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Media Traditions

Edited by Denis Cryle and Alan Knight

Volume 1, Number 2, 2001


This issue is dedicated to Clem Lloyd, a keynote participant at the AMT 2001 conference.

Journalism academic and mentor to several generations of journalists, Professor Clement John Lloyd (AO PhD), passed away in Gympie on 31 December 2001, aged 62. Born in Wagga, 1939, Clem became well known across Australia as a Labor staffer, journalist, writer and educator. Clem was an active researcher, and his many research interests included journalistic method and the institutional history of Australian journalism.
Among other contributions to research and academic literature, Clem authored and co-authored more than 10 books and a vast range of chapters, articles and other scholarly publications.
In recognition of his contribution to society, Clem was appointed an officer in the Order of Australia (AO) in 1993 for to public policy, public administration, journalism and education. Beyond this, Clem is missed for his conviviality and warmth.
- JEA Update, Issue 4 Jan-Apr 2002

Papers

Newspaper Archiving in the UAE

By Phillip Cass

This paper is a preliminary survey of newspaper archives and holdings in the United Arab Emirates. In order to provide an indication of the extent of the holdings available to researchers it looks at commercial, government and university archives in the emirates of Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The paper also presents a brief explanation of the origins of the UAE press and compares the fate of those early newspapers with the effort being made to preserve the second generation of Emirati publications.

 

Computer-assisted reporting, Phillip Meyer and The Emperor's New Clothes

By Stephen Lamble

The conventional wisdom among many computer-assisted reporting (CAR) educators is that it is an area of journalism informed by the methodology of United States journalism professor Phillip Meyer and something he dubbed "precision journalism"
In a 1973 book Precision Journalism: A Reporters Introduction to Social Science Methods, Meyer explained that precision journalism was a quantitive approach which employed social science methods to gather statistics for news stories. As CAR emerged and developed in the United Sates during the 1990's respected researchers including Bruce Garrison, Brant Houston and Margaret DeFleur were generous in their praise of Meyer. Garrison, for example, credited Meyer with being the "father" of CAR. Houston described him as a "first generation CAR journalist" and an "inspiration". Margaret DeFleur built her PhD around Meyer's work. Little wonder then that Meyer is currently described on the National Institute of Computer-Assisted Reporting (NICAR) website as a guru. However, while examining methodological issues during my own PhD research into relationships between CAR, levels of Freedom of Information and legal constraints such as defamation laws in different nations, another picture emerged. It indicated that while some of Meyer's work with statistics was valuable, his methodology was confused. Some of the flaws are obvious, yet like the emperor's non-existent new clothes in the Hans Christian Anderson fable, they have been ignored.

 

Fair Go for Fair Reporting

By Stephen Stockwell and Paul Scott

This paper reviews recent literature on the relationship between the media, race and racism in Australia. It then establishes the case for a simple, comprehensive and accessible guide to fair and cross-cultural reporting firmly based in best media practise: accuracy, balance, ethical awareness and cultural competence. The argument is also made that to ensure wide use of such a guide by media workers, it is necessary to eschew language and attitudes that may be construed as politically correct. This paper was prepared while the authors were writing and producing The All Media Guide to Fair and Cross-Cultural Reporting (The Guide). Over 2,000 printed copies of The Guide have been distributed to media workers at commercial, public and community newsrooms, as well as to media educators and university libraries throughout Australia. It is available online at http://www.gu.edu.au/school/art/AMMSite

 

Who's been watching the watchers? ~ Australian Political Journalism

By Helen Ester

The first book about the Canberra Press Gallery was published in 1988 - eighty-seven years after the founding of the Commonwealth Parliament and, with it the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery. The late Clem Lloyd's Parliament and the Press &endash; The Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery maps the evolution of the Gallery, but is described by the author as not 'conceived as a sociological study of political journalists and their milieu' nor as an 'analysis of how a Press Gallery system works'. This paper examines the three books, which followed Lloyd's landmark work, and the context and direction of work in progress towards a contemporary analysis of Australian political reporting.

