- New Beats: Mass redundancies, career changes and the future of Australian journalism
- China: The Covid-19 Story: Unmasking China’s Global Strategy
- Ancient Flora Stories: The rich heritage of Yea's Flora Fossil Site
- IFJ Report - The China Story: Reshaping the World's Media
- The Civic Impact of Journalism
- Violence Against Women: a media intervention
- The Citizens’ Agenda
- Wakul App - Amplifying Indigenous Media
- Journalism in China
- Journalism Entrepreneurship in New Media
- Public attitudes towards asylum seekers and refugees
- Legal Constraints on the Reporting of Violence Against Women
- Journalism Ethics in the Digital Age
- Best Practice in Data Journalism
- AuSud media project
- Black Saturday: In the media spotlight
- Press photography in Australia
New Beats: Mass redundancies, career changes and the future of Australian journalism
This project investigated what happened to around 3,000 journalists who became redundant in Australia during or since 2012.
The project, which commenced in 2014, has been funded by the Australian Research Council through the ARC Linkage and ARC Discovery schemes and was conducted by a team of researchers from La Trobe University, Deakin University, the University of Melbourne, Swinburne University, the University of Sydney and the University of Amsterdam.
China: The Covid-19 Story: Unmasking China’s Global Strategy
Ancient Flora Stories: The rich heritage of Yea's Flora Fossil Site
An ordinary roadside cutting on Limestone Road, Yea, Victoria, marks a place that overturned long held scientific understanding of how and when plants evolved. The site is listed in the National Heritage List for its significant contribution to the world’s understanding of our ancient earth’s secrets and for its association with Dr Cookson, one of the most eminent palaeobotanists of the 20th century. This project tells its story.
IFJ Report - The China Story: Reshaping the World's Media
FJ Report - The China Story: Reshaping the World's Media
A global survey of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) measuring China’s global media outreach by surveying journalism unions worldwide, found clear indications of the wide-ranging impact of China’s moves to extend its influence through global journalism unions and individual journalists.
The Civic Impact of Journalism
This multi-faceted, interdisciplinary project is funded by industry and the Ian Potter Foundation. It aims to address one of the key challenges of our times.
Journalism faces an existential threat as a result of the digital revolution. In Australia, nearly 2000 jobs in journalism have been lost from traditional news media organisations as the advertising revenue that supports journalism flows away to online platforms.
At the same time, online news platforms have neither the resources nor expertise to take up the work that the traditional media are relied upon to do. What is at stake for democratic societies in this state of affairs?
An essential step in answering that question is to assess the impact of journalism on civic life. What is it that journalism brings to civic life? What is at risk?
The functions journalism is expected to perform in democratic societies have been established and recognised for at least 70 years:
- to keep the public up to date with what is going on in the world
- to provide the public with reliable information on which they may base choices as participants in political, economic and social life
- to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and opinions, to be a watchdog on those in power
- to help societies understand themselves
- to provide the material upon which members of a society can base a common conversation
These functions all contribute to the working of capitalist democracies.
It is one thing to list them, however, and another to test whether and how journalism discharges them. Only by doing that will it be possible to assess what really is at stake for society if journalism becomes attenuated.
Over the two years 2015-16, a team of researchers assembled under the aegis of the Centre for Advancing Journalism at the University of Melbourne, designed and carried out the research under a project called the Civic Impact of Journalism.
The multi-disciplinary team was led by Associate Professor Margaret Simons, Director of the Centre and a specialist in journalism and media. The others were Dr Denis Muller (political science, media and journalism), Dr Andrea Carson (political science and media), Emeritus Professor Rod Tiffen (media, government and politics), Professor Brian McNair (journalism, media and communications), Professor Helen Sullivan (political science and government, Ms Jennifer Martin (journalism) and Mr Doug Hendrie (political science).
The research was empirical, designed to find out what the real impact of journalism is. It was based on case studies, some of which were based on the functions of journalism mentioned earlier, and some based on how journalism worked in three diverse community settings.
