Media cycle (from the PWF 2015 program
Media cycle (from the PWF 2015 program)

Listening to journalists and authors Ros Thomas and Geraldine Doogue in conversation about the media cycle with Patricia Karvelas at the Perth Writers Festival 2015 was a joy. It also made me think. A lot.

Ros and Geraldine are well-known to Western Australian audiences. Indeed, some of us claim them as ours. They both began their careers in journalism as cadets at the West Australian Newspaper.  Both are authors of new books.

Geraldine Doogue
Geraldine Doogue
Ros Thomas
Ros Thoma








Patricia Karvelas
Patricia Karvelas









Their experience now extends through print, radio and television journalism in a variety of national media. Patricia, herself an accomplished journalist, interjected with exactly the right questions.

Three such articulate journalists ensured the session was crammed with information, good humour and good sense. These women are consummate professionals. In the Romeo tent with its noisy fans, everyone could hear every word.

There’s a lesson here for people who take part in future Perth Writers Festivals. The sound technicians actually know how to place the microphones to best advantage. Audiences benefit when speakers use well-placed microphones properly.

Surprisingly, Geraldine Doogue and Ros Thomas discussed their new books only in passing during their session, ‘Media Cycle’. The conversation was wide-ranging. At times as I listened I thought how out of touch I am, with my tenuous grasp of digital technology. And sadly the gap seems to be widening almost daily.

I’m constantly surprised (and sometimes shocked) at how easily my grandchildren (and occasionally, my three-year-old great-granddaughter) access what they want. That’s probably the reason why I thoroughly enjoyed some of the questions at the session on media cycle. Obviously there were other older folk there with limited understanding, as well!

My friend, Louise Allan, blogged recently about limiting her family’s use of digital technology. I sympathise with her position.

Internet and the media cycle

‘These days, everyone is a journalist,’ Geraldine said. ‘But there is a craft involved in journalism. It begins with accuracy. People who provide clarity and context, and a keen interest, will still be needed [as media continues to change].’


‘Accuracy is a major issue,’ Ros agreed. ‘In the olden days, we were one person from the source of the news. Now we don’t know the source, and we see inaccuracies. The craft is truth-telling. But internet information seems like a free grocery story – there’s lots of noise, but not enough balance.’


‘We need to be alert. Who is creating content? Who is taking notice of who is creating content? This is not a safe time,’ Geraldine added.


Geraldine said she’d been pressured to join Twitter. It is one way a journalist can be their own publisher. In an age of reduced advertising budgets, it is also a way to keep in contact.

Ros  does not have a Twitter account. She believes Twitter leads to more noise and a distortion of the message. Instead, she enjoys feedback from her readers via email each week. She likes the conversations with them. Interaction like that isn’t possible within 140 character limits.


The journalists all agreed that in the wake of new media, television will be the biggest loser. It will be superseded by newer media..


On the other hand, print media ‘does the heavy lifting’ in the news cycle. Geraldine said that newspapers can be educational, durable and entertaining. They will have to find a good angle to survive. This especially so for the weekend papers and their quality magazines. The growth of beautiful weekend magazines is a good development in our culture. Eventually, people may be happy to pay double for the benefits of this niche.

One of the problems with print news is that perhaps the ‘broad church’ daily papers may be sending out stuff that we no longer care about.


Radio will be the big winner in the long run.

According to Ros, ‘Radio is about the spoken word. There is nothing more fabulous.’

‘Radio is most immediate,’ Patricia agreed. ‘Programs are podcast. Stories are shared at different times.’

* * *

Was it something

gd the climb









Ros Thomas’s new book, Was it something I said? Misadventures in Suburbia, is a collection of writings from the column she presents every week in The Weekend West. I was surprised at first when she called her book memoir – but of course that is exactly what it is.

Geraldine Doogue’s new book is The Climb: Conversations with Australian Women in Power. In conversations with fourteen women across a variety of fields, she provides a snapshot of contemporary Australia.

Look for my reviews, coming to this blog soon for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2015.

Australian Women Writers Challenge 2015
Australian Women Writers Challenge 2015


7 replies on “Media cycle – how are we affected?”

  1. What a great session to have been a part of, Maureen! One of the things that struck me about the whole festival, is how intelligent, articulate, and courageous women are! And there were so many of them involved in each session. I didn’t see these three ladies, but I saw others—including Hilary Mantel and Elizabeth Gilbert on Saturday night—and I was awed.

    Speaking of the wonders of the digital age, Hilary Mantel appeared at the Concert Hall via video link, and it was an inspiring and entertaining session.

    1. How very fortunate you are to be able to go and listen to these wonderful women. I can no longer go to such stimulation!!
      I do listen to radio and watch assorted TV presentations and find ‘stuff’ on my computer.
      Thank God I can read again now!! RosieX

      1. Yes, Rosie, I am lucky to be mobile and able to attend events. The Perth Writers Festival 2015 was very stimulating and I enjoyed it. I’m sure listening to replays on radio would be nowhere near as enjoyable as the real thing. Thanks for your comment.

    2. Louise, this was one of the best Perth Writers Festivals I’ve been to, and I started when the Writers Festival was held at Fremantle Arts Centre, decades ago. What I love most about it is that UWA provides such a compact setting, not like Melbourne and Sydney Writers Festivals, where events are spread out across many venues. I didn’t plan this year as well as I usually do, but found myself in the most wonderful sessions I might otherwise have missed. I’m inspired to get my writing life back on track, finish some things that have hung around for too long, and start new ventures. Of course, I bought too many books. I love that!

  2. I have recently read Helen Garner’s latest book. Wow does she inspire thought. I have also discovered Kristina Olsson who wrote memoir Boy,Lost which led me to read The China Garden,
    What wonderful prose she writes.
    So pleased I have my sight back now!!
    Would love to catch up in person sometime?? Rosie

    1. I love hearing you are reading the way you used to. You know I have a passion for Helen Garner. I enjoy the way she uses her writing and investigative skills, as well as sheer determination. ‘This House of Horrors’ is one of her best books, I think. I have the Kristina Olsson book. I bought it at the Writers Festival after I heard Kristina talking about it. Haven’t read it yet. Coffee next week?

      1. Yes please for coffee next week Bridge claims me Tuesday,Thursday.
        Am also in the throes of Richard Flanagan’s Wanting- ghastly treatment of colonial aborigines in Tasmania in 19th century- afraid little has really changed.!! Rosie xx

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