Chinese Media Studies: The State of the Field

 

No 138, February 2011
Theme Editors: Stephanie Hemelryk Donald and Haiqing Yu

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Abstracts

Contents

Editorial

Sue Turnbull

ANZCA News

Kerry McCallum

General Articles

Uniform defamation laws in Australia: Moving towards a more ‘reasonable’
privilege?

Rhonda Breit

Representations of foreign places outside the news: An analysis of Australian
newspaper travel sections

Folker Hanusch

Australian films at the cinema: Rethinking the role of distribution and
exhibition

Karina Aveyard

Soap characters and life skills: An interview study on Shortland Street

Joost de Bruin

Chinese Media Studies: The State of the Field

Chinese media studies: A belated introduction?

Stephanie Hemelryk Donald

Doing Chinese media studies: A reflection on the field’s history and methodology

Haiqing Yu

China media research: The trans-disciplinary challenge

Michael Keane

Mapping ‘Chinese media studies’: A diagnostic survey

Jeesoon Hong

New media, new research methods: Current approaches to research in the virtual world

Lara Arnason

A meta-review of Chinese media studies, 1998–2008

Joyce Nip

Chinese media studies from an inter-Asian perspective

Olivia Khoo

The Chinese-language press in Australia: A preliminary scoping study

Wanning Sun, Jia Gao, Audrey Yue and John Sinclair

Review Essay

Reg Grundy: A review essay

Albert Moran

Reviews

Edited by Susan Bye

 

Abstracts

 

Uniform defamation laws in Australia: Moving towards a more ‘reasonable’ privilege?

Rhonda Breit

A new uniform defamation regime now operates in Australia. This article canvasses the Uniform Defamation Laws (UDLs), focusing on the defence of qualified privilege and its capacity to protect mass media publications in the public interest. Drawing on case law and analysis of the key approaches to statutory privilege, the article evaluates the current approach to statutory qualified privilege. Taking account of observations in O’Hara v Sims (2008, 2009) about the operation of qualified privilege, it questions whether the UDL statutory qualified privilege will ultimately censor publications in the public interest and restrict the application of the qualified privilege defence.

 

Representations of foreign places outside the news: An analysis of Australian newspaper travel sections

Folker Hanusch

Despite continued growth over recent decades, travel journalism has so far gained little attention in journalism research, with scholars often ridiculing it and other forms of lifestyle journalism as not being ‘real’ journalism. This article aims to shift the focus by arguing that non-news journalism is becoming increasingly important as a site for research. It reports the results of a content analysis of Australian newspaper travel sections and examines the role they play in mediating foreign places. The results demonstrate that travel stories mostly can be classed as service stories in that they focus on destinations that are already popular with Australians. At the same time, they report very little about local cultures at the destinations, demonstrating a focus on the
tourist experience and representing a missed opportunity for improving intercultural understanding. A visual analysis of photographs shows stereotypical portrayals of destinations broadly in line with tourism promotion materials.

 

Australian films at the cinema: Rethinking the role of distribution and exhibition

Karina Aveyard

Australian films are criticised regularly for their failure to engage local audiences and for their lack of commercial success. Academic and industry analysis of these shortcomings has tended to focus on problems in production and financing, but has given inadequate attention to the role of distribution and exhibition. This article examines how the commercial and cultural situation of Australian films is fundamentally shaped by the manner in which they are circulated and screened. It highlights the complex interrelations
between the production, distribution and exhibition sectors, and addresses the implications of these issues for contemporary film policy and practice in Australia.

Soap characters and life skills: An interview study on Shortland Street

Joost de Bruin

Australian films is New Zealand’s most successful domestic television soap opera. For this study, 112 regular Shortland Street viewers (92 women and 20 men) were interviewed in 2006, 2007 and 2008. The interviewees spent a considerable amount of time evaluating the soap’s characters. They classified characters as either ‘likeable’ or ‘annoying’, and grouped them according to their ‘life skills’. Talking about characters’ life skills urged viewers to reflect on their own experiences, views and positions. The Shortland Street characters articulate a discursive community with which viewers can interact to discuss life skills they regard as important. While previous soap opera studies have shown that viewers appreciate stronger female characters, in this study
female characters seen as lacking life skills were heavily criticised by many interviewees.

Chinese media studies: A belated introduction?

Stephanie Hemelryk Donald

The past several years have seen the emergence of Chinese media studies as a sub-field in communications and media studies worldwide, as an increasingly popular aspect of area and language-specific culture studies, and as a growing focus within Chinese research and teaching institutions in the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong Special Autonomous Region and Taiwan, as well as in non-Chinese institutions. This collection of articles puts forward the claim that Chinese media studies has become a new ‘proof of life’ for the necessary relationship between humanities and social sciences broadly taken, and research and education in the media.

 

Doing Chinese media studies: A reflection on the field’s history and
methodology

Haiqing Yu

This article reflects on the history and methodology of ‘Chinese media studies’ as a (sub)-field of inquiry in academia. It identifies some key features in its trajectory of development, and particularly addresses some of the methodological concerns with regard to doing media studies – some of which are specific to ‘Chinese’ media studies and some of which are relevant to all inquiries about our mediated lives. It discusses methodology as outlook and orientation in ‘approaching’ Chinese media studies and as techniques and methods in ‘doing’ Chinese media studies. This article provokes, rather thanpromotes, questions and thoughts on the state of Chinese media studies.

 

China media research: The trans-disciplinary challenge

Michael Keane

This article addresses the permeability of the field of China media research and its openness to new ideas; it argues that we need to adopt a wide angle view on research opportunities. Expansion of China’s media during the past decade has opened up possibilities for broadening the field. The discussion first identifies boundary tensions as the field responds to transdisciplinary knowledge, before addressing challenges faced by Chinese researchers or visiting scholars in ‘Western’ media environments. Finally, the article addresses what a wide-angle perspective might include.

 

Mapping ‘Chinese media studies’: A diagnostic survey

Jeesoon Hong

This article views Chinese media as a complex web of diverse academic disciplines and political perspectives, and provides a diagnostic survey of the various disciplines that deal with Chinese media. By clarifying and comparing the methodological characteristics of these academic disciplines, it attempts to prepare for interdisciplinary dialogue. It will pose questions such as what kinds of disciplines have become involved in the studies of Chinese media; what are the main focuses and the methodological characteristics; and what kinds of regional and historical characteristics exist in scholarship on Chinese media. The article maps ‘Chinese media studies’ from four angles: the academic traditions of journalism and communication studies; politics and sociology; Chinese studies; and cinema and cultural studies. It views the main focus of each field respectively as: democracy and political economy of the media industry; civil society and network society; history and language; and culture and power. The disciplinary division cannot be so clearcut, as most works attempt to converse with other disciplines or are by nature interdisciplinary. Using disciplinary mapping allows one to identify the shaping power and distinctions of academic disciplines.

 

New media, new research methods: Current approaches to research in the virtual world

Lara Arnason

Growing use of online games in China means that virtual worlds are becoming an important aspect of Chinese media studies. This transformation of the nature of Chinese media presents new challenges to academic research that traditional methodological approaches do not address. As the first step toward developing academically sound standards for the gathering of both qualitative and quantitative data within the virtual realm, this article explores new methodological challenges presented by the use of Massive Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) as subjects of, or platforms for, research. The article begins with an exploration of general challenges and moves specifically to the context of China.

