New Beats regional journalist survey – call for participants

Before this year, the lion’s share of journalism redundancies in Australia were in the capital cities. But over the last twelve months regional centres have experienced a serious contraction in journalism jobs. The Ballarat Courier, Bendigo Advertiser, Border Mail and Illawarra Mercury are just some of many daily papers that are being affected by these cuts.

And this week, Fairfax announced that the Newcastle Herald and other Hunter region newspapers would also lose staff. According to a report in The Guardian, the number of journalists at the Newcastle Herald will drop from 61 to just 24. This latest round of job cuts is a heavy blow to regional and rural journalism and threatens the future of quality local news.

What will happen to those journalists who lose their jobs? Are other forms of journalism or media work as likely to be available in regional Australia as in the capital cities? And what are the consequences of reduced staffing levels on the local communities that these newspapers serve?

These questions will be the focus of a new survey to be conducted by the New Beats team in the coming weeks. The survey will be designed to complement the national longitudinal survey that is already being conducted as part of our five-year project.

If you are a journalist whose position has been made redundant from a media outlet outside of the capital cities, we would welcome your participation in this survey. And please feel free to spread the word to anyone else you know who is in a similar situation. All surveys conducted by this project are confidential. We look forward to hearing from you.

Watch the Melbourne Press Club panel discussion

watch-online-2-250x121On Wednesday June 3, the Melbourne Press Club hosted the lunchtime panel discussion, “Beyond the Big ‘R’: Life after Redundancy”. The discussion was moderated by Lawrie Zion, and panellists included Louise Graham and Kirsty Simpson, both formerly of Fairfax, and Phil Kafcaloudes, who was made redundant last October after 26 years at the ABC.

The discussion focussed on the development of post-redundancy careers, and touched on a range of associated issues including the redundancy experience, networking with former colleagues, and forging a different kind of professional identity.

You can view the discussion here (via the MPC site). A big thanks to the three panellists and the Melbourne Press Club for hosting the event.

My New Beat – Wendy Hargreaves

Wendy HargreavesWendy Hargreaves started as a cadet journalist when typewriters, ash trays and hot metal presses were still in regular use. She has reported on health, education, politics, police, courts and sport, becoming Deputy Chief of Staff at the Herald Sun before leaving her post to have two kids. She continued as a freelance writer for the age(melbourne) magazine and the Green Guide, taking a brief stab at producing breakfast radio at Triple M before returning to News Ltd as the Sunday Herald Sun’s online editor. Wendy also launched the paper’s first dedicated food section.

Like dozens of her colleagues, Wendy took redundancy from the Herald Sun in 2013 (when the company decided to nationalise its food coverage out of Sydney). Within days of leaving, Wendy seized on the Herald Sun’s coverage hole and launched a Melbourne-centric online guide to food/fun/travel called 5 of the Best, taking her 10K social media followers along for the ride. The site has been a monetised digital magazine since its launch, with advertisers and sponsors keen to reach the 60,000 readers visiting the site every month.

5 of the best graphicWendy also has a regular 3AW segment about food, along with a thriving career as a keynote speaker telling her story of reinvention and resilience at events and conferences across Australia.

Next year, it will be 30 years since Wendy started as a cadet journalist with the Geelong Advertiser.


Have you become redundant from a media organisation since 2007?

If so, we’d love to hear what you’ve been up to so we can share it in our new “My New Beat” section. In up to 200 words, let us know something about the new work you’ve found in the media, or how you’re applying your skills elsewhere. You can also attach a pic (jpg only) or link. Please email both the text and image to

My New Beat – Veronica Ridge

Issimo io-Landing_page_header_1With a bit of a nudge from her two tech-savvy sons, Veronica Ridge left The Age – and a great job as a senior editor – in October 2012 in search of a digital adventure that would turn out be the ride of her professional life.

It was kickstarted by a crowd-sourcing campaign – enthusiastically supported by The Age alumni – that paid for the first two (of four) issues of the team’s iPad publication Issimo Magazine.

This experience led to a deep understanding of the ever-changing world of transmedia – of analytics, digital marketing, social media, UX, spotting trends and first-hand observation of the power of visual storytelling online. Issimo’s team has now created its own publishing platform (see a prototype at; details at

In the spirit of true innovation, we aim to share our technology free to like-minded journalists with a yen to set up a viable digital publication on any subject. Unlike WordPress, the platform feels and looks as smooth as an app. Users can upload images that are automatically rescaled to entice with full-resolution quality on a desktop but also load fast on a mobile. Our pages are more than just text and pictures, infographics and videos – the team at Issimo is committed to building the tools for an exciting digital publishing future.


Did you become redundant from a media organisation since 2007?

If so, we’d love to hear what you’ve been up to so we can share it in our new “My New Beat” section. In up to 200 words, let us know something about the new work you’ve found in the media or how you’re applying your skills elsewhere. You can also attach a pic (jpg only) or link. Please email both the text and image to

New Beats at the Melbourne Press Club

MPEC logo black on white (2)

On Wednesday June 3, the Melbourne Press Club is holding a lunchtime panel discussion featuring three journalists who’ve taken redundancy and discovered life beyond the metropolitan newsrooms. On the panel will be former Age business editor, Kirsty Simpson, former ABC journalist and Radio Australia host, Phil Kafcaloudes, and former News and Fairfax picture editor, Louise Graham, with the discussion to be hosted by the New Beats project’s co-founder Lawrie Zion.

The event will commence at 12:15 and will be held at Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar, which is at Level 1 of the Crown Metropol Hotel in Southbank, and the event will cost $40 for members, redundees and students, and $55 for everyone else. Bookings can be made via the Melbourne Press Club website or by calling 03 9614 2779.  More details can be found here, and please spread the word to anyone who you think might be interested in coming along.

See you there.

Research update: Where do journalists go?

The findings from our New Beats pilot study completed in 2013 have been published in the journal Journalism Practice. The article, “Where do journalists go after newsroom job cuts?” is the first research article to be published from this five-year project. The pilot study surveyed the experiences during and after redundancy of journalists who were laid off during 2012, and the findings were based on 95 completed responses.

The New Beats team is currently analysing data from our subsequent 2014 survey, which attracted over 200 respondents.


New Beats 2014 survey – call for participants

In 2012 more than 1,000 Australian journalists became redundant. More than 500 more have taken a redundancy package since then.

Where are they now?  What will happen to them in the future? And what are the consequences for journalism of this enormous contraction of the journalist workforce?

To explore these questions, a team of researchers from four universities embarked on the New Beats project last year, and completed a pilot study focusing on the experiences of around 100 journalists who took redundancy packages during 2012.

Since then we have been awarded an Australian Research Council grant to further develop the project over the next three years, so that we can look at the impact of these redundancies over an extended time frame.

To follow up our pilot study, we’re undertaking three more annual surveys of journalists who became redundant in Australia during or since 2012, the first of which we will conduct in the coming weeks. We also plan to conduct 60 extended interviews with journalist about the broad arc of their careers, and to produce a series of associated radio documentaries.

Through this project we aim to create a network of journalists who have taken a redundancy package to share information and gather data on jobs, demand for journalistic expertise, new career directions, re-training, and the impact of redundancy on professional identity, family life and well-being. You can find out a bit more about the project and our team by viewing our about page, and by checking out the media coverage of New Beats. We’re also on Twitter @newbeatsproject.

If you were a journalist who took a redundancy package in Australia during 2012, 2013, or 2014, and would like to be a participant in our three-year study, please let us know. All correspondence will be dealt with in confidence. We would also be happy to answer any questions you might have about the project.


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