Like learning your abc
Our beautiful kids’ pages last week and reports that the ABC is thinking about cutting rural reporter positions had me thinking about the future of media.
I believe strongly in the importance of local media organisations (well, I’d be a hypocritical and terrible editor if I didn’t) and that they need to be relevant. That means for locals, by locals, about locals. We need to be informed about what’s going on in our own neck of the woods – and you’re not going to get that from the Sydney Morning Herald.
Many people in their late teens and 20s, the hip, tech-savvy Generation Y, have abandoned traditional newspapers and look to their screens for their news. Fair enough, really, because traditional newspapers didn’t move to engage them.
But one of the problems with internet journalism and blogging is trying to sift fact from fiction, rumour from scandal and conspiracy from actual disaster – there are very few internet news sites that can be trusted to do the job that professional journalists do.
Looking at the wonderful submissions to our first kids’ pages last week gave me cause for hope. These young people took the time to send in drawings, photos, a song and stories and they were all inspirational. I hope that’s the start of these kids and their friends engaging with newspapers and I hope that’s something they continue to do. It’s our challenge here to try and keep giving them something to engage with, which is the same challenge every media organisation has no matter how big or small.
Keeping relevant is about understanding what people want to talk about and if the ABC doesn’t want to risk losing a loyal and parochial audience then it needs to be keeping as much local content as possible.