 

A meta-review of Chinese media studies, 1998–2008

Joyce Nip

This article aims to provide the first comprehensive meta-review of Chinese media studies in an international academic journal. It situates the state of the field against the historical context of institutional development and the flow of ideas related to the study of media in China. Content analysis was conducted on 147 articles in 52 top academic journals between 1998 and 2008. Results show that research on Chinese media has increasingly drawn interest beyond ethnic Chinese researchers, with a rising proportion of articles published by non-ethnic Chinese, and growing collaboration between non-ethnic and ethnic Chinese researchers. The industries and genres have broadened, but journalism remains the most studied industry – as it has been since media studies started in China. The internet has become the most researched medium. Partly due to the influence of mass communication research in the United States, the media message has become the most popular subject of study. Qualitative methods have been used more often than quantitative ones, but an increase in quantitative methods is expected among scholars in Mainland China, as positivist hypothesis-testing methods gain wide acceptance there.

 

Chinese media studies from an inter-Asian perspective

Olivia Khoo

This article interrogates what might be considered specifically ‘Chinese’ about Chinese media studies. Examining Chinese media studies from the complementary perspectives of Inter-Asian cultural studies and diasporic interventions into Chinese media, the article seeks to define (and to extend) the current limits of the field as it has emerged in both teaching and research. In doing so, it considers what has hitherto constituted the ‘legitimate’ object of Chinese media studies and asks what might be encompassed by this field in the future as it continues to grow.

 

The Chinese-language press in Australia: A preliminary scoping study

Wanning Sun, Jia Gao, Audrey Yue and John Sinclair

Despite clear evidence pointing to the centrality of the Chinese press in the historical formation of the Chinese community, and despite the continued importance of the Chinese-language press in the current political, cultural, social and economic life of the Chinese community, there is little understanding of its history and recent growth in mainstream Englishlanguage media scholarship. Worse still, the shift in recent scholarship to the power of cyberspace and other forms of new media in assisting the formations of diasporic subjectivities runs the risk of giving the impression that the print media are no longer relevant. Our article aims to address this blind spot by mapping out the contours of change and continuity within the Chinese language press in Australia. In the first part, we provide a brief historical account of the Chinese migrant communities in Australia, and the role of the press in their formation. We argue that this symbiotic relationship is crucial to understanding the development of the early Chinese-language print media in Australia, which was a less than hospitable society for the Chinese migrants. We then trace the development and evolution of the Chinese-language print media in a range of areas, including the Chinese-language media’s current modus operandi, business strategies, cultural practices and ideological positioning, within the context of China’s rise and the widening impact of China’s promotion of soft power. We conclude by identifying some future directions in the research on the Chinese-language media in Australia, thus contributing to our understanding of some of the opportunities and challenges present in the (re)shaping of Australia’s multicultural policies and politics.

 

Reg Grundy: A review essay

Albert Moran

Adaptation and remaking are central dynamics of culture industries, most especially television. There is now a formal trade in program formats that is part of the evolution of a worldwide screen industry. However, the practice of program cloning is not new: various instances of such activity have been noticed by television historians. Yet systematic investigation of this earlier phase is largely lacking. One major reason has to do with the unavailability of insider accounts by media professionals of how program remaking worked in other times and places. Thus the recent publication of the memoirs of a leading Australian figure in this trade is a significant event. This review essay pinpoints the importance of Reg Grundy in a national and international context, and reflects upon the dynamic of cultural adaptation in the sphere of television content production.

 

Reviews in this issue

Edited by Susan Bye

Cole, Peter and Harcup, Tony, Newspaper Journalism
Davies, Maire Messenger, Children, Media and Culture
Hansen, Anders, Environment, Media and Communication
Izard, Ralph and Perkins, Jay (eds), Covering Disaster: Lessons from Media Coverage of Katrina and Rita
Kivikuru, Ullamaija and Nord, Lars (eds), After The Tsunami: Crisis Communication in Finland and Sweden
Mills, Brett, The Sitcom
Nayar, Pramod K., Seeing Stars: Spectacle, Society and Celebrity Culture
Pearce, Celia, and Artemesia, Communities of Play: Emergent Cultures in Multiplayer Games and Virtual Worlds
Russell, Adrienne and Echchaibi, Nabil (eds), International Blogging: Identity, Politics, and Networked Publics
Simpson, Catherine, Murasawa, Renata and Lambert, Anthony (eds), Diasporas of Australian Cinema
Smith, Hazel and Dean, Roger T. (eds), Practice-Led Research, Research-Led Practice in the Creative Arts
Souza, Maria Dolores and Cabello, Patricio (eds), The Emerging Media Toddlers
Stacey, Jackie, The Cinematic Life of the Gene
Strőmback, Jesper, Orsten, Mark and Aalberg, Toril (eds), Communicating Politics: Political Communications in the Nordic Countries
Sutton, David and Wogan, Peter, Hollywood Blockbusters: The Anthropology of Popular Movies
Thornham, Sue, Bassett, Caroline and Marris, Paul (eds), Media Studies: A Reader (3rd ed.)
Tuman, Joseph S., Communicating Terror: The Rhetorical Dimensions of Terrorism
Visser, Robin, Cities Surround the Countryside: Urban Aesthetics in Postsocialist China

 

 

Cinema-Going, Audiences and Exhibition

No 139, May 2011
Theme Editors: Karina Aveyard and Albert Moran

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Subscription and order form

Abstracts

Contents

Editorial

Sue Turnbull

ANZCA News

Kerry McCallum

General Articles

e-electioneering 2010: Trends in social media use in Australian political
communication

Jim Macnamara and Gail Kenning

Reporting diversity: The representation of ethnic minorities in Australia’s
television current affairs programs

Gail Phillips

Producers speak: Creating civic spaces for New Zealand children

Ruth Zanker

The traitor and the hedonist: The mythology of motherhood in two New Zealand child abuse case Linda Jean Kenix
‘Upholding the penny principle’: The Australian press, empire communications
and the 1929 Beam Wireless Select Committee
Denis Cryle

Government propaganda in the 1950s: The role of the News and Information
Bureau

 Patricia Clarke

 

 Cinema-Going, Audiences and Exhibition

Cinema-going, audiences and exhibition

Karina Aveyard and Albert Moran

Reimagining the history of the experience of cinema in a post-movie-going age

Robert C. Allen

Time, scheduling and cinema-going

Mark Jancovich

‘When the movie started, we all got along’: Generation Y remembers movie night

Janna Jones

‘Society with spectacles’: Cultural memory, business risk and the revival of 3D

Kate Bowles

Constructing the pirate audience: On popular copyright critique, free culture
and cyber-libertarianism

Ramon Lobato

What the country tells us: The place of the ‘rural’ in contemporary
studies of cinema

Karina Aveyard
Private sponsorships and independent film exhibition in Taiwan Hongchi Shiau and Karina Aveyard
Fighting the festival apocalypse: Film festivals and futures in film exhibition Kirsten Stevens
 

Reviews

Edited by Susan Bye

 

Abstracts

 

e-electioneering 2010: Trends in social media use in Australian political communication

Jim Macnamara and Gail Kenning

In the wake of the ‘turning point’ 2004 US presidential election, the Obama campaign of 2008, the 2010 UK election and e-democracy movements globally, Australians went to the polls in 2010 in a media-hyped flurry of tweeting, YouTube videos,Facebook befriending and ‘liking’, blogging and other social media activities. Following a study showing that the 2007 Australian election was not a ‘YouTube election’, as claimed by many media and commentators, and that social media use in the campaign was mostly non-interactive promotional messaging, a study was undertaken during the 2010 federal election campaign to gain comparative data and updated insights. This article reports quantitative and qualitative content analysis of social media use by 206 federal political candidates and the two major political parties during the 2010 Australian election to identify trends in the volume of e-electioneering content and activity, as well as the main ways in which social media are being used in political communication.

