely relaxed about Laurie Oakes' comments because he, like all journalists should, operates without fear or favour.

Veteran journalists who analyse the media agree with Laurie Oakes.

Ian Richards is a professor of journalism at the University of South Australia.

IAN RICHARDS: There's an obvious conflict of interest for someone operating as Latham was operating. With the history he's had for the Labor Party it's a bit farcical to have him up the front speaking to the current Prime Minister. And I also think it's an issue around his training. Obviously he's not a trained journalist.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: But he showed a certain brashness. He got the interview with the Prime Minister. Sometimes that's rewarded in journalism.

IAN RICHARDS: On the other hand though, I mean, the media has a major role to play in a democracy and I guess if it's going to be, have any claim to impartiality and to reporting fairly and accurately and independently then I don't really think this sort of thing helps that image.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Mark Latham playing a guest role as a reporter is also a worry for David Salter, a former executive producer of the ABC's Media Watch. He now edits a news magazine called The Week.

DAVID SALTER: It's a mug lair act of Latham's part. He's trying to do as much damage as he can. He's enlisting the power of 60 Minutes behind him and he's also pretending to be a journalist. I mean, it's citizen journalism gone mad, isn't it?

It's like, I mean he can be a journalist if he wants to. Maybe I could be a politician or a brain surgeon. I mean I find it very distressing that Nine have given him this kind of power.

They're trying to have it both ways too aren't they? They, he goes and does something plainly destructive so the boss of Channel Nine apologises but that's not going to stop them running it on 60 Minutes next Sunday night. They're hypocrites in this one.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: But to be a brain surgeon, you need to have a medical degree, you need to have passed exams, you need to have met some sort of professional standards. Does journalism have those?

DAVID SALTER: That's a different issue altogether. You can say that anyone can be a journalist, even Alan Jones can be a journalist, but the point is that if you're going to enlist the power of a big masthead like 60 Minutes or put yourself suddenly forward as a reporter for the ABC or The Age or something like that, I think you've got to have some credentials. You have to have some sort of track record as having respect for the truth.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: The executive producer of 60 Minutes, Hamish Thomson, says in a statement that Mark Latham has been hired as a guest reporter/commentator for a one-off campaign story.

Mr Thomson says Mark Latham is well qualified for his role. He's thoughtful, highly intelligent and has an intimate knowledge of federal politics. During his time in Parliament he was renowned for his contribution to policy debate.

MARK COLVIN: Brendan Trembath.

Article from ABC's PM: view here

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Citizen Journalism vs. Traditional Journalism

Has citizen journalism killed the need for traditional journalists?

This week in class, we explored public and citizen journalism and how we can benefit from new realms of news reporting.

So, with the move away from one-way media streaming to a focus on two-way communication between the public and the media, why exactly should we reform journalism in Australia? And, if we don’t do something to change it, will traditional journalism and the ‘newsroom’ in fact die?

Some of the benefits of citizen journalism have been identified as:
1.      Diversity of opinion
2.      Quick dissemination of information
3.      Wider range of sources
4.      Powerful coverage i.e. citizens are there, right in the mix of things

This video demonstrates the power of citizen journalism:

But, is citizen journalism just “sloppy technique” (Tapsall & Varley, 2008)? Are people really willing to ‘believe anything these days’?

I think traditional journalism needs to embrace aspects of citizen journalism and public journalism in order to survive and keep the public’s interest and trust. People still have a hunger for journalism but traditionalists need to understand the increasing number of diverse ways to find, capture and tell a story. Audience participation is a large part of this. The key is, people don’t just want to consume anymore. The public wants to be involved in the stories and consequently be a part of the problem solving. In an attempt to re-engage with an increasingly distant public, journalism needs to expand its traditional ways.

But where does this leave journalism as the Fourth Estate?

This outdated notion of journalism as the public’s “watchdog” emerged from the 19th Century and still today, relies on notions such as “objectivity and professionalism to support this stance” (Tapsall & Varley, 2008).  In doing so, the media have lost the public’s interest and have “alienated” the ‘citizen’, loosing creditability and detaching themselves from the community, all in the name of objectivity.

Tapsall and Varley (2008) state the traditionalist view sees journalists have the maxim: “tell it as it is and let the chips fall as they may”...but perhaps this isn’t good enough anymore. If journalists continue along the path of traditionalism the consequences will affect the media’s profitability and the public’s participation in wider political processes.
So, my advice? Let the public and the citizen have their say but keep the core journalistic structures like the inverted pyramid and codes of ethics and objectivity in place. We don’t need to compromise our beliefs in order to incorporate the public into our work. Whether we like it or not, things will inevitably change and journalism will continue to evolve, with or without our cooperation!


Greenslade, R. 2008.  ‘Introduction’, The Future of Journalism Summit, May 2008, accessed 12th August 2010,

Tapsall, S. & Varley, C. 2008. Journalism Theory in Practice, Oxford University Press: Victoria.

 Youtube. 2010. Katie Couric's Top Citizen Journalism Moments on YouTube, posted 10 May 2010, accessed 11th August 2010,

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Journalism in the 21st Century

Welcome to my blog!

This blog is a product of my thoughts, findings and analysis as I study in my final semester of a Bachelor of Communication at the University of Newcastle.

My blog will discuss my learning experiences throughout my final semester, in particular, how my experiences and learning of Journalism and the concept of the Journalist in the 21st Century have evolved.

I will also incorporate, where necessary, the correlation between the Journalist and the Public Relations Practitioner in the modern age, as I continue my studies of both professions. 

I would love to hear your comments and thoughts.

Also, feel free to follow me on twitter at:

Happy reading..!