The once powerful world of print media is burning slowly… but what is set to rise from the ashes?

Bryce Heaton – n9180648 – bryceheaton@hotmail.com – Shorthand: http://app-qut.shorthand.com/export/a078cf82cb574dceb6b7103f58b8c244/index.html

For centuries, newspapers have been the primary source of news distribution, taking current affairs to society. However, in recent decades the widespread popularity of television and in recent years the internet boom has quashed the influence of a now waning newspaper empire. This report will delve into the decline of print media, and explore the issues facing the new technological age of journalism including quality control and the decline in revenue resulting from online media not generating a profit. This issue is of paramount importance in a world of seven billion opinions and stories; where information is everywhere but verification is oftentimes not. How will the decline of print media effect the industry and what will take its place?

Decline of the Newspaper

According to Head of Journalism at City University London George Brock, the newspaper in Britain experienced its halcyon days in the 1950s, with the popular Daily Mirror’s highest sale year ever being 1966.[1] Brock also explains that the internet has not been the sole downfall of the print industry. In fact, Brock states that television caused a greater shrinkage of print media distribution than online journalism, however the internet may prove to be the final nail in the coffin for the humble newspaper.[2]

The United States, the nation with the largest budget for print media,[3] has seen drastic declines in newspaper readership which has forced severe downsizing and in some cases closures to newspapers. In the past seven years, twelve metropolitan daily newspapers in the US have printed their last issue and ceased production. Five of these printed their first issue in the 1800s and were once overwhelmingly popular and synonymous with their respective communities.[4] In 1990, the number of US daily newspapers totalled 1611. In 2009, that number was 1384, a
decline of 14%.[5]

Even print news giants have felt the turning tide of the media industry. In 2013, the Boston Globe and affiliated businesses were sold by the New York Times Co. for US$70 million.[6] Just 20 years earlier, the New York Times Co. purchased it for US$1.1 billion.[7] Factoring in inflation, The Times lost 97% on their original investment as a direct cause of the decline of print media’s popularity.[8] Just days after the sale of the Boston Globe, the Washington Post was forcibly sold to Amazon.com Incorporated Chief Executive, Jeffrey Bezos, due to a poor financial position.

The trend of newspaper sales declining is also prevalent on our own shores. Despite a strong population growth rate, all of Australia’s largest newspapers experienced a decline in readership over the 12 month period from December 2012 to December 2013 with the exception of the West Australian.[9]


Figure 2 – Courtesy of Roy Morgan Research

Decline of Quality Control

As newspapers have begun to dwindle and online news has skyrocketed in popularity, the issue of poorer quality journalism has come to light due to the fact that anybody can publish their opinions online. Creating content for the masses is simply no longer the sole realm of the professional. Websites such as WordPress, Facebook and Twitter have allowed anybody with access to the internet the potential to have their voice heard throughout the world. Put simply, geographic and professional boundaries in the news have been abolished.

The Australian public holds the view that online journalism could be of a much higher standard. A report, entitled Journalism at the Speed of Bytes: Australian Newspapers in the 21st Century, published in 2012 in conglomeration with the Australian Research Council, reviewed trends in Australia and overseas in regards to newspaper readership and looked at the transition from print to multimedia journalism. The researchers from leading Australian academic institutions Sydney University, the University of New South Wales and the Walkley Foundation found that 67% of survey respondents believed that the quality of online journalism in Australia was “average” or “poor”. Only 14% described it as excellent.[10]

Johanna Vehkoo of the University of Oxford explained the link between quality and revenue in a 2010 paper: “cuts in the newsroom are likely to cause weakening of the quality of journalism, which alienates the audience, which in turn puts further pressure on the maximising of revenues, which again leads to further staff cuts and so on… This spiral points downward, and it is potentially dangerous for the survival of high quality journalism and with it, functioning democracy”.[11]

However, in the same paper Vehkoo discusses that in the UK, The Times and the Guardian are at the frontier of newspaper companies blazing new trails online, taking their content from print to digital. Thus, whilst much of the online current affairs content is concerned with “views, not news”[12] there are some online sources that carry the credibility of successful news corporations. Since Vehkoo’s paper was released, purely online news platforms such as the Brisbane Times and the Huffington Post have affirmed that quality journalism backed by legitimate institutions can survive online. Therefore whilst it is reasonable to doubt the quality of online media, it is apparent that outposts of trustworthy organisations are prevalent online.

Decline in Revenue

“We’re meant to be blogging. We’re meant, in other words, to be giving the thing we used to be paid for away, in the ether, for free”[13]
Christina Patterson, former writer for The Independent newspaper, now a freelancer.

As stated previously, decline in revenue is another major issue facing the future of print media. In a study undertaken by the OECD, in the two years from 2007, the United States newspaper market size decreased by 30%, whilst the UK’s fell 21%. The OECD found that 25 countries newspaper markets decreased in size over the two year period.[14]

The decline in revenue is alarming for the newspaper industry and reflects the exodus from print to online media. However, what is more alarming is the fact that the revenue produced by online media is not increasing substantially enough to make up for the profits lost by the newspaper companies, resulting in an overall decline in revenue for the media.


This data, courtesy of the Newspaper Association of America, shows that the revenue for print media in America has been falling since 2005 and the revenue for online media has been increasing steadily since 2003.[15] However, what the data also shows is that the increase in online media revenue has not nearly been significant enough to counteract the rapid fall in print media sales, and therefore the media industry is leaking money fast. For every online dollar gained, there are fifteen print dollars lost.[16] As mentioned in Vehkhoo’s paper, this has contributed to the vicious cycle that ultimately results in poorer quality journalism. This can largely be attributed to advertisers pulling the plug from news organisations, and also consumers not having to purchase a newspaper every day. Rather, they can simply search for news online or watch news television programmes.

