Kawana Weekly's Emily Ditchburn (left) talks to students about journalism in the 21st century.
Kawana Weekly's Emily Ditchburn (left) talks to students about journalism in the 21st century.

Changing media still needs our best and brightest

THE media industry needs Australia's "best and brightest" young people if it is to remain a powerful voice for local communities.

APN group digital editor Mark Furler made the comments while addressing almost 200 Year 10 students at the University of the Sunshine Coast's first Communications Day yesterday.

Mr Furler, a former editor-in-chief of the Daily who now oversees APN's news websites, said while journalism had changed remarkably in the past five years, its essence had not.

"We are here to tell people's stories,'' he said.

"We are here to make a difference, to effect positive change in our communities, to right wrongs, expose evil and celebrate good.''

Students from Chancellor State College, Siena Catholic College, Suncoast Christian College, Good Shepherd Lutheran College, and Sunshine Beach State High School were among those attending.

They sat at tables with 20 industry representatives to learn about journalism in the 21st century, creative writing, innovative advertising and public relations in a social-media environment.

USC Head of School of Communication Professor Rod McCulloch said the day aimed to inspire and inform young people about careers in communications, and showcase the degrees on offer at USC in these fields.

The Daily takes about 20 interns from the university each year and picks the very best to employ as jobs emerge.

Mr Furler said journalism was not a 9 to 5 job or an easy career but was incredibly rewarding when stories resulted in social problems being addressed.

He said while the media industry was going through great changes, the tools available to journalists, including video, social media,  live broadcasting and website interaction meant people's stories could be told more powerfully.

"At the Daily,  we no longer have just  a newspaper. we have a connected digital community of tens of thousands on our website every day, thousands of Twitter and Instagram followers and a Facebook community which is climbing towards 100,000 people.

"Our journalists are expected to break news in minutes, produce videos, files stories on iPhones and iPads, while at the same time remaining committed to the quality of good story telling.

"People's stories take time and trust to tell.

"Journalism is about investing in both of them.

"It's a calling and it's still worthy of our brightest and best.''

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