The Media's Role in Social Inclusion and Exclusion 

No 142, February 2012

Theme Editors: Jacqui Ewart and Collette Snowden

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Subscription and order form

Abstracts

 

Contents

Editorial

Sue Turnbull

ANZCA News

Alison Henderson

General Articles

Madman Entertainment: A case study in ‘by fans for fans’ media distribution

Jason Bainbridge and Craig Norris

Transitions in the film trade among OECD countries: A network approach

Junho H. Choi, Sang-Woo Lee and
Bum-Soo Chon

Goa Hippy Tribe: Theorising documentary content on a social network site

Kate Nash

The politics of blogs: Theories of discursive activism online

Frances Shaw

Local talkback radio and political engagement Lisa Gunders

 

The Media's Role in Social Inclusion and Exclusion

The media’s role in social inclusion and exclusion

Jacqui Ewart and Collette Snowden

‘I’m alright, thanks’: Non-conformity and the media framing of social inclusion

Collette Snowden

Socially inclusive processes: New opportunities with new media?

Robyn Penman and Sue Turnbull

Dimensions of digital media literacy and the relationship with social exclusion

Sora Park

Raising the volume: Indigenous voices in news media and policy

Kerry McCallum, Lisa Waller and
Michael Meadows

Host/host conversations: Analysing moral and social order in talk on commercial radio

Kate Ames

Exploring the unity in Australian community radio

Jacqui Ewart

Meanings of integration in the Australian press coverage of Muslims:
Implications for social inclusion and exclusion 

Halim Rane and Abdi Hersi

Truth-telling at the border: An audience appraisal of Border Security Emma Price and Amy Nethery
A partial promise of voice: Digital storytelling and the limits of listening Tanja Dreher
'The Girl in Cell 4': Securing social inclusion through a journalist–source collaboration Bonita Mason

Book Reviews

Edited by Susan Bye

 

Abstracts

 

Madman Entertainment: A case study in ‘by fans for fans’ media distribution

Jason Bainbridge and Craig Norris

This article is part of a larger research project looking at the role of Australian media companies in sustaining fan and Australian investment in global popular culture. This article focuses on Madman Entertainment – one of the most successful DVD and merchandise distribution companies in Australia and the leading distributor of anime, with over 90 per cent of the market share. The article explores the ways in which Madman has become a part of the simultaneous globalisation and localisation of Japanese cultural products, and sets out to show how profiling such a company can also provide some insight into the changing role of fans in driving innovation and investment in popular culture.

 

Transitions in the film trade among OECD countries: A network approach

Junho H. Choi, Sang-Woo Lee and Bum-Soo Chon 

This article explores the structural transitions of the international film trade among 32 OECD countries over eleven years since 1996. A network analysis of the trade data shows that there have been changes in the pattern of the film trade over the past decade, and this transition is markedly apparent around 2002, when the WTO Doha Round was launched. A discrepancy between film import and export partnership patterns has enlarged since 2002. While the export pattern among OECD countries is stable over time, the film-import pattern shows a temporal transition before and after 2002. The results also demonstrate that the US film industry has utilised partial localisation strategies, such as co-production and runaway production, in an effort to maintain dominance in the international film market.

  

Goa Hippy Tribe: Theorising documentary content on a social network site

Kate Nash

In the 1970s, a wave of young Western hippies descended on the beaches of Goa in India. Forty years later, some of them reconnected on the social network site Facebook and planned a reunion. This event, and the Goan hippy community then and now, are the subjects of a documentary called Goa Hippy Tribe, produced by Australian documentary maker Darius Devas. Funded by Screen Australia, SBS and Screen New South Wales, Goa Hippy Tribe is the first Australian documentary to be produced for the social network site Facebook. In this article, I consider how documentary in a social network context might be theorised. While the concept of the database narrative is most often invoked to explain user interactivity in online documentary, social networks such as Facebook invite different forms of interaction, and therefore raise distinct theoretical questions. In particular, Goa Hippy Tribe demonstrates the potential for the audience to engage creatively and communally with documentary.

  

The politics of blogs: Theories of discursive activism online

Frances Shaw

Many discussions of discursive politics online take a deliberative democracy, or public sphere, approach. Public sphere theory has had value for the discussion of discursive politics online, but I argue that the problems of public sphere theory have led to the neglect of counter-hegemonic political projects in understandings of online deliberative democracy. Agonistic democracy should be explored further as an alternative framework for the study of online political communities. In addition, I propose that this conception be modified with greater analysis of the affective dimensions of online politics, the productive uses of conflict, the role of political listening and an understanding of discursive activism informed by feminist philosophy. The Australian feminist blogging community, a network comprising group and individual blogs, provides a case study for my research into discursive activism in online contexts.

 

Local talkback radio and political engagement

Lisa Gunders

This article investigates the way in which one particular talk radio program, Mornings with Madonna King, deploys strategies that seem to address some of the criticisms levelled at conventional news formats in their ability to engage people as citizens. The program does this by providing background information, linking news content to listeners’ experience and creating an impression of efficacy. Finally, the article examines how the institutional practices of radio production and consumption constrain this democratic potential.

 

The media’s role in social inclusion and exclusion

Jacqui Ewart and Collette Snowden

Definitions of social inclusion and exclusion are fluid, and researchers and policy-makers have not agreed upon an all-encompassing definition. For wider society, social inclusion requires the transformation of these emerging definitions into ‘lived experience’ and actions. For the media, reporting on social inclusion is complicated by the confusion about what social inclusion is and to whom it is intended to apply, and by the gap between the ideal and the slower pace of societal change. Until recently, media studies researchers have focused largely on the issue of social exclusion and the media. The goal of this themed issue of MIA is to address some of the gaps in scholarly knowledge about the media’s role in social inclusion and exclusion, and the context of that role within the wider social and political discourses. Our aim is to move beyond existing understandings of the media’s role in social exclusion to look at spaces and places where there have been attempts to provide inclusion and whether they have worked, but also what issues and problems might have beset them.

 

‘I’m alright, thanks’: Non-conformity and the media framing of social inclusion

Collette Snowden

The concept of social inclusion generally is discussed as an ideal to which there is no opposition, and to which policy and practices in society necessarily must be directed. This article discusses how current notions of social inclusion in policy, academic and media discourses are related to historical representations of social disadvantage. It also discusses how social inclusion policies and ideas in Australia accord with cultural values and ideals of egalitarianism, but conflict with the values of non-conformity and anti-authoritarianism celebrated in the national identity. It examines how the media framing of social inclusion is influenced by the received understanding and historic representation of social inclusion, as well as how media representations of non-conformity in Australia are framed by a mythology of Australian journalists and journalism as larrikins and non-conformist. It argues that while media framing of social inclusion frequently reflects and promotes the dominant perspective as constructed by government and academic discourses, Australian media reporting is able at times to provide a positive alternative to the homogenising and bureaucratic view of social inclusion by championing and celebrating non-conformity and anti-authoritarianism. 

 

Socially inclusive processes: New opportunities with new media?

Robyn Penman and Sue Turnbull

 

The tools of Web 2.0 and its culture of open collaboration offer a number of new opportunities to individuals, communities and governments. At first glance, many of these opportunities appear to lend themselves to fostering socially inclusive practices, and the report of the Government 2.0 Taskforce in 2009 certainly claimed this. However, while there has been much discussion of social inclusion in policy terms, there has been little consideration of what it means in practice, and no evidence to link the efficacy of new media in enhancing that practice. We develop a conceptual framework to account for the practice of social inclusion, drawing on recent developments in media theory focused on the themes of hospitality and listening. This framework is used to analyse the government’s Social Inclusion website and the online forum. Our analysis suggests new media may offer the potential for new opportunities for social inclusion, but there are a number of factors militating against these opportunities being taken up to good effect.