Some Australian news outlets are utilising the News+ service to get readers to pay for their online news services. News+ affiliates the Courier Mail, the Daily Telegraph, the Herald Sun, Fox Sports Australia and Adelaide’s Advertiser only allow users to view two free articles per day unless they sign up to the News+ service. For full access, News+ users pay a subscription of $5.00 for the first twelve weeks and $10.00 every week following.[17] The full fee of $10.00 per week equates to purchasing 5 daily newspapers a week, however users have full access to all News+ affiliate sites. It can be argued, therefore, that subscribers are getting more value for money than one would get with a newspaper subscription. As of April 2014, News Limited claims to have 200,000 subscribers to the News+ service, which shows positive signs for online news subscriptions in the future.[18]


In conclusion, it is clear that there has been a substantial decline in print media as the industry turns to the internet to be the flagship method of news distribution now and into the future. This report has discussed some of the issues that have arisen from this shift in focus, such as a perceived lack of quality in online journalism and a shrinkage in the amount of revenue generated in the media. Despite the end of an era forthcoming in the downscaling of the newspaper industry, it is apparent that the online media industry will one day overtake it and become the dominant platform for journalism.




Baker, Rosie. 2014, April 29. “News Corp introduces cross-title membership and reward” Accessed May 23, 2014.

Brock, George. 2013. “Spike the gloom – journalism has a bright future” Accessed May 20, 2014. http://theconversation.com/spike-the-gloom-journalism-has-a-bright-future-17907

Buttry, Steve. 2013, August 3. “Boston Globe lost 97 percent of its value in 20 years” Accessed May 21, 2014.

Courier Mail. 2014, April 15. “Terms & Conditions” Accessed May 23, 2014.

Healy, Beth. 2013, October 24. “John Henry’s purchase of The Boston Globe completed” Accessed May 21, 2014.

Jackson, Sally. 2012, July 31. “Media survey finds quality drop” Accessed May 23, 2014.

Newspaper Death Watch. 2014. Accessed May 14, 2014.

O’Donnell, Penny; McKnight, David and Este, Jonathan. 2012. Journalism at the Speed of Bytes: Australian Newspapers in the 21st Century. Sydney: University of Sydney, University of New South Wales and The Walkley Foundation. Accessed May 23, 2014.

Patterson, Christina. 2013, September 4. “On the death of journalism – and my Indy career” Accessed May 21, 2014.

Roy Morgan Research. 2014. “Newspaper Readership in Australia, 12 Months to March 2014” Accessed April 10, 2014.

State of the News Media 2013: An Annual Report on American Journalism. 2013, May 7. Accessed May 23, 2014.

Vehkoo, Johanna. 2010. What is quality journalism and how it can be saved. Oxford: Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford. Accessed May 23, 2014.


[1] http://theconversation.com/spike-the-gloom-journalism-has-a-bright-future-17907 (Accessed 20 May, 2014).

[2] http://theconversation.com/spike-the-gloom-journalism-has-a-bright-future-17907 (Accessed 20 May, 2014).

[3] http://theconversation.com/spike-the-gloom-journalism-has-a-bright-future-17907 (Accessed 20 May, 2014).

[4] http://newspaperdeathwatch.com/rip-rocky-mountain-news/ (Accessed 14 May, 2014).

[5] http://www.thefutureofjournalism.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/2012_journalism_speed_of_bytes.pdf (Accessed 23 May, 2014).

[6] http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2013/10/24/john-henry-purchase-boston-globe-completed-after-worcester-judge-lifts-injunction/mfkl8W0Ficsvg4gI8I4y1I/story.html (Accessed 21 May, 2014).

[7] http://stevebuttry.wordpress.com/2013/08/03/boston-globe-lost-96-percent-of-its-value-in-20-years/ (Accessed 21 May, 2014).

[8] http://stevebuttry.wordpress.com/2013/08/03/boston-globe-lost-96-percent-of-its-value-in-20-years/ (Accessed 21 May, 2014).

[9] http://roymorgan.com.au/industries/media/readership/newspaper-readership (Accessed 10 April, 2014)

[10] http://www.theaustralian.com.au/media/media-survey-finds-quality-drop/story-e6frg996-1226439460709 (Accessed 23 May, 2014)

[11] https://reutersinstitute.politics.ox.ac.uk/fileadmin/documents/Publications/fellows__papers/2009-2010/WHAT_IS_QUALITY_JOURNALISM.pdf (Accessed 23 May, 2014)

[12] https://reutersinstitute.politics.ox.ac.uk/fileadmin/documents/Publications/fellows__papers/2009-2010/WHAT_IS_QUALITY_JOURNALISM.pdf (Accessed 23 May, 2014)

[13] http://www.christinapatterson.co.uk/blog/index.php?id=26 (Accessed 21 May, 2014).

[14] http://www.thefutureofjournalism.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/2012_journalism_speed_of_bytes.pdf (Accessed 23 May, 2014).

[15] http://stateofthemedia.org/2013/newspapers-stabilizing-but-still-threatened/newspapers-by-the-numbers/ (Accessed 23 May, 2014).

[16] http://stateofthemedia.org/2013/newspapers-stabilizing-but-still-threatened/newspapers-by-the-numbers/ (Accessed 23 May, 2014).

[17] https://myaccount.news.com.au/couriermail/help/subscriptionTerms?pkgDef=CM_SDO_P0413_W04 (Accessed 23 May, 2014).

[18] http://www.adnews.com.au/adnews/news-corp-introduces-cross-title-membership-and-reward-scheme (Accessed 23 May, 2014).


Express Express Read All About It: Has the demand for express news affected news quality?

By: Emily Wilson

To view this post in the multimedia module, click here


In an increasingly technological driven world, the demand for express news coupled with decreasing revenue and jobs cuts brings forward concerns over news quality. This background report will use a variety of opinions, information and data from reliable sources to investigate how news quality is affected by the trust the public places in media professionals, the technological effect on print media, journalism job cuts and the decline of investigative journalism. This report will evaluate whether the demand for express news has affected the quality of journalism and created the media mindset of quantity over quality.




