Critical Question: Options Trail

“More people looking online for their news, will affect journalism as a whole negatively” Agree or Disagree?

After almost a terms worth of research, I would have to chose disagree. Many people would beg to differ with me, but that just tells me they are focusing on a very minute part of journalism. For one, the internet has opened up a whole new median for news and also forced news to be a lot more truthful about what they publish, because any one person could prove them wrong with a photo off their Iphone.

You would think with all of the recent downsizing to many newspapers, especially The Age, that newspapers are a dying breed. In June 2012 15% of the Age was cut, over $248 million, but due to the fall of the mighty, the small have grown and flourished. Trent Casson, with whom we talked to on Friday said that recently his company, Metro Media Publishing, had launched 9 more local newspapers, already owning 13. He explained to us that with the rise of the internet and it as a median, people are looking for local news, which isn’t very accessible via the internet. As well he said that their newspapers make small short stories that are entertaining, relevant and engaging to the  local community. But also with them being recently bought out by Fairfax, they can get the best writers. He said that 70% of their profit comes from their property section in their community newspaper. He showed us a copy of their leading newspaper, The Weekly Review, and revealed to us that more the two thirds of the paper are property ads. Since all of these newspapers are community, they all have local property ads, making these ads  ‘prime real estate,’ since most people buy houses within 2.5 km of their original house. As well community newspapers are easy to pick up and typically free. The reason big newspapers used to thrive, were because they would get ads for jobs and cars, which could be from the other side of town, but as soon as website like  “seek.com” started to pop up, with nothing to lose and significantly cheaper ad spots, the big newspapers had nothing to advertise, therefor no profit.

Overall, the Internet has given journalism a whole new frontier to explore, with a lot to learn and benefit from, as well as forcing their articles to be truthful and fair. Before our Options Trail I thought that online media would affect journalism but after our interview with Trent Casson and other various research, I think quite the opposite now. Although recently The Age went through heavy cuts, the positives outweigh the negatives. In general the Internet has affected journalism as a whole positively.

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Critical Question: Future

“The people of Melbourne can feel confident about what the future holds”                                       

                       Agree or Disagree?

If I had been asked this a week ago, I would have had no idea on how to answer this question, but after my experiences this week, I would disagree.

Do we know now what will happen in 50 years? 20? Even 5? Do we know where new technologies will lead us? How the education system could change, how we will solve problems like over population and global warming. This week the question was posed “Can the people of Melbourne can feel confident about what the future holds?” and I believe that the people of Melbourne can be confident about a few things, but the for the most part they can’t feel confident about most events in the future, even things like the next state election. Future has a few different definitions, but I chose only two; “at a later time, going or likely to happen or exist” and “a prospect of success or happiness” I chose these two definitions because I think that they are not black and white, and the 2nd one also adds prospects and hopes into the word future, which we all have.

In 20 years time, climate change will have continued to affect the world. Melbournians cannot feel confident with the future, as one dominated by global warming isn’t really what we want to achieve. In 20 years time EPA expects temperatures to rise by 1 degree, as well as seasonal events and storms becoming more powerful, and more often. With many new technologies appearing, one could think that climate change could be cured or fixed via reducing carbon emissions and possible   atmosphere rejuvenations, but even if these projects were completed climate change would continue. As EPA has predicted even if carbon emissions dropped by a third climate change would still continue and effect ecosystems for hundreds of years afterwards. This future is not looking very upbeat.

In 1875 the first ever commercial oil field was built in California, bringing with it a new era of power, motion and climate change, since then mankind has been powered almost completely by oil, and as all good things do, it must come to an end. Oil is the most used natural resource apart from water, and the BP World Energy Review measured only 190 million tons remaining, enough to last just over 46 years, at our current rate of consumption. A world without energy would be disastrous, but is also very likely. Estimations are that Oil should be priced 27x higher than it currently is, because of the remaining amounts. Drastic measures should have already been taken to an energy crisis from happening; such using more renewable energy, but that hasn’t been done yet. Melbournians can’t be confident with their futures, because of this.

In Late 2007-8 the Global Financial Crisis otherwise known as the GFC hit stock markets, with worldwide effects, some countries like Greece had riots on the streets. Some nations’ GDP (How much that nation’s economy has grown) reached -10%, which means that nations economy was actually downsizing. The GFC was very abrupt and tore apart jobs, wealth and lives. Melbournians can’t be confident about when another GFC will hit again, and how. The next GFC could come at any time, according to Analyst Robert Lenzner, and very rapidly; “there is no mechanism for determining when there actually is a crisis.” Melbournians cannot be confident in when the next GFC will hit, and how it will hit them. It is not possible to be confident with the future economy wise, except you can be sure that the GFC will hit again.

Melbournians can’t be confident with their futures, because to be confident in a future you do not only have to be sure of what will happen, but that futures needs to be a positive thing. Many things are uncertain in the future, including the economy, climate change and natural resources. We don’t know what will happen in the future, and we can’t be confident in it.

“The future is uncertain but the end is always near.”

―Jim Morrison