The functions examined were: investigative, campaigning, and reportage of civic forums such as parliament and the courts:
- The investigative study tells how Joanne McCarthy of The Newcastle Morning Herald – and the newspaper itself – revealed the cover-up of child sexual abuse by the Catholic Church in the Hunter Valley. It shows the direct connection between that work and the establishment of the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse
- The campaigning case study tells of the War on 1034 road-safety campaign by the Melbourne Herald, which created the political climate in which the Victorian Government was able to implement a series of crucial law reforms, specifically the compulsory wearing of seat belts and the use of random breath tests to counter drink-driving
- The civic-forum reportage case study examines the decline in reportage of the County and Supreme Courts in Victoria and the effect on the workings of the courts, notably the increased use of suppression orders by judicial officers concerned that inexperienced court reporters will unwittingly publish prejudicial material. It also explores the consequences for the concept of open justice
The three place-based case studies were carried out in Moree, Byron Bay and Broadmeadows, each of which has a civic history or social characteristics that would enable the researchers see with reasonable clarity the role journalism plays in the civic life of those places.
These six case studies lead to some important conclusions about what journalism brings to civic society. They also identify emerging deficits that are likely to weaken Australian democracy if neglected.
A book resulting from this project is currently in preparation.
Other resulting publications are as follows:
- Latimore, J., Nolan, D. and Simons, M. (2016) “Reassembling the Indigenous Sphere,” in Australasian Journal of Information Systems
- Simons, M., Tiffen, R., Hendrie, D., Carson, A., Sullivan, H., Muller, D. and McNair, B. (2016) “Understanding the civic impact of journalism: A realistic evaluation perspective,” in Journalism Studies, pp. 1-15
- Carson, A., Muller, D., Martin, J., and Simons, M. (2016) “A new symbiosis? Opportunities and challenges to hyperlocal journalism in the digital age,” in Media International Australia
- Simons, M. and Buller, B. (2015) “Dead Trees and Live Links – what good are newspapers?” Australian and New Zealand Communications Association, Refereed Proceedings of 2015 Annual Conference
Violence Against Women: a media intervention
This project investigates how a neglected social issue - namely violence against women - suddenly became news and asks: what are the limitations of this new found visibility? In the process, the project also looks at how gender inequality in the newsroom impacts on news agendas.
Violence against women costs Australia $14.7 USD billion a year in harm and loss of opportunity for women, including the cost of intimate partner violence as the lead cause of preventable disease and premature death among women aged 15-44. Violence against women is a largely hidden problem, yet manifests in and forms part of the backdrop to most other more visible health issues. It is, one would think, the biggest crime story in Australia and one of our biggest social and economic stories. Yet until recently, violence against women was not reported prominently or consistently by mainstream media.
This is of concern, since media plays a key role in forming societal attitudes to gender and gender roles. At the same time, ethnographic accounts of the newsroom and surveys of female journalists have suggested that newsrooms are sexist workplaces. These gender issues appear to be reflected in news values and decisions, and are stubbornly resistant to change.
The rape and murder of 29 year old Jill Meagher on September 22, 2012 signalled a turning point in the media’s coverage of violence against women. Since then, the Herald Sun newspaper – Australia’s largest circulation daily – has taken a conscious leadership role in reporting on violence against women as shown by the successful ‘Take a Stand’ campaign which continues today.
We have interviewed editorial executives, senior and junior journalists from the Herald Sun, The Age, Mamamia, Channel 10s The Project and Channel Nine to find out how these changes in news priorities occurred. Our focus has included cursory reporting of violence against women as well as in-depth, consistent and contextual reporting of the issue. Alongside the interviews we are analysing print, online and broadcast content from the above mentioned outlets, spanning in time from September 2014 to late 2016.
In early 2016 we launched Uncovered, an online social media intervention aimed at journalists to help them source information about violence against women and further improve coverage of the issue. The impact of this intervention will be studied through more interviews and an analysis of media content post-intervention.
Finally, a series of focus groups with people from across Australia will be carried out in 2017. This qualitative component of the project will complement existing data from the National Community Attitudes towards Violence against Women Survey (NCAS) and in particular, further explore the impact of the media on community attitudes.
The project is already beginning to shed light on what forces, conversations, considerations and internal politics have been working together to shift newsroom agendas and news judgments. We will examine the limitations of this change in news agenda, reasons and implications.
