No 102 February 2002  

Culture: Development, Industry, Distribution

No 102 February 2002




Graeme Turner


Mary Power

Culture: Development, Industry, Distribution

Culture: Development, industry, distribution

Lisanne Gibson and Tom O'Regan

Too much culture, too little culture: Trends and issues for cultural policy-making

Tom O'Regan

Creative industries and cultural development - still a Janus face?

Lisanne Gibson

Cultural diversity, cultural networks and trade: International cultural policy debate

Ben Goldsmith

From cultural to creative industries: Theory, industry and policy implications

Stuart Cunningham

How 'creative industries' evokes the legacy of modernist visual art

Andrew McNamara

Live for art - just don't expect to make a living from it: The worklife of Australian visual artists

Ron Callus and Mark Cole

Cultural industry or social problem? The case of Australian live music

Shane Homan

General Articles

Space power and information superiority: A new medium for cultural policy

Rod Giblett

Global constructions of 'korupsi' in a local public sphere: A cross-cultural Malaysian reception study

Tony Wilson

Reviewing the readership: Profiles of Central Queensland newspaper readers

Jacqui Ewart and Kevin Tickle


Edited by Ben Goldsmith

Media Briefs: Press comment on the media, cultural and arts industries

Debra Mayrhofer


Tom O'Regan: Too much culture, too little culture: Trends and issues for cultural policy-making
This paper considers the paradoxical situation confronting contemporary cultural policy-making wherein it is sumultaneously centralised in creative city/industries and cultural diversity agendas while marginalised in broadcasting and film policy deliberations. This dual movement, it is argued, is the consequence of cultural policy becoming less its own sui generis domain and more part of a variety of other governmental processes, spheres, knowledges and domains. In these circumstances, effective cultural policy-making is increasingly embracing an agenda of rejuvenation marked by differentiated strategies, knowledges, sites and outcomes.

Lisanne Gibson: Creative industries and cultural development - still a Janus face?
Since the 1970s, it has been possible to discuss cultural policy in terms of the discourses 'art as industry' and 'cultural rights' (for a discussion of this history, see Gibson, 2001). 'Creative industries' is the policy 'buzz term' of the moment. The ways in which the terms 'creative industries' and 'cultural rights' are understood in contemporary cultural policy encapsulate the ways in which the economic and humanistic benefits of creative practice have been articulated as existing in competition. I argue that it is counterproductive to understand these discourses as mutually exclusive. Are these discursive constructions - art as profit versus art as identity - constitutively oppositional? To pose this same question using the terms which frame contemporary policy debate, how do we negotiate between the (seemingly) competing logics of the creative industries and cultural development policy discourses?

Ben Goldsmith: Cultural diversity, cultural networks and trade: International cultural policy debate
This article sketches some of the ways in which the language and concepts of cultural diversity are being taken up internationally. The debate has been driven in part by concerns about the treatment of cultural goods, services and knowledge in trade agreements. But it also involves larger questions about the role of the state, the role of non-state actors in domestic policy formation, and the shape and function of international policy communities comprising both state and non-state actors. The extent of the discussion of cultural diversity internationally is described through new formal and informal cultural networks and work towards an international instrument for cultural diversity to lay out ground rules for international trade, cultural exchange and policy principles to guide governmental responsibilities. The article concludes with analysis of some of these new networks, and investigates why Canada has been so prominent in these international efforts.

Stuart Cunningham: From cultural to creative industries: Theory, industry and policy implications
This paper presents a rationale for distinguishing between notions of cultural and creative industries which has implications for theory, industry and policy analysis. I do this from the standpoint of a researcher and analyst and also from a position of a corporate involvement in a substantial project to grow and diversify a regional economy through the development of its creative industries. This project is a 'creative industries precinct' in inner suburban Brisbane involving my university, Queensland University of Technology, the Queensland state government through its Department of State Development, a variety of industry players, and retail and property developers. There is theoretical purchase in distinguishing the two terms, in part to put further flesh on the bones of claims about the nature of the knowledge-based economy and its relation to culture and creativity. Shifts in the nature of the industries usually described by the terms also need to be captured effectively, as do different policy regimes that come into play as regulation of and support for cultural and creative industries.

Andrew McNamara: How 'creative industries' evokes the legacy of modernist visual art
The concept of 'creative industries' presents a new idea for the Arts/Humanities faculty predicated upon forging a conjunction between the creative arts and cultural industries. It also provides a unique opportunity for the creative arts as well as the old Humanities faculty to acquire a new role at the centre of policy discussions about the new economy. 'Creative industries', in short, provides arts and humanities with a 'new' industry face suited to the needs of the twenty-first century. Yet, so far, discussions about creative industries have focused upon either their new economy connections or upon their delineation from 'cultural industries'. This fosters the impression that the concept of creative industries is forged from the intersection of cultural studies, the new economy and cultural industries alone. What is the place of the creative arts within creative industries? Has it any feasible critical role when it is constantly dubbed 'the subsidised arts'? This paper presents a reading that shows that the conception of creative industries is actually reliant upon the creative arts - in particular, the legacy of interdisciplinary modernist practice within the visual arts. It will examine how the sometimes anti-art rhetoric of some creative industries manifestos evokes this legacy. It then draws out some important socio-political implications of throwing this legacy into this mix that currently constitutes 'creative industries'.