 

Dimensions of digital media literacy and the relationship with social exclusion

Sora Park

This article has two objectives. The first is to conceptualise digital media literacy as a multi-dimensional concept by differentiating media content from media device. A broad range of skills is required to use digital media, and each dimension can be clarified by separating the device from the content. The second goal is to relate social exclusion to digital media literacy. How people use digital technology has long-term outcomes that could be either beneficial or disadvantageous. In the first part of the article, the multi-dimensional aspect of digital media literacy is discussed. Dimensions include the abilities to access, understand and create both in the area of device and content. The second part of the article discusses how social exclusion is related mostly to the third dimension of digital media literacy: the ability to create and participate.

 

Raising the volume: Indigenous voices in news media and policy

Kerry McCallum, Lisa Waller and Michael Meadows

This article explores Indigenous contributions to shaping public and policy agendas through their use of the news media. It reports on research conducted for the Australian News Media and Indigenous Policy-making 1988–2008 project that is investigating relationships between the representation of Indigenous peoples in public media and the development of Indigenous affairs policies. Interviews with Indigenous policy advocates, journalists and public servants identified the strategies that have been used by individuals and Indigenous organisations to penetrate policy debates and influence public policy. The article concludes that in the face of a neo-liberal policy agenda amplified through mainstream media, particular Indigenous voices nevertheless have had a significant impact, keeping alive debate about issues such as the importance of bilingual education programs and community involvement in the delivery of primary health care.

 

Host/host conversations: Analysing moral and social order in talk on commercial radio

Kate Ames

Talk between dual (or triple) host combinations dominates breakfast and drive programs. These programs are chat based, and incorporate talk on a range of topics conducted for an overhearing audience, including talkback segments that involve callers. This article considers the features of chat-based programming, and proposes a framework for analysis into talk-in-interaction on this format. Using ethnomethodological approaches – conversation and membership category analysis – as the basis for analysis, this article argues that in addition to the influence of the ‘radio program’, there are three membership category devices that influence host/host talk. These are ‘telling stories’, ‘members of a team’ and ‘members of a community’. The ways in which hosts and callers orient to these have consequences that may lead to the overt or subtle exclusion, or otherwise, of members of the overhearing audience, and this approach encourages a systematic analysis of the type of community to which participants orient within particular program.

 

Exploring the unity in Australian community radio

Jacqui Ewart

It’s no secret that the representation of migrant groups in the media has been particularly problematic, as has been their access to mainstream media, and both issues have attracted a great deal of research. Far less attention has been paid by researchers to how these groups respond when they experience such difficulties, and the various forms of media they use to engage with a variety of issues pertinent to them and their settlement experiences. This article uses data from two projects: Australia’s first, and to date only, national study of community radio audiences; and a more recent case study of a community radio station undertaken in the course of research into talkback radio audiences. It reveals that community radio stations and programs provide migrant communities with a space in which they can discuss and negotiate their civic and social rights and responsibilities. Drawing on the reflections of audience members who listen to and call specific radio programs, this article explores the under-examined but vital role performed by these stations and programs in the social and civic lives of immigrants. It reveals that ethnic community radio programs are helping some audience members to formulate notions of good citizenship, and thus engage with democratic processes, which is vital to feeling socially included. The research reveals immigrants are using community radio proactively to reach out to and connect with the broader Australian community, while also reminding themselves of their homeland, culture and language. However, this article warns that researchers have largely focused on the ‘good news story’ of community broadcasting and suggests that a more critical approach to future research is warranted.

 

Meanings of integration in the Australian press coverage of Muslims: Implications for social inclusion and exclusion

Halim Rane and Abdi Hersi

This article uses a framing perspective to analyse the Australian press coverage of Muslim Australians with regard to the issue of their integration into Australian society. Taking a qualitative approach, this study is based on analysis of articles published in The Australian, the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and the Courier-Mail in alternate years from 2002 to 2010. Of particular focus are the themes and definitions associated with integration that arise in the context of the coverage. The study finds the coverage of Muslim integration to contain both favourable and pejorative representations of Muslims. However, the coverage tends to focus on certain themes that represent only a minority of Muslims, such as radicalisation and terrorism. Muslim integration also features as central to debates concerning multiculturalism, Australian values and the citizenship test. The coverage uses narrow definitions of integration that are based mainly on cultural indicators rather than other definitions prevalent in the scholarly literature on integration, such as economic, political and broader social indicators. Overall, the article suggests that these limitations to the coverage have the potential to impact on public perceptions of social inclusion and exclusion in relation to Muslim Australians.

 

Truth-telling at the border: An audience appraisal of Border Security

Emma Price and Amy Nethery 

Since its initial broadcast in October 2004, Border Security: Australia’s Front Line has enjoyed sustained high ratings on Australian television. This article examines the key theme of ‘truth-telling’ in Border Security. Drawing on interviews with audiences and the program’s executive producer, the article argues that the way truth-telling shapes the storytelling in Border Security taps into contemporary social and political ideas about how and why Australian borders should be managed. As a diagnostic tool for identifying authenticity, truth-telling is the key condition, or ‘rule’, that newcomers must follow if they want to enter the country. But audiences also apply the rule of truth-telling to the program itself, and disengage when they feel like they are being manipulated. Truth-telling at the border – by people wanting to enter the country and by the program production itself – contributes to the continued popularity of the program with Australian audiences, and also explains when and why audiences disengage with the program.

 

A partial promise of voice: Digital storytelling and the limits of listening

Tanja Dreher

The continual rise of participatory media offers increasing opportunities for nonprofessionals and marginalised communities to tell their stories. In the policy arena, Australia’s Social Inclusion Agenda and international debates on indicators of well-being name ‘voice’ as a key capability for social inclusion and individual flourishing. In this article, I engage recent scholarship on ‘listening’ and ‘voice that matters’ to highlight the limits of the participatory media genre of digital storytelling and of the social inclusion category of ‘voice’. The discussion is illustrated via examples from public launch events for ‘mini-films’ produced in digital storytelling projects facilitated by Information Cultural Exchange (ICE), a new media arts organisation working in Sydney’s cosmopolitan western suburbs. While these public events ensure a process of ‘voice’, I argue for a greater commitment to political listening in media research, practice and policy, lest the promise of ‘voice’ remain only partially fulfilled.

 

‘The Girl in Cell 4’: Securing social inclusion through a journalist–source collaboration

Bonita Mason

Aboriginal people who die in custody face two forms of exclusion: one evident in their disproportionately high imprisonment rates; the other in their traditional lack of voice in the media. This latter exclusion comes about through journalistic practices that privilege authoritative sources and emphasise distance. Janet Beetson was one of fourteen Aboriginal people to die in custody in 1994, a record year for Aboriginal prison deaths. At the time, her death went largely unremarked in the mainstream media. ‘The Girl in Cell 4’ was published in 1997 about these 1994 events. It was not breaking news: its aim was to tell in detail the story of the last week of Janet Beetson’s life through an investigation of what led to her avoidable death. This article charts the critical importance of Janet Beetson’s family members in bringing the story to public attention in a way that honoured their loved one and called to account the systems that allowed her to die. This journalist–source collaboration challenges orthodox ideas about arm’s length reporting, and indicates that such collaboration can provide for social inclusio

 

Reviews in this issue

Edited by Susan Bye

Bennett, James and Strange, Niki (eds), Television as Digital Media

Bolin, Göran, Value and the Media: Cultural Production and Consumption in Digital Markets

Bonner, Frances, Personality Presenters: Television’s Intermediaries with Viewers

Breen, Marcus, Uprising: The Internet’s Unintended Consequences 

Creaton, Siobhán, A Mobile Fortune: The Life and Times of Denis O’Brien

Flusser, Vilém, Does Writing Have a Future?

