Robo-call usage by Australian political parties: the case of the “Spooky vote-hunting robot”
Glenn Kefford and Linus Power
While internationally, pre-recorded telephone messages, often referred to as robo-calls, have been used for some time, their use during Australian election campaigns goes back less than a decade. This article tracks the emergence of robo-calls and a complementary technology known as telephone ‘town-halling’ in Australia. It explores the way Australian parties are using telephonic technology as part of their election campaigns and compares this use to the experience in the United States and Canada. While these countries have seen a push for increased robo-call and telephonic regulation as a result of a number of controversies, this article argues that any regulatory changes in Australia should reflect the different way the technology is being used here. In particular, the evidence shows that it is the telephone ‘town-hall’ technology which is set to grow most significantly and regulatory changes need to reflect the distinction between the two forms of telephonic political campaigning.
Don’t cut off our tongues: Yolngu voices in news and policymaking
Lisa Waller and Kerry McCallum
Few studies have explored the ways in which Indigenous peoples contribute to shaping public and policy agendas through their various uses of the news media. This paper draws on interviews with policy actors, including Indigenous activists, media professionals and educators. Through their spoken words it identifies how Yolngu people, from North-East Arnhem Land in Australia’s Northern Territory, have used Indigenous public spheres and media logics to penetrate public policy debate about bilingual education. Research participants emphasised the importance of Yolngu governance practices for discussion, decision-making and action in their media campaigns to retain their bilingual curriculum. Through their accounts, a picture emerges of the constitution of the contemporary Yolngu public sphere.
‘…a story that’s got all the right elements’: Australian media audiences talk about the coverage of a health-related story from the developing world
Australian news coverage of low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) generally, and of their health contexts specifically, has long been criticised as problematic. This paper considers an exemplary LMIC health story and presents findings of an audience reception study that examined how different groups of Australian participants responded to it, the possible implications for future LMIC health coverage and for domestic perceptions of global public health. In particular, the paper examines how audiences talked about three of the story’s principal themes and suggests that greater audience engagement with LMIC health news may be possible as the mass-media landscape continues to evolve.
‘This campaign is all about…’ Dissecting Australian campaign narratives
David Bartlett and Jennifer Rayner
It has sometimes been suggested that there are only a handful of campaign narratives in existence, and that political parties repeatedly recycle these when running for elected office. In this paper, we test this suggestion by dissecting the narratives communicated by Australia’s major political parties over 10 years of state and federal election campaigning. We find that just six narratives dominate in Australian electoral discourse, and explore how these narratives are linked to issues such as incumbency and the electoral context.
Social media: a critical introduction
A review of Christian Fuchs (2014) Social Media: A Critical Introduction, by Larissa Hjorth
Christian Fuchs is a Professor of Social Media at the University of Westminster — an institution that has ushered in Degrees in Social Media at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Given this context, it is not surprising that Fuchs has produced this timely introduction to Social Media. This book is very much a product of Fuchs’s strong interest in Marxism and thus does a great job grounding social media through sociological and critical theory.
New News is Good News: Non-traditional news forms, journalism and citizen information in contemporary Australia
A review of Stephen Harrington (2013) Australian TV News: New Forms, Functions and Futures, by Edwina Throsby
Harrington has an impressive knowledge of the literature with which he is engaging. He applies a cultural approach to the analysis of the relationship between media and citizenship, or “mediated citizenship” to an Australian media context. Specifically, he analyses three Australian television programs: Sunrise, The Panel, and the various Chaser programs, adopting a triangulated, qualitative approach to his research.