Media in Australia: The Press

This week’s readings discussed the press and how in recent years it has been declining at a steady rate. It also talked about the Finkelstein Inquiry and how that might impact Australian media.

The death of the newspaper may not necessarily mean death to the media companies that print the press. In The Media & Communications in Australia, Alan Kohler was quoted saying “Fearing for the death of newspapers is a bit like fearing for the death of vinyl records…Newspapers are just vehicles to disseminate journalism and the advertising needed to pay for that journalism, they are not the journalism itself” (2010, pp 93). Just like music has migrated from vinyl records to CDs and more recently, iTunes, newspapers will migrate from print to the internet and will be distributed through smartphones, laptops and tablets. Many newspapers, such as The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald are already being distributed in this manner. However, this isn’t totally great news for these printing press companies and Fairfax are a great example of that. Fairfax recently announced (BBC News, 2012) that they will cut jobs, close two printing facilities and implement on the The Age and Sydney Morning Herald websites pay walls (allow access to those who pay subscriptions). This will save them over $235 million each year by the middle of 2015. This is clearly in response to the decline of newspapers and the fast growing market share of news on the internet.

The Finkelstein Inquiry, according to The Conversation, has concluded that the media is not regulated well enough to make sure that those working in the media are accountable for their actions. This inquiry looks good for readers of newspapers as it wants regulations of newspapers to be similar to television. The inquiry has mostly been positively received by media experts, who were speaking to The Conversation. A condition of the inquiry means that newspapers will partly be government funded. In a country where the press is dominated by only two entities, Fairfax Media and News Limited, these regulations will create a statutory body, making sure these two organisations are in line.

The decline of the newspaper means that the printing press has to change the way they run their businesses in line with the technological advances and the changing behaviours of their readers, and must also be prepared for the possibility of regulation by the government.

References

Tiffen, R. (2010), Chapter 5, The Media & Communications in Australia, 3rd edition, Crows Nest, NSW, Allen & Unwin.

Australia’s Fairfax cuts jobs and changes newspaper 2012, Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-18482442. Last accessed 18th Aug 2012.

Carson, Wake, McNair & Lidberg ‘The Finkelstein Inquiry into Media Regulation: Experts Respond’ 2012, Available: http://theconversation.edu.au/the-finkelstein-inquiry-into-media-regulation-experts-respond-5675. Last accessed 18th Aug 2012.

[ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED 19 AUGUST 2012. MAY HAVE BEEN EDITED SLIGHTLY]

This is the second of ten blogs I wrote for my university subject, Media in Australia, in 2012. The next eight will be uploaded over the course of a few weeks, the links to which can be found here: https://stefanb33.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/media-in-australia-university-blogs/

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