Social Silence


Journalists are being heavily encouraged by employers to use social media platforms as a way of building presence and notability within society. However the combination of a contrasting private and professional life, individual responsibility and reprisals for posted content is eating away at journalistic expression. Dismissals of professionals such as Scott McIntyre and Marion Ives elevates a growing concern, creating a spiral of silence and self censorship within the industry.

Media organisations rely on social media policies as a guideline for professionals and as documentation for disciplinary proceedings if required. McIntyre’s dismissal took place after he posted ‘inappropriate and disrespectful’ tweets on Anzac Day last month. Managing director of the SBS Michael Ebeid gave reasonings for the outcome, stating that ‘he breached the broadcaster’s code of conduct and social media policy, and disobeyed an order to delete the posts.’ The primary concern in this case was McIntyre’s open affiliation with the SBS. Any offensive post or opinion has the potential to be misinterpreted by the public and could reflect negatively upon an organisation.

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In response, the public was divided between those supporting the lay off and others questioning the rights of employees engaging in free speech.

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Other media organisations have articulated editorial policies for social media like Facebook, Twitter and personal blogs and websites. Internationally, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and the BBC have all issued protocols for employees on technological platforms. The BBC distinguished between the sectors of private and professional life  recommending a visible disclaimer to outline if published content is personal.

In Australia, the ABC has adopted the same approach:

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The power of suggestion and influence is heavily embedded in journalistic practice. To ensure consistency and an effective use of social media platforms, each media organisation needs to ‘implement an unambiguous policy for the use of social media’ and ensure that journalists are aware of the implications and consequences that follow.

“Free speech is not a privilege, it’s a journalistic                                                                                 responsibility.”

                                                                                         –Jeff Jarvis


An Eye In The Sky

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 5.55.55 pmThe drones have landed with journalists exploiting rapid technological advances as an innovative way of using aerial platforms for news gathering. Their use easily elevates the way in which news is reported, allowing for an increased accessibility to aerial footage and reporting. This new media tool has raised controversial debate regarding, legality, practicality and ethicality in its application in the journalism industry.

As a relatively new concept, the legal scholarship on this subject is still developing. In Australia, drone use for news gathering is purely restricted to CASA approved operators under UAV operating regulations. Currently, no media organisations have approval to operate drones in Australia; but many  organisations like ABC-TV hire officials for aerial filming.

The use of drones have the potential to create compelling and fantastic news stories for major conflict, civil unrest and disaster coverage. Granted their convenience, drone journalism can be considered to be a legitimate interference in aircraft space in disaster scenes or in times of crisis. Drone  journalism also offers a chance for abuse, especially in terms of safety and privacy.

Screenshot of a “Daily Drone” video report of tornado damage in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The imagery was recorded from a MicroDrone.

Screenshot of a “Daily Drone” video report of tornado damage in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The imagery was recorded from a MicroDrone.

In 2011, News Corporation established The Dailya tablet based digital news service, that was heavily criticised for intrusiveness and privacy concerns by the public.

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Drone use has created a new ethical minefield. The Professional Society of Drone Journalists (PSDJ) provides a code of ethics for drone journalism in Australia. It presents an ethical hierarchy as an additional layer to the traditional code presented by the MEAA in matters of news worthiness, safety, sanctity of law and public spaces, privacy and traditional ethics. Its reliability and effectiveness is questioned transcending Aristotle’s Golden Mean, relying on the inference of an individual to act accordingly.

The use of drones offers considerable advantages for journalists in news gathering and production. Albeit in its use, journalists should be mindful of the legal, safety and ethical implications that coincide and heed the ramifications it has on society.

The Grey Area of Journalism

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(From the left) Radio Journalist: Edward Jurkiewicx, Print Journalist: Bec Wiggins, Photographer Journalist: Khalif Khalif, Broadcast Journalist: Sally Krajacic

Controversial debate continues as the future of journalism is shaped by new technology.

Over the last decade, the journalism industry has been exposed to an accelerated rate of technological advancements and transformations. The way in which we communicate and receive information is being revolutionised from ‘traditional’ forms of media and applied in a new modern context. Journalistic practice and methods of news gathering, production and distribution are being redefined in a desperate attempt to survive. This hybrid and changing landscape of journalism raises the concern of the longevity of journalists and whether technology enhances or diminishes the way in which media is produced.

In the last month, Fairfax media declared a 46% staff cut for editorial journalists in the NSW region, and a further loss of 26 full-time newsrooms positions. Journalists are now expected to be able to deliver news across all media platforms. The restructuring of newsrooms and job cuts is changing the role of the journalist, adopting new methods of execution and production, leaving many in the field redundant. Undergraduate photographer Khalif Khalif articulates ‘technology has thrown a bomb into the journalism industry.’

With the dust still settling from the explosion of technology, no field is under more scrutiny than print media. Challenged by a lacking demand for traditional forms of media, many newspaper newsrooms are giving print employees more digital duties, or publishing content online. The transformation to online content is imperative to its survival, providing opportunity to appeal to a broader audience in a national and international sphere. Bec Wiggins, journalism student and Co-Editor for the Tertangala, expresses ‘it is an issue I worry about a lot…newspapers will not prolong the life of print journalism.’ Newly emerged media sites such as Junkee and Buzzfeed further convey the inevitability of a transforming media landscape. Optimistically, Bec pronounced ‘I don’t think print media is dying, it is just transforming…it is up to journalists to keep up with that change.’ Similarly, radio journalist Edward Jurkiewicx agrees suggesting ‘the only way for survival is to take on any new changes.’

