Heralding a New Dawn-Out with the Old, In with the New(s)

Are newspapers becoming extinct?

Are newspapers facing extinction?

For many years my father routinely perused a freshly printed copy of Fairfax’s Sydney Morning Herald with his breakfast. Recently the traditional broad sheet has been replaced by the Sydney Morning Herald App on a shiny new iPad. Unwittingly, my father is playing an integral part in the journalism revolution. As we immerse ourselves deeper in the ocean of digital content, legacy media such as newspapers have been forced to reconsider traditional methods of delivery to readers.

Journalism is considered a profession in crisis. The internet is contesting the status of newspapers as the major institution of journalism by offering greater efficiency in meeting demand and supply.  Rupert Murdoch clarified this fundamental shift in a tweet in August 2012. “Simple equation: free, open, uncontrollable internet versus shackled newspapers equals no newspapers.”  Advancements in technology have also led to the rise of citizen journalism. Unrestrained by authority and capturing news as it happens with an assortment of common recording devices, citizen journalists are “filling the void that mainstream media cannot fully cover”, as Nadine Jurrat explores in Mapping Digital Media. Providing ubiquitous connectivity to global reports via a constant stream of online content, the evolution of this new brand of journalists has led to the rise of collective intelligence as everyday citizens are able to create, collaborate and contribute to the ever-deepening pool of information available on the internet.

Alan Kohler summarises this shift to online content delivery in the ABC report below, explaining that readers are moving to engage more with digital information.

However, as Kohler points out, this change does not herald the extinction of journalism in the future so much as NEWSPAPERS.  Journalism is simply evolving to suit the demands of a migratory audience. This means a dramatic modification in how traditional media organisations deliver their content. By exploring the Sydney Morning Herald’s Know No Boundaries Site, this process of evolution is clear. Digital subscriptions, blogs and more effective applications for mobile and tablet devices are all on the cards for SMH in 2013, clearly displaying the attempt of a traditional journalistic medium to change with the times.  The recent change to tabloid format in late 2012 was also made in response to “the flight of paying readers and advertisers from the paper to other, so-far free, digital sources of news.”

What will be interesting to see is how these platforms fund their work in a traditionally free digital environment.  Perhaps the evolution of ‘subscription based models’, like the one proposed by SMH will lead to further loss of readership and eventually the ultimate extinction of such media. Only time will tell.

Picture sourced from: http://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/o/online_newspaper.asp 


Congratulations- You are now an Informed Citizen!

Engaging one’s brain after an 18 month vacation seems like yet another hill to climb in the vast landscape of university. This assignment provided me with both a solid grounding in my media studies as well as a comprehensive lesson in conquering the ‘how to’s’ of a successful media student. How to research, write, edit, blog and even tweet!

As with any task, it is amazing to see the full circle one takes on their journey to understanding. Previously intangible notions surrounding the media were given substance through the exploration of examples in lectures, tutorials and my own investigations. A journey from being ignorant to informed, you could say. A number of key concepts struck a chord with me. I was astounded by how the media has become a scapegoat for incongruous human actions such as the Colorado Cinema Massacre, the media effects model refusing to accept that human nature may be at fault. Furthermore, a heightened awareness of the concentration of media ownership in Australia and the lines of bias each organisation follows, as displayed for example in Outfoxed, has caused me to scrutinise the media I digest in terms of its hidden agendas. My morning dose of Sunrise is now ingested with a pinch of salt- what have the editors chosen to include and why?

Finding your own path

Finding your own path to success

Aside from research, I have thoroughly enjoyed the writing process and devising catchy hooks to appeal to a potentially global audience. Additionally, compacting an argument into 300 words encouraged concise thought.

Finally, a broader perspective on the weekly topics was gained through engaging with the posts of fellow peers. It was fascinating to see how each student uniquely interpreted the same issue. This individuality shows that there are many ways to approach this subject, and no one path is more correct than another.

There is no defined ‘how to’ list for media students. It is only by developing a unique style and forging your own path that you will find your own success in this subject.

Picture sourced from:  http://www.picturenation.co.uk/view/info/132588/sign-post-confused?s=confused&page=1