Ron Callus and Mark Cole: Live for art - just don't expect to make a living from it: The worklife of Australian visual artists
Visual artists make up one of the few occupational groups in Australia where the majority of those working in the field are not regulated by awards or agreements that set minimum rates of pay and conditions. This is because most artists are self-employed and therefore lie outside the industrial relations regulatory framework. This article builds on the results of a survey of members of the National Association of Visual Artists (NAVA). The survey was designed to provide a picture of the income sources and activities of persons who work in the arts industry. For the majority of artists, the paid work undertaken as an artist was not their main source of income. These artists supplemented their art-producing income with other art and non-related income-producing work. A significant proportion of NAVA members work for a living in the visual arts industry as teachers, arts administrators, curators or in other art-related work; many of these also produce art in their spare time. The data collected were then used to develop a typology based on the combination of artists' time-use and income-generating activities. The typology was generated through the use of a cluster analysis that revealed three major groups of artists and a number of subgroups within these three major groupings. Given the complexities of the artist's labour market experiences, a number of options are canvassed as to how the precarious nature of artists' work could better be managed. One approach to regulation is to accept the realities of the artists' labour market and build around this through a system of accruing entitlements that come from working in the industry rather than for any one individual or organisation. It is suggested that governments could also take a different approach by recognising the special nature of artists' work, specifically the fact that artists move in and out of the labour market over their lifetimes. A whole-of-life approach to the problem is therefore necessary.

Shane Homan: Cultural industry or social problem? The case of Australian live music
The live music pub and club scene has historically been regarded as the source of a distinctively Australian rock/jazz culture, and the basis for global recording success. This paper examines the history of live venue practices as a case study of a local cultural industry that often existed outside of traditional policy structures and meanings of the arts industries. Confronted with a loss of performance opportunities for local musicians, it is argued that traditional cultural policy mechanisms and platforms used for cultural nationalist outcomes are no longer relevant. Rather, policy intervention must engage with administrative obstacles to live creativity, specifically the series of local regulations that have diminished the viability of live venues. The decline of the rock/jazz pub continues in the face of current federal government support for touring musicians. A closer inspection of the local administration of cultural practice remains the best means of understanding the devaluation of the social and industrial value of live performance.

General Articles

Rod Giblett: Space power and information superiority: A new medium for cultural policy
Space is again a hot topic, with the resurrection of Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative or 'Star Wars' missile shield, albeit under a new name. Integral to this drive and vital to its success are the deployment and use of communication technologies, and the control of flows of information. Both of these take place in orbital, extraterrestrial space, a new front for warfare and a new medium for the new media of cyberspace and the internet. This paper traces this recent development and gives a critical account of the nationalist and militarist rhetoric in which it is couched. I argue that 'weaponisation' of space is in contravention of a number of international treaties. I conclude that 'astroenvironmentalism' should be a broadly based popular movement of resistance to these moves, and of action for the global commons of space owned by none and shared by all.

Tony Wilson: Global constructions of 'korupsi' in a local public sphere: A cross-cultural Malaysian reception study
Audience responses to television are at the heart of sense-making in the public sphere. Research on viewers' readings of economic, political and social events in news programs, invariably constructed around the activities of 'significant' individuals, is of particular consequence for understanding the functioning of a democracy. This paper is a cross-cultural reception study of how audiences come to interpret the program genre of television news. In a process of comprehension characterised by fusing/feuding horizons of understanding the world, viewers playfully accommodate the meaning of programs in their everyday lives. Analysis of television's reception should be tested against audience activity. Theory must be corroborated. Drawing from a significant literature discussing the phenomenology of ludic experience, the article theorises trans-cultural reception of Western (British) television by Asian (Malaysian) viewers as seriously 'playful'. Academic assertions are assessed as illuminating audience response.

Jacqui Ewart and Kevin Tickle: Reviewing the readership: Profiles of Central Queensland newspaper readers
This paper sets out to explore the concept of readership through a quantitative examination of Central Queensland newspaper readers. Because most Australian media audience research is undertaken by market research companies on behalf of news media corporations, an independent study of readership is needed in order to reveal data which can be used in future studies of regional newspapers and readership. Such data may also be useful in enabling regional newspapers to begin a process of forming stronger connections with their readers and communities. This paper focuses on data collected about newspaper readers in Central Queensland. While discussing Central Queensland newspaper readers, their demographics and newspaper reading habits more generally, this paper establishes a series of mini-profiles of these newspaper readers and investigates the issues which readers would like to see covered more often or less frequently by the newspapers they use. It suggests that these profiles are important for researchers wanting to investigate media in Central Queensland, and that the profiles may provide interesting comparisons of points from which to undertake readership research in other regions of Australia. As well, this paper suggests that such information is essential if regional newspapers are to fulfil the important role they have in their communities and reflect the concerns of their publics. Finally, this paper argues that such data are essential in the process of improving relations between regional newspapers and their communities, and ensuring they adequately reflect their publics.