 

Reporting diversity: The representation of ethnic minorities in Australia’s television current affairs programs

Gail Phillips

A recent study of ethnic diversity in Australia’s television news showed that diversity of race, culture and religion is largely absent from the news services, unless people from ethnic minorities are posing a social problem of some kind. A parallel study of Australia’s nightly current affairs programs has yielded similar results: like news, they represent Australia as an ‘Anglo’ nation. When ethnic minorities are featured, they tend to occupy peripheral roles, and where they are allowed a central role, it is usually to be shown as threatening and menacing to the Anglo mainstream. The industry codes of practice explicitly state the standards that should apply in reporting on race, culture and religion, yet only the public broadcaster, the ABC, follows the guidelines in the representation of diversity. The reporting practices on the commercial stations deliberately or unwittingly encourage a sense of racial hierarchy in which the Anglo dominates.

 

Producers speak: Creating civic spaces for New Zealand children

Ruth Zanker

This article examines children’s television production discourses. It first contextualises how regulations in New Zealand shape the children’s broadcasting environment, then it asks producers of children’s programs to describe how they go about creating public service programs for children within a complex media political economy. Several questions are addressed, with a key one examining how producers imagine their audiences and construct appropriate public spaces for them within the current constraints of funding and advertising regulation. The field research is based on extended face-to-face interviews conducted in 2009 with producers, a free-to-air television programmer and the television managers for the two funding agencies, New Zealand On Air (NZOA) and Te Māngai Pāho (Māori language media funding).

 

The traitor and the hedonist: The mythology of motherhood in two New Zealand child abuse cases

Linda Jean Kenix

Two recent child abuse cases in New Zealand flooded the local media spotlight and captured the public’s attention. In both cases, the mothers were not charged with murdering their children. Yet both mothers received extensive scrutiny in the media. This qualitative analysis found two central narratives in media content: that of the traitor and that of the hedonist. In drawing upon such archetypal mythologies surrounding motherhood, the media constructed these women as simplistic deviants who did not possess the qualities of a ‘real’ mother. These framing techniques served to divert scrutiny away from civil society and exonerated social institutions of any potential wrongdoing, while also reaffirming a persistent mythology that remains damaging to women.

 

‘Upholding the penny principle’: The Australian press, empire communications
and the 1929 Beam Wireless Select Committee

Denis Cryle

This article analyses the establishment in February 1929 of the Senate Select Committee on Beam Wireless Charges, and examines the role played by powerful local communication interests – in particular, the Australian newspaper press – in the development of Australia’s communications with the outside world, especially Great Britain. It is argued that the establishment of the Beam Wireless Committee of 1929, in which the media played a notable part, represented the culmination of a decade of popular local expectation concerning the advent of cheap, modern communications with the outside world, in turn articulating the needs and cultural isolation of a steady stream of immigrants from Great Britain.

 

Government propaganda in the 1950s: The role of the News and Information
Bureau

Patricia Clarke

This article examines the background to Australian government information or propaganda campaigns in the 1950s carried out by journalists employed in the Australian News and Information Bureau, the government’s overseas publicity unit. It explores the demise of the Department of Information, its replacement by the Australian News and Information Bureau (ANIB), the threats to the existence of the organisation and its increasing relevance in publicising the government’s policies arising from the need to counteract adverse publicity generated by the white Australia policy and to publicise the Colombo Plan. It evaluates these campaigns to the extent that surviving material allows, and advances reasons for their success. It draws on information in departmental files, studies of government information policies towards Asia and the personal experience of the writer, who was an ANIB journalist in the Melbourne and Canberra offices during the 1950s.

 

Cinema-going, audiences and exhibition

Karina Aveyard and Albert Moran

This special issue of Media International Australia represents an effort to progress critical understanding of the broader social and economic formations that shape the circulation and consumption of films. The collection provides a range of diverse and compelling insights into the processes of film circulation and viewing, both within the home and at the cinema. Accordingly, these articles address important questions such as: Why do audiences seek out film content? How are films accessed and by whom? What place does film have in popular social memory? How does the site of consumption shape the meaning of these cultural encounters? By what processes can we identify and study audiences?

 

Reimagining the history of the experience of cinema in a post-movie-going age

Robert C. Allen

As theatrical movie-going is supplanted by other modes of engaging with cinema, it becomes more apparent that one of the most striking features of the experience of cinema for a century was its sociality. Prior to the 1980s, the experience of cinema around the world involved groups of people converging upon particular places to experience together something understood to be cinema. As it emerged as a cultural industry, cinema depended upon the regular repetition of this social practice under the sign of cinema. This article explores the application of digital technologies in representing the history of the experience of cinema in one American state (North Carolina) across the first three decades of commercial cinema. Going to the Show (www.docsouth.unc.edu/gtts) uses data from city directories, newspapers, photographs, architectural drawings, newspaper ads and articles to recover that which is representable about the experience of movie-going in an online archive. This material is itself represented as a layer on more than 1000 digitally stitched and georeferenced map pages for 45 towns and cities in the state. What emerges is a ‘view’ of movie-going as part of the experience of urban life at a time when towns and cities in North Carolina – and across the United States – were taking on their modern character and institutions. It also affords a unique perspective on the role of race as the determinative social factor in the experience of moviegoing for all North Carolinians and, by extension, millions of other Americans.

 

Time, scheduling and cinema-going

Mark Jancovich

The article considers the ways in which the meanings of film consumption are shaped by their timing or scheduling within people’s lives. It begins by considering the ways in which these meanings are shaped in relation to historical time, and how the meanings of film consumption change over time. It then moves on to consider the ‘life course’, or the ways in which meanings of film consumption are affected by the different stages that people pass through across a lifetime. Finally, the article considers more cyclical patterns and routines such as those of the year, week and day. In the process, it seeks to demonstrate that film consumption is about much more than the interpretation of individual programs, and involves a series of social activities that are meaningful within broader social contexts.

 

‘When the movie started, we all got along’: Generation Y remembers movie night

Janna Jones

Most scholars interested in movie-going have focused their attention on the early twentieth century, when going to the cinema was a common part of public life. More recently, however, sites of film consumption have become increasingly dispersed, encompassing both communal and private spaces. Examining ‘movie night’ – an informal, ritualised event in which contemporary families watch a film together at home or at the theatre – this article aims to broaden our understanding of the phenomenon of movie-going by recovering its present day practices. This analysis draws on the experiences of university students who recall movie nights as a set of comforting and enriching performances that had particular meanings within the complex network of their families. This essay argues that while contemporary movie-going practices are far less public than they once were, many of the fundamental elements of cinema’s sociability that existed in cinema’s classic era persist into the present.

 

‘Society with spectacles’: Cultural memory, business risk and the revival of 3D

Kate Bowles

The revival of 3D film and television has engaged media retailers and analysts in discussion of the risks associated with novelty viewing, and the likely barriers to wide acceptance. Research by the University of Southern California shows that purchasing decisions are shaped by perceptions of the history of 3D, and its association with ‘kitschy photos of ’50s movie-house audiences’. In this article, I reflect on one of the most well known of these photographs, in relation to other depictions of the novelty viewing experience of the early 1950s. I suggest that both industry and scholarly analysis might benefit from a more nuanced account of ‘the spectacle’, based on the contribution of qualitative micro-research into the social nature of the audience experience, and argue that the 3D revival offers a valuable opportunity to develop this research.

