Academics, journalists, students and public relations staff met last Wednesday to hear a discussion between rural medical journalist Melissa Sweet, The Sunday Times chief of staff Anthony DeCeglie and Style Voyeur blogger Marcia Ball.
DeCeglie spoke of a journey from country papers to the upper echelons of The Sunday Times, while Ball recalled a childhood obsession with imagery that led to a website, MySpace account, then the blog that won her stylist work at Perth Fashion Festival.
Sweet, a self-described ‘digital Luddite’ by comparison, said her print media background fostered a desire to focus the public health debate on more specialised topics, in niche online publication Croakey.
She said the ‘smell of an oily rag operation’ was largely a labour of love, but DeCeglie said such publications had enormous money-making potential.
Ball said her blog was ‘a hell of a lot of work’ for little cash, but she believed big companies would soon ‘appreciate the social media landscape’ and shift traditional budget structures.
DeCeglie said Australia’s online culture would soon be like America’s in shifting from ‘breaking’ news to quality analysis.
He said journalism had ‘never been more alive’.