Better understanding of media at the heart of inaugural Media Literacy Conference

Public interest journalism in Australia and the need for better media literacy will be the key themes of a national conference to be held in Hobart next month.

The national journalism and media literacy conference, Navigating the News, has released its full program, featuring leading national and international journalists and academics.

One of the keynote speakers, Dr Claire Wardle, an international expert on false news, will join a diversity of Australian media leaders to discuss the complex challenges confronting the news and information landscape.

Navigating the News, is a two-day event on Hobart’s waterfront on 10 – 11 September bringing together the best in Australian journalism and academia to discuss trust in journalism, how to collaborate to help better inform citizens and ways to boost media literacy responses. Science and health communications are also a focus of the event, which is being led by the ABC and the University of Tasmania.

Conference convenor, journalist and media academic, Dr Joce Nettlefold said the event had taken on even more relevance with the announcement of the Nine/Fairfax merger.

“The media sector around the world is in constant upheaval. As more Australians consume news online, and increasingly turn to social media for news, mistrust of those sources is intensifying,” says Nettlefold. 

Other speakers at the event will include ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie; Vice-Chancellor of the University of Tasmania Professor Rufus Black; Director ABC News, Analysis and Investigations Gaven Morris; UNESCO Chair of Journalism and Communication at the University of Queensland Professor Peter Greste; Chief Executive of The Australian Nicholas Gray; Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald Lisa Davies; and Editor and General Manager of Buzzfeed Australia, Simon Crerar.

Organisations involved in panel sessions will include Google, Facebook, the Walkley Foundation, the Museum of Australian Democracy, Vic Health, the Australian Academy of Science and the Foundation of Young Australians.    

Dr Wardle is Executive Director of First Draft, which is dedicated to finding solutions to the challenges associated with trust and truth in the digital age.  She is also a Research Fellow at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  

On day two focus will shift to media literacy, the needs of young Australians and challenges for educators. Keynote speaker is Australia’s National Children’s Commissioner, Megan Mitchell.

The conference is the flagship event of the inaugural Media Literacy Week — an ABC initiative aimed at equipping Australians of all ages — particularly students — with the skills they need to understand and interpret news and information.

Most of the conference will be live streamed and available on-demand on ABC platforms, including iview, after the event.

For the event overview and conference registration go here.

The full conference’s full program is below


Day 1 – Changing News, Eroding Trust

Monday, 10 September 2018

Registrations Open: 8:30am
Conference: 9:30am – 5:00pm
Networking Drinks: 5:00pm – 7pm

Official welcome and launch of Insights paper

  • Professor Rufus Black, Vice-Chancellor, University of Tasmania

Panel Discussion: What is news? How do we define public interest journalism now? Where do we head next?

Moderated by Patricia Karvelas, ABC Radio National


  • Gaven Morris, Director of ABC News
  • Lisa Davies, Editor, Sydney Morning Herald, Fairfax Media Limited
  • Simon Crerar, Editor and General Manager, Buzzfeed Australia
  • Louise Graham, Chief Executive Officer, Walkley Foundation
  • Nicholas Gray, Chief Executive Officer, The Australian, News Corporation Australia

Introduction to Keynote Presentation

  • Michelle Guthrie, Managing Director, Australian Broadcasting Corporation  

Keynote Presentation: Making sense of ‘Information disorder’

  • Dr Claire Wardle, Leading strategy and research for First Draft, Harvey Kennedy School

Preface to Panel Discussion: Ensure false news and extremism don’t distort debate

  • Rafael Epstein, ABC Radio Melbourne

Panel Discussion: How do we build more trust in contemporary journalism?

Moderated by Geraldine Doogue, ABC Radio National


  • Professor Peter Greste., UNESCO Chair of Journalism and Communication, University of Queensland
  • Fact Check – Russell Skelton, ABC News and Gordon Farrer, Lecturer in Journalism, RMIT University
  • Google News – Newly appointed News Lab lead for Australia
  • Andrew Hunter – News Partnership Lead, Facebook Australia and New Zealand
  • Dr Kathleen Williams, Head Journalism, Media and Communication, University of Tasmania


Panel Discussion: Science and Health Literacy: Communicating certainty in uncertain times

Moderated by Jonathon Webb, Editor, ABC Science

  • Jerril Rechter, Chief Executive Officer, Vic Health and World Health Organisation Health Adviser
  • Adam Morton, freelance journalist (The Guardian)
  • Norman Swan, ABC Health Reporter
  • Anna-Maria Arabia, Chief Executive, Australian Academy of Science

Day 2 – Informing, Engaging and Equipping Citizens of the Future:

Tuesday, 11 September 2018   9:30am – 2:30pm

Keynote Presentation: The challenge ahead

  • Megan Mitchell, Children’s Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission


Presentation: Heywire: Having youth voices heard

  • Dan Hirst, Executive Producer, ABC Heywire

Panel Discussion: Media literacy and education

Moderated by Annabel Astbury, Head of ABC Education

  • Michael Evans, Museum of Australian Democracy
  • Professor Julian Sefton-Green, Professor of New Media Education, Deakin Research for Educational Impact
  • Professor Kate Darian- Smith, Pro Vice-Chancellor, College of Arts Law and Education, University of Tasmania
  • Associate Professor Michael Dezuanni,Digital Media Research Centre, QUT

INTERACTIVE Q+A:Q&A involving local secondary and college students: What do we need to navigate the future?

Moderated by Amelia Mosely, ABC Behind the News and Stephen Stockwell, Hack triple j

  • Shona Robertson, Foundation of Young Australians
  • Adam Mostogl, Iluminate Education
  • Talitha Davidass, Heywire Trailblazer

Tags: | |