Generation next for Australia?

26Apr10

The established mastheads, the well-known daily papery news tomes such as The Age and The Australian have seemingly been wrong-footed by the popularity of the digital medium. They were slow to adopt and put transitory plans in place and, in some cases, chose instead to build a beach head of resistance. A resistance that has proved flimsy to the irresistible avalanche of changed news reading habits.

The loss of revenue by old newspaper revenue stalwarts – such as real estate listings, job advertisements and motor sales – to emerging web companies such as realestate.com.au, seek.com.au and carsguide.com.au is demonstration how unprepared Fairfax and News Ltd were to the changing publishing landscape.

Into the vacuum created by the perceived indecision to ignore the attractiveness to newspaper readers of the web, have come a host of Australian produced news websites.

The Enthusiast

Crikey

The Punch

– are three that have been launched successfully in the last years. All three are in competition with the established news companies and their digital offering. All three look different to the ‘newspaper look’ of their rivals.

Just as there was reluctance to acknowledge the changes in news publishing due to the popularity of the internet, it seems the established news publishing companies are reluctant to deviate much from how their online paper looks to how it looks for sale on a news-stand. Internationally, a number of ideas are being experimented with in an effort to learn more about a perceived alteration in news reading habits from paper to digital:

The Economist: Thinking Space

and this radical idea Read a Twitter stream as a daily newspaper, a site that creates a newspaper based on the links associated with a chosen twitter account. As the site back-end churns through its processing, a waiting motion graphic of newspapers whirring through a press is seen. Is this truly the fate of the printing press? Will a news reader be able to create their own newspaper, with themselves as editor, based on news they alone wish to read? If so, then journalism will be as much about understanding what compels news readers to engage with social networking programs as writing and reporting.

Here is a link to a newspaper I created by punching in the twitter account name for Rolling Stone magazine political and economics reporter, Matt Taibbi

Articles, blogs and other content still needs to be published – the self-edit paper needs content to link to. Self edit, should it take off, likely means much control will be lost by existing established editorial management. Is this a bad thing? It seems reasonable to think Australian newsreaders will still want to link to Australian journalists for their local news but should this process prove popular, they will do so at their own whim. Agenda setting or cosiness between publishing management and commercial or political enterprise will be more difficult to enable.

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2 Responses to “Generation next for Australia?”

  1. 1 Renee Barnes

    Hi Aaron,

    Be careful with claiming The Punch is “n competition with the established news companies”. It is owned by News Ltd and is actually seen as a method for trying to increase traffic to its mastheads.

    R

  2. 2 coraltrout

    Thanks for the comment Renee,

    I think if that is purely why The Punch has been created, then News Ltd are following the wrong future strategy . Surely The Punch should be seen as something which they may evolve into? An experiment maybe. A test.

    When i say competition, I mean that they are in conflict with established routine.

    But yes, I need to articulate myself carefully.

    Aaron


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