Jonathan Homes. Image courtesy of Sam Mooy, The Australian.
Jonathan Homes. Image courtesy of Sam Mooy, The Australian.
3 May 2013

The evolution of Australia’s media watchdog program Media Watch will be the focus of the annual Henry Mayer Lecture at The University of Queensland on 16 May.

Presented by the UQ Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies and UQ School of Journalism and Communication, the free public lecture will feature long-standing ABC TV Media Watch presenter Jonathan Holmes.

UQ School of Journalism and Communications researcher and lecturer Dr Nicholas Carah said Mr Holmes would discuss how the Australian media landscape had evolved since he joined the program in 2008.

“The lecture covers a very interesting phase of rapid change for the Australian media landscape,” Dr Carah said.

“Emerging technology like social media is changing the way news is produced and consumed.

“We are able to access information from a variety of sources, and we are able to contribute to, circulate and scrutinise news more quickly.

“These changes alter the ‘authority’ and role of news in our public discussion,” he said.

Mr Holmes will focus on issues such as the current political climate, ethical and editorial standards, and ferocious media opposition to moves for tougher regulation on print and online media.

He will argue that social media has the potential to dilute the dominance of major news outlets in Australia, and that the digital revolution might provide solutions to the challenges of media regulation.

The lecture is the latest in a series of annual lectures commemorating Professor Henry Mayer, who founded the journal Media International Australia in 1976.

The journal is now one of Australia's premier academic journals dealing with media industries.

UQ’s Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies Director Gay Hawkins said last year Media Watch enjoyed its highest metro and national ratings figures for many years.

“The show’s longevity and increasing popularity are testament to the public’s interest in how news and current affairs are being presented to them,” she said.

“We are particularly interested in the impact this has on Australia’s cultural landscape and media policy.”

A question and answer session and networking opportunity mediated by Dr Carah will follow the lecture.

An audio recording will be available on the Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies website or iTunesU.

Event details:

What: Public lecture: ‘Quis Custodiet…? Reflections of a Media Watcher’

When: Thursday 16 May, 5:30pm-6:30pm

Where: Auditorium, Sir Llew Edwards Building (Bldg #14), UQ St Lucia Campus

Admission: Free

RSVP by Monday 13 May to Rebecca Ralph,, (07) 3346 7407.

Media: Lisa Summer-Hayes, (07) 3365 2632 or


After graduating from the University of Cambridge in 1969, Jonathan Holmes was awarded a general traineeship at the BBC. He has worked as a television current affairs producer, reporter, editor and presenter ever since, in the UK, the USA and Australia. During the 1970s Jonathan worked as a producer at BBC TV’s Current Affairs Group, culminating in five years on the weekly program Panorama. In 1982 he was invited by the ABC to become executive producer of 4 Corners, a job he did for three years.

He left to help produce a 13-part documentary series on nuclear weapons, an Anglo-American co-production based in Boston USA. In 1987, he returned to Australia, and the ABC, to become the Corporation’s first head of television documentaries. At various times since then he has served as executive producer of the ABC’s Hindsight, Foreign Correspondent and 7.30 Report, and of Ten’s short-lived Public Eye. As a front-of-camera reporter he has worked extensively for Foreign Correspondent and 4 Corners and was for two years one of the ABC’s North American correspondents based in Washington. He became an Australian citizen in 1990.

Since February 2008 Jonathan has presented the influential weekly television program Media Watch.