The rhetoric of 'community': ABC Local Radio's coverage of the 2009 Victorian bushfires
This article joins recent debates in media and communication studies concerning audience participation in news journalism. Specifically, we investigate the impact of an increasing reliance on audience-generated content on newsroom practice in traditional media organisations. We do this by recounting and analysing the experiences of journalists involved in ABC Radio's coverage of the dramatic Victorian bushfires of early 2009, which relied heavily on listener contributions and was closely integrated with the ABC's online coverage. Interviews with two staff at ABC Gippsland, and with the ABC's Manager of Emergency Broadcasting provide the basis for a case study of the kinds of tensions that media workers routinely confront within an organisation like the ABC. The interviews suggest that in negotiating the possibility of increased audience participation, journalists and their managers are thinking about much more than the rhetorics of democracy and the validity of news values: their focus is also on a complex of techno-organisational dilemmas, about the shape of organisational structure, the need for skill (re)development and the precise mechanics of creating and maintaining productive relationships with local communities. The significance of the research lies in its attempt to bring together a number of related factors: the increasingly active role of audiences in generating and supplying news content; the impact of digital communications technologies on news production practices; and the ABC's ongoing development of its now contested role as an 'emergency broadcaster'.
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|Authors:||North, L ; Dearman, P|
University of Queensland
|Type of publication:||Article|
isMemberOf Journal Articles http://researchbank.rmit.edu.au/view/rmit:14
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