Media: The dying art?


“I’m just worried I’ll put in all this hard work through the next three or four years, and come out with a feeling of uncertainty at the end of it.”

Above are the words of Gabe Baer, a journalism student studying at the University of Wollongong. Baer is uncertain about where his future may lie, with many reports coming to hand about the insecurity of future media jobs. Whether or not you choose to believe those reports is a different question. Although, after speaking with three other journalism students studying at UOW, it became clear that everyone is a little bit weary. Though some may argue that there will be a boost in future jobs, the issue of job security is still in the back of all students’ minds.

Despite the murky waters that surround jobs in the media, there is a shining light. With the advancement in new technologies, new opportunities will surely be opened for journalism graduates, with a transition from paper to digital media. Some may argue that this shift in the media society will in fact, limit and decrease the availability of jobs.

Another UOW student Maddie Alpen believes this is not the case, and she looks forward to future career paths in this digital area. “I feel as though it will provide more jobs, but in different areas. I feel that live broadcasting will become less relevant as more people will rely on the Internet as their main portal for daily and global news.” Maddie seeks to one day become a news reporter, and is very interested in the live broadcasting side of journalism. She understands that this facet of the media may well fade, although she is still excited to witness the emergence of new, and unthought-of jobs in this new digital age of media.

The output of media is an increasing in itself. Thanks to globalization through social media, articles and breaking news headlines, events are able to directly reach the audience in a matter of minutes after occurring. In 2011, in the wake of the death of Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, over 2.2 million tweets had been published on twitter in just over nine hours after his death. This increase in the use of social media and the development of citizen journalism has led to transformed ways in which we receive news stories. In a study done by the ‘American Press Institute’, it was found that over 44% of Americans use social media as a news outlet and over 51% received news from an online news aggregator 1. Due to the way social media has adapted into being its own form of citizen journalism, many traditional journalists are being forced to either adapt to new digital forms, or start looking for another job.

When I asked aspiring journalist Olivia Tataro her thoughts on whether there will be an increase in the rate of jobs, she insisted, “yes and no. New digital forms will open more opportunities for people to post on various websites and social media platforms, while simultaneously making it more difficult with the aforementioned notion of citizen journalism. But in terms of traditional journalism I believe the rate in which jobs are available is decreasing rapidly.” This interesting theory is well supported by facts, with Fairfax media announcing in 2014 that between 70-80 journalists would be made redundant 2. After seeing these types of actions coming to the fore, many workers within the media would be continuing to work in an environment with an anxious guillotine over their heads.

Student Dimitri Lignos, however, gives a contrasting argument, believing “the way journalism is panning out through online content such as blogs and websites, companies will be willing to hire more people to provide content consistently. The move to digitalisation will see an increase in jobs.”

This is a relevant point he makes but nonetheless adds confusion and uncertainty to the future of media journalism. Futuristically, in the rapidly changing world in which we live, it is difficult to predict the outcome, of what will certainly be changes in media employment.

It would seem likely that traditional journalism would give way to new media transformation. However the speed at which this happens is the question? The consumer may cling on to traditional journalism with its comfortable, cosy form of communication a little longer than the pundits expect. Certainly for some years to come there will be a blending of traditional and new media, and both employees and consumers will have to ‘test the water’, in the adaption to change process. I’m sure that whatever form the media takes, it will continue to be an integral part of our society that provides both interest and comment.




Reed Cahalan Profile


“One time I was with my uncle out on a point break, and he reckons he saw two rather large sized shadows swim underneath us. I still remember that moment as one of the most frightening in my life.” A time-stopping moment every surfer dreads. But to be phased by this, is to be fearful of the ocean, something unacceptable in the world of a surfer. Although this was a frightening moment for Reed Cahalan, he never let this incident dull his one true passion, surfing.

Surfing, in Australia, is more of a lifestyle, than a hobby, priorities are essential, and life has to be worked around surfing, rather than vice versa. For Reed Cahalan, it is no different, having learnt to surf from a young age, and consistently from the age of 13, this passion forms a large part of his life. “Cliché as it sounds, surfing is a religion in itself, its not just a sport, its not just for wellbeing, its part of my identity.”

As a child, surfing was already influencing Reed, living on the coast, and spending time with his Dad, and Uncles. “I got into surfing from my Dad and Uncles. When we were young my brothers and I used to surf all the time.” Although, finding stability living on the coast was hard for Cahalan, who frequently moved around, attending 13 schools in 4 different countries due to his parent’s career commitments. It wasn’t till he was in his early teens when they finally settled down on the coast “But around the age of 13 I moved back to the coast, and that’s when started properly surfing again.”

Reed has had a very multicultural life, having lived in many fascinating countries all over the world. “I’ve lived in Costa Rica, Canada, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka. As well as travelling to many other countries as well” says Reed nonchalantly. Being in some of these coastal countries has enabled him to also surf in some beautiful places. “I’ve been to a few places… I’ve surfed Sydney, all along the coast of NSW, Tasmania, America, Malaysia, Costa Rica, a bit of surfing in Sri Lanka.” These places are much different surfing environments to that of Australia, and when I asked Reed about the difference in surf conditions, he replied, “I was just in Sri Lanka in January, and it’s a reef break which is maybe 300m off the beach. It’s a lot different to Australia, you’re surfing off rocks and coral, so it’s a lot more dangerous as well.”

Due to frequently moving in his younger years, Reed was denied the chance to consistently surf. This feeling of regret enables to cherish and appreciate every moment he gets in the water. Getting the chance to surf in many beautiful places around the world has not only given him joy and happiness, but an experience that he will never forget. If surfing really is a religion, and the waves are treated as Gods, than in this instance Reed Cahalan is surely a disciple of this spiritual niche we call surfing.

