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Wake Up People, the Future of Journalism is Upon Us

(Image: Flickr/ Ashley Campbell Photography)

By Brendan Bale

Two news stories that interested me this week may not seem to be intrinsically linked on the surface. But they made me think about the same issue – innovation in news creation and information circulation.

Wait, I know this is way too big of an issue for such a little post, but as my last piece of writing for RMIT I have to at least try to identify the way organisations are trying to stay relevant and economically viable.

One story involves the new breakfast program, Wake Up, and the other is the story of Ebay founder, Pierre Omidyar, creating a new media organisation to rival other online publishers.

I find it really interesting to see that Channel 10 are moving away from the big personalities of yesteryear. After the failure of using kiwi shock jock Paul Henry on 10’s Breakfast, they are hedging their bets on more personable cast members and increased involvement from the audience.

Is this dynamic programming, or lazy journalism? I definitely believe that the audience needs to feel involved to remain captivated these days, but I think you still have to exude some sense of  an authoritative voice to be taken seriously.

Trying to reflect the change in audience media consumption behaviour is noble (but way too late in the game). One thing is certain in my mind. They will not be converting non-TV watchers into TV viewers – that paradigm shift has already occurred. Boland and his team are simply trying to coerce viewers from other free to air stations to commit to their brand instead.

Media companies are fiercely fighting for the lucrative consumer dollar, but I feel that quality journalism is becoming a secondary concern. To hear positive words coming from someone who has the resources to make positive changes is quite heartening. Omidyar recently said about his new project, “I want to find ways to convert mainstream readers into engaged citizens. I think there’s more that can be done in this space, and I’m eager to explore the possibilities.”

I think true innovation can only come from harnessing online capabilities – this is the only viable future for journalism, and for fledgling journalists like myself trying to carve out a career in the industry. I’ve always been what you might call a pragmatic optimist, so I still hold a little hope that I’ll be able to successfully ride the wave of new media rather than drown in a riptide of emerging online disciplines.

Posted under: Blogging
Dated: Oct 18 2013

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