Media Treatment and Communication Needs of African-Australians: A Media Participation and Intervention 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)
The AuSud Research Team
Professor Karen Farquharson
Life and Social Sciences
Swinburne University of Technology
Professor Timothy Marjoribanks
The 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).