Citizen Journalism

Posts Tagged ‘Australian Financial Review’

Pity the poor journalist…

In Journalism, Sally Baxter on February 24, 2013 at 7:27 PM

The End of Newspapers

By Sally Baxter
February 24. 2013
Source: SallyBaxter 

Pity the poor journalist.

For every pompous hack filing his or her daily lecture to the nation, there are countless others trying to do more and more every day with less and less.

At the same time, if they’re smart, they’re trying to get a handle on the shape of the future. Which way, Journalism? And, not unimportantly, will it pay?

And will it be worth the constant nit-picking and sometimes outright abuse on social media that seems to go with the job these days?

Is the good ship of the traditional publisher going down or is it just shifting course?

And what, in the future, will distinguish a professional journalist from the many competent amateurs already out there with their blogs and their wonky charts?

Journalism academic Jay Rosen recently identified five distinct power shifts between writers and publishers which may give a hint of the way forward.

Not all of us can be technology bloggers Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg (the subjects of his article), but their story highlights how niche journalism is developing well beyond the traditional specialist publication model.

Rosen observes correctly that modern readers simply have less of a need for publishers. Traditionally, news was bundled together into a single package which tried to include something for everyone.

Put the package online, says Rosen, and the bundle falls apart.

And there’s the rub. As consumers we are no longer prepared to wade through all the bits we’re not interested in to get to the few stories we do want and the telly listings.

An exchange on Twitter between Australian blogger Greg Jericho (Grog’s Gamut) and Marcus Priest of the Australian Financial Review encapsulates Rosen’s point, and the dire predicament of traditional publishing.

Jericho commented to fellow blogger Paula Mathewson (Dragonista’s Blog) that he’d like to see the AFR return to a pay-per-view model so he could read just its political coverage.

You can read the full exchange here  (thanks to Matthew Lee for Storifying it).

Priest’s defence of the traditional bundle is robust but can’t alter the fact that a growing segment of news consumers – like Jericho, like me – no longer want it.

Encouragingly perhaps, Rosen thinks that puts writers in the ascendant.

As he sees it, it’s simple economics. People will pay for something which is scarce. And that’s no longer ‘news’ which, we all know, is with us 24/7 in a bewildering array of formats, nor the ability to distribute it.

What’s scarce is good journalism which serves its community.

And there are readers – like Jericho, like me – who will pay for it. Just find out how we want it, and give it to us just that way, as I’ve said before (Does journalism die not with a thunderclap but a tweet).

In the Netherlands there’s now an app for that. It’s called DNP and its readers subscribe to specific journalists who edit and market themselves. Seed money included around E25,000 raised through crowdfunding.

According to DNP managing director Jan-Jaap Heij, the journalists don’t have to invest anything, not even a start-up fee and revenue is split at around 50 per cent each between journalist and host.

Heij says the venture started out with 11 people and now has about 200 lined up to join. More details at Journalism.co.uk (and thanks to Margo Kingston for the link). Read the rest of this entry »

Laura Tingle reveals why some policies don’t get covered any more

In Jane Cattermole, MSM, Refugees on February 23, 2013 at 9:00 PM
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Laura Tingle

By Jane Cattermole
February 23, 2013

On Friday I attended a forum at the Perth Writers Festival titled Refugees; where do they come from. The speakers were Robin de Crespigny, author of  ‘The People Smuggler’, Kooshyar Karimi, refugee and author of ‘I Confess: Revelations in Exile’ and Carina Hoang, author of ‘Boat People: Personal Stories from the Vietnamese Exodus’. The forum was convened by Laura Tingle from the Australian Financial Review. After the presentations and discussion there was time for a couple of questions. Here’s one asked of Laura, and her reply.
Question:
Don’t you feel that the media has a much greater responsibility to act rather than to simply mouth what is the party line? You’re in a privileged position where you can speak with a far greater volume than most of us, so I would like to ask you, why doesn’t that happen? Who’s stopping you from speaking out? Why won’t more journalists have the courage of our convictions?

Laura Tingle answer:
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Right!

This is a complex question which I’m trying to answer very seriously and successfully, and we’ll also be having a discussion about media tomorrow.

A few things have happened. One of them is the way the political debate in Australia is reported has changed dramatically over the last ten or fifteen years in particular. We used to have people who wrote about immigration and refugees and asylum seeker policy. We used to have people who were health policy experts.

I work in Canberra and this is what I can tell you about best. The change in the economics of the media and the change in the way the media works means that we no longer have specialists in those areas anymore. Now that sounds like a really small thing but it means that when a story is reported it’s reported by generalist reporters.

In Canberra we’re political reporters and we tend to report it, and I’m using the Royal We here. I’ll take responsibility for the sins that are mine and that aren’t. We report it as a political story, as a matter of political controversy. There aren’t people in the key offices of the newspapers who would have written really detailed, well informed pieces backgrounding these issues, but that’s a sweeping generalisation. The guy who won the Gold Walkley in December was Steve Penros from The West Australian and he wrote about the Christmas Island tragedy – but it is now a rare thing that it happens.

Now the Financial Review, which isn’t your mainstream Refugee policy paper I fairly concede, but we actually had a period, and this shows you how these things happen, where there are a whole heap of issues which the editor, the previous editor, there were a range of issues that business was just not interested in.

Refugees was certainly one of them. Climate change was another, and we literally couldn’t get them into the paper. That extended to immigration generally, which was I thought was, well, a bit stupid because, you know, it’s the labour market. Read the rest of this entry »