Regular readers of Croakey are presumably interested in matters related to public health and healthy public debates.
I hope that you also are interested in the bigger picture of health, recognising that societal wellbeing is about far more than the quality or availability of health services.
In my view, a healthy society is one that is fair, inclusive, and cohesive. It also values and enables transparent, vigorous and informed public debate that engages citizens and holds the powerful to account. That’s the ideal, but it seems to me that Australia is quite a way from achieving it.
In this vein, I hope that at least some Croakey readers may be interested in participating in the NewNews 2010 conference, an initiative of the Public Interest Journalism Foundation (with which I am involved and which you can find out more about here) and the Melbourne Writers Festival.
The conference will be held in Melbourne on September 2 and 3.
I’m particularly looking forward to the session examining the opportunities of the new media age for public health.
Speakers include John Menadue, the founding chair of the Centre for Policy Development, University of Sydney public health researcher Becky Freeman (read more about Becky’s views on Twitter at the bottom of this post), and Nicholas Gruen, blogger, economist and chair of the Government 2.0 taskforce.
US health journalism academic Gary Schwitzer, whose HealthNewsReview blog is essential reading for those covering health and medical issues, will be making a virtual presentation. You can expect a searing analysis of how the media reports on health and medical news.
Sessions of note
Other sessions that may be of particular interest to Croakey readers include:
• Disrupting power networks
Hear how online innovators are establishing new marketplaces for ideas, public debate and freelance journalism, aiming to transfer power from big media to content makers and the people. Chair Margaret Simons (Swinburne University of Technology) with Michael Todd (Globizzle), Matthew Gordon (Our Say), Eyal Halamish (Our Say) and Bob Burton (formerly SourceWatch, author of Inside Spin).
• Telling Indigenous stories
Voices of Indigenous television, radio, and online media highlight the new opportunities in the digital age. Participating Chair Kerry Klimm (Kinnected) with Leigh Harris (Blackvine Media Group), Kerri-Lee Harding (Yalarry Indigma Media) and Rita Cattoni (Indigenous Community Television).
Would you like to present at the conference?
New News 2010 will include keynote discussions and panel sessions – both free and ticketed events – and will be open to professional journalists and the general public. It will also include an Expo space in which organisations and individuals using new media to advance journalism are welcome to exhibit their work. There will be a series of workshops aimed at teaching digital skills to industry practitioners and the general public.
There will also be “unconference sessions“. Those who would like to make a short presentation on issues relevant to the broader conference themes will be given the time and space to do this. Get there early on the day to list your unconference presentation.
My Crikey blogging colleague, Margaret Simons, who chairs the PIJ Foundation, says the conference aims to help build new, creative relationships between professional reporters, citizen journalists, newsmakers and audiences. “This conference will be about collaboration and creation, and about building new and creative relationships between newsmakers and audiences,” she says.
The conference is supported by the journalism program at Swinburne University, and the Victorian Department of Industry, Innovation and Regional Development. The Public Interest Journalism Foundation was established by Swinburne University of Technology last year to explore positive futures for journalism that matters.
• Becky Freeman last week gave a seminar at Sydney School of Public Health on how public health researchers and advocates can use Twitter to further public health advocacy, and engage the community and funders in their work. She described a multitude of ways that researchers and health services are using Twitter. It was her final point that really struck me as significant; she said that low and middle income countries are big Twitter users because of their access to mobile phones. “It’s not just for cool kids who are very wealthy,” she said.
Last Thursday, the MWF’s Steve Grimwade kindly took the PIJ Foundation’s board members on a tour of the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas, the venue for the NewsNews 2010 conference. It is a beautiful building. I hope to see you there.
This is a shot of the Centre’s staircase, lined with Florence Broadhurst wallpaper, reproduced from the Centre’s website.