Newsrooms of the Future
Stephen Quinn,
Deakin University

Newsroom integration and convergence have become industry buzzwords in the past year in Australia. The ideas have spread through media organisations around the world. In November 2007 Fairfax Media in Australia introduced the “newsroom of the future” program, as its flagship newspapers moved into a purpose-built newsroom in Sydney. News Ltd, the country’s next biggest media group, is also embracing multi-media forms of reporting. Fairfax is spreading the Sydney model to other states, at the same time launching online-only daily newspapers. This paper examines changes in the practice of journalism in Australia and around the world. It attempts to answer the question: What are the implications of this development for journalism and journalism education?


The future of quality journalism
By David McKnight,
University of NSW
Penny O’Donnell,
University of Sydney.

Newspapers in Australia and the world face difficult choices in the next decade. The dilemma can be expressed in a simple question: who will pay for quality journalism in the future?

Until now, the answer has been obvious. Advertising has subsidized journalism since the mass market press emerged at the end of the nineteenth century.

But the much-despised advertising is on the move. It’s heading for the Internet and with it is going one of the main props for journalists’ salaries. In the language of economists, the business model for journalism is collapsing. But this is more than a problem for journalists or media owners, it is a problem for the democratic functioning of society.

Techno-optimists will tell you that the dinosaur newspaper industry will simply be replaced. This is the era of citizen journalism, and the public will inform itself and be informed by information on the internet, on television and radio. Yet, is this really the case? We argue that quality journalism will only survive and thrive online if professional journalists and their allies and publics take steps to guarantee its future.

The research presented in this paper forms part of a collaborative research project between the authors and the Walkley Foundation, sponsor of Australia’s most prestigious awards for excellence in journalism. We pose several questions:
If newspapers shrink, radically change their form, or largely disappear,
• Will electronic and online media develop a comparable degree of depth and quality in their news and feature stories?
• Will electronic and online media employ comparable numbers of journalists?
• What will ‘quality journalism’ look like in the future? Will editorial independence, long considered the heart of the public function of the profession, continue to exist?
• More broadly, will the decline of newspapers, ‘the public sphere’s preeminent institution’ (Habermas 1989, p. 181) contribute to a decline in the quality and quantity of democratic engagement?

Sub-editors and the media revolution: Online or end of the line?
Annette Blackwell
University of Technology Sydney

This paper reports on a preliminary study into the role of sub-editors (copy-editors) in online publishing for mainstream media. It will explore print medium adaptations to online production and continual news streaming. It examines the role of copy-editors in the online environment and if the value they add to print published stories is less crucial in online production. The study is based on interviews with senior journalists in Australia, the US and Ireland about copy-editing in the new media world. It also includes perspectives gained from participation in the American Copy-Editors Society conference in Denver and study at the Poynter Institute in Florida.

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