Green, Lelia, Brady, Danielle, Ólafsson, Kjartan, Hartley, John and Lumby, Catharine, Risks and Safety for Australian Children on the Internet: Full Findings from the               AU Kids Online Survey of 9–16-year-olds and Their Parents

Hess, Charlotte and Ostrom, Elinor (eds), Understanding Knowledge as a Commons: From Theory to Practice 

Jones, Jeffrey P., Entertaining Politics: Satiric Television and Political Engagement, 2nd ed.

Li, Charlene and Bernoff, Josh, Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies

Lunenfeld, Peter, The Secret War Between Downloading and Uploading: Tales of the Computer as Culture Machine

McLeod, Kembrew and Kuenzli, Rudolf (eds), Cutting Across Media: Appropriation Art

Puente, Henry, The Promotion and Distribution of US Latino Films

Sage, George H., Globalizing Sport: How Organizations, Corporations, Media, and Politics are Changing Sports

Tasker, Yvonne, Soldiers’ Stories: Military Women in Cinema and Television Since World War II

Wojcik, Pamela Robertson, The Apartment Plot: Urban Living in American Film and Popular Culture, 1945–1975

 

 

 

Internet Histories 

No 143, May 2012

Theme Editors: Jock Given and Gerard Goggin

Buy this issue

Subscription and order form

Abstracts

 

Contents

Editorial

Sue Turnbull

ANZCA News

Alison Henderson

General Articles

Media classification: Content regulation in an age of convergent media

Terry Flew

News media consumption among young Australians: Patterns of use and attitudes towards media reporting

Kari Lancaster, Caitlin Elizabeth Hughes and Bridget Spicer

MasterChef’s amateur makeovers

Kirsten Seale

Scalar politics of climate change: Regions, emissions and responsibility

Gordon Waitt, Carol Farbotko and Barbara Criddle

Transforming scandal: The ‘St Kilda Schoolgirl’, digital media activism and social change Rob Cover

 

Internet Histories

Australian internet histories: It’s time

Jock Given and Gerard Goggin

Questions about the usefulness of microcomputers in 1980s Australia

Melanie Swalwell

‘This big hi-tech thing’: Gender and the internet at home in the 1990s

Vivienne Waller

Confrontation and cooptation: A brief history of Australian political blogs

Tim Highfield and Axel Bruns

Gaining a past, losing a future: Web 2.0 and internet historicity

Matthew Allen

Host/host conversations: Analysing moral and social order in talk on commercial radio

Kate Ames

The new (old) war on copyright infringement, and how context is opening new regulatory possibilities

Kimberlee Weatherall

Electronic documents in a print world: Grey literature and the internet

Amanda Lawrence

The Australian finance sector and social media: Towards a history of the new banking Mark Balnaves
History in the making: The NBN roll-out in Willunga, South Australia Melissa Gregg
Australian internet histories: Past, present and future: An afterword Niels Brügger

Book Reviews

Edited by Susan Bye

 

 

Abstracts

 

Media classification: Content regulation in an age of convergent media

Terry Flew

This article outlines the key recommendations of the Australian Law Reform Commission’s review of the National Classification Scheme, as outlined in its report Classification – Content Regulation and Convergent Media (ALRC, 2012). It identifies key contextual factors that underpin the need for reform of media classification laws and policies, including the fragmentation of regulatory responsibilities and the convergence of media platforms, content and services, as well as discussing the ALRC’s approach to law reform.

 

 

News media consumption among young Australians: Patterns of use and attitudes towards media reporting

Kari Lancaster, Caitlin Elizabeth Hughes and Bridget Spicer

Research suggests youth make active choices about how they use and respond to media. Yet publicly available information outlining patterns of youth media consumption and how content is perceived – especially in relation to reporting of issues of pertinence to youth – is limited. Using an online survey of 2296 Australians aged 16–24, we measured news media consumption and perceptions of reporting on illicit drugs. The study concluded that Australian youth are not ‘deserting’ news media; indeed, they have regular contact with news media. However, youth regard mainstream news as lacking credibility.

 

 

MasterChef’s amateur makeovers

Kirsten Seale

The media industries are becoming increasingly reliant on amateur labour, and Australia’s highest rating television program, MasterChef Australia, is no exception. The show’s grand narrative of ‘making over’ home cooks into professionals is at odds with its calculatedly ambivalent representation and deployment of the trope of the amateur. This article proposes that MasterChef is instead invested in deferring the attainment of professional status so as to ensure the continued provision of inexpensive labour and content provided by amateurs.

 

 

Scalar politics of climate change: Regions, emissions and responsibility

Gordon Waitt, Carol Farbotko and Barbara Criddle

The print media have facilitated multiple types of claim-making and an oppositional climate change politics. Drawing on arguments about the social construction of geographical scale as a category for understanding media practice, this article examines such politics. We focus on the Illawarra Mercury, the only daily newspaper in the Illawarra region of New South Wales, to showcase exactly how this tabloid newspaper engages readers in a scalar politics of climate change. We argue that a regional scalar politics shapes the framing of emissions in the Illawarra Mercury. A key question organising this article concerns the way in which geographical scale is invoked, and reproduced, in this newspaper to structure a certain rationale in reporting on emissions from one of Australia’s largest greenhouse gas emitters, the Port Kembla Steelworks. The argument is that the regional scale is evoked as a pre-given, natural and contained entity to justify why the steelworks need not shoulder greenhouse gas emissions reductions. We argue that a better understanding of scalar politics is integral to explain how responsibility for emissions is shifted elsewhere.

 

  

Transforming scandal: The ‘St Kilda Schoolgirl’, digital media activism and social change

Rob Cover

Between May 2010 and March 2011, a sex scandal involving members of the St Kilda Football Club, other AFL stakeholders and a young woman was played out inboth traditional media and online sites. The scandal involved claims of pregnancyto a player, the online distribution of nude and sexual images of several footballers, and an affair with a much older player-manager. This article examines the series of incidents comprising the scandal with a view to demonstrating that the young woman’s use of digital media not only allowed her to maintain a media focus on herself as complainant rather than through the traditional victim narrative of sex scandals, but that her actions can be read as a tactical form of digital media activism over gender relations in the celebrity social world of Australian Rules Football.

 

 

Australian internet histories: It’s time

Jock Given and Gerard Goggin

Since its beginnings in the 1960s, the internet has grown steadily, metamorphosisein many surprising ways, and now is central to Australian society and media. As a relatively new medium, we still know little about its histories. This article discusses the emerging field of internet histories, which as yet has surprisingly few connections with the relatively well-established enterprise of media histories. We review the development of the internet in Australia, discuss international scholarly work on internet histories and, in the context of this special issue, consider the research agenda that lies ahead.

 

 

Questions about the usefulness of microcomputers in 1980s Australia

Melanie Swalwell

Relatively cheap, low-end 8-bit machines were embraced by hobbyists interested in computing in the late 1970s and early 1980s. But what were these early computers good for? Opinion was split as to whether these early computers were useful, and what for. As early adopters, hobbyists were in the vanguard of inventing new uses for computers. To date, their pursuits have tended to be overlooked or dismissed as insignificant. This article focuses on consumption in the early microcomputing period and considers the Australian history of computing in terms of several interrelated questions about utility. Based on extensive archival research, it discusses doubts about the usefulness of these computers, the actual uses to which these micros were put, the invention of new uses by hobbyists and factors behind the change in perceptions of computers’ usefulness in the latter part of the decade.

 

  

‘This big hi-tech thing’: Gender and the internet at home in the 1990s

Vivienne Waller

This article provides a snapshot of the relationship between the internet and gender in the early days of home internet connections in Australia. Based as it is on one of the first qualitative studies of home use of the internet and what appears to be the earliest Australian study of home use of the internet, it helps to fill a gap in the history of the internet in Australia. It draws from 76 in-depth interviews conducted in 1998 with members of nineteen household families who had a home internet connection. At the time of the research, there were a variety of stories in circulation regarding the relationship between the internet and gender. The analysis presented in this article presents a more nuanced picture of this relationship in the early days of domestic internet connections. Rather than just comparing the different experiences of males and females, it looks at how gender was constituted in the meanings users invested in particular uses or non-uses of the internet at home, and in particular in the idea of technical mastery.