No 103 May 2002  

Citizens' Media

No 103 May 2002





Graeme Turner


Mary Power

Citizens' Media


Christina Spurgeon

The other road to media citizenship

Elinor Rennie

I don't want to be a citizen (if it means I have to watch the ABC)

Alan McKee

Mediation and alternative media, or relocating the centre of media and communication studies

Nick Couldry

The middle years of Radio 4EB: Acting locally, thinking nationally

Chris Lawe Davies

Challenging voices? Going public on community radio

Rowan Jeffrey

Creating a community public sphere: Community radio as a cultural resource

Susan Forde, Kerrie Foxwell and Michael Meadows

Transforming the mediascape in South Africa: The continuing struggle to develop community radio

Jo Tacchi

Citizens' media and the voice of the angel/poet

Clemencia Rodriguez

Industry Perspective

New mediations

Marni Cordell and Sam de Silva

Beyond the studio: A case study of community radio and social capital

Kitty van Vuuren

Re-sourcing queer subjectivities: Sexual identity and lesbian/gay print media

Rob Cover

Pay and scroll: Libraries, reading and the privatisation of knowledge

Tara Brabazon


Edited by Ben Goldsmith


Elinor Rennie: The other road to media citizenship
'Citizens' media' is a deliberate attempt to move beyond existing approaches to community and alternative media. This paper navigates its way through the citizens' media debate (via the articles presented in this issue), looking towards the new possibilities for community media policy arising from this shift.

Alan McKee: I don't want to be a citizen (if it means I have to watch the ABC)
This paper argues that much writing about media and citizenship tends to rely on a set of realist or structuralist assumptions about what constitutes a state, a citizen and politics. Because of these assumptions, other forms of social organisation that could reasonably be described as nations, and other forms of social engagement that could be called citizenship are excluded from consideration. One effect of this blindness is that certain identities, and the cultural formations associated with them, continue to be overvalued as more real and important than others. Areas of culture that are traditionally white, masculine, middle-class and heterosexual remain central in debates, while the political processes of citizens of, for example, a Queer nation, continue to be either ignored or devalued as being somehow trivial, unimportant or less real. The paper demonstrates that this need not be the case - that the language of nation and citizenship can reasonably be expanded to include these other forms of social organisation, and that when such a conceptual move is made, we can find ways of describing contemporary culture that attempt to understand the public-sphere functions of the media without falling back into traditional prejudices against feminised, Queer, working class or non-white forms of culture.

Nick Couldry: Mediation and alternative media, or relocating the centre of media and communication studies
Alternative media should not be marginal, but central, to the developing agenda of media and communication studies, because they challenge the massive concentration of 'symbolic power' (Bourdieu) in mainstream media institutions and the resulting 'exclusion' of most people 'from the power of naming' (Melucci). Precisely because alternative media organisations, in relative terms, lack symbolic resources, their activities tend to be largely invisible, but that is no reason why, as 'weapons of the weak' (Scott), they should be ignored. With some exceptions, media studies has neglected alternative media for too long, and neglected also the inequalities of symbolic power in which media institutions themselves are involved. But now there is less excuse for that neglect. When the 'digital divide' and the atrophy of representative democracy are hotly debated not only by academics but also by policy-makers, media studies should listen to those who are not prepared to accept their exclusion from the power of naming; they are citizens with something important to contribute to debates about democracy, and in paying more attention to them, media studies can make an important link between its own agenda and urgent agendas in political theory and democratic debate.

Chris Lawe Davies: The middle years of Radio 4EB: Acting locally, thinking nationally
Ethnic public radio station 4EB started its life as a local political response to an urgent social problem: giving migrant communities minimal recognition of their heartland biographies - nearly 20 years late for some of them. Within five years, the station's enigmatic but steely president, Tony Manicaros, had taken the same project into the national arena. Tony and the station which had enabled his conviction of the importance of ethnic radio to Australian national identity, and therefore federal government policy, dominated the important middle years of the station, with Tony becoming an important lobbyist and instigator of reforms in federal communications policy.

Rowan Jeffrey: Challenging voices? Going public on community radio
Presenting a program on community radio can be immensely rewarding for community access broadcasters. Yet the experience of 'going public' is not always positive. Based on a case study of the participation of women at one community access radio station in Aotearoa/New Zealand, this paper argues that, particularly for programmers from minority communities, the public nature of broadcasting can be problematic. Whether or not they desire such a role, such broadcasters often become positioned as public representatives of their community. This representative aspect of going public makes it problematic, because public representatives attract criticism as well as praise, and the validity of their voices can be challenged. Drawing on the narratives of women involved at community access station Plains FM and the work of John Hochheimer (1993), this paper addresses issues of participation, representation and legitimacy, and explores the challenges that they pose for the democratic potential of community access media.

Susan Forde, Kerrie Foxwell and Michael Meadows: Creating a community public sphere: Community radio as a cultural resource
This article draws upon recent findings of a study of the community radio sector in Australia.