The internet has broken through as a transformative force creating a new environment for a digital society with online media platforms. As a popular basis for information, this technological outbreak has allowed for a new ‘citizen’ journalism to flourish. Though the direct involvement of a growing audience is to be commended, Sally Krajacic, broadcast journalist, explains ‘people can turn around and misinterpret anything they read and directly post their opinions online.’ Bec confers asserting ‘it is harder to monetise online content rather than print content.’ It is still unseen whether there is a place for both the traditional and citizen journalist in media production.

Journalism is not as black and white as it used to be. The impact of technology is still unknown, as is the transcending future of journalism. Though one thing is for sure, as long as there is a demand for truth, information and stories, there will always be a place for the journalist.

In Key, In Life.

Keiden Cheung, 18. Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies

Keiden Cheung, 18. Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies

He was the tender age of five when he had his first piano lesson. At the age of eight, he was led to the electric guitar. When he was ten years old he delved into wind instruments and began to play the saxophone. Then at the age of seventeen Keiden defied all expectations and struck a new note.

From a young age Keiden was exposed to a variety of musical opportunity and experience. Aside from his musical talents, Keiden was also heavily involved in stage production, acting for local and school theatres as well as musicals. One of his biggest highlights growing up was the lead role he played in year eight for a school opera. Nervous and full of adrenaline, he took to the stage and performed in front of hundreds of people at the IPAC in Wollongong, losing himself in the moment.

As Keiden got older there was a significant shift between his love of classical music and a new found love in jazz. The contrast between a ‘dry and stale classical’ as opposed to a ‘liberating and creative’ genre of music was one that could not be over looked. When asked the reason for the shift, he replied: ‘it is always moving and unpredictable’. This was the first note to a new melody.

As with every musician, Keiden holds the ‘rockstar dream,’ a desire for experience and fame. The liberating views of growing up in Australia and an individual passion driving him forward helped define who he was and who he wanted to be. Controversially, the decision of pursuing a career in the arts rather than one in medicine, was a choice that took his family by surprise. A choice which ‘hit them hard’ and a choice which ‘was not easy.’ The relationship between Keiden and his grandmother was fractured and for several months they lost communication, she was ‘unimpressed’. In her defence he expressed: ‘She just wants me to be successful, and do well in life…I think stereotypically that is what I would be expected to do.’ Eventually, she revisited from China and asked if he had reconsidered his decision, to which Keiden denied. This is what he wanted to do, and he was more than confident with his choice. Eventually, she joined in on the song.

To break away at the end of his degree, Keiden wants to move to the United States in attempt to pursue an acting or music career as he just wants to ‘experience as much as possible.’ If all else fails, he will return to focussing on a career in writing or media production, the options are endless. His tenacity and fearlessness, creativity and expression are all traits that we should adopt. He articulates:

“I feel like people aren’t pursuing what they want to do because of fear of failure and for fear of disappointment, not only for themselves but for others. I am just doing what I want to do, what I love…and I wish more people would.”

I do not doubt that Keiden will accomplish great things. If anything, I wish that there were more people as passionate and spirited. Keiden Cheung, my favourite composer with the purest of songs.



UOWTV Multimedia presents a student produced news show! Every week we have new student produced journalism and stories from right here in Wollongong.

Episode 1-The first episode of Newsdesk features ANZAC Day preparations, how business is holding up with the rain, the Bowls World Cup at Warilla, the first Tert Talk from the Tertangala team, and more.

Episode 2-The Newsdesk team is back, bringing you the news of the day, a wrap of ANZAC Day commemorations in the region, Cutters rugby league, and Tert Talk puts gene splicing under the microscope.

Episode 3-Newsdesk has a full agenda – a look inside UOW’s new sciences teaching facility, the campaign against closing indigenous communities in WA, boardriders paddle against poverty, Tert Talk and plenty more.

Episode 4-Everything from the Federal Budget and dragon-boat racing through to the Waratah Marches and online dating. Newsdesk is back with news and chat from UOW.

Episode 5-This week the newsdesk team explores the Early Start Discover Space, drops in on the UOW journalism student who has just landed a gig with the BBC, and dons the costume for Comic Gong. Your hosts are Matt, Elly and Sally.

Episode 6-Here’s Newsdesk with hosts Lauren, Sally and Jon. They tackle job losses at the Illawarra Mercury, UOW’s new co-curricular recognition program – UOWx, the Color Run, Tert Talk and more.


You can find all our work on our YouTube Channel, by liking us on Facebook and on our website.

Flying & Falling

A Profile of Journalism Student Maddie Alpen, 19.


You are standing on the edge of a plane flying 14, 000 feet in the air. Your mind is racing with thoughts of endless possibilities of what could be. The pulsing beat of your heart floods your head-boom, boom, boom…and then, ‘they throw you out’. This is an image that fails to terrify Maddie Alpen, and rather presents her with a feeling of clarity and sense of accomplishment. Looking down, she jumps. Floating through the air and ‘full of adrenaline’ her mind becomes ‘clear’ and she is ‘invincible’. The intimidation of moving to a foreign place full of strangers dissipates trusting that ‘whatever is supposed to happen will happen’. She has landed, and the opportunities are endless.

JRNL101-An Interview With Trent Thomas


Trent Thomas 22, is currently undertaking his fourth year of Bachelor of Journalism & Media Communications-Majoring in Digital Media, at the University of Wollongong. A large sector of his university life is dominated by UOWTV Multimedia and Newsroom, both presenting opportunities for participation and experience. Trent shares his story, his roles in different projects and his future goals for a career in journalism.


All of Trent’s past, present and future projects are available through the following links:
UOWTV Multimedia-Newsdesk


Studio 20 Live

Four Pointers Podcast