Tuesday, 12 May 2015 // Sydney
ONLINE VOTING OPEN
Journalist and author
Content Director & co-owner, Sound Alliance
Editor in Chief at Private Media
Sarrah Le Marquand
Daily Telegraph columnist
Investigative journalist, Sydney Morning Herald
Television journalist & documentary-maker
Chair: Simon Longstaff
More people are on Twitter and Facebook at six pm than watching the nightly news. Newspaper and magazine circulation is plummeting at a disastrous rate. Since 2012, around 2500 editorial jobs in the mainstream media have been lost across Australia. Advertising, which once bankrolled quality journalism at the major media companies, has fled online. Shareholders are investing their money elsewhere. Is this dramatic shift away from the mainstream a good thing?
Historically, news spread through a social network -- letters, gossip in the streets and pamphlets passed by hand and horse. But the invention in 1843 of the steam powered rotary printing press, which meant 8,000 pages could be printed in an hour, revolutionised communication and gave birth to mass market newspapers, managed by a powerful and wealthy elite.
But just over 170 years later, the people are taking control again. Reporting is no longer the exclusive domain of journalists – “citizens” are tweeting, instagramming and blogging from war zones and fashion shows. There are millions of niche websites offering diverse analysis without the filter of establishment thinking. The likes of Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, Crikey and Gawker have become new media powerhouses.
If the mass media is not putting the money into investigative reporting, then who will scrutinise politicians and the powerful? What happens when people who do not know about media ethics, fact-checking, balance or defamation are writing stories? Is it fair that start-ups often don’t pay people properly for their content? Perhaps the masses don’t care about any of this. Worn of the mass media shaping the news and pushing their own agendas, biases and political views, punters are now able to write, read and access whatever information, from whomever, they want. Do we want trust in the old or diversity of the new?
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