Public Trust in Media Professionals

In April 2014, independent market research company Roy Morgan1, released the results of an Image of Professions Survey and found that most Australians do not trust media professionals (TV reporters, Newspaper Journalists and Talk back radio announcers).2  The survey found that less than one in five Australian rated TV Reporters and Newspaper Journalists (18%) favourably. Talk-back radio announcers received a lower percentage of 15 percent, less than one in seven people. Since last year the trust in media professionals has slightly decreased with the exception of TV reporters which remained steady. These results are low in comparison to nurses who rated highest in ethics and honesty at 91 per cent.3

This is troubling as a lack of trust in media professionals equates to a lack of trust in the information they provide; the news. This is especially worrying as journalists are intended to act as the watchdog for the public.4 The information they provide must be in an honest manner, free of bias and contain well researched facts and information. This lack of trust supports the theory that the quality of news information is a relevant issue in society today.


Technological effect on print media

Adding to a lack of news quality is the age old debate that print news is being overrun by online publications. Technological platforms allow the public to access news and information quicker and easier online. The Pew Research Centre, (an online database that “conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research5”) has released the State of the News Media Annual Report, which found that online news consumption was the only category to have shown growth, increasing by 15 per cent from 2004. In comparison news consumption from Television has declined five per cent, Radio has declined seven per cent and Newspapers have declined 13 per cent.6  This increase in online news consumption stems from the 24 hour accessibility of online news. This generates a demand for express news and creates impracticable deadlines for journalists, resulting in news content that is not well sourced, sensational, trivialised and in general soft and of bad quality.7

The rise of online news has also resulted in a decline in print news through the loss of advertising revenue. The Pew Research State of the Media 2013 Annual Report found that from 2006, print advertising revenue declined while online advertising revenue continued to climb. Print advertising revenue has decreased by 60 per cent from 2006 while online advertising revenue has increased by 26 per cent.8 By 2012, the Centre reports, the ratio had equated to 15 print dollars lost for every one online dollar gained, much higher than the 10 to one ratio in 2011.8 The loss of advertising revenue has a negative effect on the print media, as they become replaced by online news outlets.


Journalism Job Cuts

The loss of advertising revenue for print media has a knock on effect on journalist employment. The true number of Australian employed journalists varies on account of differing definitions. Statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show a nine per cent decrease from 2006 to 2011, in the number of print, radio and television journalists employed.9,10 This may not indicate a large employment cut, but in the three years since those statistics were released there have been large scale redundancies across many of the major media corporations. It is estimated that in the year from 2012 to 2013 over 1200 journalists jobs were cut.11 Andrea Carson reported that Fairfax’s media has off-shored 66 sub-editorial jobs, reduced the size of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, losing 1900 jobs in the process and closing the door of the Tullamarine plant and Chullora, printer of the SMH, Australia’s oldest masthead, also resulting in job cuts, 150 of which will be editorial.12 Marcus Strom, strategic campaigner future of journalism project of the Media Entertainment and Art Alliance, the union representing Journalists, gave a quote on the subject.

We think there were more than 500 journalists redundancies from News Limited, around 300 to 400 at Fairfax and then around 80 to 100 Channel Ten  plus other losses at various other titles.13

Such great redundancies will have a negative effect on the quality of the news. With the loss of workers, journalists become stressed with less time to complete the additional tasks left behind by redundant co-workers.  The quality of news information suffers as the demand for news overtakes the journalist’s abilities and information is not properly written, checked or edited. Entire departments are prone to disappear and the range of the news diminishes.


Decline of Investigative Journalism

One of the first departments to disappear is the Investigative Journalism Department. Investigative Journalism is a trade that requires, time, effort and a substantial budget. The role investigative journalist’s play is that of the watchdog of society. They protect the public by surveying the government and other powerful institutions, reporting their policies and activities and thereby making them publicly accountable.14 It is one of the most important sections of the news as it exposes corruption and helps balances the media. However due to tightening budgets and decreasing revenue the ability to dedicate time and energy to produce interesting, in-depth stories shrinks and Investigative Journalism is often the first to go. The American Journalism Review, a publication by the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, focused on reporting and commenting on the news media15, released an article, ‘ Investigative Shortfall’16 , in which it found that although non-profit investigative journalism companies, such as ProPublica17 are desperately trying to fill the void, the watchdog reporting of journalism is declining. The articles reports that the memberships of the Investigative Reporters and Editors declined from 5,391 in 2003, to a 10-year low of 3,695 in 2009. It is also reported that applications for Pulitzer Prizes; awards honouring Excellence in journalism and the arts since 1997;18 have dropped 40 per cent.

The statistics show that Investigative Journalism, especially in print media is in decline. The Report contains videos that offer many journalists the opportunity to effectively explain why investigative journalism is declining through their experiences as an Investigative Journalist. A particularly effective explanation is that of Roberta Baskin, former director of the investigative teams at WJLA. See the Video Here: http://ajrarchive.org/article.asp?id=4904

With the disappearance of Investigative Journalism comes inferior news quality and the capacity for corruption. The article from the American Journalism Review quotes, when Investigative journalists are made redundant, ‘the bad guys get away with things.’ As resources in the newsroom regress, and time and effort wanes, Investigative journalism pieces transfer into the publication of trivial tabloid stories that are filled with celebrities and scandal. These pieces are entertaining yet they are capable of blinding the public of deceit and concealing the real issues in the world. Without the hard-hitting Investigative Journalism pieces, corruption among powerful people and corporations cannot be exposed and the quality of the news suffers, as educating pieces turn into entertaining tabloid stories.



It is supported that over the past few years the quality of news has declined and the media has formed the mindset of quantity over quality. As technological platforms overtake print media, the demands for express news increases and journalists are faced with extreme deadlines, leaving them with information that is not well sourced and not up to standard. Online news technology has also resulted in revenue cuts in print media creating job losses and putting even more pressure on struggling journalists. Perhaps the greatest evidence of lack of news quality is the disappearance of investigative journalism teams. With evidence supporting the decline in investigative journalism jobs, the media content falters, as there is no watchdog reporting to expose corruption and educate the public on the alarming issues in the world. It is unsurprising that statistics show the public does not trust media professionals if the information they are providing is not of sufficient quality. With the mindset of quantity not quality in the media brought on by advances in technology, increase in an online news presence, decline of print media and the disappearance of investigative journalism, it is clear that the quality of news has suffered.

