Background to the research

Employment woes for journalists in Western media in traditional media forms such as newspapers have been well documented (Fulton & Balnaves, 2013). However, according to research by Economic and Market Development Advisors (EMDA), a business group that advises Australian businesses on market development using economic forecasting and modelling, media jobs in Australia increased in 2012 with approximately 22,000 journalists and writers as of November 2013 (Jackson, 2013). The EMDA report noted a decrease in traditional employment in this field with an increase in employment in new media such as online magazines and websites.

The aim of this research is to examine workers in this new media, or Web 2.0, area. The Web 2.0 environment, which is characterised by such features as interactivity, participation and collaboration, has allowed people outside the mainstream media to engage with an audience, and provide media, via platforms such as blogs (WordPress), microblogs (Twitter), social networking sites (Facebook) and websites. Athique states that “Web 2.0 is a domain in which user-produced content comes to the fore, replacing the ‘elite’ sources of information (2012, pp. 249-250), which is of course talking about the top-down nature of mainstream media.

Because of the radical changes to journalism over the last five years and the different way it is now produced and delivered, and the rise of alternative journalism producers, it is even more crucial to examine the newer styles of journalism and this examination will be done in this research by examining the producers themselves.

There is ongoing debate on what skills are needed to work in this environment and which business models work. The research will explore how new media professionals have adapted and developed their skills to work in this environment and examine the business models to develop an understanding of producers that are successful and why they are successful.

Athique, A., 2013, Digital Media and Society: An Introduction, Polity, Cambridge.

Fulton, J.M. & Balnaves, M., 2013, Australia and changes in Western media, paper presented at Australian and New Zealand Communication Association Conference 2013, Murdoch University, Perth, Australia, 3-5 July, 2013.

Jackson, S., 2013, ‘Job numbers rise despite big cuts at newspapers’, The Australian (Media Section), January 28, 2013, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/media/job-­‐numbers-­‐rise-­‐despite-­‐big-­‐cuts-­‐at-­‐ newspapers/story-­‐e6frg996-­‐1226563047933

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