2018 Brian Johns Lecture with Morry Schwartz

April 5, 2018

Esteemed book and journal publisher Morry Schwartz AM (pictured) will deliver the 2018 Brian Johns Lecture at the State Library of NSW on 7 May.

Morry’s company, Schwartz Publishing, operates Black Inc. books and La Trobe University Press. It also publishes the journals Quarterly Essay and Australian Foreign Affairs. Its sister company, Schwartz Media, publishes The Monthly magazine and The Saturday Paper. He is Adjunct Professor of Journalism at RMIT.

Morry Schwartz will speak on ‘SLOW NEWS: Thinking in Public’.

He writes: “Fast news – day to day journalism, speeding on its never-ending treadmill, is in all sorts of trouble. Whilst information is becoming ubiquitous, the newspaper business is in trouble. Newsrooms are depleted, papers are closing down, fake news abounds, a torrent of unverified information assaults us on social media.

“In this context, ‘slow news’ takes on an important function: to assist the failing press, to slow down the news cycle and to make sense of key events and issues in depth. ‘Slow news’ does not refer to the speed or means of its delivery, rather the time given to formulate it. Like slow food, cooked slowly.

“Slow news explains, analyses, and offers background and considered opinion on events and movements. It informs the public in depth and gives it access to our best and brightest in the process of ‘Thinking in Public’.

“This carries the positive functions of the press: to shine a light onto the way we are governed, to consider the policies made on our behalf, to report on the doings of power and big business – to give maximum knowledge and understanding to the public, thereby giving them the tools to be effective, participating citizens. It could be argued that slow news is better at all this than fast news!

“Slow news has always been with us, carried by all forms of media: books, journals magazines, newspapers and all forms of electronic media. The talk will address the challenges that thinking in public faces today.”

Morry Schwartz

About the annual Brian Johns lecture

Brian Johns AO (who passed away on 1 January 2016) had a lifelong commitment to Australian literature, broadcasting, digital media and the visual arts. Amongst his many roles, he served as Publishing Director of Penguin Australia, Managing Director of the ABC, Chief Executive Officer of SBS, and Director of the Copyright Agency. When Mark Scott, then Managing Director of the ABC, offered to present a public lecture on ‘The Future of the Australian Story’ at Macquarie University’s Centre for Media History (CMH) in September 2015, the lecture was named in honour of Mr Johns. The Copyright Agency supports the free annual lecture with the CMH. Each lecture highlights an aspect of Mr Johns’ diverse publishing and media interests, and is presented by a prominent Australian from within the cultural industries.