A couple of journalists, an academic and an editor took an hour to come the conclusion that nobody knows anything in this session. It was free and very crowded, as all the other free sessions have been, but the Aotea Centre staff had come over all concerned with Health and Safety issues so I was way up the back not blocking anyone’s ingress or egress.
This did afford me the chance to observe a lot of whispered conferring about some desperado sharing the space up the back who had to be sternly told not to interupt from the floor. When he did get the chance to ask a question he had to be reminded that it was questions they had asked for, not statements, to which he plaintively replied “why do they always cut me short”?
The back may be the place for observing bad festival behaviour, pity it’s my third-to-last session although the next two feature poets and rock musicians, so still plenty of opportunities for unseemly shenanigans.
So what is the future of print journalism? Rhonda Sherman of The New Yorker thinks the present model is over, it’s just a question of what the next model will be. Pamela Stirling of the Listener was more confident; in trying times people gravitate to brands they trust and with a 60% subsrciption rate they still trust the Listener. Martin Hirst, Associate Professor of Journalsim at AUT, doesn’t know whether he’s excited because he’s so terrified or terrified about how excited he is.
The panel seemed to agree (although I can’t be sure as I had some trouble hearing but I modelled through it and forebore from sharing this fact with the rest of the audience – more on that subject later) that we are moving from an analogue culture to a digital one and we don’t know how our children or grand-children will get their news. We can however be fairly sure it won’t be from some words printed on a piece of paper delivered to their gate in the morning.