 

  

Confrontation and cooptation: A brief history of Australian political blogs

Tim Highfield and Axel Bruns

Even early on, political blogging in Australia was not an entirely alternative endeavour – the blogosphere has seen early and continued involvement from representatives of the mainstream media. However, the acceptance of the blogging concept by the mainstream media has been accompanied by a comparative lack of acceptance of individual bloggers. Analyses and commentary published by bloggers have been attacked by journalists, creating an at times antagonistic relationship. In this article, we examine the historical development of blogging in Australia, focusing primarily on political and news blogs. We track the evolution of individual and group blogs, and independent and mainstream media-hosted opinion sites, and the gradual convergence of these platforms and their associated contributing authors. We conclude by examining the current state of the Australian blogosphere and its likely future development, taking into account the rise of social media, particularly Twitter, as additional spaces for public commentary.

 

 

Gaining a past, losing a future: Web 2.0 and internet historicity

Matthew Allen

This article explore how, in the first decade of the twenty-first century, the internet became historicised, meaning that its public existence is now explicitly framed through a narrative that locates the current internet in relation to a past internet. Up until this time, in popular culture, the internet had been understood mainly as the future-in-the-present, as if it had no past. The internet might have had a history, but it had no historicity. That has changed because of Web 2.0, and the effects of Tim O’Reilly’s creative marketing of that label. Web 2.0, in this sense not a technology or practice but the marker of a discourse of historical interpretation dependent on versions, created for us a second version of the web, different from (and yet connected to) that of the 1990s. This historicising moment aligned the past and future in ways suitable to those who might control or manage the present. And while Web 3.0, implied or real, suggests the ‘future’, it also marks out a loss of other times, or the possibility of alterity understood through temporality.

 

  

The new (old) war on copyright infringement, and how context is opening new regulatory possibilities

Kimberlee Weatherall

The internet blackout in January 2012 saw thousands of websites ‘go dark’ to protest proposed US laws designed to implement a ‘multi-system denial of service attack’ against alleged IP-infringing websites by making them both unfindable, and by cutting off any financial support. Within days, the laws – known as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) – effectively were dead. But when and how did such laws even reach the stage of serious discussion? This examines what has changed, and looks at how and why regulating internet intermediaries and making them the internet ‘police’ has gradually become more acceptable to governments.

 

 

Electronic documents in a print world: Grey literature and the internet

Amanda Lawrence

Reports and documents from government and other organisations have existed for centuries, but in the post-war period their production increased significantly. Computers, databases, desktop publishing software and the internet have revolutionised the ways documents can be produced and disseminated, allowing individuals, groups and organisations access to a whole new world of information. The result has been an explosion in online publishing that has transformed scholarly communication. Research reports – or grey literature as they are also known – are now an essential part of many disciplines, including science and technology, health, environmental science and many areas of public policy. While access to these reports has become easier in many respects, online publishing presents many challenges as well, particularly for collecting organisations faced with the task of adapting their systems. The management of grey literature raises many issues that are still not resolved today. This article provides some background to these ongoing challenges in Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe.

 

 

The Australian finance sector and social media: Towards a history of the new banking

Mark Balnaves

The names iGrin and Lending Hub might not raise eyebrows, but they are the first peer-to-peer lending companies in Australia’s internet history. Peer-to-peer lending is a new category of lending organisation – a part of the new banking distribution layer – that provides alternative ways of organising the relationship between borrower and lender, alternative ways of distributing money and alternatives ways of making decisions about finance using social networks. Its ethos is mutual aid, crowd funding, collaborative consumption, social lending and social sharing, moving away from traditional banks as ‘trusted agents’. New currency platforms are also emerging that take advantage of peer-to-peer networks. Google as a hyper-giant – an aggregator – has taken out a banking licence in the Netherlands and bought a currency platform. These new players are called ‘disruptors’ because they are perceived simultaneously as creators of new opportunity and a threat to the traditional banking value chain. There is a change of ‘game’, in a Bourdieuian sense, underway in the finance sector. Peer-to-peer lending, mutual aid, signifies a move towards remutualisation, something not missed in the international policy domains. This article covers the history of peer-to-peer lending and the differences that are emerging between social media as ‘mutual aid’ (new lending organisations deploying social media in mutual support) and social media as ‘customer intimacy’ (traditional banking deploying social media to gain sophisticated engagement).

 

 

History in the making: The NBN roll-out in Willunga, South Australia

Melissa Gregg

The 2010 press release announcing the first-release sites for Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) identified five locations chosen for their contrasting ‘housing density, housing type, geography, climate and local infrastructure’. On these measures, the South Australian town of Willunga was described as a ‘small rural town’ with ‘dispersed housing’. It thus served as a model for the country constituencies crucial to securing support for the federal government’s large-scale infrastructure investment. But what else made Willunga an ideal first-release site? Are there local histories that shed light on the decision to grant its residents access to high-speed broadband before the rest of the country? This article shares findings from ethnographic research conducted in Willunga during the 2011 NBN roll-out to answer these questions.

 

 

Australian internet histories: Past, present and future: An afterword

Niels Brügger

 

This Afterword compares the articles in this issue of MIA to the ‘first wave’ of Australian internet historiography, a field of study established by Australian internet scholars around 2000. After identifying what is new in the present issue, I outline four paths that may be worth considering in the future: constituting the field based on shared theoretical and methodological reflections; using archived web material to a larger extent; participating in the shaping of a digital research infrastructure for internet studies; and increasing international research relations.

 

 

Book Reviews in this Issue

Edited by Susan Bye

Auerbach, Jonathan, Dark Borders: Film Noir and American Citizenship
 
Balsamo, Anne, Designing Culture: The Technological Imagination at Work
 
Breit, Rhonda, Law and Ethics for Professional Communicators, 2nd ed.
 
Chapman, Jane L. and Nuttall, Nick, Journalism Today: A Themed History
 
Deitz, Milissa, Watch This Space: The Future of Australian Journalism
 
Ehrlich, Matthew C., Radio Utopia: Postwar Audio Documentary in the Public Interest
 
Forde, Susan, Challenging the News: The Journalism of Alternative and Community Media
 
Fortin, David T., Architecture and Science-Fiction Film: Philip K. Dick and the Spectacle of Home
 
Goodale, Greg, Sonic Persuasions: Reading Sound in the Recorded Age
 
Hallas, Roger, Reframing Bodies: AIDS, Bearing Witness, and the Queer Moving Image
 
Hulten, O., Tjernstrom, S. and Melesko, S. (eds), Media Mergers and the Defence of Pluralism
 
Martin, Fran, Backward Glances: Contemporary Chinese Cultures and the Female Homoerotic Imaginary
 
Mayer-Schönberger, Viktor, Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age
 
McIntyre, Phillip, Creativity and Cultural Production: Issues for Media Practice
 
Obijiofor, Levi and Hanusch, Folker, Journalism Across Cultures: An Introduction
 
Paasonen, Susanna, Carnal Resonance: Affect and Online Pornography
 
Page, Joanna, Crisis and Capitalism in Contemporary Argentine Cinema
 
Papathanassopoulos, Stylianos and Negrine, Ralph, Communications Policy: Theories and Issues
 
Pollard, Tom, Hollywood 9/11: Superheroes, Supervillains, and Super Disasters
 
Schroeder, Jens, ‘Killer Games’ Versus ‘We Will Fund Violence’: The Perception of Digital Games and Mass Media in Germany and Australia
 
Stanton, Richard, Do What They Like: The Media in the Australian Election Campaign 2010
 
Streeter, Thomas, The Net Effect: Romanticism, Capitalism, and the Internet

 

 

 

The 'New' News 

No 144, August 2012

Theme Editors: Stephen Harrington and Brian McNair

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Subscription and order form

Abstracts

 

Contents

Editorial

Sue Turnbull

ANZCA News

Alison Henderson

General Articles

Henry Mayer Lecture 2012: The market populism of Rupert Murdoch

David McKnight

Convergence and Australian content: The importance of access

Ben Goldsmith, Stuart Cunningham and Julian Thomas

Consciousness-raising in a child abuse flame war over fan fiction

Rebecca Walker

Massaging the media: Australia Day and the emergence of public relations

Robert Crawford and Jim Macnamara

The politics of reporting climate change at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Philip Chubb and Chris Nash

 

The 'New' News

The ‘new’ news 

Stephen Harrington and Brian McNair

Continuity and transformation in convergent news: The case of WikiLeaks

Graham Meikle

What is ‘network journalism’?