 

Constructing the pirate audience: On popular copyright critique, free culture and cyber-libertarianism

Ramon Lobato

Digital copyright has become a key site of debate and dissent as a generation of consumers accustomed to file-sharing of proprietary content seeks to assert its rights more aggressively. A vocal anti-copyright movement has emerged, rallying around a free-speech defence of piracy honed in opposition to the hardline approach to intellectual property (IP) enforcement pursued by the US entertainment lobbies. This article discusses recent attempts at collective legitimation within this movement, with a focus on the implicit critiques of copyright that underpin propiracy discourse. I conclude that if this kind of popular copyright critique is to be more than a pet cause for early adopters, it needs to begin with an inclusive philosophy of access that does not reify the creative consumer as the normative citizen of the information society.

 

What the country tells us: The place of the ‘rural’ in contemporary
studies of cinema

Karina Aveyard

Cinemas have an important place in the social and cultural life of many Australian rural towns. They are valued as spaces around which residents of isolated communities can gather and interact, and have a role in mediating concepts of identity and in promoting positive emotional attachment to place. Rural cinema histories suggest these aspects of non-metropolitan movie-going have been significant since the very early days of this screen format. This article examines the role of geography in shaping the circumstances and meaning of cinema-going in contemporary rural Australia. It also explores the connections between modern and historical film attendance practices, which hitherto have been obscured by scholarly neglect of the rural. These interrelationships suggest a basis for rethinking the ways in which cinema audiences are categorised and studied.

 

Private sponsorships and independent film exhibition in Taiwan

Hongchi Shiau and Karina Aveyard

Following the deregulation of the Taiwanese film exhibition industry in the late 1990s, local movie theatres increasingly have spurned domestic productions in favour of more dependable Hollywood blockbusters. With little commercial support for the screening of their projects, independent filmmakers in Taiwan have begun to turn to private sponsors as a means of securing theatrical deals. This article explores the historical development of this practice, and examines how it has helped some filmmakers overcome the structural and economic constraints that affect domestic productions at the cinema. The article is based on research conducted by Hongchi Shiau over a five-year period in Taiwan.

 

Fighting the festival apocalypse: Film festivals and futures in film exhibition

Kirsten Stevens

Since the turn of the millennium, the number of film festivals celebrated annually has exploded, with more than 30 events being celebrated in the Melbourne metropolitan area alone in 2010. The rate of proliferation raises issues of event saturation, bringing into question the future of the film festival format. This article engages with the growing debate over the sustainability of unchecked festival growth. Examining the rise in specialised events that has characterised the film festival phenomenon, it argues that the diverse range and ubiquitous nature of these events collectively forms an exhibition system with the potential to usurp the role of art-house and specialty theatres. As a kind of ‘new cinema’, this article considers how festivals may be reshaping the future of film exhibition.

Taking on the box office

Amanda Malel Trevisanut

For better or worse, under the intensifying pressure of market rationalisation, audience engagement with content produced by the heavily subsidised Australian film industry has become a pivotal issue. Historically, the success of local productions has been evaluated primarily through recourse to box office statistics. Rather than helping the industry, this article argues that over-reliance on this data can only further threaten the security of future government funding by rendering invisible the non-theatrical audience, and lending weight to the perception that Australian audiences don’t consume local content. This article contends that an alternative and more suitable resource needs to be created for industry practitioners. It suggests that, as the industry-specific public institution responsible for the aggregation, interpretation and dissemination of industry-specific data, Screen Australia is the ideal candidate to provide such information.

Reviews in this issue

Edited by Susan Bye

Aronson, Linda, The 21st Century Screenplay: A Comprehensive Guide to Writing Tomorrow’s Films

Beckman, Karen, Crash: Cinema and the Politics of Speed and Stasis

Berra, John (ed.), Directory of World Cinema: American Independent

Brügger, Niels (ed.), Web History

Carah, Nicholas, Pop Brands: Branding, Popular Music and Young People

Exoo, Calvin, The Pen and the Sword

Gehlawat, Ajay, Reframing Bollywood: Theories of Popular Hindi Cinema

Goldsmith, Ben, Ward, Susan and O’Regan, Tom, Local Hollywood: Global Film Production and The Gold Coast

Gripsrud, Jostein and Moe, Hallvard (eds), The Digital Public Sphere: Challenges for Media Policy

Hanusch, Folker, Representing Death in the News: Journalism, Media and Mortality

Hirst Martin, News 2.0: Can Journalism Survive the Internet?

Ito, Mizuko et al., Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning New Media

James, Jonathon D., McDonaldisation, Masala McGospel and Om Economics: Televangelism in Contemporary India

John, Richard R., Network Nation: Inventing American Telecommunications

Lee, Richard E., Knowledge Matters: The Structures of Knowledge and the Crisis of the Modern World-System

Lee, Terence, The Media, Cultural Control and Government in Singapore

McQuail, Denis, McQuail’s Mass Communication Theory, 6th ed.

Pearson, M. and Polden, M., The Journalist’s Guide to Media Law, 4th ed.

Ranganathan, Maya and Rodrigues, Usha M., Indian Media in a Globalised World

 

 

 

Sport, Media and Journalism

No 140, August 2011
Theme Editors: Lawrie Zion, Ramón Spaaij and Matthew Nicholson

Buy this issue

Subscription and order form

Abstracts

Contents

Editorial

Sue Turnbull

ANZCA News

Kerry McCallum

Policy Section: Television – Convergence and Content

2011 Henry Mayer Lecture: Television – convergence and local content: The national broadcaster in the digital world order Kim Dalton
Australian content and convergence Ben Goldsmith
Broadband, the NBN and screen futures Stuart Cunningham

General Articles

From the media moguls to the money men? Media concentration in Australia

Michael Pusey and Marion
McCutcheon

Credibility or convenience? Political information choices in a media-saturated
environment

Kim E. Moody

Children’s content regulation and the ‘obesity epidemic’

Leonie Rutherford, Dean Biron
and Helen Skouteris

Noongar identity and community media Michelle Johnston

Regulating film content in the United States and Australia, 1900–1940

 Sonia Walker

 

 

Sport Media and Journalism

Sport media and journalism: An introduction

Lawrie Zion, Ramón Spaaij
and Matthew Nicholson

A profile of Australian sport journalists (revisited)

Matthew Nicholson, Lawrie Zion
and David Lowden

A tale of two events? Media analysis of the Melbourne 2008 Homeless World Cup

Emma Sherry and Angela
Osborne

Media coverage of sport for athletes with intellectual disabilities: The 2010
Special Olympics National Games examined

Stephen Tanner, Kerry Green
and Shawn Burns

Football’s ‘coming out’: Soccer and homophobia in England’s tabloid press

John Hughson and Marcus Free
Mindless thugs running riot? Mainstream, alternative and online media representations
of football crowd violence

Ramón Spaaij

What league? The representation of female athletes in Australian television
sports coverage

Helen Caple, Kate Greenwood
and Catharine Lumby
Online versus print: A comparative analysis of web-first sports coverage in Australia and the United Kingdom Peter English
The Decision, a case study: LeBron James, ESPN and questions about US sports
journalism losing its way
Robert Banagan

Book Reviews

Edited by Susan Bye

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abstracts

 

2011 Henry Mayer Lecture
Television – convergence and local content: The national broadcaster in the digital world order

Kim Dalton

The long-discussed convergence of communications devices, platforms and content is happening. Digital multi-channels, IPTV, intelligent hand-held devices, EPGs, VOD, PVRs and a range of new social media applications are making the experience of consuming what was once simple linear television content so much more complicated, dynamic, fragmented and compelling. As a participant in these
major shifts and as a public broadcaster, the ABC has its own perspective and stake in both traditional models and the evolution to new models of production, distribution and consumption. Central to the role of the public broadcaster in this changing landscape is commissioning and distributing local content. How can the local content industry survive in a market limited by scale and inundated with cheap foreign content? How have the changes we see happening impacted local demand and local production? More importantly, how can the regulatory and funding support mechanisms that successive governments have developed over the years remain effective? And finally, where does the public broadcaster place itself in this new world?