Word Count: 1483



  1. http://www.roymorgan.com/about
  2. http://www.roymorgan.com/~/media/Files/Findings%20PDF/2014/April/5544-Image-of-Media-Professionals.pdf
  3. http://www.roymorgan.com.au/~/media/Files/Findings%20PDF/2014/April/5531-Image-of-Professions-2014-April-2014.pdf
  4. Franklin, Bob; Hogan, Mike; Langley, Quentin; Mosdell, Nick; Pill, Elliot. 2009. Key Concepts in Public Relations. n.p: Sage Publishing. Accessed 29 March 2014. http://reader.eblib.com.au.ezp01.library.qut.edu.au/(S(htmpxogksf5h0kovo1mv1bda))/Reader.aspx?p=585404&o=96&u=Zd7hfGqVVJBa6k%2bJqQKuBw%3d%3d&t=1396158570&h=8B2C21E19EE648BAC77443ECACC312CC27800E1E&s=11879721&ut=245&pg=1&r=img&c=-1&pat=n&cms=-1#
  5. http://www.pewresearch.org/about/
  6. http://stateofthemedia.org/files/2013/11/1-digital-grows-again-as-source-for-news.xlsx
  7. http://www.cjr.org/the_audit/tracking_news-quality_declines.php?page=all
  8. http://stateofthemedia.org/files/2013/05/1-Newspaper-Print-Advertising-Revenues-Fall-Online-Grows.xlsx
  9. http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Products/E4088063ED40808DCA257968000CBCFD?opendocument
  10. http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4172.0main+features142012
  11. http://mumbrella.com.au/is-this-the-worst-time-to-be-a-journalist-155470
  12. http://theconversation.com/death-by-1-900-cuts-will-quality-journalism-thrive-under-fairfaxs-new-model-7734
  13. http://mumbrella.com.au/is-this-the-worst-time-to-be-a-journalist-155470
  14. Franklin, Bob; Hogan, Mike; Langley, Quentin; Mosdell, Nick; Pill, Elliot. 2009. Key Concepts in Public Relations. n.p: Sage Publishing. Accessed 29 March 2014. http://reader.eblib.com.au.ezp01.library.qut.edu.au/(S(htmpxogksf5h0kovo1mv1bda))/Reader.aspx?p=585404&o=96&u=Zd7hfGqVVJBa6k%2bJqQKuBw%3d%3d&t=1396158570&h=8B2C21E19EE648BAC77443ECACC312CC27800E1E&s=11879721&ut=245&pg=1&r=img&c=-1&pat=n&cms=-1#
  15. http://ajr.org/about/
  16. http://ajrarchive.org/article.asp?id=4904
  17. http://www.propublica.org/
  18. http://www.pulitzer.org/faq

Infro Graph created by infogr.am, Picktochart and easel.ly

Photos credits in order of appearance

Taiyo Okamoto and Joseph Reid from http://www.cool-ny.com/en/archives/930




How Feminist Blogging Could Shape the Future of Journalism

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Journalism is just one of the many industries facing a time of upheaval and tumult due to the rise of the internet and the challenge of adapting news stories to work and flourish on this new platform. Blogging is becoming an increasingly popular activity, and offers a less formal, more conversational way of presenting and understanding affairs in the news.

Feminism is facing its own challenges in the 21st Century, with a recent resurgence of the 3rd Wave placing a heavy focus on redressing the way the news is interpreted and understood by society. Could feminism and blogging combine into a force that has the capabilities to shape the future of journalism?



The blog is the internet’s answer to eighteenth-century salons, with entire websites like WordPress (http://www.wordpress.com/) and tumblr. (http://www.tumblr.com/) dedicated to giving anyone with internet access their very own corner of the World Wide Web. But what exactly is blogging, and what could it mean for journalism now and in the future?

The term blog itself was first used in 1999 by a man called Peter Merholz, and is a shortened version of the term web log (often written weblog) which was coined by Jorn Barger in 1997. A blog is, as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “a web site that contains online personal reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer.”

Blogging as we know it today began after 9/11, as observed by the late Catherine Seipp, an American media critic and writer – “In general, ‘blog‘ used to mean a personal online diary, typically concerned with boyfriend problems or technical news. But after September 11, a slew of new or refocused media junkie/political sites reshaped the entire internet media landscape. Blog now refers to a web journal that comments on the news often by criticizing the media and usually in rudely clever tones, with links to stories that back up the commentary with evidence.” Eddy Hood at Ignite Spot (http://www.ignitespot.com/) compiled a very detailed infographic on blogging in 2013 which shows, among many other things, that blogging website Blogger (http://www.blogger.com/) gets over 46 million unique hits each month, and that 77% of internet users in the U.S. read blogs; the majority of whom are female.

WordPress breaks down blogging into 9 main categories, including: Personal blogs, or blogs that include content about “personal topics like politics, music, family, travel, health, you name it.”; Business blogs, blogs that are run by companies that have “discovered the power of blogs to personally engage with their customers.”; Non-profit blogs, that are run by “foundations, charities, and human rights groups,” and; How-to blogs, that are full of “tips and reviews about cooking, games, music, books, movies, and so on.” WordPress also features a list of prohibited types of blogs – namely those that plagiarise content and provide access to illegal downloads of music, movies, and the like.

A quick Google search (http://www.google.com.au/) for the term “blog websites” pulls up almost 1.8 billion results, the first page of which containing mostly blogging websites, or articles about which blogging websites are the best and why.


The rise of citizen journalism in the early 2000s could possibly be contributed to the popularity of blogs and blogging. It has been noted that the one important thing that distinguishes blogging from other news platforms is that the blog content is always created with an audience in mind. Blogging is very community-based, with most bogging websites enabling users to repost (or ‘reblog’) the original post to their own blog, adding any comments or questions they may have for the author at the bottom of the post. This ability to converse over the content published plays an important role in making sure that people are held responsible for what they say in their posts.  It is this interactive feature of blogging that in its own way creates a sense of activism and awareness within many circles of the internet.