Cartoons for the Cause: Cartooning for Equality in Australia

By Marian Sawer

An important part of the history of cartooning is the way in which it has functioned as a political resource for social movements. Cartooning has served, in both Australia and the United Kingdom, as the major symbolic language of both those promoting and ridiculing women's rights. A striking instance of a century of anti-equality cartooning, dealt with in the first part of this paper, is the appearance and reappearance of 'the man in the apron'&emdash;the victim of women's political equality. In Australia, an interesting extension of this use of cartooning to promote the women's movement has occurred&emdash;cartooning has crossed over from being part of the repertoire of social movements to being part of the repertoire of government agencies charged with equity responsibilities. This paper examines work commissioned from Patrick Cook, Ron Tandberg, Jenny Coopes, and Gaynor Cardew over this period to promote equal opportunity.

 

Federation: The West Australian between Empire and Nation

By Dr. Beate Josephi

Media history's preferred trajectory is that of nation building. This is underlined by the theory put forward in the classic book on the newspapers' role in helping develop a national consciousness, Anderson's Imagined Communities. In Anderson's scenario, empire and nation are incompatible. Australia, however, was not a nation born out of conflict. Paul Kelly, in his recent history of Australia since Federation, suggests a "synthesis of indigenous nationalism and Empire loyalty". However, from 1901 to 1933 this "synthesis" of a loyalty to both the Empire and the Commonwealth of Australia cannot be confirmed for The West Australian. The editorials in The West Australian between 1900 and 1933 &endash; taking significant dates such as the Federation vote, August 1914, November 1918, the opening of Parliament House, Canberra in 1927 and the date of the W.A. secession referendum, April 1933 &endash; show that the paper was most reluctant to discursively construct a nation. It expressed much local and empire loyalty, but rarely provided nationhood with an emotional content.

 

Half a century of obscurity - THE AGE, 1908-1964

By Sybil Nolan

In the 19th century, David Syme achieved national fame as the owner and sometime editor of the Melbourne Age. One hundred years later, his great-grandson, Ranald Macdonald, made a name for himself as managing director of David Syme & Co Ltd. Between those stalwarts of The Age came two generations of Symes who are little known today. In keeping with the theme of this conference, Continuity and Change, this paper focuses on The Age in the half-century between David Syme's death and the appointment of Macdonald, on some members of the Syme family who ran the paper in the middle period, and on the paper's commercial difficulties in that time. It is based on research by the author Sybil Nolan for her MA thesis, Themes in the Editorial Identity of The Age Newspaper.

 

The changing role of Queensland newspapers in imagining recreation

By Dr Michael Meadows

The idea of climbing as a form of recreation in Australia emerged from its European predecessor, mountaineering, as settlers moved across the country and began to look beyond mere survival. This activity was reflected in the early Queensland press and quickly became a significant news topic. Debates over early ascents of Queensland's peaks raged in newspapers like the Queenslander and the Brisbane Courier. Coverage of climbing in SE Queensland reached a high point in the 1930s and essentially disappeared post-war. As a topic, it re-appeared in various niche publications, covered only in the mainstream media when sensationalism demanded. Drawing from new research into the Queensland press, this paper uses numerous examples of press reporting of climbing from 1886 to the new millennium to theorise the cultural role of the print media in 'imagining' climbing as a significant Queensland recreational activity.

 

Australian government broadcasting policy

By Phoebe Thornley

Whereas in the USA broadcasting was established as commercial enterprise and in the UK and New Zealand it was established as a government run essential service, in Australia, ever since its inception, broadcasting has been considered an essential service and a commercial enterprise which has come under the jurisdiction of the federal government. Australia was mostly too scattered for commercial enterprise to be a viable proposition, and yet people in these areas were demanding this new essential service, broadcasting.

