A publication of the Centre for Advancing Journalism, University of Melbourne

So, what’s new about news? Bumper program to take the temperature of media

The media is in flux as never before: the last 12 months have seen unprecedented redundancies at major news outlets, the Fairfax newspapers turning tabloid, social media altering the course of events in China and the Middle East, Wikileaks aiding and abetting leaker Edward Snowden. 


And in Australia, another election approaches, with journalists once more under scrutiny for the way they report politics.

Here, too, we have seen a major new entrant in the media mix with the launch of The Guardian in Australia. On a smaller scale, there is a new media entrepreneur launching a blog or news media presence almost every day. Meanwhile, the big newsrooms of so-called legacy media continue to shrink.


There is never any lack of things to talk about in journalism – and that’s what we’ll be doing at this year’s two-day New News festival, the program for which is released today. The New News will run at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Federation Square on Friday August 30 and Saturday August 31, with a mix of free and ticketed events.

This will be fourth year the New News festival has taken place. Run by the Centre for Advancing Journalism in partnership with the Melbourne Writers Festival and the Public Interest Journalism Foundation, its purpose is to take the discussion about the present and future of journalism to readers and viewers – who are, after all, the people who will most determine the future of journalism. This year’s conference is sponsored byConnectWeb and supported by Women for Media.

New News is not an industry conference, nor an academic seminar. The objective is to embrace an optimistic but sober look at the present and the future, each year aiming to take the temperature of both the mainstream media and the fast-emerging new kinds of journalistic practice, including citizen journalism and social media.

So, how are we reflecting the past year of this fast-changing profession?

We will kick off on Friday, 30 August, with an overview of the last 12 months in a panel including Eric Beecher, publisher of Crikey, the editor of The Guardian in Australia, Kath Viner, and Mark Forbes, news director of The Age.

Another panel will examine China, including the impact of social media and privately-run media enterprises. Is the world’s greatest emerging power opening up, or closing down?

We’ll examine the plethora of fact checking sites now emerging, together with examples of the media getting it wrong, with the Whitehaven hoaxer Jonathan Moylan making an appearance.

There will be a “pitch” session, in which freelance and student journalists are invited to come along and take five minutes to pitch a story idea to leading editors at the Herald Sun, Crikey, The Monthly and The Sunday Age.

Another interactive session, run by the Public Interest Journalism Foundation, will launch a crowdfunding campaign to finance public interest journalism, with the participation of Pozible.  First Dog on the Moon (Crikey), Bronwen Clune (ConnectWeb), Rick Chen of Pozible) will launch the campaign with Melissa Sweet (Croakey).

In our keynote event, we will be turning the performance space at the Wheeler Centre into a simulated newsroom so that the public can see how journalists think and decisions are made. Taking part will be the Guardian’s Katharine Viner, Gay Alcorn (Age columnist and The Conversation), Charles Firth (The Chaser), Sophie Black (Private Media), Wendy Harmer (The Hoopla), Jonathan Green (the ABC) and Denis Muller (Centre for Advancing Journalism) .

What are the threats to an informed public, and what are the opportunities for the journalism that matters? How will technology affect the future of news, and should journalists accept more regulation? The New News is an attempt to take these discussions to the people who matter most – the audience.

See the complete New News program here

* Journalist and author Margaret Simons is the Director of the Centre for Advancing Journalism and Editor-in-Chief of The Citizen.

About The Citizen

THE CITIZEN is a publication of the Centre for Advancing Journalism. It has several aims. Foremost, it is a teaching tool that showcases the work of the students in the University of Melbourne’s Master of Journalism and Master of International Journalism programs, giving them real-world experience in working for publication and to deadline. Find out more →

  • Editor: Jo Chandler
  • Reporter: Jack Banister
  • Audio & Video editor: Louisa Lim
  • Data editor: Craig Butt
  • Editor-In-Chief: Andrew Dodd
  • Business editor: Lucy Smy
Winner — BEST PUBLICATION 2016 Ossie Awards