Monday, August 19, 2013


This morning's guest lecture came courtesy of 612 ABC Brisbane breakfast radio presenter Spencer Howson. Possibly the most entertaining lecture I've ever been a part of, among the Dr Who, Star Wars and Mad references, we learnt some pretty nifty tips and tricks regarding the use of social media to connect with audiences - even when the medium you're working in isn't actually online.  

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the developing relationship between social media and news specifically, but didn't really delve into how it can be used to not only share news but actually build a brand and audience. Given that I'm a nineteen year old hoping to work in music journalism, this might seem like a bit of a cliche pick, but I honestly believe that Triple J has used social media incredibly well. 

As a national 'young person' radio station, it would have been almost impossible for Triple J to achieve the mainstream success that it has without branching into social media, but the fact that they've developed such a huge presence across such a wide variety of social media channels has - to my mind - been extremely beneficial in connecting with their audience when the radio isn't on. 

A few months ago the station ran a bunch of advertisements proclaiming themselves "more than just a radio station" and listing the social media channels they could be found on: InstagramTwitterFacebookPinterestTumblrYoutube ... it goes on. I think this is probably the best demonstration of what Triple J is trying to achieve - a brand that can be part of music lovers' lives however they choose to access it. 

Triple J Manager Chris Scadden summed up the success of the station's various social media channels in his yearly wrap, stating: "We've now surpassed half a million fans of Facebook [they're up to 648k now] ... making us one of Australia's biggest brands in that space. On Youtube, Triple J Like A Version performances clocked up hundreds of thousands of views. Our podcasts for new music and our youth affairs program Hack are consistently the highest rated for their genres in iTunes, as is the Triple J iPhone app."

Across the summer of 2012/2013, Triple J developed its 'Road Trip Relay' website, using Instagram as its primary source for submissions. The app was described by ABC Open curatorial director Eleanor Bell as "... enormously successful; it was one of the wins of this project. It's easy, accessible and people can do it while they're moving ... it's a really useful platform to integrate within the ABC Open site."

Triple J's Hack current affairs program is another example of the station's use of social media. Alongside texting and calling into the show, viewers are able to Tweet @triplejHack and respond to Facebook posts to contribute their opinion. What I hadn't thought about until this morning, though (thanks, Spencer!), is the fact that these social media streams mean the discussion can - and does - continue long after it goes off air, allowing readers to continue connecting not only to the show but each other.  

So, what's the point of this post for me, as an individual journalist? I suppose it's mostly about demonstrating how powerful social media can be, and how important it is, regardless of the medium you're working in. 


Sunday, August 18, 2013


A TEEN who allegedly rammed three police vehicles while leading officers on a two-hour chase through south east Queensland has been denied bail.

The 16-year-old Stockleigh boy, who is facing 15 charges, applied for bail in Southport Magistrates Court today after handing himself in to Coomera Police Station yesterday.

Police will allege he reached speeds of up to 140km h during a two-hour chase that started at Warwick at 10.30am on Sunday when officers sighted a vehicle wanted for an earlier evade police incident.

The teen allegedly rammed a police car at about 11.30am while avoiding tyre spikes set up on the Cunningham Highway at Willowbank.

Police said the youth allegedly drove along Beaudesert-Boonah Rd to Bromelton. He allegedly drove at an officer and rammed two police cars at 12.10pm when he avoided road spikes on Waste Facility Road at Bromelton.

Police will allege he then abandoned the vehicle on Kurragong Drive at Jimboomba.

Duty lawyer Bridget Patchell told the court the teen had gone off the rails this year after his family situation at home deteriorated.

He had been living with his father after the relationship breakdown but recently moved to live with his mother.

Ms Patchell said all his possessions were left at his father's house and he was driving to get them on Sunday when the incidents happened.

"It was a situation that just blew out of proportion," said Ms Patchell.

The teen's parents were visibly distressed in court when Magistrate Catherine Pirie denied him bail until a bail plan, including counselling and employment, was drawn up by Youth Justice Services.

He was remanded in custody and will reappear in Southport Magistrates Court on Friday.

Original story from the Gold Coast Bulletin can be found here.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


Last week's lecture got off to a bit of a rocky start when the guest lecturer didn't turn up, but luckily Susan was able to jump in and save the day. We had a bit of a lesson in crowd sourcing and using Twitter, the right way, for finding and breaking news. Talking about the role of 'ordinary citizens' in the industry got me thinking about the changing journalist/audience relationship and the 'rediscovery of the audience', as I've heard it referred to - and how myself and other young journalists will need to prepare ourselves for this.

As a news consumer, the beauty of online journalism is the incredible ease with which information can be accessed. It's also incredibly easy to offer your opinion on the news of the day. Be it a Tweet to the journalist or news organisation, a quip in the comment section of a news website, or a lengthy blog post circulated around social media, there are plenty of ways for an audience to discuss and comment on the news with the authoring journalist.

Traditional letters to the editor demonstrate the fact that readers have always wanted to share their opinions, but the internet has made it so easy that it has almost become an expectation that a story is just starting its life when it it is published - particularly if the issue at hand is especially timely and relevant to the audience, or controversial.

At the same time, news websites are scrambling to attract audiences and find ways of making online journalism profitable and the most effective way of doing this is making the news experience as interesting as possible for the reader in the hope of attracting them to your website. I'm not going to go into search engine optimisation or anything too technical, but even simple things like providing information in a multifaceted way using videos, audio and images demonstrate how journalists have tweaked their craft to better appeal to their audiences.

