New News by the Centre for Advancing Journalism

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at The Wheeler Centre Workshop Space

Comment is Cheap: Paying Australian Writers

How much money are freelance writers being paid in Australia? Pay rates are a notoriously murky aspect of the media industry and can vary wildly from one publication to another. Widespread frustration at the lack of transparency has led to websites like, which crowdsource information on how much writers are really getting paid by media outlets.

What impact does this uncertainty have on writers themselves and what they’re writing about? We’ll ask Broadsheet’s editorial director, Tim Fisher; the MEAA Victorian regional director, Carolyn Dunbar; and freelance writers Margaret Simons and Ben Eltham how the industry could do better.


Portrait of Tim Fisher

Tim Fisher

Tim Fisher is the editorial director of Broadsheet Media.

In the past decade Tim has edited a range of websites and magazines for publishers including Architecture Media, News Corp and Morrison Media, where he became the longest-serving editor of Surfing Life magazine. He has worked in communications for non-profit organisations and taught online journalism at RMIT. His writing has appeared in the Age, Smith Journal, triple j Magazine and elsewhere, and he is a board member of the Emerging Writers’ Festival.

Portrait of Carolyn Dunbar

Carolyn Dunbar

Carolyn Dunbar is the regional director of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance in Victoria and Tasmania. Carolyn’s role as a union officer is to advocate on behalf of  journalists and media and communications workers in relation to industrial, employment and professional issues. Carolyn previously worked as an industrial officer with MEAA, and has worked for the Fair Work Commission.

Portrait of Margaret Simons

Margaret Simons

Margaret Simons is Associate Professor in the School of Media, Film and Journalism, Monash University. In 2015, she won the Walkley Award for Social Equity Journalism. Her recent books include Six Square Metres, Self-Made Man: The Kerry Stokes Story, What's Next in Journalism?, Journalism at the Crossroads and Malcolm Fraser: The Political Memoirs, co-written with former Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Fraser. The latter won both the Book of the Year and the Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction at the NSW Premier's Literary Awards 2011. 

In addition to her academic work, Margaret regularly writes for the Saturday Paper, the Age, the Sydney Morning HeraldGriffith Review, the Monthly and other publications.

Portrait of Ben Eltham

Ben Eltham

Ben Eltham studied neuroscience, philosophy and cultural studies before editing the University of Queensland's Semper Floreat in 2000. He has worked as a freelance journalist and essayist since 2001 for a range of national publications, including New Matilda, Crikey, Guardian Australia, the Courier-Mail, Overland and the Sydney Review of Books. Ben is New Matilda's National Affairs Correspondent and a Research Fellow at Deakin University's Faculty of Arts and Education.

New News by the Centre for Advancing Journalism

How do you pick true news from fake news? How would diversity in senior and junior positions change the news we report – and how we report it? And does state politics need to be theatrical to be interesting to journalists?

Hear from some of the brightest minds in the media at this three-day series of discussions and workshops on the present and future of journalism. Including Brett McLeod, Katharine Murphy, Emma Alberici, Julian Burnside and more.

New News is presented in partnership with the Centre for Advancing Journalism at the University of Melbourne, and Monash University.



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