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Ethnic diversity in television news: an Australian case study

Phillips, G.ORCID: 0000-0002-3491-2441 and Tapsall, S. (2007) Ethnic diversity in television news: an Australian case study. Australian Journalism Review, 29 (2). pp. 15-33.

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It is at times of stress that the media come under particular scrutiny amid fears that they have the capacity to make a bad situation worse. Over time, this has led researchers to focus on the treatment of racial minorities, women, "deviant" groups and terrorism. Since 9/11 and the War on Terror, a major focus of such research has been on the portrayal of Islam and Muslim communities. These studies have shown that the modern business of media and the processes and practices of journalism in the digital age impact on the nature of reportage in ways that can often disadvantage minority groups. The following analysis examines Australia’s television news services in order to explore if and how the representation of ethnic minority groups differs from the representation of the "Anglo" majority. Examining both the quantity and the quality of television news content over a two-week period, the study not only looks at what was reported, but also how it was reported. In this way, it attempts to show how the characteristics of the medium impact on the nature of the portrayal of people from diverse ethnic backgrounds. The dominant representations of ethnic minorities as "mad", "bad", "sad" or "other" sends a subtle but unmistakable message to the viewer about who is "them" and who is "us" in the wider Australian community.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Media, Communication and Culture
Publisher: Journalism Education Association
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