Posted March 22nd, 2013 by Sharon Green in Future of Journalism
A handful of Australia’s leading fashion writers and editors gathered this week to speak about how the changing media landscape has impacted on fashion journalism.
As part of the business event series at L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival, the Fashion Industry Forum 2 – The Fashion Media Landscape Transformation invited the industry influencers to share their thoughts on the topic.
From highlighting the fundamental expertise and skills required to succeed in the current fashion media marketplace to the challenges they’ve faced with the introduction of digital technology, the experts shared an interesting perspective on the current state of journalism in the fashion sector.
- Damien Woolnough, currently Fashion Editor at The Australian (soon to be Deputy Editor of the new ELLE Australia)
- Edwina McCann, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Australia
- Janice Breen Burns, Fashion Journalist and Author
- Melissa Hoyer, Fashion and Media Commentator
- Kim Wilson, Executive Fashion Editor at Herald Sun
- Rae Begley, Found and Director at Little Hero PR
Here are three things I learned about fashion media:
1. Traditional journalism will prevail
Damien Woolnough opened the conversation by saying newspapers are “no longer the monolithic voice” in the media landscape. “But there will always be room for an authoritative and respected voice in the media.”
In this changing media landscape Breen Burns is going back to her grassroots of fashion writing – quality editorials and long form journalism. With the launch of her new online publication Voxfrock she feels “getting away from the idea of the bedroom blogger” and opting for authenticity will succeed. “Traditional journalistic skills are going to be as important now as they ever were,” she said.
Hoyer still borrows skills and techniques from her old newspaper writing days and said that even though online is growing, “we still want short, sharp fixes of news today”.
While the panel said that graduates don’t have to come from a specific media course to be a journalist, they all agreed that traditional education is still important for landing work in the media.
2. Measuring audience engagement is difficult
Media, including fashion journalism, now relies on being instantaneous and interactive. But publishers and publicists are struggling to measure and interpret the value of online activity and readership.
Begley said there aren’t yet tools available to measure the value of social media and admits that is it is a challenge managing clients’ expectations when it comes to new media. “They don’t always understand the power it has,” she said.
Some clients also have the misperception that social media is the only channel that matters, adds Begley, pointing out that traditional mediums such as print, TV and radio are still among some of the strongest voices in the media landscape.
Across the board, the panel agreed that one of the biggest challenges in their business is communicating to clients what the return on investment (ROI) is on purchasing advertising space and being present on social media platforms.
Is a ‘like’ or a retweet more valuable than a page impression?
3. Journalism is not dead; it’s changing.
Hoyer said she was “sick” of hearing people speak about changes to the media industry in negative ways.
Media is exciting, she explained, because we are now working in an industry that is reacting to what our readers or consumers want.
“Media and journalism is not dead. It’s just the way we produce and consume it that has changed,” she said.
McCann agreed and noted that one of the biggest changes for publications nowadays was that they have to think carefully about what the value is for the reader – it’s not just about ticking boxes.
Editorial staff also have to be more accountable, in terms of keeping up with the latest technology and trends, added McCann.
For Vogue Australia, today’s editorial team works across the print magazine, its digital editions and the website. Journalists have become ‘multitaskers’ who know how to analyse data and produce content across a range of platforms.
Wilson said her role at Herald Sun has changed “dramatically”. Gone are the days where she could file copy purely for newspapers – now it’s all about creating stories for multiple platforms in what has become a continuous news cycle.
Although Wilson technically works part-time, she described her role as “a 24/7 job”. She’s tweeting, instagramming and checking international news feeds all before arriving at work on an average day.
But Wilson said she is excited “to be part of this new wave” even though she doesn’t know where it’s going to take her. “Having the dialogue with people that are interested in what you’re doing is fascinating,” she said.
Did you attend this Fashion Industry Forum? How have changes to the media industry impacted on the way you do journalism?