The third wave of feminism began in the 1990s and is, these days, a “creature of many faces”. Long gone are the notions of bra-burning and extremely hairy women preaching a hatred of men, the modern feminist seamlessly blends in with society, subtly reminding us why feminism is still important and that equality has still, in 2014, not been achieved. In an online survey conducted for this report, 22 of 32 participants considered themselves feminist. All 32 people who partook in the survey claimed to support the fight for equality and considered it an important struggle.

As an activism movement, feminism and its feminists need a way to spread their message of equality to the masses – blogging presents an ample opportunity to do so. In the ‘About’ section of their website, Feministing (http://feministing.com/) states that the community aspect of their site exists to “exist to better connect feminists online and off, and to encourage activism.” Most feminist blogs and websites visited for this report stated similar things, with the editor at The Vagenda (http://vagendamagazine.com/) calling the magazine and subsequent blog a “gigantic NO” whose intentions are to “rip the piss out of the mainstream female press.”

This dressing down of mainstream and mainstream female press is a common occurrence in the blogging world. By calling out corporations and individuals on what they’ve said or done and pointing out why it was wrong, a sense of accountability and responsibility is created and awareness is spread. Feminist news website Jezebel (http://jezebel.com/) is known for their questioning of the media and popular opinion to the point where users of the blog section of the website have started doing the same thing. A user created a post after the highly controversial Game of Thrones episode ‘Breaker of Chains’, using the episode as evidence that rape culture is still fervent in our twenty-first century society. The post addressed comments on a post from another blog (http://tealeavesdogears.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/how-rape-culture-helps-people-excuse-last-nights-game-of-thrones/) that viewed the episode in the same light, explaining how the very nature of comments like “Saying no, while responding favorably, kind of takes the meaning of the word away from it.” are harmful to the feminist plight of equality and perpetuate rape culture on a day-to-day basis. Posts like this are not unique in their existence,


Cait Ronken 2014

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Internet Killed the Television Star: What does the future hold for Broadcast Journalism?

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Gone is the era where citizens wait for the 6pm news to be informed about the world in which they live; in the present day, we are given instant access to relevant information via new age technology. Technolgical advancements over the last decade have evolved the entire industry of broadcast journalism in more ways than one. Firstly, the future holds the possibility of a decline in sensationalism throughout TV news. People are more switched on than ever before; thereore, o

Seven’s move of axing the 19 year old program in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, came as no surprise to the media due to the long standing rivalry between Today Tonight and Nine’s A Current Affair. Recently, Nine made the innovative decision to extend Nine News and push back A Current Affair. This switch has proven tosky rocket both their ratings and viewing between the time slot of 6pm – 7pm weekdays[1]. The recent increase in competition between the two channels was sparked in 2013, when ACA beat Today Tonight for the first time since 2004[2].This has lead to a recent increase in the dramatization and sensationalism found in the content, as the programs battle out to attract more viewers than ever before. Today Tonight, however, was spared the axe in Adelaide and Perth, where it will continue to be produced for local current affair stories1. The fact is, today’s society prefers news that delivers the truth. Channel Seven chief executive highlights this when justifying the decision. Tim Worner states, “This move is about building and investing in Seven’s leading news coverage. In recent times we have increased our level of news across the day with great success. We plan to do even more in the future. We see this as an exciting opportunity to serve our news audience in a better way”1.According to TV Tonight, on Monday the 12th May Nine News attracted 192,000 more viewers than the program that followed, A Current Affair[3]. In 2008, Blue Moon Research Company[4] conducted a report that revealed only 50 % of those interviewed believed a current affair programs provided some relevant information to the public. Less than half, only 38 % of interviewees, agreed that these programs fairly represent viewpoints. 

Society’s need for straight edge news can be seen in the figure below, with 97% of respondents agreeing to the statement “if an error is made during the program the broadcaster has the responsibility of making a correction”4.With the demand for unbiased, ordinary news growing throughout society, the future existence of sensationalism in TV broadcast journalism is highly questionable.

Where did Sensationalism exist? 

The past mistakes and slanted reporting styles of these programs have lead to the unpopularity of sensationalism. On many occasions, both A Current Affair and Today Tonight have been hauled up to broadcasting authorities and negatively critiqued by Media Watch, Australia’s leading forum for media analysis[5]. For example, Today Tonight’s infamous decision to tie an elderly nursing home resident to her bed with large chains, in attempt to dramatically reenact an incident for their story “Granny in Chains”, sparked mass controversy throughout the media2. The story alone resulted in job losses and cost the channel tens of thousands in damages. Based on their research findings, Blue Moon categorized unfair reporting into Three Levels of Errors4. Level One, named the “Absolute Nots” consists of deliberately leading viewers to a false conclusion, as well creating a distortion of fact4. In 1996, Media Watch exposed Today Tonight for presenting footage filmed in Barcelona as the Spanish island of Mallorca, therefore falling into the first level2. Level 2, consisting of aggressive questioning and surprising interviewees, is exemplified when last November, Today Tonight was again slammed for halting a murder trial when reporters ambushed the accused outside a Sydney court2. Blue Moon’s third level4, “Errors due to Poor Journalism”, was directly demonstrated by ACA when screening a full segment produced by Today Tonight on the 21st March 2011[6]. ACA simply blurred out their rival’s watermark, according to an article on TV Tonight6. The mass controversy that these programs attract contributed to Channel Seven’s decision to axe the show after 25 years, forming the ideology that sensationalized Broadcast Journalism may be on the downfall.