Australian content and convergence

Ben Goldsmith

This article is a response to Kim Dalton’s 2011 Henry Mayer Lecture. It focuses on Dalton’s discussion of Australian content in the context of the government’s ongoing Convergence Review.

Broadband, the NBN and screen futures

Stuart Cunningham

It is important to try to come to grips with what content and applications are likely to be feasible, popular and beneficial on the National Broadband Network, which is being rolled out now. This short article looks at the three main types of content (‘unmanaged’, ‘managed’ and ‘publicly supported’ services), shows how creative content is being, or could be, deployed across all three, and discusses the
policy opportunities and challenges for content industries in connecting with what Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government and Minister for the Arts Simon Crean calls ‘the largest cultural infrastructure project Australia has ever seen’.

From the media moguls to the money men? Media concentration in Australia

Michael Pusey and Marion McCutcheon

This article examines how the Howard government’s 2006 media ownership rules affected the concentration of ownership of Australian commercial television and radio services and newspapers. It reviews the historical context of these changes
and presents new data on ownership in the light of attitude surveys showing that a large majority of Australians believe media owners have too much power. It shows that the new ownership regime has led to more rather than less concentration of
ownership, and explains how the 2006 rules both give primacy to economic market considerations and further sideline other priorities of quality and democratic governance of the media.

Credibility or convenience? Political information choices in a media-saturated environment

Kim E. Moody

This article considers how a range of personal characteristics (media scepticism, political interest, need for congnition and media gratifications) influence the political information choices of Australians. Data collection was conducted in Brisbane via a postal survey during March and April 2008. The data revealed that the characteristics associated with information quality have very little influence on media use patterns, indicating that use of the media appears to occur simply as a consequence of other everyday life practices, rather than as an information-seeking activity. People regularly use media they do not trust to find out about politics, calling into question the previously assumed centrality of trust to information choices. If convenience trumps credibility in information selection, the importance of media literacy is heightened. The findings also emphasise the need for more holistic contexts for media research, which consider the broader social contexts and practices in which media-oriented behaviours occur.
 

Children's content regulation and the 'obesity epidemic'

Leonie Rutherford, Dean Biron and Helen Skouteris

Some 30 years ago, Australia introduced the Children’s Television Standards (CTS) with the twin goals of providing children with high-quality local programs and offering some protection from the perceived harms of television. The most recent
review of the CTS occurred in the context of a decade of increasing international concern at rising levels of overweight and obesity, especially in very young children. Overlapping regulatory jurisdictions and co-regulatory frameworks complicate the process of addressing pressing issues of child health, while rapid changes to the media ecology have both extended the amount of programming for children and increased the economic challenges for producers. Our article begins with an overview of the conceptual shifts in priorities articulated in the CTS over time. Using the 2007–09 Review of the CTS as a case study, it then examines the role of research and stakeholder discourses in the CTS review process and critiques the effectiveness of existing regulatory regimes, both in providing access to dedicated children’s content and in addressing the problem of escalating obesity levels in the population.

Noongar identity and community media

Michelle Johnston

The Noongar Aboriginal people are the traditional owners of the southwest of Western Australia, including the land on which the city of Perth is located. Their recent history has been dominated by brutal and racist government policies that have created a diverse and complex community working to rediscover and preserve Noongar culture. Community media can be an effective and empowering tool for preserving culture, shaping a contemporary Noongar identity and creating a dialogue between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous urban community of Perth. This article discusses issues of Noongar identity in Perth, and looks at how lessons from the past are shaping new Noongar media initiatives and the establishment of Noongar radio.

Regulating film content in the United States and Australia, 1900–1940

Sonia Walker

Historically, in both Australia and the United States, the issue of film censorship has been a source of conflict between the film industry, community groups and the government. This article compares the methods used to regulate film content in each jurisdiction between 1900 and 1940. It argues that while the legal structure and community pressure groups had a significant influence on the form of control that was implemented, it was the economic strength and structure of the film industry in each country that played a pivotal role in determining the method of film censorship that was adopted.

Sport media and journalism: An introduction

Lawrie Zion, Ramón Spaaij and Matthew Nicholson

The media have played a key role in sport’s ascendancy as a social, cultural and economic institution, both in Australia and internationally. This article outlines some of the recent developments in the nexus between sport and the media, as well as the criticisms that have been levelled at the sport journalism profession. It is argued that it is now difficult to analyse sport, in its many forms, without acknowledging its relationship with the media, and vice versa. The final part of the article draws together the key issues and debates addressed in this themed issue.

A profile of Australian sport journalists (revisited)

Matthew Nicholson, Lawrie Zion and David Lowden

This article presents key findings from a survey of Australian sport journalists, the first of its kind since Henningham’s (1995) seminal study in the early 1990s. Australian sport journalists participated in an online survey, which asked questions related to their profile and work practices. The findings reveal that in many respects the profile of Australian sport journalists is similar to what it was almost twenty years ago, yet there are indications that both the professional lives of sport journalists and the broader sport media industry are undergoing significant change. Like their predecessors, contemporary Australian sport journalists are ‘30-something’, predominantly Australian-born, work in a male-dominated environment, plan to be working in journalism or the media in five years’ time and have similar views about the functions of the news media. The contemporary Australian sport journalists differ in that they are far more educated, are more likely to be located in Victoria and are now more likely to work in non-print media forms such as radio and online than their predecessors, who were far more likely to work in the print media.

A tale of two events? Media analysis of the Melbourne 2008 Homeless World Cup

Emma Sherry and Angela Osborne

In 2008, Melbourne became the first Australian city to host the Homeless World Cup (HWC), an annual international sporting event that aims to raise the profile of homelessness and social marginalisation. This article first examines relevant print media articles relating to the HWC by identifying key themes through thematic and content analysis. It then examines the polarised reporting of the HWC by two print media outlets, The Age and the Herald Sun, and argues that each outlet’s coverage served to reinforce its own established position on the key political and social issues, in this instance homelessness, asylum seeking and immigration. The divergence in the discourses constructed in each paper provides a demonstrative example of the capacity of the media to use events of all sorts to consolidate their political and commercial positions.

Media coverage of sport for athletes with intellectual disabilities: The 2010 Special Olympics National Games examined

Stephen Tanner, Kerry Green and Shawn Burns

In April 2010, Adelaide hosted the IXth national Special Olympics – a sporting event for athletes with intellectual disabilities. This article explores how the print media covered the Games. In particular, our interest is in the language adopted by reporters to describe the athletes and their performances. We were interested to see whether journalists adopted sporting language in their accounts of performances or, alternatively, adopted language that focused on the individual athlete’s disability. The article explores a number of issues surrounding media coverage of sport for people with disabilities, including the extent to which media organisations perpetuate stereotypes about disability and whether this, if established, links back to the media’s reliance on traditional news values.

