Reporting on war: Press Gallery interactions with Australian Prime Ministers, 1941-2013

Coatney, Caryn (2020) Reporting on war: Press Gallery interactions with Australian Prime Ministers, 1941-2013. In: Journalism Education & Research Association of Australia Conference (JERAA 2020), 2-4 Dec 2020, Melbourne, Australia.


Abstract

The Canberra Parliamentary Press Gallery has long been the centre of national debates over whether journalists are reporting independently for public audiences. The debates have escalated during the news coverage of Australia’s longstanding role in terror-related conflicts. In particular, critics have charged that many journalists have not fulfilled their roles as watchdogs to hold political leaders to account during Australia’s extensive military interventions overseas. More recently, scholars have acknowledged journalists’ growing willingness to present increasingly nuanced reporting of Australia’s role in international conflicts. This paper seeks to answer the question: how has the press gallery portrayed the prime ministerial messages of terrorism between World War II and Australia’s longest conflict, the war in Afghanistan? This study focuses on the press gallery’s interviews of the prime minister during the period from John Curtin in World War II to Julia Gillard during the conflict in Afghanistan. The study argues that Press Gallery journalists initially focused on upbeat messages and personality profiles of Curtin, as well as of Robert Menzies when he was Prime Minister during the Vietnam War.This style of reporting continued with the media coverage of John Howard and Kevin Rudd during Australia’s military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. Drawing on the theory of the public sphere, the study finds that press gallery journalists gradually departed from the stage-managed photo opportunities. The journalists involved public audiences in more national debates over the meaning and value of the war. Public discourse and citizen contributions to the news became more influential in shaping the press gallery coverage of war and terrorism.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Humanities and Communication (1 Mar 2019 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Humanities and Communication (1 Mar 2019 -)
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2021 05:31
Last Modified: 11 Feb 2021 05:41
Uncontrolled Keywords: Canberra Parliamentary Press Gallery, Prime Ministers, journalism, war and terrorism
Fields of Research (2008): 19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 1903 Journalism and Professional Writing > 190301 Journalism Studies
Fields of Research (2020): 47 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 4701 Communication and media studies > 470105 Journalism studies
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280116 Expanding knowledge in language, communication and culture
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/40533

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