Tonight I was at Kelvin Grove campus of QUT to speak briefly at the launch of the latest annual update of the Brisbane Media Map, which is put together by final year Media and Communications students from QUT’s Creative Industries Faculty.
They describe it as “an online resource that provides a comprehensive guide to the media and communication industries in Brisbane and the surrounding areas.”
Apart from being a valuable resource in its own right, what strikes me about the Brisbane Media Map is just how diverse and broad the media landscape can now be considered to be. It covers a wide range of community and activist organisations, as well as artistic and cultural outlets – including Brisbane’s very vibrant local music scene.
Whilst at first glance this would seem to have nothing to do with media as it is usually conceived, the fact is that many of these activities are now producers as well as consumers and users of communications in its ever more varying forms.
The media landscape, including but far from limited to the so-called ‘new media’ or social media, is continually evolving, partly because of new technology but in my view also because of the ever increasing scope for cross-fertilisation across different areas of activity, and at least in some cases the lower costs for the average person to produce and engage with, as well as consume.
That probably makes it a more uncertain landscape for commercial and professional opportunities – understandably a key concern for students just finishing a University degree with a brand new HECS debt accompanying them.
I went to the event having just read Annabel Crabb’s interesting lecture on journalism delivered at Melbourne Uni entitled “The end of journalism as we know it (and other good news)”, along with Tim Dunlop’s good, albeit somewhat grumpy, response.
I don’t profess to know what viable future business models might be for journalism, media and communications activity. But, leaving aside that not unimportant issue, it did strike me that the ‘blogging’ versus ‘journalism’ thing is not only so last decade, it’s not even a valid contrast.
There are so many different ways to engage and, communicate so many different types of information on so many levels. Annabel Crabb is one journalist / media professional who sees the enriching opportunities of new media and new approaches, but I think many journos, as with many politicians, are still trying to fit old approaches into new models. Which is OK – different parts of society move at different speeds, and politics is often a follower rather than a leader when it comes to innovation, as are large scale corporations, whether they be media or otherwise. Perhaps it is not surprising that the creative industries tend to be more dynamic and, well, creative. And anything that highlights the depth of the social, cultural and economic contribution of creativity and communication in all its form has to be a good thing.