- Dr Margaret Simons
- Professor Jenny Morgan
- Dr Denis Muller
- Professor Kelsey Hegarty
- Dr Kristin Diemer
- Associate Professor Michael Flood (University of Woolongong)
- Loni Cooper
- Jane Gilmore
- Annie Blatchford
The Citizens’ Agenda
Australian voters directly shape federal election debate.
Voters in 10 key federal electorates had a chance to directly influence debate and media coverage in 2013’s federal election, through a ground-breaking project run by the University of Melbourne and the social media group OurSay.
The Citizens’ Agenda project enabled voters to post questions on the OurSay website, and vote for the questions others contributed. The questions that attracted the most support were then put to the candidates at a series of public meetings in August and September 2013. University of Melbourne researchers used the project to test whether the use of social media to detect a ‘Citizens’ Agenda’ can improve civic engagement, and alter how journalists report politics.
The research team analysed the data from this exercise, including the numerous interviews with political candidates, journalists and citizens. Preliminary conclusions included that:
- The OurSay intervention engaged mainly those citizens already engaged in political activity, both online and offline. There was some evidence of its drawing in citizens for the first time, and of some cross-over between online and offline interactions (web based voting and town hall meetings), but the cross-over was limited
- Younger people were more likely to participate in the online activity than to attend the town hall meetings, though this did happen in some instances, for example, in the context of support for specific political parties (Greens and Sex Party)
- Conversely, older people were less likely to propose or vote for questions or otherwise participate in the online processes, but were more likely than younger people to turn up to the town hall meetings, having heard about them through other than online sources
The Citizens’ Agenda is believed to be the world’s first social media ‘intervention’ of its kind. The participating electorates were chosen because they broadly represent the diversity of Australia, including a mix of marginal seats and safe seats, urban, rural and regional, and a mix of incumbent political parties. They include Melbourne (Vic), Corangamite (Vic), Bradfield (NSW), Fowler (NSW), Longman (Queensland), Oxley (Queensland), Brand (WA), Grey (SA), Denison (Tasmania) and Fraser (ACT).
Major national survey
In May 2013, the research team released the results of a major national survey which gauged the public’s attitudes to political engagement, trust in government and media, and the current state of the political landscape. The independent national poll found Australian politicians have failed to engage or build a sense of trust with voters just months out from the federal election.
“The Survey commissioned by the Citizens’ Agenda project – found a clear majority of voters (58%) thought the quality of political leadership was now ‘noticeably worse’ than usual.”
The Director of the Centre for Advancing Journalism, Dr Margaret Simons, said the project empowered voters through social media to truly help shape political debate. “Voters in a democracy shouldn’t be passive. On the contrary, with powerful new tools of communication all around, we should be telling politicians what matters to us and forcing them to engage,” she said.
- Simons, M., Sullivan, H., Nolan, D. and Martin, A. (2013) “The Citizens’ Agenda,” in Simons, M. (ed.,). What’s Next in Journalism?: new-media entrepreneurs tell their stories. Melbourne/London: Scribe Publications
Wakul App - Amplifying Indigenous Media
Indigenous Australians are creating, accessing and distributing news content like never before. Indigenous and mainstream print and broadcast channels are being challenged and held to account by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders producing stories for their own people. Wakul App gathers the stories from traditional and new media Indigenous news sources and centralises them in one place, connecting diverse communities through the new technology they are using.
This innovative project, conducted in partnership with The Guardian in Australia and Indigenous X, arose out of The Civic Impact of Journalism Project and its key insight that new media is resulting in a growth in Indigenous media.
Wakul App is currently in prototype form. Its further development will form the basis of an ARC Linkage Grant application in 2017.
- Latimore, J., Nolan, D. and Simons, M. (2016) “Reassembling the Indigenous Sphere,” in Australasian Journal of Information Systems
Journalism in China
This ongoing research project involves interviewing journalists in China with a view to understanding how it is changing, and in particular how new and social media is impacting on government censorship and control. Researchers David Nolan, Margaret Simons and Scott Wright are visiting China regularly and interviewing a large number of journalists operating in different platform and geographical settings. This is edgy work, involving careful protection of the confidentiality of sources.
