Future Fridays


Future Fridays (and other days of the week, tbh) are the Walkley Foundation’s series of talks on what’s new in the industry, craft and technology of journalism. Join us and the smartest speakers from Australia and abroad. They’re the perfect way to wind down your working week with some professional inspiration and development — plus snacks and drinks!

2017 program

Make yourself useful, journos!

We hear this proposed panacea an awful lot: Journalists need to listen to the communities they cover. How do we do it for real? You may know Jeff Jarvis — a self-described “media pundit’s pundit” — for his constant stream of quotable tweets, but he’s also putting his curriculum where his mouth is. Jarvis has been teaching his uni students in New York to produce journalism that’s a service. He’s written about how this works: Find a community that’s self-defined (“not living under some fake, external label, such as ‘millennials’ or ‘Hispanics’”), get evidence of what they need, and only then decide how journalism can help. How can journalists across the globe, including those at legacy media, put these ideas into practice?

Pop-up workshop: Start a podcast.

June 26. Tickets for this free two-hour workshop were snapped up in two hours! Susan Davis (@bettersusan), a veteran US broadcaster and audio storytelling consultant, joined us with support from the US Consulate in Sydney. Here’s what she covered:
• Designing a podcast, including formats, timing and other decisions.
• How to make your podcast sound bomb — from eliciting better interviews to editing
• The art of the hustle and how to be your own producer: finding the right guests and communicating what you need, scheduling your time, etc.
• How to talk – voice coaching for podcasters.

Secure comms for journos, with CryptoAustralia

April 26. We’re bringing back last year’s workshop to help journalists — and we are referring to normal people, not tech wizards — learn how to communicate safely with potential sources online using Signal, OnionShare, Ricochet and other tools. If you’ve been meaning to learn this stuff, now’s your chance — we’ll make it super easy! Experts from CryptoAustralia include president Gabor Szathmari, a privacy advocate and information security consultant.

Instagram storytelling and digital photojournalism

March 28. Everyone has a camera — but only a few become Instagram stars. For our March Future Tuesday, we’ve invited two prolific, popular and very talented photographers — David Maurice Smith and Annette Widitz — whose adroit use of Instagram has garnered thousands of fans. They’ll talk about their approaches to shooting, writing, building a following and engaging with people, whether IRL or online. How can this app be a tool for storytellers and journalists? And if you want, you’ll have a chance to put their tips into practice with a mini-photo shoot and critique. Fairfax’s chief photo editor Mags King moderates.

Take to the skies! Getting started with drone journalism

Feb. 22. Channel Nine’s drone guru, Michael Sammut, will give us a crash course in drone journalism — when to use it (or not), flying tips, the legal guidelines, and of course the gear. Weather and official agencies permitting, he’ll run a show and tell in Redfern Park.

2016 program

How the Internet of Things will change the news business (Sydney)

Nov. 4. We can already ask our houses for the headlines, and soon we’ll charge our phones on our T-shirts. Our public infrastructure is all being relabeled “smart” and is collecting and sending data about its experience to computers and people for analysis. Everything will be wired. What will we do with all the data? This is the Internet of Things, and it is already transforming how we live — including how we cover, produce and consume the news. Ex-News Corp exec Stuart Waite gives us the skinny on the landscape of IoT, where he’s a startup advisor and investor. He’ll be in conversation with Michael Janda, senior digital business reporter at the ABC and a Walkley Trustee.

Web scraping for non-coders (Brisbane)

Oct. 21. Data journalism is all the rage right now. But we believe using data is just part of being a good journalist. If you want to start adding some “data-” to your journalist, web scraping is an easy and useful first step to take. It’s a way to extract information from a website — say, sports scores, or complaints to police — and stick it in a spreadsheet where you can analyse it. This Walkley workshop, led by ABC data journalist Simon Elvery, will teach you how to do simple scraping without programming.

Hands-on virtual reality for journalists (Perth)

Sept. 28. This time we’ve got a practical session with Alan Bacchelli of the VR firm Pixelcase — they’ve been making VR since 1998 and worked with ABC earlier this year on its first VR documentary experiment, Warwick Gold — Australian Rodeo. Alan will bring a couple of cameras and give you practical tips on how to shoot VR, create settings, and edit. You’ll get Cardboards (thanks, Google!) and experience some VR, and get inspired to dive into a medium that is fast becoming accessible to newsroom budgets.

Secure communications for journalists (Sydney)

July 1. Sources are at the heart of journalism. But protecting them has become increasingly complex and technical — and can be daunting. We aim to make it easier. In this friendly hands-on session, Gabor Szathmari, the organiser of CryptoParty Sydney meetups and an information security expert, will talk about threat modelling for journalists, cover what to tell potential sources, and lay out what steps are needed to secure communications for whistleblowers, from first contact to secure document transfers. He’ll walk you through a few of the basics that go a long way to protecting information, like: setting up your phone so texts don’t show on the lock screen, using two-factor authentication, installing useful browser plugins, encrypting your files, encrypting chat sessions via Signal or WhatsApp, using a password wallet, and protecting metadata — as time allows. Gabor will field your questions about the baffling array of privacy software. And we’ll provide lots of resources for next steps. You can’t install everything in one go, so a goal of this training is to help you figure out what to do next.

