Slow Multimedia Journalism

One of the main goals of this project is to co-create visual, poetic, and digital stories about ageing and aged care with the aim to capture a minimum of 100 aged care stories from across Australia which showcase diverse perspectives and experiences. As we learned from the media analyses phase of this project, in the high-pressure world of journalism, there is a tendency toward speed and competition which encourages journalists to fall back on well-worn themes and observations (Norman, 2017) or in this case to unknowingly reinforce ageist stereotypes. This project demonstrates an approach to storytelling which is more aligned with slow journalism, a news subculture borne out of frustration with mainstream media.

While there has always been an association of speed with journalism, this has been significantly compounded by digital and social media in a globalised world. There are a couple of issues with this trend. The first issue is that ‘fast’ media are “struggling to deal with complex issues” or do them justice (Norman, 2017). The second issue as described by Megan Le Masurier (2019), a media professor at the University of Sydney, is that of ‘informational abundance’, whereby “the effect of fast news is the overloaded, forgetful citizen, so caught up in instantaneity and the new that we become incapable of making meaning”. In other words “we consume so much we cannot remember.”

In this case, it becomes not so much about the act of telling and sharing stories, but how we do so, and the ways in which these stories can connect or stimulate a reaction, to invite conversation, or even encourage action. Taking a slow approach to telling the stories of aged care creates the space to pay close attention, be creative with our methods, check facts, adequately process information, and to seek out the untold stories (Norman, 2017). But more importantly, unlike traditional journalism which serves the business of the media through sensationalism and scoops, slow journalism serves the community and encourages its audience to respond and contribute to producing these stories as partners or co-producers (Norman, 2017).

In the first phase of this project, we spoke to a variety of different stakeholders from the aged care service sector including aged care service providers and advocacy services. We asked them “What impact do you think the Royal Commission into aged care had?” This is their response:

While we have started with advocacy services, aged care providers, journalists and lawyers. In the next phase of the project, the multimedia journalist approaches will be used to capture the stories of those most affected, including aged care workers, older people and their families.