News Ltd CEO John Hartigan spoke about the future of journalism at the National Press Club today. Andrew Bolt comments that:

Hartigan is bullish about Australian newspapers, noting that the crashes in circulation seen in the US and Britain have not been seen here. He’s also confident that our own internet sites and blogs (one of which he alas fails to mention) can beat off the challenge of other blogs and news aggregators

A couple of things strike me about this:

  • Hartigan talks about The Punch as “something completely new in Australian journalism”. But it seems to consist of just two components – it’s a site that (i) publishes opinion writing by a range of authors and allows comments on the articles (which, as Mark Bahnisch notes, is exactly what a group blog does) and (ii) aggregates content from other news and opinion sites. As Jason Whittaker noted, that’s not journalism. It also doesn’t seem particularly new, let alone completely so.
  • Reviews of the first month’s stats by mUmBRELLA and Ben Shepherd don’t seem to support Hartigan’s enthusiasm about The Punch’s performance.

Hartigan also gets stuck into bloggers, describing the blogosphere as “all eyeballs and no insight”. The irony of Hartigan talking about bloggers and citizen journalists getting the facts wrong, after a month when we have seen the media outlets publish a fraudulent email and Richard Wilkins finally break into the US market by incorrectly reporting Jeff Goldblum’s death, is palpable.

Anyway, there’s plenty in the speech to talk about, so I will turn it over to comments. I’ll finish by noting that Bernard Keane has reported on Hartigan’s speech.

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