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2020, what a ride so far. From disaster to disaster – drought, bushfires, pandemic and economies failing, we have all taken a hit and in amongst it all are the journos, given the task to keep us all informed and connected the best way they can.

I recently joined a webinar on the future of media post-Covid, and along with some insights on how we might better frame our pitches for success, I felt a renewed sense of optimism about what the future might hold, both as a consumer, and creator of media.

Media works to a successful formula. Staged sets and fully made up news anchors, crews sent out on location, provocative radio DJ’s, sensationalist headlines to sell papers and so on. But Covid meant all the usual infrastructure wasn’t available. Experts were interviewed via Zoom, handheld footage on iPhones was acceptable, high end studios and mics were replaced by living rooms and programs like ABC’s Q&A that live and die by their studio audience had no audience. They shared with us, “the audience was in it with us and so that made it ok to be more flexible”.

But beyond format we are also seeing another shift, and that’s in the kind of news being reported. When faced with a serious health and economic crisis, audiences want news that is transparent and honest. There’s less tolerance of political infighting, celebrities held up high and news that just throws up problems. Instead there’s a flip to stories of recovery and resilience. Topics that speak to the heart of how we will be as a country and a return to fundamental subjects like big picture economic reform, how our communities will need to work together, and the importance of jobs and employment and the way people’s lives work.

It feels refreshing and I’m ready for:

• More agility and less rigidity
• More focus on the heart of the story and depth
• Less vacuous politicians and more essential workers and rebuilt lives
• Less siloing in the media and more focus on the story nurtured by content creators, regardless of format
• More solutions and less problems

If you’d like help getting your story in the news please get in touch.

P.S. And good news late in – 85-year-old AAP has been saved by a consortium of philanthropists and investors and they’ve installed Emma Cowdroy as CEO becoming the only woman in the world to run a news agency. Boom!

Sue Hardman