Performing compassion: John Curtin and journalists, 1941-1945©

Coatney, Caryn (2021) Performing compassion: John Curtin and journalists, 1941-1945©. In: 71st Annual International Communication Association Conference: Engaging the Essential Work of Care: Communication, Connectedness, and Social Justice, 27-31 May 2021, Washington, United States.


Abstract

Australian prime minister John Curtin, a formerly hard-hitting, labour-oriented reporter, deliberately elevated journalists’ roles to convey public appearances of being a caring leader, good neighbour and citizens’ friend during World War II (Alexander, 1971; Rodgers, 1971).
Curtin’s journalism-oriented ethos was forgotten as post-war leaders developed the technique of delivering impersonal, unidirectional news conferences to the largely undifferentiated mass media (Craig, 2016). Scholarly interest has recently resurged into
leaders’ emotive performances as they increasingly use digitised communications to deliver
personalised messages to audiences (Wahl-Jorgensen, 2020). This study seeks to answer:
• Which strategies of compassionate communication did Curtin develop to elicit journalists’ support?
• Which factors influenced journalists in portraying his compassionate ethos?
This study finds that he interacted more frequently with journalists than other major Allied leaders from 1941 to 1945 (Coatney, 2016; King, 1893-1950; Perloff, 1998; Tait, 2008). This paper conducts a rare analysis of Curtin’s confidential news briefings and film rehearsals that delve behind the scenes of his portrayal of his ethos during his extensive interactions with
journalists from Australia, Canada and the United States (Alexander, 1833-1957; 1971; King, 1893-1950; Rodgers, 1971; ScreenSound Australia, 1944). The paper sets out to recover Curtin’s journalism-oriented ethos to influence the news portrayal of his intimate, compassionate prime ministership. This conception of ethos is useful for the study of journalism’s role in portraying leaders’ expressions of compassion, trust and friendship.©


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Virtual conference. Permanent restricted access to Published version, in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
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: 28 May 2021 04:22
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2021 04:38
Uncontrolled Keywords: journalism; compassion; John Curtin; Australia; government-media relations; World War II
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 > 970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing
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
28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280122 Expanding knowledge in creative arts and writing studies
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/42056

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