Football's 'coming out': Soccer and homophobia in England's tabloid press

John Hughson and Marcus Free

This article examines the current contradictory discourses on homosexuality and soccer within the British (specifically English) newspaper media. While support ostensibly is given in the press to the eradication of homophobia in relation to soccer, the continuing promotion of traditional masculine football stereotypes, such as the ‘hard man’, imagines an ongoing heterosexual normativity.  Furthermore, the media fascination with professional soccer players ‘coming out’, although expressed in supportive terms, may be decoded as an attempt to publicly reveal the deviant other. Such ambivalent representation is even evident in coverage of the Kick It Out anti-homophobia campaign. News releases from the campaign have been reinterpreted within media representation to fuel a perceived public interest in wanting to know which Premier League soccer players are gay. Accordingly, by employing a psychoanalytic and post-structuralist perspective on the instability of discursive constructions of heteronormative masculinity, the article considers soccer and its related media as a site of hegemonic contestation in which the dominant discourse of male heterosexuality is at once undergoing challenge and reinforcement.

Mindless thugs running riot? Mainstream, alternative and online media representations of football crowd violence

Ramón Spaaij

This article examines the nature of media coverage of football (soccer) crowd violence in three European countries (England, The Netherlands and Spain). It presents an analytic framework that draws on etic (outsider) and emic (insider)
perspectives, and illustrates how each perspective is (re)presented in different forms of media. Whereas the mainstream media’s reporting of football crowd violence generally is consistent with the notions of etic representation and moral panic,
alternative media tend to construct emic perspectives and use dramatised personal
experience in reporting. The framework presented provides a foundation for further
analysis and empirical investigation of media depictions of football crowd violence.

What league? The representation of female athlets in Australian television sports coverage

Helen Caple, Kate Greenwood and Catharine Lumby

This article explores why women’s sport in Australia still struggles to attract sponsorship and mainstream media coverage despite evidence of high levels of participation and on-field successes. Data are drawn from the largest study of Australian print and television coverage of female athletes undertaken to date in Australia, as well as from a case study examining television coverage of the success of the Matildas, the Australian women’s national football team, in winning the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women’s Asian Cup in 2010. This win was not only the highest ever accolade for any Australian national football team (male or female), but also guaranteed the Matildas a place in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany [where they reached the quarter-finals]. Given the close association between success on the field, sponsorship and television exposure, this article focuses specifically on television reporting. We present evidence of the starkly disproportionate amounts of coverage across this section of the news media, and explore the circular link between media coverage, sponsorship and the profile of women’s sport.

Online versus print: A comparative analysis of web-first sports coverage in Australia and the United Kingdom

Peter English

Sports departments are among the best suited sections of a news organisation for the publishing of web-first articles, due to the urgency of reporting regular matches and news events. The decision about which platform to use first has become a major issue for media outlets. This article reports the results of a comparative analysis of 2606 articles published on the sports websites and newspapers of three Australian (The Australian, The Age and the Courier-Mail) and three UK titles (the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph and The Sun). The study found that the UK publications published more than double the number of web-first stories than the Australian ones. In-depth interviews with staff from each of the sports departments confirmed the view that Australian news organisations would prefer to protect exclusive content by holding it back for the newspaper, while two of the three UK companies pursued web-first aims.

The Decision, A Case Study: LeBron James, ESPN and questions about US sports journalism losing its way

Robert Banagan

When reigning NBA Most Valuable Player, LeBron James announced that he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Miami Heat via free agency in a nationally televised special on 8 July 2010, it set off a firestorm of controversy throughout US sports journalism and popular culture. While the media criticised ESPN, the self-proclaimed ‘Worldwide Leader in Sports’, for its lack of journalistic integrity in the broadcasting of James’ announcement as a one-hour live special entitled The Decision, James himself was vilified in the press as ‘arrogant’, ‘selfish’ and ‘a traitor’. By taking LeBron James’ decision to join the Heat as a case study, this article proposes that James and ESPN are inextricably intertwined, for they operate under the same set of governing philosophies. Through analysis of their enmeshed relationship, alarming issues are raised regarding US sports journalism: the growing confusion regarding ethics, the spread of opportunism for profit and the media’s imposition of nostalgic values on the modern athlete – values of which today’s sportsman has little or no concept. As a result of this analysis, conclusions are drawn regarding the current inability of US sports journalism to police itself.

 

Reviews in this issue

Edited by Susan Bye

Butler, Allison, Media Education Goes to School: Young People Make Meaning of Media and Urban Education

Carlsson, Ulla (ed.), Children and Youth in the Digital Media Culture: From a Nordic Perspective

Collins, Jim, Bring on the Books for Everybody: How Literary Culture Became Popular Culture

Davis, Wendy, Event TV: The Production and Inhabited Resistance  of Images of Control

Dilger, Bradley and Rice, Jeff (eds), From A to <A>: Keywords of  Markup

Dutt, Bishnupriya and Sakar Munsi, Urmimala, Engendering Performance: Indian Women Performers in Search
of an Identity

Falk, Erika, Women for President: Media Bias in Nine Campaigns, 2nd ed.

FitzSimons, Trish, Laughren, Pat and Williamson, Dugald, Australian Documentary: History, Practices and Genres

French, Lisa and Poole, Mark, Shining a Light: 50 Years of the Australian Film Institute

Giroux, Henry A. and Pollock, Grace, The Mouse that Roared: Disney and the End of Innocence

Grundy, Reg, Reg Grundy

Gutnick, Aviva Lucas, Robb, Michael, Takeuchi, Lori and Kotler, Jennifer, Always Connected: The New Digital Media Habits of Young Children

Herf, Jeffrey, Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World

Hight, Craig, Television Mockumentary: Reflexivity, Satire and a Call to Play

Hood, Johanna, HIV/AIDS Health and the Media in China: Imagined Immunity Through Racialized Disease

Jelinčić, Daniela Angelina (ed.), Cultural Tourism Goes Virtual: Audience Development in Southeast European Countries

Kotilainen, Sirkku and Arnolds-Granlund, Sol-Britt (eds), Media LiteraryEducation: Nordic Perspectives

Lowe, Gregory Ferrell (ed.), The Public in Public Service Media: RIPE@20091

Lucy, N., Pomo Oz: Fear and Loathing Downunder

Meikle, Graham and Redden, Guy (eds), News Online: Transformations & Continuities

Milne, Esther, Letters, Postcards, Email: Technologies of Presence

Muller, Denis, Media Ethics and Disasters: Lessons from the Black Saturday Bushfires

Petro, Patrice (ed.), Idols of Modernity: Movie Stars of the 1920s

Sachsman, David B., Simon, James and Valenti, JoAnn Myer, Environment Reporters in the 21st Century

Thomas, Pradip Ninan, Strong Religion, Zealous Media: Christian Fundamentalism and Communication
in India

Wilderson, Frank B. III, Red, White & Black: Cinema and the Structure of US Antagonisms   

 

 

 

Riding the Korean Digital Wave

No 141, November 2011
Theme Editors: Brian Yecies, Kwang-Suk Lee and Ben Goldsmith

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Abstracts

Contents

Editorial

Sue Turnbull

ANZCA News

Alison Henderson

General Articles

DrinkWise, enjoy responsibly: News frames, branding and alcohol

Nicholas Carah and Andrew van Horen

Rethinking the rhetoric of remix

Margie Borschke

High-stakes television: Fan engagement, market literacy and the battle for sports content

Michael Scibilia and Brett Hutchins

The European exception: Historical evolution of Spanish radio as a cultural industry Montse Bonet and Luis Aboledas

'A Makara-like wave came crashing': Sri Lankan narratives of the Boxing Day tsunami

 Michael Bourk

 

Australian press and public opinion on the Israel–Palestine conflict Eulalia Han and Halim Rane