How to start a podcast — and monetise it (Sydney)

May 27. The podcast revolution is coming to Australia, and William Verity is on it. After 20 years as a broadcaster making radio documentaries for ABC, he and Nick Rheinberger recently started a podcast called The Male Room, introducing listeners to men who are pushing the boundaries of modern masculinity. Their first four episodes aired on ABC and got them $8,000 … so, now what? Verity will share The Male Room’s origin story-in-progress, talking candidly about how he’s adapted to this new field. He’ll have tips on gear, storytelling, finding an audience, distribution strategy and making money. Highly recommended for journalists with podcast dreams and audio enthusiasts who want a glimpse behind the scenes.

What happened in 2015

Online portfolio: Get up and running in 90 minutes

October. In a practical twist on our Future Friday talks series, this workshop introduced several different options for online portfolios – and discuss how to put your best stories forward. The workshop was presented by freelance journalist Fran Molloy (who shares the role of freelance managing editor of one of Contently’s Australian accounts) and covered a few different tools, including LinkedIn, the Contently portfolio tool and About Me. Listen to the podcast from this event here.

Please like me: Sharing & social media’s impact on news

September. With the release of their new book, All Your Friends Like This, Hal Crawford, Andrew Hunter and Dom Filipovic will discuss the great power shift from traditional media to social networks that’s happening right now. Social networks don’t do news the old-fashioned way. Because we share stories that make us look good, inspire us and fire us up, the tone and flavour of the news-making process is irrevocably altered. What does this mean for journalism? For journalists? The audience? Are we better off or worse off because of it? Read: our Q&A with Andrew Hunter on the Walkley Blog.

The New Yorker edition

August. An unmissable discussion between two Australian women at the height of magazine journalism. Amelia Lester joins us from New York, where she heads up The New Yorker’s online presence. Marina Go is a member of the Walkley Advisory Board and has helmed some of Australia’s favourite magazines. Join us for a thought-provoking conversation about magazines, their personalities, why we love them and where they’re headed. The New Yorker is one of the world’s most iconic and beloved mastheads. With its successful forays into the world of Instagram, Snapchat, podcasts and events, what insights can we draw about the digital future of magazines?

Everyone’s got a story to tell: Up close and incredibly personal with Noah Rosenberg

August. We present a special discussion with international guest Noah Rosenberg (US). Since its launch in late 2012, online publication Narratively has consistently bucked major media trends by looking beyond the news cycle and the constant click-bait, and emphasizing quality over quantity. The award-winning site explores one weekly theme and publishes one story a day—in longform writing, video, audio, animation, photo essays and comics—so that every story, and storyteller, has maximum impact. What can this Brooklyn-based startup teach us about turning a mere idea into reality, and finding new models for sustainable storytelling along the way?

Digital love: Sharing, trending & storytelling for the modern journalist

July. We explored the complexities of reporting in the new media landscape. How has the quest for virality changed journalism and the way we report? How are powerful analytics and social engagement now helping to drive the editorial agenda – and how can these tools make for better storytelling? How can you strike the right balance between important news and stories that will bring in the readers? Our savvy speakers from two of the newest media players in Australia – Mashable and Huffington Post – share their tips to help writers and journalists make their work more effective and efficient. With  Jenni Ryall (Mashable) and Chris Paine (Huffington Post).

Innovation in community storytelling (Adelaide)

May. We presented a one hour discussion exploring a range of innovation happening in South Australian journalism. The common thread? Telling stories that serve communities. From reinventing the model for community television, to filmmaking and creating links between journalists and scientists, multimedia, social media and citizen journalism… Who knew there was so much media innovation happening in your backyard? Featuring Amber Cordeaux, Dr Joe Milton, Louise Pascale and Katrina McLachlan. Read a follow-up interview withAmber Cordeaux on the Walkley blog here.

Future Tuesday: Kara Oehler – Journalism meets tech

April. We presented a special discussion with international guest Kara Oehler. In one of her few public appearances in Australia, Kara shared her journey from radio journalism to storytelling with increasingly interactive formats. She reflected on the industry trends and innovations that shaped this development – from collaborative documentary making to co-founding the multimedia platform Zeega. What are the implications for reporting and storytelling in a world where we’re increasingly expected to communicate visually – and what role will GIFs play in the journalism of tomorrow?

Sidestepping surveillance: Secure communications for journalists

A practical discussion exploring the high tech and lo-fi techniques journalists can adopt to protect their communications, their sources – and themselves. Whether it’s as simple as leaving your phone at home while meeting a source, or as cutting edge as encryption tools, hear from the Aussie journalists keeping a very close on this space and leave with a clear understanding of your rights and risks under the current legislation. With Paul Farrell, Josh Taylor and Luke Bacon

Innovate the story & Walkley Innovation Grants long list announcement

March 2015.

Where is journalism heading? (Perth)

Listen to the podcast from this event here.


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Artwork by Andrew Frazer