Ansgard Heinrich

The 15-M Movement and the new media: A case study of how new themes were introduced into Spanish political discourse 

Andreu Casero-Ripollés and Ramón A. Feenstra

WikiLeaks, journalism and the consequences of chaos 

Brian McNair

Crikey, The Australian and the politics of professional status in Australian journalism

Lucy Morieson

Journalists and Twitter: How Australian news organisations adapt to a new medium 

Axel Bruns

Talking in a crowded room: Political blogging during the 2008
New Zealand general election 

Kane Hopkins and Donald Matheson

Strong support for news media: Attitudes towards news on old and new platforms Annika Bergström and Ingela Wadbring 
Lessons from America? News and politics in hard times David Nolan
Inundated by the audience: Journalism, audience participation and the 2011 Brisbane flood Nicholas Carah and Eric Louw
The ‘new’ news as no ‘news’: US cable news channels as branded political entertainment television Jeffrey P. Jones
Australian journalism studies after 'journalism': Breaking down the disciplinary boundaries (for good) Stephen Harrington

Book reviews

Edited by Susan Bye

 

 

Abstracts

 

Henry Mayer Lecture 2012: The market populism of Rupert Murdoch

David McKnight

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation is the most powerful media organisation in the world. Murdoch’s commercial success is obvious, but less well understood is his successful pursuit of political goals, using his news media. Murdoch himself is probably the most influential Australian of all time. He says the recent News of the World hacking scandal ‘went against everything [he stands] for’. But how true is this? He sees himself as an anti-establishment rebel, yet his influence in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States makes him part of a global elite. He has become one of the key promoters of neo-liberal ideology of small government and deregulation over the past 30 years. The basis of his philosophy was expressed by one of his former editors, David Montgomery, who said ‘Rupert has contempt for the rules. Contempt even for governments.’ Murdoch is also a devotee of the neo-conservative wing of the US Republican Party. The possibility of exercising power through ownership of the news media has been little studied in recent years, but Murdoch’s role in English-speaking countries over the last 30 years shows that perhaps we need to look again at such media theories.

 

Convergence and Australian content: The importance of access

Ben Goldsmith, Stuart Cunningham and Julian Thomas

In the light of new and complex challenges to media policy and regulation, the Australian government commissioned the Convergence Review in late 2010 to assess the continuing applicability and utility of the principles and objectives that have shaped the policy framework to this point. It proposed a range of options for policy change and identified three enduring priorities for continued media regulation: media ownership and control; content standards; and Australian content production and distribution. The purpose of this article is to highlight an area where we feel there are opportunities for further discussion and research: the question of how the accessibility and visibility of Australian and local content may be assured in the future media policy framework via a combination of regulation and incentives to encourage innovation in content distribution.

 

Consciousness-raising in a child abuse flame war over fan fiction

Rebecca Walker

A flame war over depictions of child abuse in a fan fiction competition based on The L Word television series (Showtime, 2004–09) provided an opportunity for feminists and others to deliberate over the issue of child abuse. Various tactics were used, including storytelling and the narration of intimate and personal stories of abuse, as well as more confrontational and personally derisive tactics. The flame war revealed taken-for-granted assumptions in a forum based on a lesbian-centred series.

 

Massaging the media: Australia Day and the emergence of public relations

Robert Crawford and Jim Macnamara

The status of Australia Day has long generated mixed responses – from patriotic flag-waving, to apathy, to outright hostility. Proponents of 26 January consequently have engaged in various public relations activities in order to promote Australia Day and to establish its credentials as the national day. From the early nineteenth century through to the present, local media outlets have had a dynamic relationship with Australia Day. Yet while they have been active proponents of Australia Day, their support was not unconditional. The emergence of various bodies with the specific aim of promoting Australia Day would alter this relationship, with the media becoming a potential adversary. As such, media relations assumed a more central function in the promotion of Australia Day. By charting the growth and development of media relations that have accompanied Australia Day celebrations, this study not only documents the evolution of media relations practice, but also reveals the extended history of public relations in Australia and its presence in everyday Australian life.

 

The politics of reporting climate change at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Philip Chubb and Chris Nash

This article examines a particular moment in journalism at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, with the aim of elucidating the link between public sector journalism and political controversy in the recent Australian response to climate change. The particular moment in question involved the reporting of visits to Australia in early 2010 by two international commentators on anthropogenic climate change, Christopher Monckton and James Hansen, and an unprecedented attack by the chairman of the ABC on the professional performance of ABC journalists in reporting on this issue. We use this case study to canvass the explanatory merits of several scholarly perspectives on journalistic bias: the well-known ‘balance as bias’ argument by the Boykoffs (2004), the less well-known but incisive ‘independence/  impartiality couplet’ argument by Stuart Hall (1976) and Bourdieusian field analysis.

 

The 'new' news

Stephen Harrington and Brian McNair

This themed issue of Media International Australia brings together a collection of work that critically examines some of the rapid changes to the news media system in recent years, including an explosion of news sources, formats and increasingly popular hybrid styles and the collapse in the authority of the trusted news sources of the past. Much news is now broken by social media, and journalists compete in a cycle of news and politics that has been dramatically influenced and sped up by 24-hour news channels. The role of journalists has changed, and they increasingly are being called up on to interpret and explain events rather than simply report them.

 

Continuity and transformation in convergent news: The case of WikiLeaks

Graham Meikle 

This article identifies three important aspects of media convergence for news and journalism. It uses the case of WikiLeaks to argue that ‘the new news’ enabled by media convergence is characterised by a number of particular tensions and conflicts between continuity and transformation: the ongoing processes through which established news organisations encounter new kinds of competition from new kinds of news actors, including wholesale information suppliers such as WikiLeaks; the ongoing cultural contests around the roles of journalists and the continued value of the fourth estate role of the news media; and the tensions between narrative and database approaches to news. The article explores the series of major news events precipitated by WikiLeaks throughout 2010 to highlight the contours of the emerging convergent news environment.

 

What is ‘network journalism’?

Ansgard Heinrich

In today’s interactive digital information environment, journalists lose the power to define what makes and shapes the news. Media outlets now maneouvre through a space characterised by continuous information flows, and share communication paths with new information providers in an online, always-on environment. This article sketches this dynamic sphere and introduces the paradigm of ‘network journalism’. Structured around digital networks, the sphere of network journalism unravels evolving patterns of information production. The task for journalistic organisations now is to figure out how to include the many traditional and alternative information nodes in their everyday work. The loss of control over a formerly strictly regulated information-exchange sphere is viewed here as an opportunity for journalism to review its practices.

