Ethics still a priority for journalists

July 31, 2012
Credit: Lance Page,

An Australian-first survey of media professionals shows that despite newspapers moving online, the majority of journalists are still committed to quality, ethical journalism.

Journalism at the Speed of Bytes, a report co-authored by Dr. David McKnight from UNSW’s Journalism and Media Research Centre and Penny O’Donnell from the University of Sydney, involved interviews with 100 editors and senior journalists from the major Australian metropolitan and national newspapers.

The report shows that 75 per cent of senior journalists nominated journalism with a “strong element of public benefit” as the most important characteristic of quality journalism. Two-thirds of respondents described the quality of online journalism in Australia as “average” or “poor” while only 14 per cent described it as “excellent.”

Associate Professor McKnight said the finding was positive considering the challenges the industry faces after cost-cutting measures recently led to the loss of more than 1500 editorial jobs at Fairfax and News Ltd.

"Australian are idealists at heart. They see themselves performing a public service and they see public benefit as one of the main justifications for their work.  

"The economic foundation of newspapers is weakening and there is no obvious substitute for the old advertising-based model to pay for good print journalism,” he said.

The report was funded by the Australian Research Council and the Walkley Foundation.

Explore further: Science in the media

More information:

Related Stories

Science in the media

January 22, 2010

A major new report into science and the media has drawn on research by Cardiff University which found that that in some respects specialist science news reporting in the UK is in relatively good health. However the research ...

Study finds major U.S. newspapers are warming up to Wikipedia

April 12, 2011

( -- Major newspapers in the United States are referencing Wikipedia more often and framing the online encyclopedia more positively in stories, according to a study by a pair of faculty researchers in the Virginia ...

News Corp to start Australian paywall

October 20, 2011

The Australian arm of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation will begin charging for online content, the firm said on Thursday, with its flagship national broadsheet to move behind a paywall from next week.

Recommended for you

Biologists trace how human innovation impacts tool evolution

November 24, 2015

Many animals exhibit learned behaviors, but humans are unique in their capacity to build on existing knowledge to make new innovations. Understanding the patterns of how new generations of tools emerged in prehistoric societies, ...

How experienced buyers can mitigate economic bubbles

November 19, 2015

(—Over the last decade, many people got a tough primer on the effects of economic bubbles, as the bursting of the 2007-2008 housing bubble sent shockwaves through most of the major world economies. But property ...

First Londoners were multi-ethnic mix: museum

November 23, 2015

A DNA analysis of four ancient Roman skeletons found in London shows the first inhabitants of the city were a multi-ethnic mix similar to contemporary Londoners, the Museum of London said on Monday.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Jul 31, 2012
And all these "majority of journalists" with ethics live on Mars, methinks.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.