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Hypothetical: Fake News and Ethical War Reporting


It’s a quiet night in the newsroom. Then, a story breaks – and reports begin flooding in. Our panel has mere seconds to make a series of key, high stakes choices. What do they report? Where do they find sources? Should they be first with breaking news – or last with verified news?

In a fast-paced game of wit and grit, our gun reporters lay out their decision-making processes in a high stakes hypothetical. Who is endangered by reporting on conflict, and what is a journalist’s responsibility when police, politicians or the military ask them to hold off on stories?

Julian Burnside will take our expert panel through all the dilemmas of breaking news on war – where ethical complexities must become microsecond decisions.

Chaired by Julian Burnside, with Jim Middleton and Gael Jennings.


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


Julian Burnside

Julian Burnside is a Melbourne barrister. He joined the Bar in 1976 and took silk in 1989. He specialises in commercial litigation, and has acted in many very contentious cases – the MUA Waterfront dispute; the Cash-for-Comment enquiry; cases for Alan Bond and Rose Porteous – but has be... Read more

Jim Middleton

Jim Middleton has been reporting national and international affairs since 1970, first for the ABC and now as a correspondent for Sky News. For two decades, he was ABC Political Editor in Canberra – covering Prime Ministers Hawke, Keating and Howard. He was ABC North America correspondent in New Yo... Read more

Gael Jennings

Gael Jennings is an award-winning national TV and radio broadcaster with 25 years’ experience as presenter, reporter and TV executive. She was the ABC’s first national science and medical reporter for TV News, and for the 7.30 Report, presenter of 7.30 Report, reporter of ABC TV’s Quantum and ... Read more


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The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the traditional owners of the land on which we work. We pay our respects to the people of the Kulin Nation and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, past and present.