Behind the times? Social media and Australian journalism
“A reluctance to engage with and in non-proprietary, third party spaces for news discussion and dissemination, harking back to the us versus them attitudes prevalent in the last decade’-Axel Bruns
Thus, as QUT Lecturer and Media researcher Axel Bruns says in a paper on journalism and Twitter, social media is ‘now well-established as important sources of news-related information for their users’. So, how do Australian journalists fare in their social media usage in comparison to our British cousins? Seemingly, not very well according to a study being conducted by researchers Saba Babawi and Diana Bossio at the Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne. Queensland University of Technology lecturer Trina McLellan explained in our Online Journalism lecture Babawi and Bossio reseach study, “The Role of Social Networking Sites in Australian Journalism Production”, surveyed over 300 mid-career Australian journalists about their interactions with and via social media in the newsroom. McLellan shared the pair’s preliminary findings which observed ‘local Australian journalists have integrated a basic use of social media into some of their everyday reporting practices’.
A survey conducted by Newsmaker Australian Media backs up Babawi and Bossio’s preliminary findings. The survey of 412 Australian journalists in relation to their social media use in 2013 and found 66% felt the social media was decreasing a journalists influence. A statistic positing some Australian journalists are showing a ‘reluctance to engage with and in non-proprietary, third-party spaces for news discussion and dissemination, harking back to the us vs them’ attitudes prevalent in the past decade’ . An out-of-date mentality in Australian journalism toward social media may be hindering the industry to advance its practice with Bruns noting ‘such news organisations effectively are excluding themselves from an important part of the information market’.
Australian journalists and news organizations should look to their British counterparts to begin the shift towards a new age journalistic mindset. Journalism is no longer a top-down model of news production or dissemination, the ‘public and the press not simply competing or substituting for one another, but involved in an ecology of media that is also enabling the two estates to be mutually complementary and reinforcing’.