Jo Tacchi: Transforming the mediascape in South Africa: The continuing struggle to develop community radio
As a new democracy, South Africa's adoption of community radio is significant on a global scale. It can be said to have more progressive broadcasting policies than other long-established democracies. But the sector, despite its rapid growth, is struggling. This paper considers community radio in South Africa as an example of 'citizens' media' that is transforming the country's mediascape. It draws on interviews undertaken in South Africa during late 2001 to discuss the problems that the sector is facing. The role of legislation and regulation is considered as well as an example of a community radio station that serves a severely disadvantaged community. Social and economic underdevelopment in historically disadvantaged communities is seen as a major problem and an example of an initiative that seeks to develop such communities through community radio is described.

Marni Cordell and Sam de Silva: New mediations
The late 1990s saw the global rebirth of an independent media movement of a magnitude and strength not seen since the 1970s. Both the escalation of anti-corporate-globalisation sentiment and the establishment of the IndyMedia online network can be seen as strong catalysts for a media activism that is characterised by the desire to encourate widespread participation in the media-making process. 'Participatory media' is based in the democratic philosophy that anybody has the right to tell their own story, and aims to encourage media diversity by breaking down the information stronghold held by a small number of large and powerful media corporations. This essay examines the way in which the internet has contributed to the facilitation of a greater diversity of views, news, opinions and voices into the public domain.

Kitty van Vuuren: Beyond the studio: A case study of community radio and social capital
This paper explores the community development function of community broadcasting using a case study of three non-metropolitan community radio stations conducted in 1998 and 1999. I apply aspects of the concept of social capital to analyse the results of research conducted at the participating stations. The findings indicate that social capital is related to the age composition of volunteers at community radio.

Rob Cover: Re-sourcing queer subjectivities: Sexual identity and lesbian/gay print media
With most critical discussions of lesbian/gay identities and media focusing on mass-circulation representation, visibility and stereotyping, the lesbian/gay community small press has remained neglected, particularly as it plays a role in the constitution of the performative lesbian/gay subject. This paper brings queer theory and communication theories closer together by focusing on both the reading positions inculcating subjective performativity and the mediation of contemporary discourses of sexuality. By examing the role of the gay press as an affirmative 'first encounter' site with oft-censored discourses of non-heterosexuality, it is concluded that there are issues of responsibility in the discursive foreclosure on sexual alternatives beyond the hetero/homo binary in contemporary media formations.

Tara Brabazon: Pay and scroll: Libraries, reading and the privatisation of knowledge
Libraries are one of the great institutions of the last millennium, but they are frequently politically decentred and intellectually marginalised. The recent Double-Fold crisis, triggered by Nicholson Baker's book, has again raised questions about the function of libraries. Is access for readers to information the primary task for librarians, or should preservation be the over-riding goal? This article - which is actually a thinking piece - affirms a culturally sensitive perspective on digitisation, showing how the privatisation of information delivery will have startling consequences for both research and the act of reading.


No 104 August 2002  

Visible Evidence: New Factual Forms

No 104 August 2002




Helen Wilson


Lelia Green and Mary Power

Visible Evidence: New Factual Forms

The new documentary dispensation

Jane Roscoe and Derek Paget

Confession and the unbearable lightness of factual

Jon Dovey

Translative performance in documentary film: Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson's Facing the Music

Catherine Summerhayes

Acting a part: Performing docudrama

Derek Paget

Factual hybridity: Games, documentary and simulated spaces

Bernadette Flynn

Documentary comedy

Jason Middleton

Rethinking the documentary audience: Reimagining The New Zealand Wars

Lisa Perrott

General Articles

Propagating terror: 9/11 and the mediation of war

Jeff Lewis

Televisi bangsa baru: Television, Reformasi and renewal in Indonesia

Philip Kitley

The powers of the Pokémon: Histories of television, histories of the concept of power

Mark Gibson

Little bogan lost: Examining media treatment of the Jaidyn Leskie murder case

Melissa Campbell


Edited by Ben Goldsmith


Jon Dovey: Confession and the unbearable lightness of factual
This paper examines the changes in contemporary documentary practices, in particular the shift to a ‘first-person media’. By looking at certain types of first-person and confessional speech forms in factual television, I hope to offer a case study in how we might continue to distinguish between different kinds of program and to determine their relationship to the public sphere. The rise of first-person media can be seen as a response to the need for a public space in which ‘life world politics’ and ‘emotional deomcracy’ are fundamental. The dispersal of intimate speech and confessional discourse is an expression of the changes that have occurred in our social and economic lives. This paper explores documentary and factul television’s role in this process.

