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Journalism is the key cultural form of our time, essential to the democratic process, embedded in the organisation and management of everyday life, a rich source of entertainment and leisure. The newspaper is in decline, but the appetite for news, and commentary on news, has never been greater, serviced today in a media environment increasingly dominated by online platforms. The rapidly changing nature of this environment presents huge challenges, as well as opportunities, for journalists, news organisation, and journalism researchers. How, for example, to engage with and understand the impact of social networking on journalism, or the cultural chaos unleashed by Wikileaks? How to define even what journalism is anymore, when news coexists with so many hybrid forms, and the professional journalist is increasingly challenged by the content-generating user?
In this lecture Brian McNair will present his assessment of the key issues and agendas for journalism researchers in 2011. What do we need to know about journalism and its evolving relationship to societies which are digitised, networked, globalised as never before? What contribution can the scholar make to the maintenance and regulation of 'quality' journalism in contexts where economics, technology and politics may threaten it? What is 'quality' journalism, indeed?
Drawing on nearly three decades as a journalism scholar, and an extensive portfolio of research and publication in the field, Professor McNair will seek to identify the key research questions facing journalism scholars in Australia and overseas, and the emerging methodologies being developed to answer them.