Saving journalism

Comment and compilation by

Barry Tucker                    10 October, 2013

Alexandra Wake, an RMIT lecturer, kind of reviews a new book by Rachel Buchanan: Stop Press: The Last Days of Newspapers, in The Conversation.

The book has ruffled some feathers in the paper and ink news establishment. Wake explains:

“Fairfax Media, which used to be simply called The Age or the [sic] Sydney Morning Herald, did the wrong thing in printing an article … that shamefully misrepresented the true intent of Buchanan’s book, and the educators (including myself) did the wrong thing by not taking the time to read the entire work before reacting in print. In the “old days” of newspapers (circa 1990) that wouldn’t have happened.”

StopPressBuchanan gets involved in nostalgia, which can only be felt by those who worked in the filthy, greasy, smelly, snobby world of print journalism and perhaps by those who like to thumb through while they deal with breakfast or the train ride into town. I know what Buchanan is going through, but I won’t be sad to see the end of the filthy things.

There’s also comment by both parties on who got stuck on style and who developed it, who’s relevant and who isn’t, who should have seen the writing on the wall and who should have done what and when.

As far as I can tell from the review (I haven’t read the book) there’s not much about the future of journalism, which appears to be on the interwebs.

The review waffles, and that’s probably because the book does too. So I am amused by this bit, in the second last paragraph of the review:

“Journalism is not dead. It’s a point that Rachel Buchanan’s book makes, but not until page 165. I hope the journalism students I teach can make their point much earlier …

“In my world, the teaching of these skills is certainly not dead. But as one of Buchanan’s interviewees notes, it’s the journalism that matters most. We need to save journalism.”

Read all about it, if you want to.

WakeWake’s bio in The Conversation
Alex Wake has been a journalist for 25 years. She’s worked in print, radio, television and online in Australia, South Africa, Ireland and Dubai. She works as a freelance broadcaster, but teaches full-time at RMIT University. In 2011 she was the Asia Pacific Academic Fellow for the Dart Centre. Her PhD is on journalism education by Australians outside Australia.