The Institute for the Study of Social Change presented a free public forum on Monday, September 18, exploring the challenges and opportunities arising for journalists, news outlets and consumers in a changing media landscape.
The Future of Journalism was held as part of the Tasmanian Writers & Readers Festival and was be chaired by University of Tasmania Professor of Journalism Libby Lester.
Missed the event? Watch online now.
The forum heard from panellists Matt Deighton, editor of the Mercury; Joce Nettlefold, local content manager for ABC Radio Hobart; Charles Wooley, 60 Minutes reporter and TasWeekend columnist; and Vivienne Kelly, editor of online news site Mumbrella.
Professor Lester said pessimism about what the future holds for journalism is not surprising, but we are starting to see interesting developments that should bring cautious optimism. “For example, Donald Trump’s familiar tactic of dismissing any media he doesn’t agree with – in his case, by calling it ‘fake news’ – appears to be prompting a ‘Trump bump’ in terms of donations and subscriptions to news sites that practice and promote credible journalism,” Prof Lester said.
“The latest Digital News Report from Oxford University’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism shows that online news subscriptions in the US are up from 9 to 16%, along with a tripling of news donations. The study found that most of those new payments have come from the young, which it describes as ‘a powerful corrective to the idea that young people are not prepared to pay for online media, let alone news’.
“The study also found that only a quarter of people that were surveyed across 36 countries think that social media does a good job in separating fact from fiction. For news media, the figure is 40%.”
Mercury editor Matt Deighton said there would always be a need and demand for local reporters embedded in their communities.
“So much has changed and continues to change but the one thing that hasn’t is the need to have reporters on the ground in their communities breaking the news and telling stories that no one else can,” he said.
“No amount of disruption or obsession with social media will change that fact.
“So for me it comes down to how we face and fight the challenges that come our way. And I do so with a great amount of belief and hope.”
About the panellists:
Joce Nettlefold is the Local Content Manager for ABC Radio Hobart. She is an award-winning journalist with more than three decades’ experience in the UK and Australia, including with the ABC’s 730 Report. Joce working on a PhD about citizen engagement and local media.
Matt Deighton has seen first-hand the major disruptions to the media industry, having been a newspaper editor for 10 years and a journalist for three decades. As editor of The Mercury Matt has overseen a major restructure, including the introduction of a paywall on the Mercury websites.
Charles Wooley is a columnist for The Mercury’s TasWeekend magazine and has been a reporter for the Nine Network’s 60 Minutessince 1991. Before joining Nine in 1985 Charles was the ABC’s London-based European correspondent.
Vivienne Kelly is editor of Mumbrella, an online source of news on the marketing, media and public relations industries. Her previous role was editor of Smart Property Investment magazine and she co-hosted and co-produced The Smart Property Investment Show podcast.
The Future of Journalism panel event is available to watch now via the University of Tasmania’s livestream page.