Newsmaking & Journalism

All my subsequent thinking about news was shaped by the emergence of studies of newsmaking in the 1970s, that news had to be understood as the product of the organizational processes in its production.  This informed the approach to News and Power (see News and Politics page), with the first three substantive chapters of that book, devoted to what I see as the main aspects – news production, gathering news, and news values.  This easily leads into an interest in journalism as a career, and many facets of news.

General commentaries on journalism and news

The Sun also sets; Mirror Monopoly Shock’ Media Information Australia No 52, May 1989 p.16-20.
The Sun also sets – Mirror Monopoly Shock

  • Until the late 1980s, Sydney was unique in the English-speaking world in having two afternoon newspapers, the Fairfax-owned Sun and the Murdoch-owned Daily Mirror.  Their competition was dynamic and intense, although rarely professionally edifying.

‘The Media by the Media. How news organisations cover themselves and each other’ Media Information Australia No 44, May 1987. p.6-11

‘Australia’ in Christopher H. Sterling (ed) Encyclopaedia of Journalism (Six volumes, NY, Sage, 2009)
Australia – entry for Encylopaedia of Journalism

‘Australian Journalism’ Journalism Vol 10, N3, 2009, p.384-386
State of Australian journalism – 2008

‘Celebrations and Critiques of Contemporary Journalism’ Australian Review of Public Affairs, August 2008 (

A decade that changed Australian Journalism’ Australian Review of Public Affairs, October 2010.

A review essay on Ben Hills’s book on Age editor Graham Perkin

News Values

‘Doctrine in Decay – The Post-Objectivity Vacuum in Journalism’ Presented to International Communications Association conference, Chicago, May 2009
Objectivity ICA paper


‘Australian Media Occupations’ in Jeremy Tunstall (ed) Media Occupations and Professions (Oxford University Press, 2001) p.253-263

Content Analysis

The value of content analysis is derided by many scholars, and not without reason. It must be one of the most tedious and labour intensive research techniques; it relies on codes which are always imperfect, often problematic and frequently unable to penetrate the more subtle and important layers of meaning.

Nevertheless I have used it in several projects. It was a central part of my PhD research on Australian press coverage of Asia, and a very minor part of News and Power. In South Africa, I did a study of some aspects of the TV coverage of the 1994 election.

It was the central strategy in an ARC Discovery Project I did on changes in Australian newspapers, which I am still writing up, and in an 11 nation comparative study on media institutions and citizenship, led by James Curran, in which with David Rowe and Paul Jones, I did the Australian leg. Some of the fruits of these latter projects are listed below:

‘Changes in Australian Newspapers 1956-2006’ Journalism Practice V4, N3, August 2010
Changes in Australian Newspapers 1956-2006

‘Deaths in the news 1956-2006’ Australian Journalism Review V32 N1, July 2010
Deaths in the News 1956-2006

‘Has the gap between qualities and tabloids increased? Changes in Australian newspapers 1956-2006’ Australian Journal of Communication V38, N2
Has the gap between qualities and tabloids increased – Changes in Australian Newspapers 1956-2006

‘Sources in the News’ (with Paul K. Jones, David Rowe, Toril Aalberg, Sharon Coen, James Curran, Kaori Hayashi, Shanto Iyengar, Gianpietro Mazzoleni, Stylianos Papathanassopoulos, Hernando Rojas, and Stuart Soroka) Journalism Studies, September 2013, p.1-18
Sources in the News

There are almost ten articles resulting from this study, but this is the one on which we Australians were the lead authors.