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Volume 12, Number 1, 2012

Abstracts

Online communities: A systematic review of factors contributing to sustainability

Carolina Ferreira Siqueira and Associate Prof. John Cokley

News publishers experimenting with paywalls and subscription business models are essentially seeking to set up their own online community of audience members. Online communities are also growing up around collectives of citizen journalists. Both of these phenomena make research into such communities potentially valuable. Online communities are being used to complement or replace face-to-face interactions, especially between widely distributed individuals. Organisations and individuals tend to have high expectations towards such computer-mediated communities, expecting low costs, increased interactivity and participation, open boundaries and in commercial models, the flow of revenues. However, the mere setting up of a platform to establish online interactivity is often not enough to promote the maintenance of virtual communities. This study explores the theoretical and practical factors that contribute to the sustainability of such communities. The combination of a systematic review and meta-analysis of relevant case studies carried out in online contexts provides qualitative insights to the multiple facets of this kind of interaction. The findings suggest that online communities are likely to lack theoretical foundations. Additionally, the results suggest that such communities end up being as hierarchical as classical communities can be, and that whatever benefits there might be in invisibility might be lost on members. Moreover, analysis suggests a discrepancy in the expectations members and organisations have about building identity in online communities. Although the former perceives the community as a pool of goodwill, the latter sees it as a website or a system. Organisations planning to establish online communities should dedicate considerable time to reflect on the motives for this pursuit, as the meaningfulness of such communities to their members is crucial to overall sustainability.

 

Why newspaper markets are growing in China and India, while they decline in the US and UK

Paolo Hooke

Newspapers are widely held to be in serious crisis. In the Western world, the rise of online news and new multiple sources of news and information have changed the economics of newspaper publishing. The crisis has been felt most painfully in the United States, where even as online audiences grow, print circulation continues to decline. In the United Kingdom, where newspapers are less dependent on advertising revenue than their trans-Atlantic counterparts, the effects have been less marked.

However the crisis of the newspaper is far from universal. In China and India, newspaper markets are growing strongly, fuelled by robust economic growth and demand from an emerging urban and literate middle class that is enjoying higher incomes and rising standards of living.

 

Rumblings in the UN: Domestic press coverage of US and Sri Lankan narratives of peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

Dr Kasun Ubayasiri

News media plays a crucial role in generating public discourse and interpreting ‘reality’, and within this context the role played by newspapers in interpreting and explaining complex political machinations cannot be overlooked. The process of packaging ‘reality’ for media consumption, invariably results in the framing of narratives that emphasise certain attributes of a media event over others. This paper analyses how US and Sri Lankan newspapers covered a number of complex political narratives, when reporting a US sponsored resolution in the United Nations Human Rights Council on alleged war crimes committed during the final stages of the Sri Lankan civil war. This paper looks at how the domestic press in the two countries favoured nationalist frames, emphasising the ‘home government’ in the best possible light.

 

 

Editor

Professor Alan Knight,
University of Technology, Sydney

Advisory Panel

Dr Judith Clarke, Baptist University, Hong Kong

Elliott S. Parker, Central Michigan University, USA

Dr Lee Richard Duffield, Queensland University of Technology

Jim Tully, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

Dr Kasun Ubayasiri, Griffith University, Brisbane

Philip Cass, Unitec, Auckland, New Zealand

Dr Stephen Stockwell, Griffith University, Gold Coast

Dr Steve Quinn, University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China

     

Ejournalist: refereed media journal. ISSN 1444-741X