 

Riding the Korean Digital Wave

In search of the Korean digital wave

Ben Goldsmith, Kwang-Suk Lee and Brian Yecies

Korean youth netizenship and its discontents

Stephen Epstein and Sun Jung

From 'revolutionary changes' to 'things as usual': The political role of online media in South Korea

Ki-Sung Kwak

Blogging as 'recoding': A case study of the discursive war over the sinking of the Cheonan

Yeran Kim, Irkwon Jeong, Hyoungkoo Khang and Bomi Kim

Interrogating 'digital Korea': Mobile phone tracking and the spatial expansion of labour control

Kwang-Suk Lee
Locating the online: Creativity and user-created content in Seoul

Larissa Hjorth

The digital Korean wave: Local online gaming goes global

Dal Yong Jin
Digital intermediary: Korean transnational cinema Brian Yecies, Ae-Gyung Shim and Ben Goldsmith
Korean cosmetic surgery and digital publicity: Beauty by Korean design Gloria Davies and Gil-Soo Han

Book Reviews

Edited by Susan Bye

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abstracts

 

DrinkWise, enjoy responsibly: News frames, branding and alcohol

Nicholas Carah and Andrew van Horen

This article examines the communicative activities and press coverage of the alcohol industry-funded social-change organisation DrinkWise. Established in 2005, DrinkWise funds health research in universities, runs public health campaigns and engages in public relations activities. We use a framing analysis to examine the way DrinkWise frames problems, judgements and solutions related to alcohol consumption and policy. The aim of this analysis is to examine how journalistic practice legitimises DrinkWise and facilitates the organisation’s communicative activities. In addition, we consider how DrinkWise’s representation in the press works alongside the organisation’s array of communicative activities to facilitate the commercial objectives of the alcohol industry. We draw on the implications of this analysis to conceptualise how distinct forms of communicative work – such as academic research, policy-making, journalism and marketing, advertising and public relations – are interconnected.

Rethinking the rhetoric of remix

Margie Borschke

How did ‘remix’, a post-production technique and compositional form in dance music, come to describe digital culture? Is it an apt metaphor? This article considers the rhetorical use of remix in Lawrence Lessig’s case for copyright reform in Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy (2008). I argue that Lessig’s understanding of remix is problematic, as it seems unable to accommodate its musical namesake and obscures the particular history of media use in recent music culture. Drawing on qualitative analysis of popular music cultures, I argue that the conceptualisation of remix as any media made from pre-existing media is problematic. The origins of remix, I argue, provides a lens for thinking critically about the rhetorical uses of the term in current discourse and forces us to ponder materialities. My aim is not to dispute the word’s contemporary meaning or attempt to establish a correct usage of the term – clearly a wide variety of creators call their work remix; instead, this article considers the rhetorical work that remix is asked to perform as a way of probing the assumptions and aspirations that lurk behind Lessig’s argument.

High-stakes television: Fan engagement, market literacy and the battle for sports content

Michael Scibilia and Brett Hutchins

Televised on Network Ten’s new digital multi-channel One HD in April 2010, the Foot Locker Elite Classic – High Stakes Hoops (HSH) was a one-off made-for- television event. Highlighting an intersection between media policy decisions, fan culture and sports media, this basketball tournament is an unlikely source of insight into the contemporary media marketplace. The event was born out of changing television industry conditions. It served the mutual dependencies of a media-starved sport in Australia – basketball – and a brand new commercial network digital multi-channel, One HD, that required extensive content to fill its 24-hour, seven-day-a-week schedule. One HD was launched by Network Ten in 2009, and competes with the specialist pay television provider Fox Sports. This article argues that it was knowledge of these broader television market conditions that significantly informed the staging and collective meaning of HSH for many fans, rather than just the quality of the play or the teams taking part. Media sport market literacy – discussion about the business and strategic value of television and media coverage – is now an under-acknowledged but important part of fan discussion.

The European exception: Historical evolution of Spanish radio as a cultural industry

Montse Bonet and Luis Arboledas

The main aim of this article is to examine the history of radio in Spain using a cultural industries approach, in order to analyse how the social and economic context and the various communication policies (or lack of them) have contributed to making the Spanish radio system what it is today. Through this approach, a greater understanding will be reached of its past and present business model, the agents involved and the market structure supporting it. Spanish radio is highly regulated at the national level, which is why the study of communication policies is a fundamental – but not the only – pillar of the theoretical tradition under consideratiion.

'A Makara-like wave came crashing': Sri Lankan narratives of the Boxing Day tsunami

Michael Bourk

The Boxing Day tsunami in 2004 brought widespread loss of life and destruction to most of the coastal communities of Sri Lanka. Communities attempting to make sense of the natural disaster and subsequent destruction struggle to describe such unusual and cataclysmic events, which can transform benign physical local environments into disaster zones. Natural disasters force people to rethink the relationship between culture and nature, often using the bricolage of available signs and concepts. This case study uses data from Sri Lankan English-language newspapers, in-depth interviews and a focus group to identify prominent themes in the recollections of the tsunami and its aftermath. Four themes are drawn primarily from oral narratives of a small coastal community near Galle in the south: monster and monsterisation of victims; metaphysical reciprocity; reconsideration of mythical events; and unique corporeality. Arguably, these themes resonate to varying degrees with descriptive and explanatory force to facilitate psychological recovery for those affected. The findings suggest that communities affected by natural disasters make sense of traumatic events through descriptions and narratives that give symbolic and/or ideological agency to events in an effort to rationalise them and restore order to people’s lives and place in the universe.

Australian press and public opinion on the Israel–Palestine conflict

Eulalia Han and Halim Rane

This article examines the relationship between Australian press coverage of, and public opinion on, the Israel–Palestine conflict using a framing perspective. The first part of the study involves analysis of almost 10,000 articles published in The Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald between 2000 and 2010. The second part of the study is based on an online survey conducted with 1021 participants nationally. The main aim of this study is to identify the extent to which the issues deemed most central to resolving the conflict have been covered by the Australian press and the extent to which Australian public opinion is either reflective of this content or represents alternate views. The study found that respondents expressed perspectives inconsistent with prevalent news frames, including a close identification with the Palestinian narrative as well as views on a resolution of the conflict reflective of a concern for human rights and universal values.

 

In search of the Korean digital wave

Ben Goldsmith, Kwang-Suk Lee and Brian Yecies

This article sets the context for this special themed issue on the ‘Korean digital wave’ by considering the symbiotic relationship between digital technologies, their techniques and practices, their uses and the affordances they provide, and Korea’s ‘compressed modernity’ and swift industrialisation. It underscores the importance of interrogating a range of groundbreaking developments and innovations within Korea’s digital mediascapes, and its creative and cultural industries, in order to gain a complex understanding of one of Australia’s most significant export markets and trading partners. Given the financial and political commitment in Australia to a high-speed broadband network that aims to stimulate economic and cultural activity, recent technological developments in Korea, and the double-edged role played by government policy in shaping the ‘Korean digital wave’, merit close attention from media and communications scholars.

Korean youth netizenship and its discontents

Stephen Epstein and Sun Jung

South Korea frequently is regarded as standing at the vanguard of the digital revolution, and its status as perhaps the world’s most wired society makes it a fruitful case study for considering how digital culture may develop. South Korea’s reputation rests in part on statistics that place it at the global forefront in terms of broadband penetration and internet speed – that is, its infrastructural ‘hardware’ – but it is equally in the cultural expression of Korea’s engagement with digital media – its ‘software’ – that the nation evinces characteristics that call for attention. Compressed modernisation in South Korea has brought about contestation over acceptable behaviour, and several recent incidents highlight the thorny negotiation of cultural practice in the Web 2.0 era. This article focuses on two interrelated phenomena: first, the use of digital media to confront convention and foster activism; and second, an opposing desire to police violations of norms, often at the expense of invasion of privacy and human rights.