 

From Life Lines to Life Stories

By Patricia Clarke

This is a personal story of where journalism can lead &endash; in this case to the writing of books. Pat Clarke was a journalist for many years, first with the Australian News and Information, the Commonwealth Government's overseas publicity organisation, in Melbourne and then in Canberra, then with the ABC in the press gallery in Canberra.

 

War and lasting change: The battle for survival on the provincial newspaper front

By Rod Kirkpatrick

The Second World War also had a big impact on the future of newspapers in Australia, accelerating the amalgamation of titles and the concentration of ownership (e.g. viz. Mayer, p.31). In addition, newsprint rationing, better newspaper design and the demand for war news combined to complete the transition of the front-page from advertising to news. What was the full impact on newspapers of this second world conflict? This case study sets out to explore the changes wrought in the Australian provincial daily press through a comparative study of the impact of World War II on three regional daily newspapers from different states. The author finds that the main effects on newspapers caused by World War II resulted from the rationing of newsprint. The newsprint restrictions led to reduced paging, with significantly less space for advertising and so reduced revenues. Another result was that the main news of the day shifted on to the front page and gained an unshakeable hold there.) Newswriting became more concise, and, more hurried, with accuracy suffering. Despite the thinner editions, the demand for war news led to significant increases in circulation. The economic pressures led to the closure of 64 provincial newspapers in five States during the first four years of the war.

 

New Journalism Post-war and Australia Media Traditions: A case study of Nation Review

By Denis Cryle

The point of departure for the argument of this article is a critical comparison of post-war American and Australian New Journalism. While the American phenomenon is well documented ( Wolfe 1973; Hellman 1981), there has been little real investigation of the New Journalism in post-war Australian media, to the point where one may be forgiven for questioning whether such a local phenomenon existed at all. Only Donald Horne, in Time of Hope (1980), makes any reference to its existence in Australia after 1965 and, even then, in a cursory manner. Consequently, there has been neither a sustained analysis of overseas influence nor of those local traditions which contributed to its emergence. Using a brief case study, this analysis calls into question both the assumptions of its local non-existence and of unmediated American influence on local journalists. Through a case study of the Sunday/Nation Review, it will be argued that Australian media traditions, most notably the iconoclasm of the Sydney Bulletin played a part in sustaining the irreverent satire of the Sunday Review (begun in October 1970) and its immediate successor, the Nation Review (renamed in July 1972 after merging with Nation). Rather than assuming that American forms of New Journalism were preponderant In Australia, might it not be viewed equally as 'home-grown' and generational rather than as merely an imitation of American trends? In this regard, David McKnight (1999) is one Australian media researcher who has discerned a local investigative tradition in the pages of the popular Smith's Weekly, a tradition which predates American post-war influence.

 

Transcripts

KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY PAUL KELLY

One of the big cunundrums of the moment is whether newspapers reflect their times or how much they can shape them. In this wide ranging address, the former Editor in Chief of the Australian considers links between good reporting and nation building. He reflects on the changes in the news industry since he joined it thirty years ago. The linked document is a draft transcript of his address made on 13.6.2001.

PANEL RESPONSE

This transcript records the respose of the Media Traditions Panel; Associate Professor Catherine Lumby, Courier Mail Literary Editor, Rosemary Sorenson, Ergon executive, Charles Ware and political commentator, Mungo Macallum. Topocs discussed include political reporting, the role of responsible newspapers and uses for the internet.

Editor

Professor Alan Knight, Central Queensland University

Advisory Panel

Dr Yoshiko Nakano, Hong Kong University

Elliott S. Parker, Central Michigan University, USA

Dr Philip Robertson, Central Queensland University

Jim Tully, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

Dr Stephen Stockwell, Griffith University

Philip Cass, Zayed University, United Arab Emirates

Dr Steve Quinn, Zayed University, United Arab Emirates

     

Ejournalist is published by ejournalism.au.com, Faculty of Informatics and Communication, Central Queensland University