The New Hunter S. Thompson?

Jake Cupitt, Aspiring Writer

From Mittagong in New South Wales to the University of Wollongong.

Most first-year students are overwhelmed by the whole concept of university but for others, they thrive on the culture and the challenges that come along with it. Jake Cupitt is one that thrives, one that takes risks and embraces every new challenge that awaits him. Of course, university life is not all about overcoming challenges, it’s about discovering your passion and thriving in an environment that welcomes the enthusiastic, determined personality.

Jake’s main passion is writing. To be able to pursue a degree in Journalism is a dream come true – well so far anyway – as Jake can articulate with the liberty that accompanies university life. Short-term ambitions to write for the Tertangala and to establish a solid platform from which to prosper academically and culturally, Jake hopes these will be the stepping stones to a bright future.

Inspired by Hunter S Thompson who wrote for the Rolling Stone magazine, Jake hopes to follow in his footsteps and continue the gonzo journalism embraced by Thompson. Jake’s other passion, however, lies in music – a theme embedded in the Rolling Stone magazine.

‘To find the right band members is hard, but not everybody can pick up a guitar and be naturally talented at it’

No, no they can’t. But one thing Jake is rather modest about and does not allude to is his work ethic and determination. These characteristics are ingrained in his personality and only good results can materialise. So while most of us can’t turn into Jimi Hendrix overnight, what we can do is work for our goals and work to succeed. Jake’s motivation and passion for writing and impetus moving into the future will only send him down the right path to achieving his ambitions and realising his goals.


News Stories vs. The Truth

Journalism is meant to be inseparable from the truth, or so most thought. The first section entitled ‘Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth’  goes against the previous aggregated post – about sensationalism and exaggerating conspiracies rather than fact. In complete contrast to the truth, the inaccuracy plaguing news stories is evident and has been thoroughly explored over time.

According to Jonathan Stray’s article, the last significant experiment undertaken by academics reported that accuracy errors were found ‘in 59% of 4,8000 stories across 14 metro newspapers.’ Furthermore, the news accuracy survey by Scott Maier – alluded to in the report – sheds more light on the increasing levels of inaccuracy in news stories during the 20th century until today, ‘More than 60% of local news and news feature stories in a cross-section of American daily newspapers were found in error by news sources.’

Once again reverting to the ‘Current Problems in the Media’ article, ‘according to an in-depth study by the American Society of Newspaper Editors in 1999, 23 percent of the public find factual errors in the news stories of their daily paper at least once a week while more than a third of the public – 35 percent – see spelling or grammar mistakes in their newspaper more than once a week.  The study also found that 73 percent of adults in America have become more skeptical about the accuracy of their news.’ The inaccuracy already discovered, however, may lead to even more suspicions being uncovered in the near future.

Various suspicions around the creation of quotes or sayings is elucidated in, ‘The Columbia Journalism Review and the nonprofit, nonpartisan research firm Public Agenda polled 125 senior journalists nationwide in 1999 on various questions.  When asked: “Have you ever seriously suspected a colleague of manufacturing a quote or an incident?” a disturbingly high 38 percent answered yes.’

The ambiguity, suspected false references and inaccuracies are certainly issues that journalism faces today.


Stray, J 2011, Measuring and improving accuracy in journalism, Jonathan Stray, viewed 1 June 2014,

Daily Source 2014, Current Problems in the Media, Daily Source, viewed 1st June 2014,


Sensationalism in the Media?

Sensationalism in news stories is a commonly discussed topic. From compelling reports on the missing flight MH370 to daily gossip on Justin Bieber, sensationalism seemingly haunts the journalism industry. Sensationalism is the, ‘tendency for the press to play up and dwell on stories that are sensational – murders, car crashes, kidnappings, sex scandals and the like’ (Daily Source). This intriguing report backed up by statistical evidence offers an invaluable insight into the ‘Current State of the Media’, as the report is titled.

According to the report, ‘In a study by the American Society of Newspaper Editors, eighty percent of the American public said they believe “journalists chase sensational stories because they think it will sell papers, not because they think it is important news. ”  Another 85 percent of the public believes that “newspapers frequently over-dramatize some news stories just to sell more papers.” Over 80 percent believe sensational stories receive lots of news coverage simply because they are exciting, not because they are important.’ It certainly seems that the more compelling the story, the more readable it becomes, whereas perhaps the more viable and credible stories are those backed up with substantial evidence and empirical research.

One debating website offers a different way to look at it: is sensationalism good or bad? Not whether it is morally correct or accords with the traditional definition of journalism, but does it add value and is it welcomed by the consumer. Five people responded, three of which disproved of sensationalism whereas the other two approved, ‘Exaggeration is what catches the eye, thereby spreading news more effectively.’ Of course, the contrasting viewpoint differed, ‘It is corruption in a way,’ to, ‘Media should always be objective about the way they show the news.’


Daily Source 2014, Current Problems in the Media, Daily Source, viewed 1st June 2014,

Debate, Is sensationalism in the media always a bad thing?,, viewed 1st June 2014,




The New Digital Age of Broadcasting

Since the rise of social and digital media, the way in which we consume our daily news is changing. Previously, the audience was merely a spectator, limited in a gatekeeping structure until recently, however, where the audience has cultivated a participatory culture dependent on digital media. New technologies such as the iPhone, Android and iPads are stepping stones from which users can consume news quicker and more efficiently and threaten the broadcast media environment – although some students at the University of Wollongong agreed, some could not imagine the journalism industry without broadcast media at the forefront of it.

One first-year student, Mia Pritchett, questions the ambiguity of online news stories and hints to the ‘direct’ version of the story being more reliable, ‘I do not think online journalism has the ability to  do this [overshadow broadcast media] as there is so much variety and opposing views on every fact and situation within online journalism…they [the public] tend to look toward more direct sources such as the news on the television, newspaper and radio.’ The accuracy and evidence in some online reports may well be questioned but is that the only reason why broadcast media will remain the primary source for news?

Another student, Cassie Beale, emphasised that the media giants in Australia are just too powerful to overshadow, ‘I mean, although online broadcasting is popular, the newspapers and television channels in Australia are monopolised by a few key figures who make millions of dollars from their broadcasting, especially channels like Fox Sports, dedicated specifically towards sports journalism.’ The enormity of some media corporations secures their present and future, and perhaps it remains that the most reliable and convenient form of journalism is through the television or newspaper.

Nevertheless, the relentless activity on Twitter does provide the audience with instantaneous news, suspicious or not, and some love to be constantly up-to-date in a busy working environment. University student Michelle Flavia Silaen enjoys following the news about two of her favorite football teams Chelsea and Manchester City via Twitter and contrary to Mia and Cassie’s opinion, Michelle believes that, ‘online journalism is becoming more and more relevant in today’s society as it is what the public uses daily.’ Whether the rise of digital journalism will eventually upset the established monological media paradigm is yet to be seen, but it certainly needs to be analysed, as the audience begins to embrace a culture using new technologies and social media to disseminate information quicker and easier than ever before.

One student at the University of Wollongong, Brian Wilcock, did not hold back when asked about the potential of digital media and whether it could change the media hierarchy, ‘Of course it has the potential and will overshadow traditional broadcast media. Print media are already suffering because they can’t adjust their business models as profoundly and swiftly as they need to. Newspapers are doomed, but magazines and journals might survive a niche, quality, expensive product. That is, so long as they market in such a way that consumers see value and want to buy them.’