Over the last few years, it’s been impossible to avoid hearing the speculation about the life of Journalism, particularly in print media. Despite much talk to the contrary, it seems to me that journalism is anything but dead. With the surge in online media outlets, independent radio stations, podcasts and the like it is apparent to me that journalism is merely finding new outlets through which it can engage with its target audience. In fact, it could almost be argued that with the near-constant contact we have with news and media in this technological generation we have allowed journalism to progress, giving media outlets and journalists the opportunity to publish their stories on the medium that best suits the information, as well as the target consumer.
Journalism is in such high demand, and has been for so long, that it is only natural it would progress. At first, this progression came in the form of online media outlets, in 2016 there are thousands of online media outlets in Australia alone. This surplus of news availability means that journalists must progress their content further. “People often consider newspapers, as we traditionally understand them, to be dying. That’s fair but the news organisation that I work for and the newsroom that I’m in is constantly trying to deliver journalism in the best way possible for the stories,” said Michael Bachelard in a recent interview with Mumbrella. I believe that this ‘delivery’ of media is the next step for journalism. Now, with this overflow of content, journalists have an opportunity to stand out from the rest by presenting their information in new and innovative ways. The podcast series launched by Fairfax media titled ‘Phoebe’s Fall’ is one such example of the dynamic and expanding nature of journalism. The six-part special investigative podcast explores the life and death of 24-year old Phoebe Handsjuk in Melbourne 2010.
These changes have not been limited to print media. News stations and programs now capitalize on our technology saturated lifestyles by posting shortened clips and stories to their social media pages. Throughout the US Presidential election, it was impossible to scroll through your Facebook newsfeed without being overwhelmed by an influx of short videos replaying Donald Trump’s latest controversy or Hilary’s newest email scandal. Every Tuesday we see many short videos highlight the most important topics or interesting debates from Monday nights Q&A on the ABC. These clips draw in thousands of viewers and commenters, additional to those who tuned in to watch the program when it was aired. The ability to rebroadcast information in bite-sized videos allows programs like Q&A to garner larger audiences and spark further debate and intrigue.
It’s interesting to note how Prime Minister Turnbull and his party refer to traditional Australian Media as ‘Elite Media’. As Leigh Sales points out in a recent interview with Mr Turnbull on 7:30 the priority of issues discussed in parliament is often determined by the amount of attention the media and public directs to a certain topic.Mr Turnbull comments that in the aftermath of the American election that he would have expected members of the public to focus less on “the opinions of commentators” such as the ABC or other ‘elite media’ outlets and focus instead on “what people are actually saying”. Although the media, elite or otherwise, may not always provide a clear insight into what people are ‘actually saying’, these platforms are still important, and it is often through investigative journalism like that of the ABC, that the public finds information on new and previously unexplored topics and issues. To encourage the media to offer less comment is to offer the public a vastly reduced range of information, something which could be argued would lead to far less transparency, particularly within our parliamentary system which are so often held accountable to their actions by the work of our journalists.
To argue that journalism is dead would be to cast a blind eye on the ever-changing and dynamic nature of technology. By harnessing the popular social media outlets and online platforms available to them, journalists and media outlets alike have the ability to expand their audiences and engage people in new and exciting ways. Rather than believing journalism to be on its last legs, we should be viewing the shift from print media to online as a chance to deliver news and information in a more applicable and engaging manner, hopefully encouraging more people from more diverse social backgrounds to connect with the media around them.