How Will We Start the Fires?

A piece published to Wrights PR's blog, where I was completing an internship.


It is the end of an era that started in Melbourne in 2001. From June 12, on the after-work commute home in Australia's three largest cities - Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane - the familiar rustle of the mXnewspaper will cease to exist.
 Photo: Sydney Morning Herald

Photo: Sydney Morning Herald

A statement by News Corp attributed the closure of the newspaper to the "changing reading habits of commuters".

It marks a significant milestone in the reshaping of news consumption. The ubiquity of digital technologies has meant that news is increasingly digested through smartphones and social media.

Scheduled news rituals once embedded into daily life - reading the morning paper and watching the evening news – have been eroded by a continuous 24/7 news cycle.

A report by the Associated Press revealed that access to an abundance of information and content has changed information consumption. People are now absorbing news via slivers on the Internet, headlines and 140-character Tweets - bite-sized snippets that condense the substance of stories and allow readers to take in key messaging with a single glance.

The sense of immediacy on social media is tempting, yet universal access to these sites has blurred reliability. Irony is at work here: although the number of people turning to social media channels as their main source of news is climbing, less than 50% say it is a reliable source of news and there is still a place for extensive, well-researched news stories and features.

The recent launch of Facebook’s ‘Instant Articles’ is a move to craft a seamless news consumption experience. Integrated into the Facebook iPhone app’s news feed, users no longer have to look for stories. The stories are coming to them.

U.S. news program Last Week Tonight with John Oliver has captured a worldwide audience as it infuses comedy with investigative journalism. Content from each episode spreads across social media like wildfire.

These are just two examples of how media has harnessed the change.

With the closure of the mX, it is evident that landscapes are changing.  People still want news but they are scouring different channels to remain informed.