Catherine Summerhayes: Translative performance in documentary film: Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson's Facing the Music
Facing the Music (2001) is a film that performs at many levels. While its primary narrative is about the effects of government funding cuts to universities, and specifically the effect on the University of Sydney’s Music Department, the film also weaves other more generic stories about people and how they interact with each other. Connolly’s and Anderson’s complex and confronting style of observational film-making is examined in the context of this film for the ways in which it ‘assumes’ that film can ‘translate’ the details of people’s everyday lives into a broad discussion of particular social issues and conflicts. As with all translations, however, some meanings inadvertently are lost and others added. Drawing on Walter Benjamin’s idea of ‘translatability’ and Brecht’s concept of gest, this paper describes how particular cultural meanings which are embedded within the documentary film, Facing the Music, can be accessed through the ways in which the audiovisual text ‘melodramatically’ presents people and profilmic events. Thomas Elsaesser’s definition of classic fictional melodrama, as a ‘closed’ world of ‘inner’ violence where ‘characters are acted upon’, becomes a guide to understanding the film’s secondary narratives about the operation of particular stereotypical, binary representations: men and women; artists and ‘the rest of the world’; academics (‘gown’) and other people (‘town’). Using Laura Mulvey’s further distinction of ‘matriarchal’ and ‘patriarchal’ melodramas, Facing the Music is described as a ‘matriarchal’ documentary melodrama. The film’s selective translation of how people live their lives in a particular social situation is thereby discussed as a further translation into the broader discourses of gender and power relations in a society.

Derek Paget: Acting a part: Performing docudrama
This essay considers approaches to acted performance in film and television docudrama, using as examples of recent practice a number of ‘high concept’ international coproductions such as Nuremberg and Conspiracy (both 2001). The focus of the essay is specifically upon the actor as a ‘visible marker of [documentary] inauthenticity’. It discusses the means by which an actor attempts to compensate for the manifest gap between the performed and the historical ‘real’ in preparation for docudrama performance. It also considers the nature of the transaction that takes place between actor and audience in docudrama, noting that the founding concept of this transaction is likely to be intertextual (grounded in an appreciation of the knowledge(s) brought to performance by actor and audience alike). Both parties bring to docudrama performance an awareness of the information, misinformation and disinformation that tend to cluster around significant historical events and personalities. This, it is argued, will in all probability affect both actors’ preparation and audience reception in strikingly similar ways. The actor’s trained ‘as if’ reflex is matched by a sophisticated audience’s ‘what if’ reflex, in a mutual seeking of understanding beyond the rational and factual. Brian Cox’s performance as Hermann Goering in Nuremberg is discussed in detail in relation to these claims. The intensification of documentary’s basic absent/present paradox that takes place in docudrama is finally considered in relation to reality TV and its participants (who should be thought of, it is argued, as ‘authentic performers of self’).

Bernadette Flynn: Factual Hybridity: Games, documentary and simulated spaces
Documentary theorist John Corner’s suggestion that we might be moving into a post-documentary period echoes concerns raised earlier by Brian Winston that the documentary is facing some type of crisis. This paper argues that this is only the case if one ignores a broader notion of media hybridity that takes into account directions offered by new technologies and aesthetic regimes. This paper proposes that, rather than signalling an unravelling of documentary’s purpose, emerging forms of factuality point towards more localised forms of communication that have been effaced in ‘discourse of sobriety’ with their distrust of the popular. Using examples from reality TV (Big Brother) and a simulation computer game (The Sims), I suggest that these multi-platform ‘gamedocs’ relate to older and often ignored histories of representing the real. These histories connect to the lineage of George Méliès’ actuality projects and the scientific and morality loops found in the mutoscope and entertainment diorama. Aspects of play and actuality remerge in the contemporary forms of Big Brother and The Sims which trade on documentary’s cultural cache as the site of the real whilst simultaneously adopting a self-conscious, sometimes critical relationship to the authentic seeming. In so doing, they construct a type of docobricolage in which narrative and representation become subservient to navigable geography, mastery of the game environment and the pleasures of gameplay itself.

Jason Middleton: Documentary comedy
While documentaries like Roger and Me and mock documentaries such as This is Spinal Tap differ in terms of the ontological status of their referents, they share many formal characteristics, particularly in their editing strategies. This essay examines the editing techniques in these two influential films of the 1980s in order to theorise exactly how film-makers combine conventions of documentary with those of comedy in an attempt to produce laughter in audiences. Having demonstrated the formal qualities of an editing technique prevalent in these films which I term ‘cutting on the absurd’, the essay then explores the broader implications of this comic style in more recent documentary film-making. With a particular focus on Chris Smith and Sarah Price’s American Movie (1999), it examines how the editing strategies in documentary films characterised as ‘offbeat character studies’ alternately position viewers to laugh at and laugh with the subjects, to occupy a position that can be at once derisory and empathetic.

Lisa Perrott: Rethinking the documentary audience: Reimagining The New Zealand Wars
Narratives of war and history are central to the development of nationhood. Within the distinctive context of New Zealand decolonisation, The New Zealand Wars documentary series offers a revised version of a formative moment in New Zealand history. This paper draws upon textual analysis and audience research to explore the potential of this series to function as a catalyst within the process of decolonisation. The television broadcast of this five-part series has arguably played a role in evoking a reimagining of the New Zealand ‘nation’, and in opening a space for public debate. This recently invigorated debate can be characterised by the negotiation of a number of discourses of ‘race’, ‘culture’ and ‘nationhood’. While examples of this public negotiation illustrate the social and intellectual activity involved in the process of making sense of a documentary text, a closer examination of audience response to this series reveals an especially emotional, even ‘mimetic’, dimension of engagement. The few available examples of documentary audience research have tended to focus on intellectual and social processes of negotiating meaning. Through a discussion of passionate responses to The New Zealand Wars series, this paper posits an argument for extending the traditional conceptualisation of documentary audience engagement beyond the intellectual, to include a visceral dimension. Rather than viewing these different types of activity as diametrically opposed, they are considered here to be interconnected elements within a dialogical and experiential encounter between the viewer and the documentary text.

