What's next for Journalism?

Four media experts came together in an Ideas and Society event on October 16 to discuss the changing face and future prospects of journalism in Australia.

Over the last three years, more than 1500 journalists have taken redundancies and while some claim that journalism itself is under threat, the panel explored whether that is true and if so, to what extent. 

La Trobe journalism Associate Professor Lawrie Zion, Deputy Managing Editor at The Conversation Helen Westerman, former editor of Crikey and ABC Radio National presenter Jonathan Green, and The University of Sydney senior lecturer in Convergent and Online Media Dr Fiona Martin will explore the potential for new avenues in the industry. 

Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar chaired the event.

Watch the discussion

What's next for Journalism?

What the speakers said

Since the 1960s, newspapers have been in decline - since television eliminated high circulation and afternoon papers, said Jonathan Green. He believes the tabloid is the most likely paper to survive, and it needs to be mass circulation and sensationalist.

Helen Westerman, however, believes specialist press is more likely to survive - which Fiona Martin agreed with. Se believes magazines will survive because in print because people are more inclined to take a magazine as a status object to display and share. However, she does not believe newspapers will survive, because of the ease and accessibility of online.

Lawrie Zion remarks with the prevalence of social media, he no longer has to go to the news - it comes to him. But Jonathan Green points out - someone still has to report the news so there will always be jobs in journalism.

The panel discusses crowd-sourced funding, social media, whether journalists will become redundant as media sources change, the changing role of journalists and more. 

More about our speakers

Jonathan Green

Jonathan has been a journalist since the late 1970s and currently works at ABC Radio Melbourne presenting Sunday Extra and filling in on RN Drive. The bulk of Jonathan's career has been spent in newspapers, including 15 years at The Age before becoming editor of Crikey in 2006 and then foundation editor of ABC Online's The Drum. 

Helen Westerman

Helen is Deputy Managing Editor and Section Editor: Business and Economy for The Conversation. Helen has covered news, business and finance for The Age newspaper and was the small business online editor for The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. 

Fiona Martin

Fiona is an ARC Discovery Early Career Research fellow and senior lecturer in Convergent and Online Media at Sydney University. Fiona researches the uses, politics and regulation of online media and the implications of these technologies for media industry change. She has a particular interest in the evolution of public service media online.

Lawrie Zion

With over 25 years of experience in the media, Lawrie is currently the Head of Department of Journalism and Strategic Communication at La Trobe University and the co-founder and editor-in-chief of the online magazine Upstart, which showcases student writing and provides a forum for emerging journalists.


This event took place at on Thursday 16 October 2014 at the La Trobe University John Scott Meeting House.