From 'revolutionary changes' to 'things as usual': The political role of online media in South Korea

Ki-Sung Kwak

This article examines the political role of online media in the process of democratisation in South Korea. It argues that online media in Korea emerged when the institutionalisation of the political parties was weak, and when the mainstream media were polarised, losing the trust of the general public. These two factors allowed new forces in civil society to emerge as influential mediators in political communication and mobilisation. The political impact of online media experienced in the Korean context shows that the great potential of the internet demonstrated in the first half of the 2000s proved to be less potent in the 2007 presidential election because political and media contingencies had neutralised it. In 2007, online media were adopted by the incumbent political party and also by the mainstream media, which utilised their existing power resources and advantage.

Blogging as 'recoding': A case study of the discursive war over the sinking of the Cheonan

Yeran Kim, Irkwon Jeong, Hyoungkoo Khang and Bomi Kim

This article explores how Korean bloggers, in contestation, participate in the social structure of communication and potentially transform it through their vernacular practices of decoding and recoding in the blogosphere. As a neo-liberal regime has been established, citizens practise discursive politics in a seemingly democratic and technologically advanced society that is actually a coercive-controlled communication system. Through the analysis of news blogs on the Cheonan disaster, it is suggested that a majority of bloggers are seen to utilise news media stories to gain leverage for their points of view or to provide counter-arguments against the dominant frames generated by the established news media. The critical reframing of the digital network in Korean society allows a reflexive reading of the Korean digital wave, which should be contextualised within generation politics, economic polarisation and ideological contestation. In order to avoid a nationalistic celebration of the IT power of the country, citizens’ digital media practices are analysed as contributions to the democratisation of the public sphere and the enhancement of social openness and participation in the digitised arena of discursive politics.

Interrogating ‘Digital Korea’: Mobile phone tracking and the spatial expansion of labour control

Kwang-Suk Lee

This study investigates the realistic conditions of ‘digital Korea’, especially as they are exemplified by the Samsung SDI scandal in South Korea. Samsung SDI, the world’s largest plasma TV maker and a subsidiary of the Samsung Group, has fallen under suspicion due to using illegally cloned mobile phones to track the location data of some activist workers who tried to organise a union. The study stresses that this example of mobile tracking represents the shady side of mobile phone use created by management’s excessive desire for labour control, and confirms that mobile tracking techniques make possible the spatial expansion of the scope of power. The spatial vocabulary of power is not totalitarian, but dispersed and nomadic in action, and resides in the space of ‘flows’ constructed by electronic impulses. This study discloses that, for private corporations, mobile tracking facilitates a form of efficient, invisible labour control over ‘targeted’ workers, even outside the workplace. It concludes that the control of labourers in Korea has been reinforced by the confluence of business interests, the under-developed political system and a societal lack of interest in privacy.

Locating the online: Creativity and user-created content in Seoul

Larissa Hjorth

As one location boasting high broadband speeds, infrastructure, strong technonationalist policy and some of the early examples of so-called ‘digital natives’, South Korea has been seen as the model for the future of online culture. However, beyond these images of techno-fantasies is a technoculture that is marred by an increasing ambivalence towards online media. Specifically through user-created content (UCC), researchers can gain insight into some of the paradoxes emerging around online creativity, community and politics. Drawing on fieldwork conducted between 2009 and 2011, this article considers what UCC means in Korea and how this reflects the particularities of Korea’s technoculture.

The digital Korean wave: Local online gaming goes global

Dal Yong Jin

In the twenty-first century, the Korean wave has been expanding with the growth of digital culture, particularly online gaming. The rapid growth of the Korean online game industry and exports to Western markets have raised the fundamental question of whether digital culture has changed the Korean wave from a regionally focused cultural flow to a Western-focused contra-flow. This article discusses the Korean online gaming industry as an example of contra-flow. It also maps out the process by which local online games are appropriated for Western game users through content hybridisation and glocalisation. Finally, it questions whether this new trend can diminish asymmetrical cultural flows between the West and the East.

Digital intermediary: Korean transnational cinema

Brian Yecies, Ae-Gyung Shim and Ben Goldsmith

Since censorship was lifted in Korea in 1996, collaboration between Korean and foreign filmmakers has grown in both extent and visibility. Korean films have been shot in Australia, New Zealand and mainland China, while the Korean digital postproduction and visual effects firms behind blockbusters infused with local effects have gone on to work with filmmakers from greater China and Hollywood. Korean cinema has become known for its universal storylines, genre experimentation and high production values. The number of exported Korean films has increased, as has the number of Korean actors starring in films made in other countries. Korea has hosted major international industry events. These milestones have facilitated an unprecedented international expansion of the Korean film industry. With the advent of the ‘digital wave’ in Korea – the film industry’s transition to digital production practices – this expansion has accelerated. Korean film agencies – the pillars of the national cinema – have played important parts in this  internationalisation, particularly in promoting Korean films and filmmakers outside Korea and in facilitating international events in Korea itself. Yet, for the most part, projects involving Korean filmmakers working in partnership with filmmakers from other countries are the products of individuals and businesses working outside official channels. That is, they are often better understood as ‘transnational’ rather than ‘national’ or ‘international’ projects. In this article, we focus on a range of collaborations involving Korean, Australian, New Zealand and Chinese filmmakers and firms. These collaborations highlight some of the forces that have shaped the digital wave in the Korean film industry, and illustrate the increasingly influential role that the digital expertise of Korean filmmakers is playing in film industries, both regionally and around the world.

Korean cosmetic surgery and digital publicity: Beauty by Korean design

Gloria Davies and Gil-Soo Han

This article examines the relationship between digital publicity and cosmetic surgery. While focused on South Korea, it also discusses China because of the conspicuous Chinese demand for Korean cosmetic surgery in recent years. In fact, China has become the largest export market for Korean cosmetic surgery. The analysis is based on the premise that there is a vital link between cosmetic surgery and digital technology in both these countries. We argue that the celebrity culture spawned by entertainment media has facilitated the normalisation of cosmetic surgery to the extent that it is commonly viewed, quite unproblematically, as a form of human physiological enhancement. The article examines the publicity surrounding cosmetic surgery (comprising media reports, advertisements and commentaries) to see how it is presented in the Korean media and on the internet. These findings are then considered in relation to the promotion of Korean cosmetic surgery in China.

 

Reviews in this issue

Edited by Susan Bye

Goggin, Gerard, Gerard, Global Mobile Media

Goldsmith, Ben and Lealand, Geoff (eds), Directory of World Cinema: Australia and New Zealand

Graf, Heike (ed), Diversity in Theory and Practice: News Journalists in Sweden and Germany

Gustafsson, Karl Erik and Ryden, Per, A History of the Press in Sweden

Hodkinson, Paul, Media, Culture and Society: An Introduction

King, Homay, King, Lost in Translation: Orientalism, Cinema, and the Enigmatic Signifier

Kitler, Friedrich, Optical Media

Lederach, John Paul and Lederach, Angela Jill, When Blood and Bones Cry Out: Journeys through the Soundscape of Healing and Reconciliation

Nachman, Gerald,  Right Here on Our Stage Tonight! Ed Sullivan’s America

Williams, Kevin, Read All About It! A History of British Newspapers

 

 

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