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Volume 8, Number 1, 2008

SPECIAL EDITION:  This is a special edition of ejournalist providing global access to proceedings of the conference on Convergence, Citizen Journalism and Social Change: Building Capacity, at Brisbane, Australia, 25-27 March 2008. The articles are drawn from papers presented there. The conference was organised by the University of Queensland (Journalism and Communication), Queensland University of Technology (Creative Industries, Journalism, Media and Communication), and the AMIC Young Communicators Network (Asia Media Communication and Information Centre, Singapore), with support from brisbanetimes.com.au. 


Abstracts

Campus Based Radio Stations As Agents of Social Change in Post-Apartheid South Africa : An evaluative study

Oluyinka O Osunkunle

This study evaluates the impact of campus based radio stations as agents of social change in post-apartheid South Africa . While the activities of some selected campus based radio stations were briefly discussed for insight, this paper will use Radio Turf, a campus-based community radio station of the University of Limpopo, South Africa as a case study. To effectively have a clear understanding of the activities and impact of Radio Turf, focus group interviews were conducted among key category of listeners representing the various age groups to ascertain the views of the respondents about the Station's programmes and its impact on the communities.

Other vital issues that were critically evaluated include the level of community involvement in the running of the station as stipulated by the Independent Communication Authority of South Africa (I.C.A.S.A). Critical social issues like programming, listenership and community involvement were also addressed by the respondents.

 

Media and Communication Capacities in the Pacific region

Dr Lee Duffield, Amanda H A Watson and Dr Mark Hayes

Realities of limited telecommunications and Internet service delivery are putting a restraint on expectations of major impact from new media in Pacific nations. This paper argues that, for development tasks at least, a leap forward based on new technology is as yet rather much to expect. The widest range of considerations has to be kept in mind – all forms of mass communication media that are available to use and adapt, other opportunity factors, and obstacles to communication.

The paper will examine two cases: the Highlands region of Papua New Guinea, and the island nation of Tuvalu. In Papua New Guinea, there is currently little access to the Internet, and what there is tends to be slow and limited. More traditional forms of media, such as radio broadcasting, stand to deliver good returns if developed well. In Tuvalu, online participation is restricted due to limited Internet access, slow or congested bandwidth speeds, and lack of access to computer services and repairs.

The method of investigation for the two case studies is principally direct observation by the researcher in each case. During extended visits to the two developing regions in question, the researchers participated in local media production or assisted with training. In each case, extensive preparatory work was undertaken, including a review of relevant scholarly literature on regional issues and mass media.

 

Engaging and Empowering News Audiences Online:
A Feature Analysis of Nine Asian News Websites

Xu Xiaoge

With increasing and innovative use of hypertexts, multimedia and interactivity in designing, packaging and delivering news online, news audiences have been increasingly engaged and empowered in their online news consumption. But what features have been used? And to what extent have web features been used? To address these two questions, a feature analysis was carried out to compare nine news websites from nine Asian countries.

 

The Impact of Local Independent Newspapers in South East Queensland

Kitty van Vuuren

Largely unnoticed, the local independent press in south east Queensland is undergoing an extraordinary resurgence.There are about 50 local independent newspapers, which publish weekly, fortnightly or monthly. Their circulations range from as little as 800 to well over 30 000 readers, and many are also available online. Little is known about this sector with respect to its journalism practices, its economy, its employment and training practices, and its impact on the local community. The popularity of the independent local press may be associated with the changing social conditions taking place in south east Queensland. About 1 000 people are moving into the region every week, and the population boom is putting pressure on housing, transport and essential services such as the provision of water and electricity. For many new residents, information about their immediate environment may only be available from their local independent newspaper. This paper examines the impact of the local independent press with a focus on their coverage of a particular issue of concern to the region: the management of water resources.

 

Citizen Journalism in the 2007 Australian Federal Election

Axel Bruns

Citizen journalists and news and political bloggers are set to have a considerable impact on journalistic coverage of the 2007 Australian federal election campaign. Already, even before the election proper has been called, the alternative viewpoints of citizen journalists and bloggers can be seen to have significantly disrupted the previously relatively static arrangements between government and opposition parties and the journalistic establishment, and to have challenged standard modes of reporting and interpreting political events.
This paper discusses the role of citizen journalists and news and political bloggers in the 2007 Australian federal election campaign by examining four key sites of such alternative reporting, analysis, and commentary: the hyperlocal citizen journalism site Youdecide2007.org, the leading left-of-centre political group blog Larvatus Prodeo, the influential psephologist blogger Possums Pollytics, and ABC Online’s attempt at blogging the election campaign, The Poll Vault. It analyses the content and style of such initiatives, and tracks the take-up of their work across the wider Australian blogosphere and beyond (in part building on network mapping methodologies as outlined in Bruns, 2007), and on that basis presents an insight into the place of news and political blogging and citizen journalism within the wider Australian mediasphere throughout the federal election campaign.

 

A Report: Radio Colloquium (10-11 October 2007)

Muhammed Haron

Radio as a medium of communication has played a significant role in transforming and educating communities in different locations across the African continent. Since very little research has been undertaken by researchers regarding the importance and impact of the radio in Southern & Eastern Africa, Wits Institute of Social & Economic Research’s Professor Elizabeth Gunner organized this gathering at the University of Witwatersrand with the specific purpose of reflecting upon the radio’s impact upon its diverse African listeners.

Editor

Professor Alan Knight,
Queensland University of Technology

Advisory Panel

Dr Yoshiko Nakano, Hong Kong University

Elliott S. Parker, Central Michigan University, USA

Dr Lee Richard Duffield, Queensland University of Technology

Dr Philip Robertson, Central Queensland University

Jim Tully, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

Dr Stephen Stockwell, Griffith University

Philip Cass, Zayed University, United Arab Emirates

Dr Steve Quinn, Zayed University, United Arab Emirates

     

Ejournalist: refereed media journal. ISSN 1444-741X