The rich and famous, and those best known only by their bylines were at a gala celebration of the opening of the Judith Neilson Institute last Wednesday.
The event was the first to be held at JNI’s new headquarters in Chippendale, and was an opportunity to show the industry where some of the $100 million the White Rabbit gallery founder spent, has gone. Not least into impressive interiors and an imposing exterior.
Apart from local Land Council chair Yvonne Weldon – who delivered the Welcome to Country – speakers included JNI chairman Jim Spigelman, communications minister Paul Fletcher and investigative journalist Chris Masters.
During an evening in which there was plenty of rumour and speculation to share, executive director Mark Ryan brought guests back to the matter in hand, that “whatever other players may be doing on the media battlefield”, JNI would continue to foster first-rate journalists and the kind of journalism that seeks truth, informs debate, enlivens politics, exposes failure, binds communities, defends culture and enables social progress.
Presentations covered the Institute’s ambitions, and even included a print newspaper, The Changing Times with stories about JNI, its mission and the opinions of some of its international advisory council members.
“For all the talk about declining trust in media and the growing appeal of misinformation, one thing the COVID-19 pandemic has underlined is that the demand for quality journalism and information is as enduring as it is vital,” he said.
Recent activities have included a project last month on hyperlocal journalism with input from organisations and publishers around Australia and internationally, and some of these YouTube presentations are available online. Here’s Emma Meese and Rachel Howells from the event’s second day.