- Simons, M., Nolan, D. and Wright, S. (2016). “‘We are not North Korea’: propaganda and professionalism in the People’s Republic of China,” in Media, Culture & Society
Journalism Entrepreneurship in New Media
For the first time in human history, most people in developed countries are able to publish their news and thoughts to the world within a few minutes of deciding to do so. Meanwhile, the big industrial-scale media organisations are in decline, and at the same time there is a new blog, website, or social-media presence almost every hour.
This Centre takes a continuing interest in this emerging sector of news media, and has hosted a number of seminars and workshops for new media entrepreneurs. This resulted in the 2013 Book What’s Next in Journalism, co-published with Scribe. This is a collection of contributions by new-media entrepreneurs from a variety of backgrounds – journalism, IT innovation, social activism, and community work. They talk about connecting with their audiences, and what just might be a new kind of news ecosystem in which everyone gets to play.
- Simons, M. (ed) (2013) What’s Next in Journalism? Melbourne / London: Scribe Publications
Find out more about the book on the Scribe website.
Public attitudes towards asylum seekers and refugees
In collaboration with the Melbourne Social Equity Institute and the Melbourne Refugee Studies Program, The Centre for Advancing Journalism is researching the drivers of public attitudes towards asylum seekers.
We will conduct a range of focus groups designed to interrogate why people feel the way they do about refugees and asylum seekers. The result will be a research report breaking new ground on this issue, and designed to be useful to NGOs, policy makers and others.
Legal Constraints on the Reporting of Violence Against Women
Research shows that media reports of intimate partner homicides (IPHs) exclude information about the accused’s prior violence and the broader social context of violence against women (VAW). This is despite the reality that IPHs, more than any other crime, arise out of a history of prior violence and an environment where gender inequality is entrenched in social, cultural and organisational structures and practices (Our Watch, ANROWS, & VicHealth, 2015).
What has not been sufficiently recognised in these critiques however, is the impact of legal restrictions, which prohibit the publication of certain types of information, and the rules of evidence, which govern what raw material is available to a journalist.
The aim of this project is to provide empirical data showing how legal restrictions and the rules of evidence impact the media’s production of stories about IPH trials. This will go towards a better understanding of the processes that influence media coverage of IPHs, facilitating accurate, balanced and ethical journalism practice.
Journalism Ethics in the Digital Age
In Dr Denis Muller, the Centre for Advancing Journalism (CAJ) has one of Australia’s leading thinkers in journalism ethics. His recent book Journalism Ethics for the Digital Age canvasses the many issues in current day journalism practice. Journalism is being transformed by the digital revolution. Journalists working for media organisations are having to file and update stories across multiple platforms under increasing time pressures. Meanwhile, anyone with sufficient literacy skills and access to the internet can aspire to practise journalism, and many are doing so.
And yet journalism in any form still depends for its legitimacy on the observance of ethical principles and practices. For example, it has to maintain a commitment to telling the truth, and to minimise deception and betrayal; deal with conflicts of interest; protect sources and their confidences; know how to report on traumatised and vulnerable people; and know when to respect privacy.
Journalism Ethics for the Digital Age covers all these areas and more. It traces the ethics of journalism from their origins in philosophy to the new challenges brought about by digital technology, with practical examples to show how ethical values and principles can play out in the real world. An invaluable tool for ethical decision-making, this is a book for professional journalists and citizen journalists, for students in the disciplines of journalism, media, communications, and applied ethics, and for the engaged reader everywhere.
- Muller, D. (2014) Journalism Ethics for the Digital Age. Melbourne / London: Scribe Publications
Find out more about the book on the Scribe website.
Best Practice in Data Journalism
Good journalism relies on verified facts, and sustainable robust democracies need engaged, informed citizens. In this journalism is vital, yet is also profoundly challenged by the consequences of technological change. The communications technologies of our time, including pervasive information and access to Big Data, bring both opportunities and dilemmas.
As part of its continuing mission to make a positive contribution to journalism at a time of change, the Centre for Advancing Journalism is conducting a number of activities aimed at exploring the best practice in data journalism, and charting ways forward.
