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Don’t Dream It’s Over: Reimagining Journalism in Aotearoa

Don’t Dream It’s Over: Reimagining Journalism in Aotearoa New Zealand

The proposed merger of APN and Fairfax. The online convergence of media outlets. The collaboration of investigative journalists on the release of the Panama Papers. These are just three examples of how journalism is changing in response to the current media environment, but there are many more factors involved that deserve exploration.

The quantity of media content continues to increase exponentially yet journalists are being laid-off; new media technologies sit in tension with an aging and diverse population; the impact of social media, clickbait, PR, citizen journalists and bloggers is on the rise. This evolving landscape raises questions over the standards of the profession, the role of journalists and the media’s function as the fourth estate.

As publishers, we believe that the challenges and opportunities inherent in a rapidly changing industry require a variety of responses from a wide range of voices – an in-depth discussion that explores ways to navigate what happens next. Part of this is examining how New Zealand understands and defines itself in the media through particular issues, ideas and controversies.

On 28 August, Freerange Press is launching its next major book, Don’t Dream It’s Over: Reimagining Journalism in Aotearoa New Zealand, at the WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival. This multi-author book explores the nature of journalism: as it once was, as we imagine it to be and what it might become.

Don’t Dream It’s Over looks at how journalism is changing and how it might flourish again. The book explores the strengths and weaknesses of the traditional media and seeks new directions that we could take to enhance journalism’s role as an important pillar of democracy. This includes the need for diverse outlets and platforms, mass public interest journalism that reaches many and chance encounters that expose ourselves to viewpoints other than our own; guidelines and regulations; collaborative initiatives; ways to finance in-depth journalism, to make use of citizens’ knowledge and to make the best use of the tools currently available to us.

We have contributions from a broad range of experienced journalists, commentators, academics, writers, thinkers, designers, as well as emerging journalists. The contributors include Peter Arnett, Brent Edwards, Mihingarangi Forbes, Toby Morris, Paula Penfold, Nicky Hager, Morgan Godfery, Simon Wilson, Cate Brett, Sara Vui-Talitu and many more.

This topic deserves attention. It deserves the kind of close, slow and deep attention only a book can provide. But we need the public’s help to produce this New Zealand made book and will be running a crowdfunding campaign via Pledgeme that begins on 4 June.


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