The future for newspapers in Australia

Is Australia in the throes of a mass burial for its quality fourth estate?

robert-manneFinancial results for Fairfax and News Limited would suggest so, fuelled further by the recent headlines that Hancock Prospecting has become the largest single shareholder of Fairfax Media causing concern about potential editorial interference.

But are online publications a quality substitute for newspapers? Are online media, blogs and tweets able to do the job that the fourth estate has been doing – providing responsible and accurate journalism with a major role to play in upholding democracy?

Paul Ramadge, Editor in Chief of The Age and Eric Beecher, Crikey Proprietor and former Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald will lead a panel debate organised through the Ideas & Society Program of La Trobe University on Tuesday 6 March.

They will be joined by Dr Mary Debrett, Strategic Communication of La Trobe University and Professor Robert Manne, Politics of La Trobe University for what promises to be a challenging and forthright discussion.

Professor Manne says the discussion is as much about the sort of democracy and society there will be without quality newspapers.

‘There are few questions more important for the future of our kind of democracy than the survival of high quality, diverse and balanced newspapers’, Professor Manne argues.

According to a recent UK poll, British youth aged between 15 and 25 say they are spending 30% less time reading national newspapers now they are using the web.

‘We are fortunate to have two such distinguished speakers as Paul Ramadge and Eric Beecher to debate this issue at La Trobe University.’

The discussion will cover a range of issues from investigative reporting, opinions over factual news reporting, citizen tweets versus independent media, infotainment and lifestyle over international affairs and politics.

Is there a future for quality newspapers in Australia? is the first in the 2012 Ideas & Society Program series.

A webcast will be available following the Debate when it can be downloaded from:

What: Is there a future for quality newspapers in

When: Tuesday 6 March 12.30pm – 2pm
Where: Seminar Room, Ground Floor, Borchardt Library, La Trobe University, Bundoora Campus, All welcome, but come early to get a seat.

Public inquiries::
Media inquiries: Penny Underwood on (03) 9818 8540 or