Part II: The rise of Citizen Journalism

Due to rise of the technological era, society is prepared to go to other means to acquire information other than waiting for TV news programs. BBC Deputy Director- General, Mark Byford, discussed the topic of digital age Broadcast Journalism in a speech given at Leeds University[7]. Byford touched on the fact that in 2006, BBC found that in digital TV homes with multiple entertainment channels, compared with analogue homes, weekly viewings of the news was halved. Soaps on free to air channels, however, did not suffer this same decline. Byford delivered the sentiment, “Whether for the BBC or ITN, News at Ten has become News at When? – whenever audiences want it”7. The BBC discussion sparks the topic of citizenship journalism, which refers to the movement of amateur journalists generating content[8]. If sensationalized news is not delivering the fact, citizen journalism proves that non-professionals are prepared to seek out the news for themselves. Compact equipment is readily available for citizens, therefore eradicating the barrier between reporter and citizen8. Social media also adjusts traditional news platforms, as a simple a “status update” by an amateur journalist can prove to be more effective than a five-minute television segment[9]. 25 year old Josh Lynagh, a citizen journalist that runs a community news page in Mount Gambier, is able to deliver information about murder charges, lost pets, reports of house fires and local events all via Facebook[10]. UK BBC news connects with 80% of the UK population every week, according to Byford7. The way this reach is made, however, is by interactive new media rather than traditional linear TV news programs[11]. The internet is now the second source of reference for under 30 year olds in the United States, fast catching up on TV News, and is expected to continue to rise11. In order for TV Journalism to remain a successful industry, TV news must represent accuracy and an ability to inform with straight fact.

Part III: Job cuts throughout the Journalism industry

Predictions on the future of broadcast journalism can also be made when observing the rising figure of job losses throughout other areas of the industry, such as print media. Due to the journalism environment becoming increasingly competitive, all major news organizations are required to make economic cuts, inevitably resulting in hundreds losing their positions in the work place[12]. In 2012, Fairfax Media announced that it would make 1,900 workers redundant and close main printing plants, in order to adapt to the new digital age[13]. These cuts were designed to save $235 million, taking 300 positions in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Canberra Times. Julie Posetti, University of Canberra journalism lecturer, highlights the rapid effect the job cuts has on the industry when stating, “…Fairfax had to make a decision to dramatically alter its approach to the digital production of journalism. I welcome the overall strategy to move to an online publication model in a truly converged environment. This is going to be a very painful transition, but it’s a transition that was inevitable and necessary if the company is to have a sustainable future”13. According to Kylar Loussikian[14], a Freelance writer at The Australian, major organizations such as News Ltd and the ABC, now take limited journalism graduates. Peter Fray, former editor at The Sydney Morning Herald, describes that although graduates with journalism skills are still in demand, they will be more likely to work creating content for health funds or banks14. In 2013, The American Society of News Editors released its annual newsroom census, shocking the public with the acceleration of job cuts[15]. The number of reporters, editors and other journalists has decreased almost one- third from 56,000 in 200015. The instability of journalism, including all aspects of broadcast journalism cuts.


Due to the rise of the technological era, the face of broadcast journalism is predicted to rapidly evolve in future decade. Sensationalism, found in a current affair programs, has already began it’s decline downhill. The question of citizen journalism taking over the industry can also be asked; with the technology available to ordinary people, no one is being stopped from producing their own content. Finally, broadcast journalism may mirror the job cuts seen throughout print media, as organizations prepare for an entirely digital based world of journalism.  


Word Count: 1588 words

















The Impact Of Citizen Journalism On The Future Of Journalism

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Citizen journalism is becoming a growing force in today’s media world. The creation of the internet has enabled untrained members of the public to relay information around the world. This has both positive and negative impacts. Citizen journalists can respond with a speed that the legacy media can only dream of, capturing photos and passing information around the world, minutes after an event occurs. Citizen journalists are also able to report on that which is important to them, bypassing the news gatekeepers that are editors. Legacy media can directly benefit from such untrained “journalists” by using photos and other material from them. However, journalistic integrity is questionable in relation to citizen journalists. Citizen journalists have the means to present biased or heavily slanted stories which benefit their points of view, sometimes even unintentionally. The impact that citizen journalism is currently having on journalism and will have on the future of journalism is indeed huge.


Citizen journalism is the gathering, writing, editing, production and distribution of news and information by people not trained as professional journalists (Curtis, 2012). Citizen journalists are often people with a strong sense of community and a desire to make a change. Many see themselves as a better representation of today’s society, believing they bring a voice to the voiceless (Burkholder, 2009). Citizen reporting provides a space for marginalized, alternative and activists social groups.


There are many motivations for citizen journalism. One is a desire to share the truth, to be displayed for the world to see. These people are often in situations that professional journalists are unable cover due to the dangerous nature of the area, like the war in Syria, or extreme restrictions on the freedom of reporters, such as in the case of North Korea. Citizen journalists often put their life on the line to deliver such stories. This a somewhat intentional form of citizen journalism.

Citizen journalism, however, is not always intentional, at least, not to begin with. Last year, community-minded Josh Lynagh set up a Facebook page originally with the idea of posting information relating to local police reports in South Australia’s south east (Hill, 2014) in order to help the district stay informed of crime in the area. He began to cover fire and severe weather warnings for the region as well and eventually people began messaging him about community events. Lynagh, however, has no formal journalism training which has led to a number of issues. One of which is dealing with upset or emotional readers, with some even threatening him through comments and messages to the page. As the sole administrator of the page, he is responsible for how these comments are dealt with and directly feels the impact. On the other hand, the management of news organisations field complaints and threats directed at their employees, dealing with them in a fair and sensible manner. This is under the expectation that their professional journalists uphold the code of ethics that has been explicitly outlined by the employer of each professional. This separation protects the people involved and minimises the chance of an escalation.


Without mobile phones, citizen journalism would not be as advanced as it is today. In regard to broadcast journalism, professional reporters have teams that carry around the bulky equipment needed to record both pieces to camera and capture footage of events. This equipment is both expensive and unwieldy which makes it unlikely for citizen journalists to own, let alone use. This restricts this type of equipment to media professionals. The addition of cameras to mobile phones allowed citizens to take small, grainy photos back in 2000 (Bartley, 2014) that were essentially useless to the legacy media. Over time, however, the quality of these cameras grew. After a small stalling of progress with the introduction of slim smart phones (previous camera phones were significantly chunky), quality began to improve significantly, with the latest iPhone 5S boasting a 8MP camera, a host of settings, adjustments and the ability to record video (Apple, 2014). Along with the addition of the camera, came the ability to share these images wirelessly. This combination proved immensely popular as Canalys reported that over half of the phones sold worldwide in the first 9 months of 2004 had cameras in them, and two-thirds of all the phones shipped in the third quarter were camera phones (Hill, 2013). By 2006, more than half of the world’s mobile phones had cameras and by 2010 the worldwide number of camera phones totalled more than a billion with most mobile phones, even inexpensive ones, were being sold with a camera (Bartley, 2014).In addition to this, the number of active mobile phones is predicted to exceed the world population sometime this year (Pramis, 2013). This indicates the prevalence of cameras in today’s society which makes it easy for ordinary citizens to commit “random acts of journalism”. But, without a platform such as social media in which to share this content alongside opinions, facts and data, it would have been useless.


