Transitioning back to work post COVID restrictions – Interview with author and RUOK director Graeme Cowan

As many of us make the transition from COVID isolation back to our workplaces, what are we concerned about? Author and speaker, Graeme Cowan is a director of the mental health charity – the R.U.O.K? foundation. In a recent webinar survey, of over a hundred people, Graeme asked participants: What are you most concerned about in transitioning back to the office? The survey identified four main concerns – I asked Graeme what they are…

Why Zoom messes with your mind – Interview with Psychologist Dr Marny Lishman

For many of us, it seems we’ve spent the past couple of months inside a Zoom meeting. But why do we sometimes find video calls so difficult? And so exhausting? What is going on in our minds that makes them feel so unnatural and how can we make the most of this new Zoom life?

I spoke with Health & Community Psychologist, Dr Marny Lishman about how to deal with Zoom Fatigue… I began by asking her: “Are Zoom calls something we need to get used to?”

What does the future hold for music, artists and music consumers? – Interview with Demelza Leanard

Music plays an important role in keeping us entertained and occupied – especially when we are more confined to our homes than ever before.

The Australian music industry is increasingly using online technology to maintain connection with audiences – with innovative online festivals, music lessons and jam sessions.

And it seems there’s been noticeable shift from audio to music-video streaming, as consumers look to other ways of listening to music in self isolation…

As the world interacts with their favourite artists online, will these shifts be temporary and what will the future hold for music consumption and the industry moving forward?

I speak with Music and Pop Culture guru and Social Media Expert – Demelza Leanard from DLSocial.

I asked Demelza: How is our current self-isolation affecting the consumption of music – considering we’ve been hanging out at home a lot more over the last few months?

BuzzFeed News closes Australian doors amidst ongoing national newsroom decline – Interview with Dr Alexandra Wake

BuzzFeed – the popular global digital news and entertainment platform – has announced it will cease news operations in the UK and Australia – they say so they can focus more on US coverage. BuzzFeed Australia first launched in 2014 but will now cut back its Australian arm…

Program Manager in Journalism at RMIT University Alex Wake has been a journalist for 30 years – and an academic for 15 – In the Conversation this week she’s listed 9 reasons you should be worried about the closure of BuzzFeed News in Australia.

I asked her why has this happened?

BuzzFeed has announced it will cease news operations in Australia, shedding its local newsroom staff.

The popular online news and entertainment platform launched its Australian news operations in 2014 and says it will focus more on global content.

A Buzzfeed spokesperson said the decision was made for “economic and strategic reasons.”

It is understood that Buzzfeed will maintain some Australian staff – including entertainment and food writers – but the news division will be furloughed, costing five Australian editorial staff their jobs.

Dr Alexandra Wake, Program Manager of Journalism at RMIT says a major reason for the news shutdown is lack of advertising.

“It is very difficult to get people to pay for journalism generally,” she said. “Buzzfeed relied on advertising and published mostly onto social media platforms.”

“People aren’t advertising as much as they used to – and no longer can we rely on advertisers to fund journalism,” says Dr Wake.

A decision by Facebook has also affected Buzzfeed’s advertising revenue.

“Facebook recently changed its focus to more family and friends posts over news – and this affected Buzzfeed news revenue,” she said.

Wake suggests the decline in popularity may also be due in part to a “disconnect” – triggered by the placement of authentic news alongside Buzzfeed’s brand of humourous listicle-style content.

Whilst Buzzfeed is infamous for its traffic-grabbing 10-reasons-why-articles (or listicles), their journalism has received Pulitzer Prizes and Walkley nominations.

Despite this journalistic prestige, BuzzFeed was ranked least trusted news brand in 2019 – according to University of Canberra’s Digital News Report.

Wake says that Buzzfeed is well known for its “interesting, quirky, not-always-accurate, viral content… yet, through their news division, were doing some “really great pieces of journalism.”

She describes this as a disconnect: “What do we do with that? As a consumer of news, do you trust it? Do you not trust it? Are you supporting cat videos or are you supporting strong investigative journalism?”

She says this confusion may have eventually driven users from the site losing potential advertising customers.

The end of Buzzfeed’s Australian newsroom is indicative of news closures across the country.

The Australian Newsroom Mapping Project documents 157 shutdowns since January 2019 and Network Ten announced it will close its online news site 10Daily – leaving 30 staff unemployed.

This follows AAP’s closure in March causing another potential 180 journalism job losses.

Pet cats kill 390 million animals per year in Australia – Interview with Jaana Dielenberg

I spoke to Jaana Dielenberg – Science Communication Manager, The University of Queensland (National Environmental Science Program)

“Collectively, roaming pet cats kill 390 million animals per year in Australia… On average, each roaming pet cat kills 186 reptiles, birds and mammals per year, most of them native to Australia. Collectively, that’s 4,440 to 8,100 animals per square kilometre per year for the area inhabited by pet cats…”

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