Participatory Culture

A rise in participatory culture has led to new forms of content produced all over the Internet. This has also increased the range and size of audience that view this content, and therefore creators are able to easier increase interest in their produced content. Social media is a prime example of an arena of promotion. A recent example is the rise of social network app, “Vine”. In vine you can share, and make short 7 second videos online and share them with the world. These vines were then be uploaded to Facebook, where a rapid response of interest saw an increase in the amount of “Vine” content produced.

However, with large amounts of content produced, and with no quality control, the credibility of each source has been limited. The way we interpret what is and isn’t good content is totally changing, and with the amount of content produced increasing, we as an audience are being harsher judges on what is good content. In future years, we will find it difficult to impartially define between what content is quality, and what isn’t.

‘Boat People’: What the media isn’t telling us.


Boat People. The mention of the phrase sparks discussion among all Australian citizens. It’s an issue, which provokes a public opinion about what should, and shouldn’t happen to these refugees. Although we, as the public, think we know all the details surrounding the background and foreground of this story, does the media present every aspect to the audience or are these individuals portrayed fairly amongst the media?

Asylum seekers, or ‘Boat People’ as referred to by past governments, have increased in the rate of numbers in boats travelling to Australia. Since the start of 2009 there has been an influx of refugees, and between 2009 and the middle of 2013 over 737 boats carrying over 44,156 passengers have entered Australian waters. These boats are often unsafe, overcrowded, and contain limited sources of food and water.

Sometimes we forget the conditions and circumstances in which has led to these people fleeing their respective countries. Many face war, poverty, and persecution from tyrannical governments. Article 14 of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution”, and Article 9 also states “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile”. However, Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers is totally against these international standards, and has been condemned by Human Rights Watch, which describes the country’s immigration policies as ‘draconian’. It is immensely devastating that death is a better alternative than the situations many of these people are currently in.

These conditions in which the refugees are held are usually much better conditions than that of their previous home. However, the media sometimes fails to gives details on how bad the conditions actually are in those camps. Refugees on Manus Island are being held in conditions Amnesty International has described as “cruel, inhuman, degrading and violating prohibitions against torture.” These ‘slave-like conditions, has led to many protests from refugees, going to extreme, life- threatening conditions. “Medical workers attend to an asylum seeker who has swallowed razor blades and sewn his lips shut… 1000 or so detainees are protesting…two thirds of the centre population is refusing food…a man has lost 20 kilograms on 78 days hunger strike…organ failure…severely dehydrated…may not survive.”

In heavily opinionated topics, like the treatment of refugees, the public need to be given all accounts of the story so they can make an informed judgement as to their feelings behind a matter of discussion. Media organisations can manipulate our views on any given topic, through how they communicate and present news to the public. However this is not always due to there own terms. In some instances, journalists and media representatives are given little, or no access to boundaries within the refugee camps. Media commentator Paul Toohey told ‘Media Watch’, “I think the government has been doing its best to deny access to the people, which would give Australians a better understanding of the issue.” This comment outlines how the government could be withholding information as to the conditions or treatment of this issue.

Certainly, this issue is one that is hot on the minds of all politicians at the moment. The public is anxiously waiting to see what the government’s final view is on how these people. It is clear however, that the media does not give us full details of many issues, including the conditions within detainment. The media needs to be neutral so we can assess the information given to the public, and make an impartial judgment about these refugees.


The facts about ‘boat people’ – The government and media are lying

The Danger for Journalists?

For foreign correspondents and journalists the idea of travelling around the world, reporting on major issues, is a very inviting avenue to explore. Receiving the opportunity to experience many facets of the world whilst also getting paid is something that many dream of. This, however, can sometimes be an extremely dangerous occupation, with the danger exceeding the reward. The idea of playing by Russian roulette with your life in order to scout foreign lands for a story is something many wouldn’t consider a fantastic occupation.

We rely on journalists to address the public on issues, sometimes not realising the extent of the danger and pressure that surrounds their work life. Entering war zones has caused some journalists to be captured, assaulted, and in some cases killed. The most recently recognised example is the case of Peter Greste, an Australian journalist who was captured by the Egyptian Military and held in prison for over 400 days. After being arrested in Cairo in December 2013, along with 20 other Al-Jazeera colleagues, he was jailed for contributing to the ‘Muslim Brotherhood’. Since this issue took place, the public’s eyes have been opened to the risks that can be associated with journalism in a foreign country.

In terms of modern issues, the risk of Islamic State is high on the list (you might rephrase this passage. It’s a big clunky – IS isn’t really an issue, as such; it’s an organisation that raises issues such as global security) . A rising war that started back in 2001, is reaching a catastrophic level regarding the negative effect and impact Islamic State is having on the world. This unrest further endangers journalists all around the Middle-East, and has resulted in hostages being taken and lives ended. The world was left stunned in late 2014, when a video was released by IS, showing the beheading of American journalist James Foley. This was the culmination of the chaotic relationship brewing between Islamic State and the American 1st world society, and the result, the brutal death of a journalist.

We expect these journalists to present articles that are newsworthy and of interest. However in the light of the variance of cultures, religions, foreign policies and a multitude of other factors in countries throughout the world, are we expecting too much? In the cases noted above, we realise that although these security issues mar the role of foreign correspondents, surely more can be done to protect these people. Security needs to be provided. Journalists need to be able to continue to work in an environment, which they can feel safe, and able to communicate the news to the public in a neutral and unbiased manner.