First year students at the University of Wollongong have mixed feelings about the future of professional journalism due to the rise of content curation and aggregation, coupled with the increasing popularity of citizen journalism.
Student Robert Brady, 19, believes that in order to pursue a career as a professional journalist he will need to adapt to the changing environment, but Mr Brady is also confident that “journalists will learn how to use aggregation to their advantage.”
Aspiring journalist Elly Manoe is also optimistic about the future of professional journalism, stating, “I think there is always going to be a need for professionals to tell a story and do research. I don’t think the role of the journalist will ever be eradicated.”
Ms Manoe believes that the emergence of the Internet as a media platform is the most fundamental issue affecting modern journalism but she remains confident that as “technology is advancing it is helping us get everything online which is making it easier to produce journalism”
Not all students are as confident about the role of the professional journalist in the future. Communications and media student Bella Hunter believes that the Internet has significantly transformed the journalism profession.
“The Internet has changed journalism completely, allowing for the journalists themselves to access information without actually going ‘on site’. This has serious consequences, both positive and negative. The Internet, with a flow of constant information, allows for a lot of ineptitudes, not all the information being presented is correct. However, on the upside, the internet allows for this information to reach people faster.”
Speaking outside The University of Wollongong Creative Arts building, Ms Hunter also explained her fears about job prospects for aspiring journalists.
“I’m very turned off by the fact that journalism is such a niche industry now. If I were to be interested in getting a job, there’s no way that it would remain secure due to the constant change of media. I’d prefer a job where I can adapt and change with the media, rather than to suit the media.”
First year student Jade Hall, 19, also stated that she is concerned that the recent emergence of citizen journalism may negatively effect the many journalists who are looking for jobs and who are qualified in their fields. According to Ms hall, “Anyone can be a citizen journalist which doesn’t seem fair.”
In response to questioning about whether attending Wollongong University has changed her views on the ability of journalists to gain employment in the future, Ms Hall remained positive: “Coming to university has reassured me that there are jobs in the journalist field and has helped me make the right decisions in order for me to be equipped with going in the job field later on.”