Will Australia’s new law change workers’ media habits?

There’s a world of information beyond Google and Facebook

Will Australia’s new law change workers’ media habits?

Australia has passed the world’s first ever law requiring tech platforms Google and Facebook to pay digital publishers for content appearing in search results and news feeds – a move that is expected to change how Australians, particularly professionals, consume digital content. Under the News Media Bargaining Code, tech giants, which are believed to have a monopoly over the volume of traffic coming into smaller publications, will need to strike a licensing agreement with publishers before the platforms can feature stories online.

“This legislation will help level the playing field and see Australian news media businesses paid for generating original content,” said Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

Read more: Can you fire someone for a social media post?

Local news matters

While negotiations are yet to take place between content producers and the tech firms, upcoming changes to online news sources would likely put a dent on the consumption patterns of Australians; among them, employees and managers who turn to online platforms for breaking news. In fact, when it comes to local events, such as the bushfires of early 2020, 41% were keeping track of developments with the help of local news websites, according to a study from the University of Canberra. A fraction also relied on social media.

“We found that almost a quarter of news consumers were turning to alternative sources such as local social media groups for news about their community. This suggests that traditional news media are not fully meeting consumers’ demands for local news. This was particularly the case for younger generations,” the report said.

Overall, news consumption has spiked in these tumultuous times. “During the bushfires, Australians were already consuming more news. The percentage of heavy news users had risen to 56% (+4). This increased further during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic to 70%,” the report said.

Read more: How recruiters check for red flags on social media

Beyond Google and Facebook

Even before there was pushback against Australia’s news media legislation, some workplaces had already sought out alternative forums to share news with other employees. Case in point: Fox Sports Australia, which uses Slack for quality media posts.

“Each day, our digital team’s Slack channel is peppered with links to articles and videos showcasing fresh tech, great content executions and crazy innovations,” Kate Gooden, a former product manager at Fox Sports, shared on LinkedIn back in 2018. Gooden’s team would share five digital nuggets with the entire Fox Sports Australia business – broadcast, HR, production.

“We try to keep the examples relevant to our business, tying each story into something we do, have done, or are planning to do,” Gooden said. “The results have been fantastic. We've not only kicked off conversations with other departments looking at how we can harness some of this fresh tech and unique content executions in our own business, but we've also had teams jumping in keen to contribute.”

Recent articles & video

From the battlefield to the boardroom: How great leaders are made under pressure

CFMEU ordered to pay more than $1million in fines

Is it possible to separate work and personal life?

Merivale CHRO reflects on monumental year for Australia’s hospo industry

Most Read Articles

CFMEU ordered to pay more than $1million in fines

Unemployment figures drop again as Australia's economy recovery continues

Future Super introduces menstrual and menopause leave