General Articles

Jeff Lewis: Propagating terror: 9/11 and the mediation of war
Academic and public analysis of the media’s performance during the 9/11 and Afghanistan wars are critically influenced by the specific ideological perspective of the analyst. Those commentators who support the reprisal attacks against bin Laden, Al Qaeda and the Taliban tend to commend the media, identifying a substantial confluence between state interests, public opinion and media reporting. Alternatively, commentators such as Noam Chomsky who are highly critical of American foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, see the media as representing a pernicious conduit which allows state and military hegemonies to oppress and manipulate public opinion. The role of the media in reporting war and terrorism needs to be considered in terms of processes of cultural construction and representation. As we approach the anniversary of 9/11 and the ‘war on terror’, we need to understand that government foreign policy, public opinion and military action are all shaped through specific kinds of mediated discourse. Our role as media analysts is to expose these discourses in terms of those complex historical and cultural conditions which have served to generate a violence of this proportion.

Philip Kitley: Televisi Bangsa Baru: Television, reformasi and renewal in Indonesia
For nearly 30 years, television in Indonesia was dominated by the state broadcaster TVRI and five commercial channels with very close links to former President Soeharto. In the reform period since Soeharto’s resignation, there has been a new sense of public and publicness, an expansion of the public sphere and the break-up and re-imagination of the Indonesian audience. These developments have been led by media sector insiders. This paper argues that, despite the progressive work of new licensees and civil society media groups, it is media sector outsiders which are needed to lead television in Indonesia out from under the totalising, essentialist models of the past to establish televisi bangsa baru — television for a new nation.

Mark Gibson: The powers of the Pokémon: Histories of television, histories of the concept of power
Television studies has always been haunted by the concept of power, caught in a dilemma between Frankfurtian pessimism and a vulnerability to charges of a cheerful ‘banality’. The paper suggests a new perspective on this problem by introducing a distinction between theories of power (in the singular) and a more differentiated attention to plural powers. The latter approach can be traced as an emerging possibility in ‘post-Cold War’ formations in popular culture — the example discussed here being Pokémon. The paper further suggests that television studies might learn something from this development. The way is opened, specifically, for questions of power to be considered in a historical, rather than theoretical, mode. Such an approach offers an alternative to remaining caught in what have become increasingly repetitive debates about power.

Melissa Campbell: Little bogan lost: Examining media treatment of the Jaidyn Leskie murder case
In June 1997, 13-month-old Jaidyn Leskie disappeared from Moe, a rural Victorian town. His body was found in January 1998. Through a discussion of three presentations of ‘loss’, this paper contends those involved in the case were constructed by the media as ‘bogans’ — powerless outsiders — because they defied categorisation within narrow conceptions of ‘normal Australian society’. While Jaidyn himself was a ‘lost child’, his family and associates were likened to a ‘lost tribe’, whose alliances, feuds and kinship networks became exotic, exploitative entertainment. Lacking rhetorical tools to ‘explain’ such a distinctive culture, media coverage constructed bogans as victims of failed social policy: their culture ‘caused’ by economic downsizing, unemployment, drug use and single parenthood. Finally, when members of Jaidyn’s family accepted money for media interviews, they were painted as ‘losing their innocence’. This reveals insecurities underpinning the concept ‘bogan’: evidently, bogans were not supposed to engage in media manipulation themselves.


No 105 November 2002  

Ratings in Transition

No 105 November 2002




Helen Wilson


Mary Power

Ratings in Transition

Introducing ratings in transition

Mark Balnaves, Liz Ferrier, Gail Phillips and Tom O'Regan

Ratings in transition: Industry implications

Tom O'Regan, Ian Garland, Ian Muir, Robert Chard, Abigail Thomas and John Hartley

Afterword: Reflections on the seminar

Ian Muir interviewed by Gail Phillips

Afterword: Developments in new media audience research

Abigail Thomas interviewed by Gail Phillips

The future of ratings measurement

Peter Danaher interviewed by Mark Balnaves

The future of television audience measurement: Nielsen Media Research's view

Ian Garland

Programming in a PPM world: Arbitron's view

David Rogerson and Mike McVay

Look before you leap: Commercial radio's view of the road ahead

Joan Warner interviewed by Gail Phillips

Bring out the 'backroom boys': The role of media planners and buyers in the new knowledge economy

Liz Ferrier

Media planning and buying: An insider's view

John Ellen, introduced and interviewed by Liz Ferrier

If media planning and buying hadn't existed, would we have invented it this way?