Social media has been a huge driving factor in the growth of citizen journalism. Social media combines familiarity, with an ability to tell the world anything. As more and more people start using the internet as a main source of national and international news (Pew Research Center, 2011), social media will only continue to grow. Many people already use social media for other purposes, such as communicating with friends and loved ones as well as keeping up to date with celebrities and famous personalities. The most notable example of the latter is Twitter, with 255 million monthly active users (Twitter, 2014). This site has become an essential point of contact between citizen journalists and their professional counterparts. This platform has forced emphasis on quality instead of quantity, leading to brief “tweets” where citizen journalists can break news or share pictures of occurring events, perhaps unintentionally taking on the role of journalist. There has been an exponential growth of professional reporters on Twitter over that past few years, in order to access the content that citizen journalists provide on this platform. However, anyone can create a twitter account and make wild accusations. It is an important skill for journalists to be able to sift through potentially dangerous lies and misinformation, to get to real stories. This was proven when CNN posted that Cyclone Sandy has put the New York Trade Centre under 3 feet of water, as described by Twitter user @ConfortablySmug. While this was an easy rumour to confirm or deny, a CNN reporter chose to pass this information on immediately, without verifying the truth of the matter.This rumour began to spread and even the Weather Channel and Piers Morgan were caught out, before the truthfulness of the comment was called into question (Mahoney, 2012). This error had very real effects. As the untruth spread, the economy dropped and although it recovered, it was a very nervous wait for some people. All of this took place in less than an hour, which shows how large an impact can occur when confirming the accuracy of a source is neglected. It is important for professional reporters to thoroughly confirm any information coming from citizen journalists, just as they would from any other source. Reporting false information negatively impacts the reputation of even the biggest news corporations. Drastic consequences can occur when professional journalists fail to identify the authenticity of a citizen journalist post.

The graph below shows that over the past four years, trust in traditional media, such as daily newspapers and television news and current affair programs, is decreasing, while trust in online news, in the form of internet blogs is increasing.


A strong connection between legacy media and citizen journalists is mutually beneficial.


Legacy media is beginning to use content sourced from citizen journalists more heavily. In the past, requests would be made for photographs and amateur video of newsworthy events by news providers through a number of different channels. This was not very efficient but some content was found this way. As citizen journalism began to thrive, content began to be sourced from this area. A notable example is iReport, a citizen journalism platform hosted by CNN. Their policy stated “we’ve launched an independent world where you, the iReport.com community, tell the stories we’re not used to seeing. And the most compelling, important, and urgent ones may get seen on CNN.” (Leibowitz, 2013) This platform provides CNN with a new resource for finding news. It can be used either as a starting block to begin investigate a story, or to provide photos to complement an existing one. Citizen journalists can provide first-hand contributions during crisis events which is indispensable to news organisations.


Citizen journalists can benefit from legacy media attention. Blogs and social media posts generally have a small audience in comparison to that of newspapers and television stations. When professional journalists report on stories found through their citizen counterparts, it reaches the eyes and ears of many more people. This increases awareness of what is occurring, a positive to many citizen journalists. This means that while citizen journalists break the news, they still need broadcast media to help spread it.Image

It is important to remember that citizen journalists, while being a good addition to professionals, should not be a substitute for them. Constant cooperation between professional and citizen journalists will result in more compelling stories, that align with stringent ethical standards. As with the innovation of camera phones and social media, perhaps further inventions will assist the evolution of citizen journalism as it continues to be a fascinating component of the media in the 21st century.

By Isaac Parker

Word count: 1598 words (including in-text refernces)


Reference List

Apple Inc. 2014. “iSight. The world’s most popular camera. With good reason.”. Accessed May 21, 2014. <http://www.apple.com/au/iphone-5s/camera/&gt;

Bartley, A. 2014. ” The Evolution of the Camera Phone”. Accessed May 21, 2014. <http://www.preceden.com/timelines/59618-the-evolution-of-the-camera-phone-&gt;

Burkholder, C. 2009. ” Citizen Journalism”. Accessed May 20, 2014. <http://www.journalismethics.info/citizen_journalism/blogging.htm&gt;

Curtis, A. 2012. “Citizen Journalism”. Accessed May 20, 2014. <http://www2.uncp.edu/home/acurtis/Courses/ResourcesForCourses/Journalism/CitizenJournalism.html&gt;

Hill, K. 2014. “The rise and fall of citizen journalism”. Accessed May 20, 2014. <http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2014/05/14/4004510.htm&gt;

Hill, S. 2013. “From J-Phone to Lumia 1020: A complete history of the camera phone”. Accessed May 21, 2014 <http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/camera-phone-history/#!PdZXN&gt;

Leibowitz, M. 2013. ” Drawbacks of Citizen Journalism”. Accessed May 20, 2014. <http://www.salzburg.umd.edu/lessons/citizen-journalism&gt;

Pew Research Center. 2011. “Internet Gains on Television as Public’s Main News Source”. Accessed May 20, 2014. <http://www.people-press.org/2011/01/04/internet-gains-on-television-as-publics-main-news-source/&gt;

Pramis, J. 2013. ” Number of mobile phones to exceed world population by 2014″. Accessed May 20, 2014. <http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/mobile-phone-world-population-2014/#!Pd8Ux&gt;

Twitter, Inc. 2014. “About” Accessed May 20, 2014. <https://about.twitter.com/company&gt;


Image Credits (in order of appearance)









The Gigabit War: The Rise of Digital Journalism

Find the slicker-looking version of this story at  http://app-qut.shorthand.com/export/aaffbe5c7c88434ebf2945ca67af0953/index.html 

In the world today, online networking and Internet sources are increasingly used by consumers to find what they want to know instantly. As analysts begin to see a trend in the decline of print media sales and revenue, it is pertinent to assess the impact of internet-based news sources on more conventional medias, particularly in America where the digital is fast taking over from other ‘legacy media’ and electronic devices are a mass-market. This background report will utilise primary source data to investigate how and where contemporary consumers get their news online, the growing amalgamation between social networks and news outlets, and the ramifications for the future of online journalism.