In September 2014 and June 2015 the Centre hosted a two day workshop, Best Practice in Data Journalism, bringing together a select group of invited data journalists and specialists in Big Data from a number of different academic disciplines and industries. They were joined by representatives of the federally funded AURIN project, government representatives involved in the Government 2.0 agenda, leading figures from industry involved in Big Data, and experts from a range of relevant University disciplines.
The aims of the best practice workshop were to:
- Bring together Data Journalism practitioners to discuss their practice, challenges and aims
- Promote conversations and connections between the nation’s best Data Journalists and relevant experts from the University and industry
- Promote understanding of the challenges and opportunities of Data Journalism, in the interests of building effective responses, including through collaborations
- Explore new technologies to facilitate the above through big data analysis and visualisation
- A focus of the workshop was to explore the Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network (AURIN) and the capabilities of data it offers for Data Journalism driven projects
AURIN is a $24 million initiative funded by the Australian Government’s Education Investment Fund and Super Science schemes, and provides access to a wide range of data sets (over 1000) from more than 30 major data providers. It is being established to support research into the built environment and urban domain including designers and planners and academic researchers from a wide range of disciplines. The uniqueness of AURIN to other efforts is that it provides live programmatic access to data from the definitive data providers across Australia including government organisations such as the ABS, Department of Health, and Department of Transport and commercial organisations such as the Fairfax Australian Property Monitors.
The Centre for Advancing Journalism and AURIN are keen to develop data journalism projects and collaborations arising out of this workshop.
More recently, Centre Director Margaret Simons and Research Assistant Elyas Khan presented a keynote address “Journalism at the Crossroads” at the eResearch Australiasia 2016 Conference, in which they outlined the pressing need for collaborations between journalists and computer engineers, or “hacks and hackers”.
Find out more about the conference on the eResearch website.
AuSud media project
The AuSud Media Project was born out of concerns over media representations of Sudanese Australians, and a desire to find practical ways of addressing the issue. An Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) report published in 2009 (African Australians: A report on human rights and social inclusion issues) noted that,
"Unfortunately, the media usually focuses on crime or on political commentary about African-Australians - and has often been negative or critical, and sometimes misleading. This has contributed to general community confusion or concern about African-Australians, and has caused distress to many."
The research team received an ARC Linkage Grant (LP110100063) to implement a research based journalism training initiative for Sudanese Australians. The training side of the project involved working with our linkage partners, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the Australian Multicultural Education Service (AMES), in the development of a journalism training program taught by highly respected journalists. That training program, conducted over three years, was completed at the end of 2013. Those who undertook the training have established their own online news site The Gazelle (inactive since 2014).
The research side of the project included media content analysis, focus groups with participants and interviews with journalists. This research will inform the provision of future initiatives of its kind, as well as explore the way in which new arrivals to Australia are portrayed in the media, with a view to improving media practice in this area. The Final Report is now available below.
- Report AuSud Media Project 2014 (1.09Mb pdf)
AuSud research team
Professor Karen Farquharson
Life and Social Sciences
Swinburne University of Technology
Professor Timothy Marjoribanks
Graduate School of Management
La Trobe University
As part of the AuSud project, the research team conducted a preliminary study of 8 months of mainstream news coverage of Sudanese people in Australia. This study was partly supported by a University of Melbourne Social Justice Initiative Grant. This research analysed coverage before and after the 2007 Federal election - a period which also coincided with the tragic bashing death of Liep Gony. The analysis of 203 articles found that while not all coverage was negative, the majority of stories represented Sudanese Australians in relation to violence and issues of integration.
Based on this research, the team has recently published an article in the Journal of Intercultural Studies:
- Nolan, D., Farquharson, K., Politoff, V. and Marjoribanks, T. (2011) "Mediated Multiculturalism: Newspaper Representations of Sudanese Migrants in Australia," in Journal of Intercultural Studies 32 (6), pp. 657-673
The 2010 AuSud pilot training
"I feel the Journalism training has helped me learn the skills needed to express my news stories with confidence. Often media coverage of the Sudanese community is very negative. The journalism training program delivered by the Centre for Advancing Journalism imparted me with the skills to write a news story, be aware of the ethical obligations around writing news, and gain the skills required to be able to handle media interviews. I am glad that I have learnt these skills and am now in a position to respond to the negative media publicity of the Sudanese Community."