 

The 15-M Movement and the new media: A case study of how new themes were introduced into Spanish political discourse 

Andreu Casero-Ripollés and Ramón A. Feenstra 

The 15-M Movement, driven by mass mobilisations calling for the regeneration of the political system in May 2011, has had a profound impact on Spanish political discourse. This article analyses the changes in news production and distribution resulting from the example set by this social movement. The introduction of news using social media outside the boundaries established by the journalistic and political elites represents an innovative strategy to bring the movement’s demands on to the mainstream media agenda, and to instigate monitoring processes.

 

WikiLeaks, journalism and the consequences of chaos

Brian McNair

 

This article considers the impact of the WikiLeaks organisation in relation to debates around the defence of national security and free speech, global media citizenship and the emerging dynamics of the global public sphere. Building on the author’s previous work on political communication, journalism and ‘cultural chaos’, it explores the implications of WikiLeaks for emerging conceptions and definitions of journalism, and for the changing structure of media–politics power relations at the global level, against the background of three trends: democratisation, declining deference and digitalisation.

 

  

Crikey, The Australian and the politics of professional status in Australian journalism

Lucy Morieson

 

This article presents a case study of editorial content in an ongoing ‘war of words’ between two Australian publications – independent daily email news source Crikey and the Murdoch-owned broadsheet newspaper The Australian – in order to demonstrate one of the struggles over professional status in the changing Australian media environment. This negotiation over professional status exemplifies the way in which rhetorics of professionalism are used to gain authority over the particular jurisdiction of journalism. Considering this example in relation to dominant discussions of journalistic professionalism, this article demonstrates the limitations of the ways in which many of these discussions are framed, and works to place professionalism within a framework that positions journalism as a cultural technology.

 

  

Journalists and Twitter: How Australian news organisations adapt to a new medium

Axel Bruns

 

Twitter has developed an increasingly visible presence in Australian journalism, and in the discussion of news. This article examines the positioning of journalists as ‘personal brands’ on Twitter by documenting the visibility of leading personal and institutional accounts during two major political events in Australia: the Rudd/Gillard leadership spill on 23 June 2010, and the day of the subsequent federal election on 21 August 2010. It highlights the fact that in third-party networks such as Twitter, journalists and news organisations no longer operate solely on their own terms, as they do on their own websites, but gain and maintain prominencein the network and reach for their messages only in concert with other users. It places these observations in a wider context of journalist–audience relations a decade after the emergence of the first citizen journalism websites.

 

 

Talking in a crowded room: Political blogging during the 2008 New Zealand general election

Kane Hopkins and Donald Matheson

 

This article analyses two of New Zealand’s foremost political blogs on public affairs in the four weeks prior to the 2008 New Zealand general election. The 2008 election represents, we argue, a moment when the scale and reach of blogging propelled it to a position of significance in New Zealand media. The study uses content analysis to track the material posted on these blogs and in their comments sections. It is concerned primarily with quantifying the kind of debate to be found there and, through that, analysing how these blogs contribute to the quality of public life. The findings show that while a small number of blogs dominate, one blog’s comments section has seen significant growth in the number of individual commenters participating in political discussion. It therefore stands as a useful case study of how blogging has found a place within this country’s mediated politics.

 

 

Strong support for news media: Attitudes towards news on old and new platforms

Annika Bergström and Ingela Wadbring 

 

The aim of this article is to analyse attitudes towards news on old and new platforms. Our study used two types of independent variable: generation, which – along with age – is one of the most important factors explaining news media practices; and news consumption, which is strongly related to attitudes. We utilised a national mail survey of 3000 people in the Swedish population (aged 16–85) to conduct the study. The response rate in the 2010 study was a little over 60 per cent, and the survey gives a significant picture of news attitudes in the population. The findings generally show a strong degree of support for traditional news media such as television and printed newspapers. However, this support is far stronger among the older generations than the younger – who, to a larger extent, express support for other forms of news distribution, in particular the internet and social media networks.

 

 

Lessons from America? News and politics in hard times

David Nolan

 

On 30 October 2010, US news satirists Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert jointly held the ‘Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear’, attracting a crowd of over 200,000 in Washington, DC, and an estimated national audience of two million viewers on Comedy Central. While Stewart denied it, this event was widely interpreted as a satirical response to Fox News Anchor Glenn Beck’s earlier ‘Restoring Honor’ rally, a controversial event that hosted numerous figures of the conservative and Christian right, including Sarah Palin. This event provides a case study in this article for a wider reflection on contemporary debates surrounding contemporary journalism, drawing on work that has situated ‘new political television’ in relation to wider transformations in mediated democracy, as this has been impacted by political-economic, technological, political and socio-cultural change.

 

 

Inundated by the audience: Journalism, audience participation and the 2011 Brisbane flood

Nicholas Carah and Eric Louw

 

Following the Brisbane flood in 2011, Seven’s breakfast television program Sunrise launched a partnership with the Queensland government called ‘Operation Bounce Back’. The initiative called on skilled tradespeople to volunteer for the rebuilding effort, and extended Sunrise’s representations of audience participation. In this article, we examine Operation Bounce Back in relation to different accounts of audience participation. We look at the interaction between Sunrise and the government in the management of Operation Bounce Back, and draw on both Sunrise’s representations of the program and documents obtained under Right to Information provisions. The case provides the basis for considering the role of journalism in managing representations of public and audience participation.

 

 

The ‘new’ news as no ‘news’: US cable news channels as branded political entertainment television

Jeffrey P. Jones

 

Contesting the journalism frame as the basis for assessing US cable television news channels, this article argues instead for a focus on the branding and product differentiation practices that shape news content in the highly competitive cable marketplace. Politics, in particular, has become the central identifying brand marker, as cable news channels transform the raw material of public life into a variety of entertainment performances. The construction of politics is thoroughly informed by commercial strategy and brand appeal, as politics is brought to life through performances that constitute political reality for viewing audiences.

 

  

Australian journalism studies after 'journalism': Breaking down the disciplinary boundaries (for good)

Stephen Harrington

 

This article argues that if journalism is to remain a relevant and dynamic academic discipline, it must urgently reconsider the constrained, heavily policed boundaries traditionally placed around it – particularly in Australia. A simple way of achieving this is to redefine its primary object of study: away from specific, rigid, professional inputs towards an ever-growing range of media outputs. Such a shift may allow the discipline to freely reassess its pedagogical and epistemological relationships to contemporary news-making practices – or the ‘new’ news.

 

  

Book Reviews in this Issue

Edited by Susan Bye

Acland, Charles R. and Wasson, Haidee (eds), Useful Cinema
 
Anderson, Fay and Trembath, Richard, Witnesses to War: The History of Australian Conflict Reporting
 
Athique, Adrian, Indian Media
 
Balnaves, Mark and O’Regan, Tom, with Goldsmith, Ben, Rating the Audience: The Business of Media
 
Bingham, Adam (ed.), Directory of World Cinema: East Europe
 
Langford, Michelle (ed.), Directory of World Cinema: Germany
 
Corber, Robert J. Cold War Femme: Lesbianism, National Identity, and Hollywood Cinema
 
Curran, James, Media and Democracy
 
Donders, Karen and Moe, Hallvard, Exporting the Public Value Test: The Regulation of Public Broadcasters’ New Media Services Across Europe
 
Foster, Kevin (ed.), The Information Battlefield: Representing Australians at War
 
Foth, Marcus, Forlano, Laura, Satchell, Christine and Gibbs, Martin (eds), From Social Butterfly to Engaged Citizen: Urban Informatics, Social Media, Ubiquitous Computing and Mobile Technology to Support Citizen Engagement
 
Ganti, Tejaswini, Producing Bollywood: Inside the Contemporary Hindi Film Industry
 
Gelber, Katharine, Speech Matters: Getting Free Speech Right
 
Goodman, David, Radio’s Civic Ambitions: American Broadcasting and Democracy in the 1930s
 
Hansen-Miller, David, Civilized Violence: Subjectivity, Gender and Popular Cinema
 