Digital Media: A Contemporary Comparison
In 2012, Pew Research Centre (www.pewresearch.org) published a research project entitled ‘The State of the News Media 2013’. This report was the result of collated data from various well-known data mining companies such as Nielson and eMarketer, with a significant amount of research and data visualisations compiled by Pew themselves. The following graph taken from the Pew report illustrates the state of the news media as a whole in the year 2012. It is clear that the online category is the only news source demonstrating any growth, while print media is shown to be gradually declining as a source for news. When all forms of online and digital news sources are included, the percentage of people who got their news in a digital format on an average day increases to 50%, ahead of newspapers (29%) and radio broadcasting (33%). Of consumers receiving their news digitally, 19% got theirs from social networks.

Corroborating with the above graph is the data visualisation below, showing that the use of social media and networking sites is increasing precipitously. It is apparent that social networks such as Facebook and Twitter are branching out to wider demographics and building deeper engagements with their current users.

News corporations are realising the potential market in embedding themselves in and engaging with users on Facebook, as evidenced by this bar graph from NewsWhip, which shows the top 50 news sites with the strongest user engagement on Facebook.

It is obvious that news providers view social networking sites such as Facebook as an important way of reaching out to consumers, but are people actually visiting news sites or simply relying on their Facebook subscription to Huffington Post? The infographic below uses data gathered from online measurement firm comScore to provide a visualisation of where Americans are going for their news online.

According to comScore, the top 25 U.S. news sites “tallied 625 million average unique monthly visitors in 2012 – a 7% gain from the prior year”. The findings from Pew suggest that the United States is slowly progressing towards an all-digital medium of news communications. This is reflective of other research conducted around the globe in the same year, such as the Australian Business Outlook report, presented by Roy Morgan Research in 2012. 54% of all Australians, the report states, purchased items over the Internet in that year, and “In an average week… 57% visited a community messaging site – some 47% of all Australians visited Facebook”. While this rise in social network prevalence is certainly commensurate with the findings of American research groups such as Pew, Roy Morgan specifies that in Australia “Traditional Media such as TV and print dominate, [but] there has been a rapid rise in the use of the internet, putting pressure on all other media”. Although print media in Australia was still a powerful force of news distribution in 2012, social media as a source of news was more prevalent in the United States.

The gradual takeover of digital news media continues today in America, with Pew’s latest findings for 2014 showing an unsurprising trend in the use of social media and the development of online news sources. Digital news outlets such as BuzzFeed, Mashable and Vox Media are taking on increasing numbers of dedicated news staff and these successful digital brands are challenging professional newspaper websites, with many well-known journalists from respected newspapers joining their ranks. This is most likely due to the increased job security that working online offers as opposed to working in print, due to significant cuts to staff in the print media sector over the last 5 years.

The use of mobile devices and social media is ever expanding in 2014, with half of Facebook users getting their news there “even though they did not go there looking for it”. The jump from paper to screen is not just happening in America. Pew Research was able to account for around 5,000 jobs in the digital news sector worldwide, over 3,000 of which resided with the ‘Big 30’ major digital outlets.

News Without Borders
As news companies branch out to larger audiences, analysts have observed a globalisation of news that could only have happened with the advent of the Internet. The Huffington Post is perhaps the definitive example of a truly global news corporation, digitally native since its inception as a content aggregation site in 2005.

Today, the company is reported to have a total of 575 international and domestic editorial jobs and Jimmy Soni, The Huffington Post Media Group’s managing editor, expects the company’s 11 international editions to grow to as many as 15 by the end of this year.

Another American company committed to the globalisation of the news sector is online startup http://www.globalpost.com, whose mission statement reads: “The GlobalPost Mission is to provide original international reporting rooted in integrity, accuracy, independence and powerful storytelling that informs, entertains and fills the void created by diminished foreign coverage by American media.” Focused exclusively on coverage of international events, the digital outlet employs 28 full-time staff, 8 part-timers and a stable of approximately 50 freelance journalists.

Business Insider launched an Australian website last year and plans to open a London newsroom in 2014. Its editorial staff speak a combined 19 languages and some are based in Bangkok and Hong Kong. The site is published by Allure Media, a top 20 publisher in Australia that also manages Gizmodo, Kotaku, Lifehacker, ShopStyle and POPSUGAR. Allure Media’s monthly readership accounts for approximately 3 million Australians, according to the sites about page.

Buzzfeed is another company expanding their enterprises globally, hiring a foreign editor in 2013 and opening offices in London, Sydney, São Paulo and Paris. CEO Jonah Peretti says that BuzzFeed intends to open offices in Mexico, Mumbai, Berlin and Tokyo in the near future. The inference from this research is that journalism is becoming more about globalisation and less about localisation.

It can be deduced that news corporations are slowly moving towards an all-online presence in the media due to significantly lower costs when compared to printing, a more global presence, the ability to embed content within popular websites and the opportunity to increase their readership. Digital news providers are reaching out to audiences in new and exiting ways and the medium of the Internet has given journalists tools to make stories engaging and interactive. Indeed, this blog is just an amateur example of what can be done using the limitless potential of the World Wide Web. Consumers can now take their news with them thanks to the advent of the ‘always-online’ smartphone, and news website pages never become outdated due to the ability to continuously update online content. This report concludes that the future of journalism will almost certainly be a digital one, with print media eventually being delegated to advertising and niche topics. The online, digital world is fast becoming the swiftest and simplest way to communicate, and it is only a matter of time before news businesses utilise it to its fullest potential.

By Isaac Harding