Big Noises: Shirish Kulkarni on why there are no quick fixes in media

Host: Peter Houston
June 26, 2023

On this week’s episode of Big Noises from Media Voices we hear from media analyst Shirish Kulkarni. He takes us through news innovation and inclusion projects, from journalism AI to community journalism, focusing really on how these can be used together to serve people who currently don’t see any value in journalism. He explains why news avoidance is a rational response to the current news ecosystem, and how news outlets that say ‘we need people to trust us tomorrow’ need to have a good long look at themselves.

Kulkarni argues that DE&I cannot be fixed quickly, that there is a failure of management to address the issues substantively, and that media organisations’ resistance to change is ultimately holding them back.

Some highlights from the interview:

On why short-termism is so endemic throughout the industry:

“There are all kind of irrational choices that the industry is making. Because there are easy wins to be made, but there’s a kind of inertia, stasis, a kind of central conservatism, to the industry. And I think in a way that’s a hangover of the golden age of newspapers when the business model did work, and you could just go and play golf on a Friday afternoon, and nothing bad happened.

“We just thought public interest journalism was enough to get people to engage with us. I think we thought that would carry on working forever. And now we don’t know what to do.

“It’s a panic now, and no one knows what to do. We jump at the next big thing. And for a while, the next big thing was Facebook. And we jumped at that. But there’s not really ever that strategic vision of what are we trying to do? How do we get there?

“I suppose that’s the thing that I think we should be thinking about more; what’s the long term view rather than the short term view.”

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