Johnston, Keith M., Science Fiction Film: A Critical Introduction
 
Jones, Janet and Salter, Lee, Digital Journalism
 
Mayer, Vicki, Below the Line: Producers and Production Studies in the New
Television Economy
 
Naficy, Hamid, A Social History of Iranian Cinema, Volume 1: The Artisanal Era, 1897–1941
 
Naficy, Hamid, A Social History of Iranian Cinema Volume 2: The Industrializing Years, 1941–1978
 
Papathanassopoulos, Stylianos and Negrine, Ralph, European Media: Structures, Policies and Identity
 
Reader, Bill and Hatcher, John A. (eds), Foundations of Community Journalism
 
Rennie, Ellie, Life of SYN: A Story of the Digital Generation
 
Rentschler, Carrie A., Second Wounds: Victims’ Rights and the Media in the US
 
Underwood, Doug, Chronicling Trauma: Journalists and Writers on Violence and Loss
 
Walters, James, Fantasy Film: A Critical Introduction
 
Weber, Tina, Drop Dead Gorgeous: Representations of Corpses in American TV Shows
 

 

 

 

 

 

Rethinking Digital Ethnography Today

No 145, November 2012

Theme Editors: Heather Horst, Larissa Hjorth and Jo Tacchi

Buy this issue

Subscription and order form

Abstracts

 

Contents

Editorial

Sue Turnbull

ANZCA News

Chika Anyanwu

General Articles

 

Say goodbye to the fries: Graduate careers in media, cultural and communication studies

 

Stuart Cunningham and
Ruth Bridgstock

The relationship between entertainment producers and higher education providers

Alan McKee and Jon Silver

 

dirtgirlworld: Corporate social responsibility and ethical consumption in the world of children’s television programming

 

Sue Ward

Orientalising the emerging media capitals: The Age on Indian TV’s ‘hysteria’

Sukhmani Khorana

Under the volcano: Media, ecology and the crisis of nature Jeff Lewis and Belinda Lewis
Digital literacies and the National Broadband Network: Competency, legibility,
context
Bjorn Nansen, Rowan Wilken, Michael Arnold and Martin Gibbs
Blogging the 2009 Queensland state election Megan Kimber

 

Rethinking Digital Ethnography Today

Rethinking ethnography: An introduction

Heather Horst, Larissa Hjorth and
Jo Tacchi

Media ethnography and the disappearance of communication theory

Virginia Nightingale

Normativity and materiality: A view from digital anthropology

Heather Horst and Daniel Miller

The ethnographer as community manager: Language translation
and user negotiation

Jonathan Hutchinson

Social media ethnography: The digital researcher in a messy web

John Postill and Sarah Pink

Amateur photography as self-ethnography: China’s rural migrant workers
and the question of digital-political literacy

Wanning Sun

Emplaced cartographies: Reconceptualising camera phone practices in an age
of locative media

Sarah Pink and Larissa Hjorth

Book reviews

Edited by Susan Bye

 

 

Abstracts

 

Say goodbye to the fries: Graduate careers in media, cultural and communication studies

Stuart Cunningham and Ruth Bridgstock

This article addresses the paucity of systematic data on graduate careers in the arts and humanities in the broader context of enduring public and policy debates about the benefits of education to society, the relation between public and private good that is derivable from education, and the specific disciplinary angle that can be brought to bear on these questions from media, cultural and communication studies. We report findings from a survey of ten years of graduates from Queensland University of Technology’s courses in media, cultural and communication studies, which indicate very high employment levels and generally positive accounts of the relevance of courses to working life. A major insight that can be drawn from the research is that media, cultural and communication studies deliver capabilities, skills and orientations that are themselves strongly aligned with the kinds of transferable generic attributes that facilitate transition into the workplace.

 

The relationship between entertainment producers and higher education providers

Alan McKee and Jon Silver

Cameron, Verhoeven and Court have noted that many screen producers do not see their tertiary education as being beneficial to their careers. We hypothesise that universities traditionally have not trained students in producing skills because of the division of labour between arts and business faculties, and because their focus on art rather than entertainment has downplayed the importance of producing. This article presents a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) whole-of-program evaluation of a new cross-faculty Bachelor of Entertainment Industries degree at QUT, devoted to providing students with graduate attributes for producing, including creative skills (understanding story, the aesthetics of entertainment, etc.), business skills (business models, finance, marketing, etc.) and legal skills (contracts, copyright, etc.). Stakeholder evaluations suggest that entertainment producers are highly supportive of this new course.

 

dirtgirlworld: Corporate social responsibility and ethical consumption in the world of children’s television programming

Sue Ward

Discussions in the field of ethical consumption usually refer to the mainstreaming of ethical and environmental concerns that impact on consumer behaviour in the consumption of food and material goods, and in some cases to television programs (especially lifestyle and makeover programs) that acknowledge the environmentally concerned viewer by encouraging the consumption of goods and services that minimise environmental impact. These studies recognise the field of commodity consumption as an important site for thinking about practices of identity-formation and the construction of the self as a responsible, environmentally and ethically concerned citizen who makes politically based decisions in everyday practice. But rarely is a TV program itself presented as a green commodity produced with the intention to be ecologically and ethically sound in its branded identity. This article showcases the production and distribution of the preschool television program dirtgirlworld as a response by ecologically minded individuals to engage with the challenges of today’s environmental crises. This is a case study that connects ethical consumption and corporate social responsibility with screen production and distribution. The central thrust of this article is to posit the example of dirtgirlworld as part of a global social movement towards a more ecologically sustainable existence. However, the suggestion here is that this case study also lends itself to much-needed conversation about how media studies can engage with our current
ecological crises beyond the practice of eco-criticism.

 

Orientalising the emerging media capitals: The Age on Indian TV’s ‘hysteria’

Sukhmani Khorana

This article foregrounds the manifestation of a contemporary Orientalist discourse in the global media sphere by reading the increasingly robust non-Western ‘other’ that is the Indian TV media through its remediation in the Melbourne-based paper, The Age. The particular institutions have been chosen due to the ‘quality journalism’ reputation of the latter outlet, and the frequency of references to the Indian media – particularly its numerous news television channels – during the spate of allegedly racist attacks on Indian students in Melbourne in 2009–10. Feature articles, news items and opinion pieces appearing in the paper on this issue from May 2009 to June 2010 are examined for mentions of, and comments on, the Indian TV media. Conclusions are then drawn about how the remediation of India and its media offered by The Age effectively redraws a nation previously receiving limited coverage (literally and discursively) in Australia. What is significant here is not the resurgent Indian as reflected in the coverage of the Indian media, but its specific television might remediated by The Age as powerful yet Bollywood-esque in its drama and spectacle.

 

Under the volcano: Media, ecology and the crisis of nature

Jeff Lewis and Belinda Lewis

The 2011 Japanese earthquake and subsequent malfunction at the Fukushima nuclear power plant occurred at the apex of a complex crisis of nature. While some commentators claim that the Fukushima malfunction was the result of a ‘natural disaster’, others situate the event within a broader context of human interventions in ecological and natural systems. Exercised through the global mediasphere, these environmental language wars are formed within crisis conditions and a crisis consciousness that have extensive genealogical roots. This article examines the crisis of nature in terms of contemporary and genealogical language wars that are embedded in a cultural politics of apocalysm. In particular, the article problematises the concept of ‘nature’ in terms of the disaggregation of human and non-human life systems. It argues that this disaggregation confounds the cultural politics of life (-death) systems, leading to excessive violence on the one hand, and Romantic idealisation on the other. The article recommends a reconceptualisation of nature that implicates all humans and human desires across the global mediasphere.

