Volume 11, Number 2, 2011
The idea that print journalism is creative is one that is not universally accepted: ‘making a story up’ goes against the fundamental understandings of journalism. Further to this, society’s understanding of creativity is that a producer must have no limitations to be able to create and the rules and conventions a journalist works within are seen to constrain their production of creative media texts.
Dr Janine Little
Brisbane’s Courier-Mail newspaper ran a fantastic story a couple of years ago about a couple left at sea behind by their tour boat, after going scuba diving. The story suggested American diver Allyson Dalton and her British partner Richard Neely ignored advice when they ventured away from a lagoon where the tour boat was anchored. But the focus was on how Neely and Dalton survived by treading water for 19 hours at Paradise Reef, part of Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef, not so much (yet) on how fortunate they were not to be attacked by sharks. It would not be long, however, before that old journalistic maxim that implores practitioners to ‘question every assertion, doubt every claim’ shaped the reportage into an extended narrative about chequebook journalism, credibility, and culpability.
Dr Sue Joseph
Figures confirm that Australians avidly read their ‘creative non-fiction’. But most would be unable to name the genre – it is not as widely defined or discussed in Australia as it is in the USA and UK, where it is actively debated and anthologised.
Kesang Dema and Prof Alan Knight
Democracy and free speech is creating an active and mediasphere in tiny Bhutan, a country which uniquely places happiness before economic growth. As recently as 2002, Reporters Without Borders rated Bhutan 135 out of 139 in its Press Freedom Index. However since then, Bhutan has moved towards democracy with the first free polls conducted in 2008. Bhutan’s first constitution guaranteed freedom of speech and the right to information. It sparked new laws, aimed at protecting and regulating Bhutanese media.
This study used both content and frame analyses to test news-media representations of homelessness in The Courier-Mail newspaper for evidence of restricted journalism practice. Specifically, it sought signs of either direct manipulation of issue representation based on ideological grounds, and also evidence of news organisations prioritising low-cost news production over Public Sphere journalistic news values. The study found that news stories from the earlier parts of the longitudinal study showed stereotypical misrepresentations of homelessness for public deliberation which might be attributed to either, or both of the nominated restricting factors. However news stories from the latter part of the study saw a distinct change in the way the issue was represented, indicating a journalistic capacity to thoughtfully and sensitively represent a complex social issue to the public. Further study is recommended to ascertain how and why this change occurred, so that journalistic practice might be further improved.
Mike Tuckerman and Associate Prof Leo Bowman
This papers uses coverage of Asian football in the Australian mainstream media as a case study to examine the extent to which agenda setting through interaction between media sports departments and sports journalists potentially impedes the understanding of the game in a broader social and political context. It does so by situating media sports departments and sports journalists in the broader sports field and examines the extent to which the field has adapted its coverage to the particularities of emerging Australian engagement with football in Asia .
For the purposes of this article, the study employed a mixture of participant observation, literature review and informal workplace interviews with a variety of media practitioners. The two participant observation components were comprised of a ten-day working trip to the 2011 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar in January 2011 and a two-week internship at Fairfax Media publication Brisbane Times in March .
Tessa Alice Piper, Simon John Willcox, Catriona Bonfiglioli, Adrian Emilsen and Paul Martin
Research challenging assumptions about the value of bicycle helmets and the laws which make them mandatory recently triggered a media debate about bicycle helmet laws and prompted discussion as to the extent to which health behaviours should be legislated. This increased media coverage provided an opportunity to examine how the media frames this issue. A much greater variety of frames opposing helmet laws were identified compared with frames supporting them. The outbreak of debate in the media, and wide range of conflicting perspectives, reveal public uncertainty about the legislation, and reinforce the complexity of this issue for public health policy.
Associate Prof. Trevor Cullen
There is a growing interest in health stories. This is evident from both the increase of health publications and online research for health information. But how accurate and reliable are these stories. Two surveys in the United States that examined the state of online health reporting exposed the extent of spin, the lack of medical evidence and the narrow frame and context of many health stories. This last point, narrowcasting, is the main focus of this article and the research questions examine why this is so and how coverage could be widened. Using press coverage of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) as a case study, the author argues that health communication theories, and in particular, Social Change Communication (SCC), can help to widen the framing of HIV journalism and health journalism by reporting the social, economic, cultural, religious and political determinants of health. These links could be applied to coverage of other communicable and non-communicable diseases.
Dr Kasun Ubayasiri
Political interviews in the theatre of television, a form of turn-taking dialogue, is not simply an exchange of information in the form of utterances, but a theatrical process, where impressions are formed through not only what is said, but what is not said and how things are said.
The paper focuses on three instances where politicians in the contemporary Australian media landscape attempt to change the conversation trajectory, violating norms of turn-taking dialogue, which result in the theatrical elements taking precedence over the interview content. The examples focus on three distinct attempts to avoid answering a simple yet damaging political question, where in the absence of a meaningful dialogue, both the journalists and the politicians resort to projecting their respective messages through interview theatrics as opposed to content. The study argues that both journalist and politicians are aware of the audience, the ultimate arbitrators of the voracity of the information presented in the interview.
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