Junkee is somewhat novel merger of liberal politics and appealing to a youth audience, while embracing the corporations that want to tap into that market. And its first major conference (or "unconference") contained that same blend of starry-eyed optimism propped up by plenty of corporate dollars.
Outside of a few sessions set by organisers or sponsors, it was up to the 200 or so delegates to decide what topics they wanted to talk about in a jam-packed Monday in Canberra's swanky QT hotel.
Junkee bills itself as a pop culture website that doesn't jump on bandwagons, publish linkbait, or "bitch for the sake of it". The site often goes after its rivals for not upholding journalistic standards (see this recent criticism of BuzzFeed’s Snapchat story with the Howard-era hardliner Philip Ruddock). But to pay for that, the company embraces numerous corporate partnerships and the growing trend of "partner content", such as this recent piece on travelling in partnership with Student Flights and Busabout, or this piece about visiting Canberra in association with Junket partner Visit Canberra. The Junkee Media travel website, AWOL, is funded almost entirely through a partnership with Australia's largest airline, Qantas. The church and state rule still exists, but the line between original journalism and branded content is definitely blurred.