Frontline heroes: bush fires, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the Queensland Press

Kerby, Martin ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4073-2559 and Baguley, Margaret ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0098-6378 and Gehrmann, Richard and Bedford, Alison ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6708-9896 (2021) Frontline heroes: bush fires, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the Queensland Press. Media, War and Conflict. pp. 1-18. ISSN 1750-6352


Abstract

During the catastrophic 2019 and 2020 bushfire season and the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020, Queensland’s Courier Mail regularly celebrated firefighters and health workers as national archetypes. By positioning them as the ‘new Anzacs’, the Courier Mail was able to communicate an understanding of the crises using a rhetoric that was familiar, unthreatening and reassuring. The firefighters, both professional and volunteer, were easily subsumed into the mythology’s celebration of national identity. As Queensland’s health workers were predominantly female, urban-based and educated, the article used a more modern iteration of the Anzac mythology better suited to this different context. The emergence of a ‘kinder, gentler Anzac’ in the 1970s and its focus on trauma, suffering and empathy proved equally useful as a rhetorical tool. Both approaches were underpinned by a move away from a narrow military context to the Anzac mythology’s standing as a civic religion that celebrates more universal values such as courage, endurance, sacrifice and comradeship.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published online: 15 February 2021. Permanent restricted access to ArticleFirst version, in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Education (1 Jul 2019 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Humanities and Communication (1 Mar 2019 -)
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2021 02:08
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2021 06:22
Uncontrolled Keywords: Anzac, bushfires, Coronavirus, COVID-19, firefighters, Great War, health workers, mythology, Queensland
Fields of Research (2008): 21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210303 Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 1903 Journalism and Professional Writing > 190302 Professional Writing
Fields of Research (2020): 43 HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 4303 Historical studies > 430302 Australian history
47 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 4701 Communication and media studies > 470107 Media studies
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9502 Communication > 950204 The Media
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1302 Communication > 130204 The media
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1750635221990939
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/41389

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