 

Digital literacies and the National Broadband Network: Competency, legibility, context

Bjorn Nansen, Rowan Wilken, Michael Arnold and Martin Gibbs

This article reports on findings from an ethnographic study of fifteen participant households in North Hobart and Midway Point, Tasmania. Key themes emerging from this research have been gathered up and presented through the metaphor ‘digital literacy’. The first half of the article is concerned with developing a critical understanding of what is at stake in the notion, or metaphor, of digital literacy. The second half tests these understandings against our research. In our conversations with the people of North Hobart and Midway Point, we found evidence of digital
illiteracy, and also evidence of the weaknesses of digital literacy as an explanatory trope. We group these findings using three themes: the presence of instrumental literacy; the illegibility of the NBN and its HSB services; and structural conditions limiting the acquisition of the NBN and its HSB services. These draw upon the digital literacy metaphor, but make its shortcomings clear, and the latter two in particular extend the metaphor from a personal deficit model to one that embraces technologies and social structures.

 

Blogging the 2009 Queensland state election

Megan Kimber

The internet has become important in political communication in Australia. Using Habermas’s ideal types, it is argued that political blogs can be viewed as public spheres that might provide scope for the expansion of deliberative democratic discussion. This hypothesis is explored through analysis of the group political blog Pineapple Party Time. It is evident that the bloggers and those who commented on their posts were highly knowledgeable about and interested in politics. From an examination of these posts and the comments on them, Pineapple Party Time did act as a public sphere to some degree, and did provide for the deliberative discussion essential for a democracy, but it was largely restricted to Crikey readers. For a deliberative public sphere and democratic discussion to function to any extent, the public sphere must be open to all citizens, who need to have the access and knowledge to engage in deliberative discussion.

 

Rethinking ethnography: An introduction

Heather Horst, Larissa Hjorth and Jo Tacchi

This special issue of Media International Australia seeks to ‘rethink’ ethnography and ethnographic practice. Through the six contributions, the authors consider the variety of ways in which changes in our media environment broaden what we think of as ‘media’, the contexts through which media are produced, used and circulated, and the emergent practices afforded by digital media.

 

Media ethnography and the disappearance of communication theory

Virginia Nightingale

This article revisits the interplay of theories and research focusing on the interplay between anthropology, and communication and media studies, It argues that where initially media ethnographies (selectively) borrowed theories and methods from anthropology, today it is anthropological media ethnography that holds sway. The result is a shift away from media audience research. I suggest this is because the concept of audience is necessarily linked to assumed theories of communication. Yet it is precisely a theory of communication (as opposed to theories of culture) that is missing today. The article advocates that instead of borrowing theories of communication, we need to begin the more difficult task of retheorising it in order to better address contemporary media problems.

 

Normativity and materiality: A view from digital anthropology

Heather Horst and Daniel Miller

As with all material culture, the digital is a constitutive part of what makes us human. Social order is itself premised on a material order, making it impossible to become human other than through socialising within a material world of cultural artefacts, and includes the order, agency and relationships between things, and not just their relationship to persons. This article considers the consequences of the digital culture for our understanding of what it is to be human. Drawing upon recent debates concerning materiality in the sub-field of digital anthropology, we focus upon four forms of materiality – the materiality of digital infrastructure and technology; the materiality of mediation; the materiality of digital content; and the materiality of digital contexts – to make the case that digital media and technology are far more than mere expressions of human intention. Rather than rendering us less human, less authentic or more mediated, we argue that attention should turn to the human capacity to create or impose normativity in the face of constant change. We believe these debates around materiality and normativity, while rooted in the discipline of anthropology, have broader implications for understanding everyday practices in the digital age.

 

The ethnographer as community manager: Language translation and user negotiation

Jonathon Hutchinson

This article investigates the ethnographic methodological question of how the researcher observes objectively while being part of the problem they are observing. It uses a case study of ABC Pool to argue a cooperative approach that combines the role of the ethnographer with that of a community manager who assists in constructing a true representation of the researched environment. By using reflexivity as a research tool, the ethnographer engages in a process to self-check their personal presumptions and prejudices, and to strengthen the constructed representation of the researched environment. This article also suggests combining management and expertise research from the social sciences with ethnography, to understand and engage with the research field participants more intimately – which, ultimately, assists in gathering and analysing richer qualitative data.

  

Social media ethnography: The digital researcher in a messy web

John Postill and Sarah Pink

Social media practices and technologies are often part of how ethnographic research participants navigate their wider social, material and technological worlds, and are equally part of ethnographic practice. This creates the need to consider how emergent forms of social media-driven ethnographic practice might be understood theoretically and methodologically. In this article, we respond critically to existing literatures concerning the nature of the internet as an ethnographic site by suggesting how concepts of routine, movement and sociality enable us to understand the making of social media ethnography knowledge and places. 

 

Amateur photography as self-ethnography: China’s rural migrant workers and the question of digital-political literacy

Wanning Sun

In recent decades, some distinctive cultural practices have emerged from China’s rural migrant worker community. A small but growing number of rural migrant workers are consciously using the camera on their mobile phones to engage in varying levels of political and cultural activism. This article is concerned with the macro-level question of digital literacy and political consciousness among China’s rural migrant working class, but it pursues this question through a close-up account of some individual rural migrants’ initial encounters and subsequent experiences with the camera. By examining their cultural activist practices, and adopting a mode of inquiry most often used in visual anthropology, the article discusses issues of class consciousness and digital literacy. Drawing on sustained interaction with a dozen migrant activists in Beijing from 2009 to 2011, it provides a preliminary evaluation of the potential of digital media to construct collective self-ethnography, as well as its capacity to effect political socialisation and social change.

 

Emplaced cartographies: Reconceptualising camera phone practices in an age of locative media

Sarah Pink and Larissa Hjorth

In the context of the increased use of high-quality camera phones, along with the growth in distribution services via social and locative media, we are witnessing new forms of visuality emerging. These new types of ‘co-present’ visuality overlay and interweave online and offline cartographies in different ways – maps that require a revision of ethnography. In this article, we frame this phenomenon as a shift from networked visuality to emplaced visuality and sociality. That is, we reflect upon previous models deployed in mobile communication and depart from them to consider how a phenomenological approach – rooted in visual and multisensorial ethnography – might help provide insight into this dynamic media cartography and the socialities associated with it.

  

Book Reviews in this Issue

Edited by Susan Bye

Aalberg, Toril and Curran, James (eds), How Media Inform Democracy: A Comparative Approach
Anderson, Heather, Raising the Civil Dead: Prisoners and Community Radio
Beckett, Charlie with Ball, James, Wikileaks: News in the Networked Era
Bodroghkozy, Aniko, Equal Time: Television and the Civil Rights Movement
Couldry, Nick, Media, Society, World: Social Theory and Digital Media Practice
Crogan, Patrick, Gameplay Mode: War, Simulation, and Technoculture
Decherney, Peter, Hollywood’s Copyright Wars: From Edison to the Internet
Due, Clemence and Riggs, Damien W., Representations of Indigenous Australians in the Mainstream News Media
Ensslin, Astrid, The Language of Gaming
Graber, Doris A., On Media: Making Sense of Politics
Hendricks, John Allen (ed.), The Palgrave Handbook of Global Radio
Holmes, Tim and Nice, Liz, Magazine Journalism
Jahed, Parviz (ed.), Directory of World Cinema: Iran
Kavka, Misha, Reality TV
Lunt, Peter and Livingstone, Sonia, Media Regulation: Governance and the Interests of Citizens and Consumers
Mandiberg, Michael, The Social Media Reader
Miller, Vincent, Understanding Digital Culture
Pearson, Mark, Blogging and Tweeting Without Getting Sued: A Global Guide to the Law for
Anyone Writing Online

Warnick, Barbara and Heineman, David S., Rhetoric Online: The Politics of New Media
Wetmore, Kevin J., Post-9/11 Horror in American Cinema
Williams, Kevin, International Journalism

 

 

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