Lelia Green and Martin Trevaskis

Beyond exposure: Interactive television and the new media currency

Mark Balnaves and Duane Varan

General Articles

The city, the suburb, the community and the local press: A Gold Coast case study

Grahame Griffin

Indigenising the effects of media globalisation

Christine Morris

Facing off on the final frontier: The WTO accession and the rebranding of China's national champions

Michael Keane

Developing local popular songs in Hong Kong: A study of the All Cantonese Pop Music Station format

Chu Yiu-wai


Edited by Ben Goldsmith


Mark Balnaves, Liz Ferrier, Gail Phillips and Tom O'Regan: Introducing Ratings in Transition
There is considerable ferment surrounding audience measurement systems in Australia and internationally (Balnaves, O’Regan and Sternberg 2002). This article identifies the range and sources of this ferment. It pinpoints several pressure points such as the constitution of ratings panels and the problems of survey fatigue in a fragmenting media environment. Consideration is also given to ‘next generation’ ratings measurement technologies such as the personal people meter (PPM) and their likely impact upon the industry and its norms, and new media formats such as the personal video recorder (PVR) and the problems and opportunities they create for audience measurement systems.

Tom O'Regan, Ian Garland, Ian Muir, Robert Chard, Abigail Thomas, John Hartley: Ratings in Transition: Industry implications
This seminar discusses the implications for the industry of changes in the provision of ratings services in the metropolitan television markets in Australia. It brings together key players from the ratings companies, media planners and buyers, public broadcasters and leading academics. A particular focus of the seminar was the different results emerging from the ACNielsen and OzTAM people meter panels in the first half of 2001. This discussion illuminates the complex relationship among audience measurement industries, television companies, and media planners and buyers, and foreshadows the challenges facing audience measurement in new media environments.

Ian Muir interviewed by Gail Phillips: Afterword: Reflections on the Seminar
In this interview with Gail Phillips, Ian Muir reflects on the developments in the audience measurement industry since the Ratings in Transition seminar held in 2001.

Abigail Thomas interviewed by Gail Phillips
Abigail Thomas, Research Manager, ABC New Media, reflects on developments in new media audience research since the 2001 Ratings in Transition seminar. Abigail Thomas was interviewed by Gail Phillips.

Peter Danaher interviewed by Mark Balnaves
The new media environment is changing the ways in which television services are delivered and accessed, putting increasing strains on the long-standing conventional audience tracking methodology. Not only are people watching television in different ways, through the proliferation of services via internet and pay TV, but new recording technology is also giving them the power to select what they watch and when they watch it, even bypassing the ad breaks along the way. Peter Danaher, Professor of Marketing at the University of Auckland, looks at how the ratings industry is trying to address these challenges. Professor Danaher was interviewed by Mark Balnaves.

Ian Garland: The Future of Television Audience Measurement: Nielsen Media Research's View
Changing television delivery technology has presented huge challenges to the industry charged with tracking audience usage. Niche programming and personal recording technologies are making the concept of mass audiences increasingly problematic. This raises questions about how to capture exactly what the illusive viewer is doing in a way that is relevant to media buyers, advertisers and media companies. In this paper, Ian Garland reports on how Nielsen Media Research is tackling the problem.

David Rogerson and Mike McVay: Programming in a PPM World: Arbitron's View
The initial results coming out of the Arbitron portable people meter (PPM) tests suggest the current approach and thinking applied to radio station programming may have to undergo a thorough review in the future. The data from pilot surveys are revealing listening patterns which differ considerably from those recorded using the traditional diary system. There are indications that the audience tunes in to more services but for less time, and that listening is far more evenly spread around each quarter-hour than previously assumed. In this paper, David Rogerson, Managing Director of Strategic Media Solutions, and Mike McVay, President of the US-based company McVay Media, present some of the key data to emerge from work already done by Arbitron and discuss the implications for radio programmers.

Joan Warner interviewed by Gail Phillips: Look Before You Leap: Commercial Radio's View of the Road Ahead
While the broadcast industry as a whole may be abuzz with the potential for new survey methodologies, the Australian commercial radio sector retains a more pragmatic perspective. Joan Warner, Chief Executive Officer for the commercial radio industry body Commercial Radio Australia, talks about radio’s place in the multimedia environment and the hurdles new survey technologies will have to overcome to deliver the sort of data the industry will be prepared to trust. Joan was interviewed by Gail Phillips.

Liz Ferrier: Bring Out the 'Backroom Boys': The Role of Media Planners and Buyers in the New Knowledge Economy
This paper outlines the relatively recent emergence of a specialised field of media services that come under the title of media planning and buying. It details the kinds of work this field involves, and the position it occupies in relation to other branches of the advertising industry, noting its increasing centrality in advertising and growing profile in the press. The history of its emergence and development as a separate field in Australia is closely linked to changes in the structure and regulation of the advertising industry. The paper examines challenges currently facing this area of advertising, including the global downturn in advertising, fragmentation of media audiences, and changes in technologies of audience measurement. It suggests that there has been increased value placed on the media planners’ and buyers’ specialised expertise, especially as audiences have become more segmented and fragmented, as traditional media loses its reach, and as clients have come to expect more accountability in relation to their advertising investment. The emergence of specialist media planners and buyers is situated alongside other changes occurring in the advertising industry, in the national context of particular institutional practices (commissioning system, accreditation and deregulation of the industry), and in the broader context of global economic restructuring and the emergence of the informational mode of development. The challenges faced by the advertising industry, articulated in the 2001 ratings debate, demonstrate Castells’ point that ‘the diffusion of new technologies under the new mode of development calls into question the very processes and organizational forms that were at the basis of demand for information technologies’.

