Delve into danger
PANEL // Australia’s fourth estate is looking more like a concentrated set of clickbait-led empires. Is our democracy suffering?
With six prime ministers in eight years, democracy in Australia is looking decidedly unwell. Add to this a political class whose interests seem divorced from voters and plummeting trust in government, and things are even worse. Are the polarised, opinion-driven media and the 24-hour news cycle to blame? With highly concentrated media ownership and vigorous partisan players, Australia now has home-grown problems with ‘fake news’. Will the media be the death of our democracy?
Darren Goodsir is the Chief Communications Officer for UNSW, Sydney – responsible for the university’s global brand, reputation, media and content, digital strategy and all internal and external communications. He has spent more than 30 years in journalism, communications and public affairs, having led The Sydney Morning Herald through transformative digital change, including technological reforms and wholesale organisational restructuring. He was The Herald’s editor-in-chief for four years, the culmination of nearly 20 years with Fairfax Media. Before this, he worked on The South China Morning Post in Hong Kong, The Daily Telegraph, and as a policy advisor for the NSW Police Commissioner and a press secretary for a state government minister. He holds a law degree from the University of Technology, Sydney, and is a twice-published author. His true crime novel, Line of Fire, published in 1991, formed the basis for the acclaimed ABC mini-series, Blue Murder.
Dr Rebecca Huntley is an author, columnist, broadcaster, adjunct senior lecturer at UNSW, and one of Australians foremost researchers on social trends. After nine years as Director of The Mind & Mood Report – Australia's longest running social trends report – she now heads Vox Populi research. She has authored numerous books, including Still Lucky: Why you should feel optimistic about Australia and its people, and has written extensively for essay collections, magazines, newspapers and online publications including Australian Vogue and BRW. She currently writes for The Guardian, and a twice-monthly column for ABC Life. In 2017, she co-presented The Guardian's podcast Common Ground with Lenore Taylor. She also co-hosts with Sarah Macdonald a comedy storytelling night and podcast calledThe Full Catastrophe.