Gay Alcorn argues in The Guardian (4.5.17) that press redundancies at Fairfax, hot on the heels of cuts at News Corp, are not just devastating for the journalists affected – they will hurt the communities they serve, too, so should be of concern to our elected officials.
‘Here we go again. Another round of huge job cuts at Australia’s traditional media, this time at Fairfax, although News Corp is doing much the same. Journalists on strike at the Age and the Sydney Morning Herald say that removing a quarter of the editorial staff, or 125 full-time-equivalent jobs, will be devastating.
‘Not just devastating for the people who lose their jobs, but for the capacity of the media to report news their communities need. Hashtags like #fairgofairfax and #savetheage pop up – again. The media union thunders – again – about companies cutting journalism to the bone and beyond, while in the same breath insisting that “quality journalism” is their business.
‘What I fear most is that these big job cuts have become so routine that the crisis enveloping Australian journalism will be greeted with a sad shrug by many, and even a little glee by a few. If we’re not at a tipping point now, when we really do need to talk seriously about public interest journalism as a vital cog in a functioning democracy, then we never will be. We’re like the frog in water that has been heating up for many years, and the water is boiling now.’
- Australia’s journalism is in mortal danger. Politicians should join the fight to save it »
- ‘A government without newspapers’: why everyone should care about the cuts at Fairfax »
- Fairfax Media staff on strike say the message is clear: ‘It’s time to invest in journalism’ »
- Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood says more cuts to come as expert warns of ‘shoddy’ journalism »
- Nine-Fairfax merger rings warning bells for investigative journalism – and Australian democracy »
- Government looks to boost eligibility for regional journalism grants »
- The closure of AAP is yet another blow to public interest journalism in Australia »
- Local newspapers are an ‘essential service’. They deserve a government rescue package, too »
- 9 reasons you should be worried about the closure of BuzzFeed News in Australia »
- Black day for News Corp – most of its Queensland presses to fall silent »
- Digital-only local newspapers will struggle to serve the communities that need them most »
- Funding public interest journalism requires creative solutions. A tax rebate for news media could work »
- Australians are not aware news outlets are in financial trouble: new report »
- Australia’s media industry shed 5,000 journalists to survive – what does this mean for those who left, and those left behind? »
- Forget calls for a royal commission into Australia’s big media players – this is the inquiry we really need »
- Regional journalism is dying: advertising subsidies won’t help »
Journalism is in peril. Can government help?
Tom Greenwell writes in Inside Story (29.6.17) that state support for the press is commonplace in Europe, and it doesn’t appear to inhibit journalists. But does it bring real benefits, and can it do so in Australia?
‘The idea that governments should provide financial assistance to news publishers is receiving more serious consideration in Australia than at any time in living memory. At the heart of the Senate inquiry into the Future of Public Interest Journalism, established in May in the wake of another round of lay-offs at Fairfax, lies the question of government’s role in ensuring a “viable, independent and diverse” news media. At the committee’s hearings – and in submissions it has received – some form of public subsidy is figuring prominently among the potential answers.
‘The reason is straightforward enough. Australia has lost between 2500 and 3000 media jobs this decade. That’s a quarter of our total journalistic capacity. Advertisers have left for Google, Facebook and other non-journalistic vendors of eyeballs, and they’re not coming back. Subscriptions to news outlets are growing but even non-subscribers enjoy the benefits of public interest journalism – liberal freedoms, democratic participation and low corruption. That means public interest journalism is unlikely to be privately purchased in the kind of quantities a healthy democracy needs.
‘And yet, as Matthew Ricketson, professor of communication at Deakin University and key player in the 2012 Finkelstein Review, told me, “I think if you asked the average person in the street, should the government provide money to the media, and put it like that, they’d probably be wary about it. Because they’d be worried about control and editorial interference”.’
- Journalism is in peril. Can government help? »
- Government can support public interest journalism in Australia – here’s how »
- Should governments provide funding grants to encourage public interest journalism? »
- Something is missing from the public interest journalism debate »
- Bad politics shouldn’t sink good ideas for public interest journalism »
- Consumer watchdog: journalism is in crisis and only more public funding can help »
- Off the wire »
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- When the market for news fails… »
- Another savage blow to regional media spells disaster for the communities they serve »
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- The government’s regional media bailout doesn’t go far enough – here are reforms we really need »
- Australian media: number of people reading news in print has halved since 2016 »
- Katter’s ‘journalism rescue plan’ a band-aid for ailing rural media »
- Australian journalism needs more than better protection, it needs better standards »
- PM’s promise to help regional newspapers with printing costs »