John Ellen, introduced and interviewed by Liz Ferrier: Media Planning and Buying: An Insider's View
John Ellen is a media planning and buying consultant and former managing director of AIS Media in Brisbane. He speaks here about the emergence of specialised media (planning and buying) shops in Australia, commenting that the role of media planners and buyers needs to be understood in terms of the history of the advertising industry in Australia before and after the Trade Practice Commission’s inquiry in 1995 and the subsequent deregulation of the industry. John was interviewed by Liz Ferrier, who also introduces this article.

Lelia Green and Martin Trevaskis: If Media Planning and Buying Hadn't Existed, Would We Have Invented it This Way?
This paper argues that the profession of media planning and buying is subject to a variety of forces that operate together to create an over-reliance on ratings and circulation data. Such a dynamic suits the needs of mainstream media proprietors and offers advertisers a sense of confidence since they are dealing with established quantitative indicators. The status quo in media planning and buying is increasingly problematic, however, in the face of changes in the mediasphere and in audience consumption practices. What is more, advertisers are hungry for a qualitative dimension which is often missing from raw quantitative figures. New and alternative media offer a way through the impasse into the future, but lack the credibility offered by ratings data. Courage will be required from advertisers and their media planner/buyers to break these constraints and make optimum use of emerging, niche and community media.

Mark Balnaves and Duane Varan: Beyond Exposure: Interactive Television and the New Media Currency
Significant effort in advertising is directed towards maximising exposure — to ensure that, for example, a broadcast audience is exposed to an optimum number of messages in a media planning schedule. ‘Interactivity’ as it is emerging, however, has a dramatic effect on traditional assumptions about frequency and reach (how many times the message is repeated and how extensively it is received). Interactivity potentially shifts choice back to the audience, allowing a ‘bypassing’ of attempts to repeat messages. Audiences, given the choice, simply will avoid advertisements that are designed primarily for exposure. Audiences in an environment where they can personalise and customise a medium according to their preferences — and indeed become ‘producers’ of content themselves — will be looking for content that is designed for elaboration, rather than only repetition. There is a background to this emerging trend and it is explored in this paper.

General Articles

Grahame Griffin: The City, the Suburb, the Community and the Local Press: A Gold Coast Case Study
Local and suburban newspapers have not generally received a ‘good press’, at least in the relevant academic literature. This article argues that it is time to reconsider the roles and responsibilities of these newspapers in the light of discussions surrounding the nature of community and of community cohesion and conservatism, as well as the relationship of the local to the global. A case study of two Gold Coast newspapers — a suburban and a daily — concludes that, while the suburban paper relies on traditional hard news journalism with little overt recognition of community, the daily pursues a ‘sometimes obsessive’ search for local meaning, image and identity.

Christine Morris: Indigenising the Effects of Media Globalisation
This article is meant to address an international Indigenous audience and has already been presented at several international forums. The intention of the article is to show the ways in which Indigenous communities in Australia are using technology to promote democratic communication and to challenge global media hegemony perpetuated not only by media moguls but also by those who claim to challenge media on behalf of the oppressed. This tyranny of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices not only emanates from the hegemonic racism of mainstream society, but Fanon’s concept of the comprador bourgeoisie, whom I posit are the ‘desired reflective images and voices’ — the image and voice most palatable to Australia’s media and power structure.

Michael Keane: Facing off on the Final Frontier: The WTO Accession and the Rebranding of China's National Champions
This paper examines ramifications of China’s entry into the World Trade Organis ation (WTO) in the context of the increasing internationalisation of its audio-visual industry landscape. The paper begins with a discussion of the concept of sovereignty. This is juxtaposed against the proposition advanced by US content industry spokesperson Jack Valenti that liberalisation of markets and openness to ‘ideas’ is in China’s greater interest. The point is made that a leap of faith between open markets and the ‘marketplace of ideas’ is viewed suspiciously by Chinese elites, despite their declaration that WTO accession represents a win–win outcome for the Chinese nation. The second section of the paper looks at how China might respond to reassert cultural sovereignty through industry development, in particular the use of branding and localisation. The conclusion reframes the utility of the idea of sovereignty in the light of China’s celebration of national champions.

Chu Yiu-wai: Developing Local Popular Songs in Hong Kong: A Study of the All Cantonese Pop Music Station Format
Taking the case of the All Cantonese Pop Music Station, launched by Commercial Radio of Hong Kong in the late 1980s, this paper investigates the intricate relations among cultural policy, broadcasting institutions and the music industry. Through analysis of this empirical case, the complex relationship between cultural policy and the development of local pop songs is also examined. The major theoretical thrust tackles the important question of whether protective cultural policies are culturally limiting or integral to creating discursive space for indigenous culture to develop.


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