Source: The Conversation (Au and NZ) – By Andrew Dodd, Director of the Centre for Advancing Journalism, University of Melbourne

You don’t need to be a journalist or a news junkie to be affected by the media. Its enormous influence in shaping our culture, politics and society means we all have a stake in how it functions, who it serves and the way it’s changing.

That’s why, today, we’re launching the first episode of Media Files, a new podcast featuring leading journalism researchers and working journalists taking a critical look at where the media is getting it right – and where there might be cause for concern.

Today’s episode is all about the Nine Fairfax merger, the largest media amalgamation in Australia in 30 years. Eric Beecher of Private Media, Stephen Mayne of the Mayne Report and ABC finance presenter Alan Kohler join presenters Andrew Dodd and Andrea Carson to discuss the implications for diversity and quality journalism.

Is this merger a welcome development, potentially boosting the capacity of journalists at outlets like The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and the Financial Review to get on with the job of reporting news and revealing wrongdoing? Or is it a takeover that should ring alarm bells for anyone who cares about investigative journalism?

Media Files is produced by a team of journalists and academics who have spent decades working in and reporting on the media industry. They’re passionate about sharing their understanding of the media landscape, especially how media policy, commercial manoeuvres and digital disruption are affecting the kinds of media and journalism we consume. The media is evolving rapidly, as new platforms and trends come and go. As old media empires collapse, new ones are forming. But the need to protect diversity, public interest journalism and public broadcasting has, arguably, never been greater.

Media Files will be out every month, with occasional off-schedule episodes released when we’ve got fresh analysis we can’t wait to share with you. To make sure you don’t miss an episode, find us and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, in Pocket Casts or wherever you find your podcasts. And while you’re there, please rate and review us – it really helps others to find us.

Recorded at a public forum at the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Advancing Journalism. Producer: Andy Hazel. Research: Charlotte Grieve and Jo Chandler.

Additional audio

Theme music by Susie Wilkins.

– Media Files: What does the Nine Fairfax merger mean for diversity and quality journalism?
– http://theconversation.com/media-files-what-does-the-nine-fairfax-merger-mean-for-diversity-and-quality-journalism-102189

The Conversation is a media resource, a source of ideas, media-ready experts. Trusted content: Our authors are academics and researchers with deep expertise. Our editors are professional journalists so you can rely on high quality content that’s also easy to read. For more, see www.theconversation.com/au/