Wednesday, December 8, 2010

[pima.nius] MIJT Conference: Public’s View Of What Is Journalism, Explored At Conference

10:27 AM |

MIJT Conference: Public's View Of What Is Journalism, Explored At Conference


AUT University's Dr Rosser Johnson. (Photo courtesy of AUT.)

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Kim Bowden.

Advertising messages bombard the contemporary citizen and young Kiwis are socialised into this promotional culture – With interesting flow-on effects for how they define journalism, according to recent research by a communications academic.

AUT University's Rosser Johnson presented his findings from a case study of the Junior Franklin County News, at the Media, Investigative Journalism and Technology 2010 conference, held at the university this weekend.

He said the twice-a-year publication is a version of the local community rag, with copy provided by schools in the paper's distribution area in Southwest Auckland.

Johnson has been pioneering research into the infomercial as a televisual form, televangelism in the South Pacific, the use of religion as a promotional tool, and television advertising aimed at children and young people.

Johnson's analysis of one edition of the Junior Franklin County News showed the bulk of stories were "promotional" in tone, suggesting the lines between journalism and public relations were blurred.

He said the "articles", such as one about a local cafe, were more akin to reviews or advertorial.

Teaching staff he chatted to about the project, and this end product, did not see anything amiss.

"From the teachers' point of view that was journalism," said Johnson.

In their mind, the section of teaching was a, '"we are going to do journalism class", and this is what comes out".

Johnson said newspaper projects have been a fixture in the New Zealand curriculum in recent decades, but an anecdote from his own schooldays suggested the promotional nature of the content was a more recent phenomenon.

He recalled reporting on the 1982 Melbourne Commonwealth Games for a "mock front-page of the Auckland Star".

"It was, 'yesterday we had the opening ceremony and Rolf Harris sang", not, "come down to a local cafe'."

He concluded school children were "socialised into a way of thinking about journalism that is nothing to do with what Nikki Hager was just talking about" – the notion that journalism plays a Fourth Estate role, holding the powers that be to account.

pacific islands media association
aotearoa, new zealand
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