In a contemporary society so deeply imbued in materialism, we cannot help but question the core values driving journalism.\u00a0Has journalistic writing, or in fact any writing, become merely a commercial pursuit? Will writers go to any extent to attain a good\u00a0story? Do we now live in world of corruption where the truth is distorted for profit and humanity is lost to greed? In the majestic\u00a0City Recital Hall,\u00a0three international journalists\u00a0spoke to\u00a0ABC's Mark Colvin about the value of good journalism, about the challenges posed to this value, and about\u00a0the moral dilemmas that stem from having to choose between\u00a0exposing injustice and\u00a0acting within the constraints of the law.\r\n\r\nForeign correspondent \u00c5sne Seierstad retold her investigations into Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, shedding deep insight into the psychology\u00a0behind his actions and bringing to the fore\u00a0a profoundly emotional\u00a0side of\u00a0journalism.\r\n\r\nWriter \u00c5sne Seierstad... Image Credit: REX for The Guardian.\r\n\r\nChristina Lamb, an award-winning journalist who has written the bestselling biography The Africa House, Waiting for Allah, The Sewing Circles of Herat and\u00a0Small Wars Permitting\u00a0retold her experiences as foreign correspondent in Afghanistan. She highlighted the dichotomy between the soldiers\u00a0act of fighting and great love for poetry.\r\n\r\nNick Davies, an investigative journalist for The\u00a0Guardian\u00a0who\u00a0has won British Press Awards for\u00a0Journalist of the Year, Reporter of the Year and Feature Writer of the Year\u00a0examined the motives and power interplay existing in the journalistic world.\r\n\r\nOscar Wilde once said, "A cynic is a [person] who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing." Nick brilliantly outlined the distinction between "price" and "value" in journalism: "price" is finding a story that sells; "value" is uncovering truth and injustice in that story. Yet Christina revealed the challenges riddled in the act of\u00a0fully elucidating the true value of journalism. For instance, do\u00a0you forego a 'valuable' story for the sake of operating lawfully? Christina gave an example of such a dilemma as she recounted her incapacity to\u00a0listen to and write about a poor Afghan\u00a0woman's story of oppression and injustice simply because it was illegal for her to pay the woman transport money and money for her time. Nick built upon this incident and asked the thought-provoking question, "When do you have a special right to break the law?"\r\n\r\nBoth Nick and \u00c5sne explored\u00a0the concept of power: the desire for power and the abuse of it. Journalists, Nick said, are driven by two motives. The conscious motive is to expose that abuse of power; the unconscious motive is to exude an inner demon. In this sense, writing is both a tool to combat evil and an instrument to express something deeply personal. In fact, as\u00a0\u00c5sne delved into the psychology behind\u00a0Norway\u2019s most infamous mass murderer Breivik, she brought out an intimate and strangely emotional side to the\u00a0cold and chilling incident\u00a0of Breivik's murder of 77 people, telling the audience how she made the shocking discovery that Breivik had actually lived on her street, that she at one point would have driven past him. It struck her that\u00a0a tragic news event so distant when viewed behind a television screen is actually very real and\u00a0of\u00a0much closer proximity than\u00a0one may initially expect.\r\n\r\n\u00c5sne talked about the attachment theory; what you often find in serious criminals is that they lacked\u00a0an adult attachment as a child\u00a0and therefore never had the chance to\u00a0build empathy, to understand trust and to experience belonging. Breivik,\u00a0\u00c5sne said,\u00a0wanted power in place of that empathy, trust and belonging, and thought\u00a0the only way he could attain such power was by "killing all those people". Indeed, as\u00a0\u00c5sne spoke and the entire hall listened in silence and directed to complete attention to the stage, it became obvious that this is what\u00a0makes a story so engaging and so revolutionary: it compels you to look and to not look away.