The downside of relying too heavily on audience demands is the desire for 'light' or 'fluffy' journalism. Of course, there will always be an audience for 'hard news' but particularly with the influx of celebrity culture, there is a huge demand for 'lifestyle' stories, 'reality' stories, celebrity news and other topics that 'real journalists' may turn their noses up at. Technically, I suppose, there is nothing wrong with this lighter journalism, and it certainly has its place, but the way I see it, journalism provides a public service of sorts and I firmly believe that hard news is the most important news and must remain at the forefront of the industry.

I am inclined to believe that a good journalist can use these audience demands and expectations to better understand, interact with, and, ultimately, educate their audience. Being across social media has become a necessary part of the industry, not just for sharing news but also for interacting with audiences, and understanding how to make stories - even the difficult, confusing, dare-I-say boring ones - straight-forward and reader-friendly are important skills that I'm learning at the moment. The industry is only going to get more competitive, and having a thorough understanding of the importance of audience can only be a positive thing.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013


I was extremely excited to arrive at Monday's lecture and find that Trina McLellan from Reporting4Work would be talking to us about the changing ways that audiences are accessing news in the digital age. We're all aware that the internet has had a big impact on the news industry, but it's quite staggering to take a step back and have a look at the figures surrounding Australia's internet usage. According to the Nielsen Online Ratings for January 2012, we have the fifth highest level of internet penetration in the world, and The Australian Online Consumer Landscape found that by 2012 internet capable smartphone ownership was up to 64%.

It sometimes seems as though I can't go any time at all without being, in some way, directly connected to social media. Whether it's having Facebook open in another tab while studying, checking Instagram on my phone or the routine morning scroll through my Twitter feed, social media has become a thoroughly ingrained part of my life, and, judging by my various newsfeeds, everyone else's.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not complaining at all. I love social media. Not just because I enjoy its capabilities - though that's surely how my interest was sparked - but because I find the role that these intricate networks play in our life absolutely fascinating. I first heard about Osama Bin Laden's death via a friend's Facebook status, and a 'Pray for Boston' Instagram post was the first I heard of the marathon bombings. I'll willingly admit that opinions of those in my Twitter and Facebook feeds have made me reconsider my position on political and social issues by considering them from different perspectives. Talking to friends and family, I know that many of them have had this experience as well, evidence of the importance of social media as a platform for sharing news and connecting with audiences.

Trina's lecture affirmed this, putting some solid figures on social media use. ACMA found in 2011 that 25% of 30-44 year olds had accessed news through a social media website, and the figure was 36% for 18-29 year olds. I wouldn't be surprised if these numbers have risen significantly since then as social media continues to play a bigger and bigger role in our lives. OFCOM also found that other news media channels are used less since social media's advent. Australian news watching on TV dropped 13%, and reading a national printed paper dropped 21%.

'Social media manager' jobs seem to have started cropping up over the past few years, and I honestly believe that by the time I graduate, 'social media', as a whole, is going to be an incredibly important platform for the news industry. As someone who loves using and analysing social media, this is a pretty exciting thought.  

Sunday, August 4, 2013


I'm virtually clearing my throat and looking nervously around the room right now.



Is anyone out there?

I've been blogging over at my messy little music/fashion/food/travel/art online playground for a few years now and though it's been a lot of fun, in the past few months posting has become slightly very irregular. As I move through uni and start thinking more deeply about where I want to take my career - and have 'YOUR ONLINE PROFILE IS SUPER IMPORTANT' shouted at me in each and every subject - my blog seems a lot less in line with where I am and where I want to be than it was when I was in high school.

So, I suppose this piece of 'assessment' has come at the right time. I could purely focus on getting through this with a good grade but I'd like to actually build this blog into something I can use beyond the end of semester.

So with that out of the way, let's get to the point of this post. I actually missed last week's lecture but I have a good reason, okay? I was driving back from Splendour in the Grass. It was amazing and worth every inconvenience it caused, and if you happen to be really interested you can read my write up here (shameless plug, ha ha ha). Despite that, I am pretty bummed because I was really looking forward to hearing from the lovely Nikki Parkinson of Styling You, but alas, the #qutoj1 Twitter feed and QUT Blackboard had to suffice.

My experiences with blogging have been wonderful. It's a great way to create a personal brand (linking to my blog in internship and job applications has often paid off), build a network of like-minded contacts (I've made friends all over the world) and develop social media networks and skills (Twitter and Instagram are my two current favourites).

The way Nikki has built Styling You - and herself - into a formidable business is pretty much my dream career so to be given advice on blogging from her is PRETTY COOL, if not a little scary when one looks at how long the list is.

  • Know your topic
  • Write what you know
  • Be YOU!
  • Aim to inform, inspire, add value and/or solve problems
  • Be consistent
  • Use words, photos, videos, audio
  • Write in first person
  • Tell a story
  • Vary your content
  • Work with your strengths
  • Break up text with images, lists (woah, what have we here?), sub-headngs and video
  • Shape your own message
  • Be the first to comment on news that relates to your topic
  • Comment on events that affect your industry and/or your customers
  • Build your credibility as an expert
  • Find your tribe
  • Engage on social media networks around your blog
  • Comment on other blogs and other social media
  • Start conversations 

Long list, useful information.

I'm not too sure how well I fared with this post but I'm looking forward to shaping this blog into something 'me' that I can be proud of.