Kot Michael Monoah, AuSud Project participant
AuSud celebrates achievements
In May 2012, the Centre for Advancing Journalism celebrated the completion of another 12 week course in journalism for Sudanese Australians. The completion ceremony was the culmination of thirteen students' participation in the AuSud Media Project, with the objective to gain valuable skills in journalism. The students were taught by some of Australia's best journalists, writers and broadcasters, who also provided mentorship to the students.
Michael Gawenda said: "Our students embraced 12 weeks of media training including feature writing, editing, interviewing and ethics. To celebrate completing the course we compiled some of their writing into a small publication. They should be thrilled to see their work in print and be very proud of what they've achieved."
The AuSud blog
The central aim of the AuSud Media Project is to facilitate Sudanese Australians in the development of their own voice. As part of this goal, participants of the AuSud Media Project are working on an AuSud Blog - a space where those who have been through the training can share their insights and perspectives to a wider audience. To read their work please go to THE GAZELLE: Afro-Australian Voices blog (inactive since 2014).
Black Saturday: In the media spotlight
Stage I - How the media covered Australia's worst peace-time disaster
The February 2009 Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria was Australia’s worst peace-time disaster that left 173 people dead, more than 414 injured, over 1700 homes destroyed and an estimated 7000 people homeless. Coverage of Black Saturday was extensive and in many ways comprehensive. The journalists, photographers and television crews involved in the coverage faced major challenges in doing their work and were deeply affected by what they witnessed. They were faced with ethical questions, logistical problems and fundamental questions about how to cover a natural disaster so close to home.
The Centre has undertaken a significant research project aimed at exploring the experience of journalists, editors and news directors reporting on the Black Saturday fires. The goal of the research was to allow those involved in covering the fires to reflect on their experiences, the quality of the coverage, the pressures they faced, and any lessons they learned for future coverage of major disasters. The research findings were launched at a conference on November 19, 2010 involving representatives from media organisations and key emergency services involved in the Black Saturday bushfires.
- Read the Stage I, Executive Summary on How the Media Covered Australia’s Worst Peace-time Disaster (365kb pdf)
- Purchase Media Ethics and Disasters: Lessons from the Black Saturday Bushfires, by Dr Denis Muller
Stage II - The Survivor Stories
This report is about the impact of media exposure on survivors. It is based on qualitative research in the form of in-depth personal interviews with 27 survivors from eight bushfire-affected communities. The interviews were carried out shortly after the second anniversary of Black Saturday. The research was discussed at a community forum in Marysville on 21 September, 2011 at which bushfire-affected community members responded to the findings.
Journalism, trauma and the treatment of vulnerable people: A case study based on the coverage of Black Saturday
This publication, by Dr Denis Muller will integrate the two major research reports, one about how journalists who covered the Black Saturday bushfires responded to the ethical challenges they faced, and the other about the effects on survivors of their encounters with the media in the immediate aftermath of the fires. It recounts the way the tragedy of Black Saturday unfolded, and how the media coverage developed from the evening of Black Saturday through the weeks that followed. In the course of this narrative, large ethical issues emerge, and they are discussed from the point of view of the media practitioners and the survivors, in which the voices of both groups are heard directly.
One large ethical issue concerned the way media practitioners dealt with traumatised survivors, and how they handled their own emotional responses to these traumatic conditions. A significant part of this new book deals with these two sides of the trauma question, as well as the vexed question of consent. Another big issue concerned the relationship between media and emergency services personnel, which affected access to people, places and information. Other major issues concerned deception and intrusion.
Media reports about the conference and our research study include:
- Muller, D. and Gawenda, M. “Ethical Free-for-all Over Media Access to the Firezone” (815kb pdf) published in Media international Australia, November 2010
- Stewart, C. “Untold stories of Victoria’s bushfire disaster,” in The Australian, 23 November 2009 (Online) Not available
- Munro, I. “Study finds media have no rules for disasters,” in The Age, 19 November 2009 (Online) Cited 06/02/2013
- Simons, M. “Journalists Adrift: The Reporting of Black Saturday" and “Humans First, Journalist Second. The Journalism of Black Saturday,” on crikey.com.au, 19 November 2009 (Online) Cited 06/02/2013
- Holmes, J. “Bushfire tragedy inspired the best from Australian journalists,” on The Drum, 23 December, 2009 (Online) Cited 28/04/2016
Press photography in Australia
Press photography has long influenced how Australians have understood themselves and their world. This project, funded by the Australian Research Council (LP 120200458) with the National Library of Australia and the Walkley Foundation, documents the history of Australian press photography, from the first published news photograph (in 1888) to the way press photography is used today. The research focuses upon changes and continuities in how the Australian press has used photographs over time. This includes examining the seismic advances in technology and its impact on news photography and the ethical and editorial issues surrounding news photography. It also looks at the ways that news photography can blur the boundaries between public and private worlds, at the evolution of the profession and the use of amateur and agency photographs in newspapers, and editorial shifts in the placement, captioning and framing of news photos. The research also considers the photographic representation of Australia and the world, including international events, politics and leadership, war, crime, gender, immigration, protest, women, disaster and sport.
The outcomes of the research will be communicated through a book, conference presentations and articles and many public events. One of its most important initiatives is the collection of sixty oral history interviews with Australian newspaper and magazine photographers to be kept at the National Library of Australia’s Oral History and Folklore collection. The NLA’s collection records the voices that describe our cultural, intellectual and social life and the interviews will give illuminating insight into the experiences and lives of our press photographers.
Work on Press Photography in Australia was undertaken as part of the Australian Research Council’s Linkage Projects funding scheme (project number LP120200458).
Lead researcher and prominent journalist Mr Michael Gawenda says he was thrilled to have secured a $200,000 Australian Research Council grant to fund the study Press Photography in Australia. "This project will enable us to look at an area of journalism that is often neglected: the place of photography in Australian journalism and the way photography has recorded major events in Australian history," he says. "It will look at how the photograph – and now video – has been used in journalism to record social and political change."
"This is a wonderful project at a time when journalism is in a great period of change and the use of photography and video is increasingly important in the digital age, "Mr Gawenda says. In a journalism career spanning more than three decades, Mr Gawenda has been a political reporter, foreign correspondent, columnist and was Editor-in-Chief of The Age from 1997 to 2004.
Professor Sally Young from the University’s School of Social and Political Sciences, Professor Kate Darian-Smith (Honorary), from the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies and Associate Professor Fay Anderson from the School of Journalism, Australian and Indigenous Studies, Monash University will also work on the research project.
- Young, Sally and Anderson, Fay (2016). Shooting the Picture: A History of Australian Press Photography. Melbourne University Press
- Anderson, F. (2014) "Collective Silence: The Australian Press Reporting of Suffering during the World Wars," in Journalism History, 40(3), pp. 148-57
- Anderson, F. (2014) "Chasing the Pictures: Press and Magazine Photography," in Media International Australia, No. 150, pp. 47-55
- Anderson, F. (2015) “‘A Strange Alchemy:’ The State of Australian Press Photography,” History Section – The Conference of the International Association for Media and Communication Research, Montreal, 12 - 16 July 2015
- Anderson, D., Anderson, F. and Lindgren, M. (2015) “The Unguarded Moment: Telling Stories of Trauma, Resistance and Renewal,” Ethics of Society and Ethics of Communication Section – The Conference of the International Association for Media and Communication Research, Montreal, 12 - 16 July 2015
- Young, S. (2015), “Foundational Moments in Australian Press Photography,” Australian Historical Association Conference, University of Sydney, 9 July 2015
- Anderson, F. (2014), “From World War One to Afghanistan, Armenia to Gaza: Showing images of suffering then and Now,” Keynote address for the ‘Media, War and Memory’ Conference, Auckland University of Technology, 18 to 19 September 2014
- Anderson, F. (2014) ““Take the Picture": Australian Press Photographers, Crime and Gender,” International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) annual conference, University of Hyderabad, India, 16-19 July 2014
- Anderson, F. (2012) ““Shooting the Body”: Photographing Our Boys and Violence during World War Two,” presented at the Violence Studies Conference, Humanities Research Institute and the Centre for the History of Violence at the University of Newcastle, 21-24 August 2012, Crowne Plaza, Newcastle
For more information, please contact:
Professor Sally Young