Genetic Technologies in the Australian News Media
Catriona Bonfiglioli
University of Technology, Sydney

News media coverage of scientific and medical issues is likely to be profoundly influencing public understandings, acceptance and uptake of genetic technologies. Although public knowledge of genetic technologies is increasing, GM foods are in widespread use, and testing for disease susceptibility genes is rising,  many citizens have little personal experience of genetic technologies. People who lack direct experience of an issue are more susceptible to media representations of such issues. With a few notable exceptions, Australian news media coverage of genetic technologies has received little academic research attention (White 1998; Petersen 2001; Petersen 2002; Salleh 2005). In this paper, I will present key quantitative and qualitative findings from my research investigating Australian news media coverage of genetic technologies. The quantitative analysis examined patterns of newspaper coverage of genetic technologies including trends over time in the quantity of articles and orientation towards genetic technologies including GM food and genetic medicine. The qualitative analyses examined news media framings of the cloning of Dolly, the mapping of the human genome and GM foods. These findings will be placed in the international context by comparison with British and North American analyses.

Technology and Social Impact: A view on national security techologies in the media.
Holly Tootell
University of Wollongong

In national security media coverage, the topics of terrorism, security, privacy and liberty often blend together. These topics are easily shaped by fear and have been increasing in usage since September 11, 2001. This paper examines three technologies being used for terrorism response, natural disasters and epidemics: RFID passports (ePassports), the United States-based E911 service and mobile alerting in emergency situations.. Through the analysis presented in this paper, the attitudes towards these three technologies are explored. An interesting distinction between the reactions to ePassports, E911 and mobile alerting is discussed. E911 and mobile alerting were extensions of existing technologies, where the current development and deployments were a small step from previous use, whereas the ePassport was a new development. This distinction will be explored through a balance between social impact and technology impact.

Can collaboration with the news media contribute to an improvement in professional satisfaction and the retention rate of Registered Nurses?
Kay Crookes
University of Wollongong

Whilst the numbers of nursing students is increasing every year at UoW and other Universities, poor retention rates in the hospitals means ‘new grads’ leak from the system. What can be done to counteract this trend?  This presentation will consider how a lack of a public voice amongst the nursing profession can contribute to misconceptions including that ‘the nurse is merely a handmaiden to the medical profession’ in the wider community and that this can contribute to a lack of job satisfaction for many nurses and impact negatively upon nurse attraction and retention rates. Paolo Freire’s theory of “Oppressed Group Behaviour” first outlined in his text ‘The Pedagogy of the Oppressed’ has been used to frame a curriculum component in the UoW BN programme, aimed at enhancing the professional concept of ‘nurses in preparation’ such that they value their profession and feel empowered to express that publicly – including in the media. We want them to stop seeing themselves as ‘only nurses’. Formative data from student evaluations will be presented regarding how they felt about their experiences in the subject.This curriculum component in the undergraduate nursing subject ‘Reflection and Practice’ at UoW, exposes nursing students to positive stories about nursing thus debunking some of the negative stereotypes they may have brought with them into their programme, and encourages them to find their professional voice and share these stories with the news media. As well as finding their own voice, it is intended that they will also come to recognise the value of developing relationships with the news media as this relationship can be instrumental in raising the profile of the profession. This is seen as a major issue for nursing/nurses, in Suzanne Gordon’s text ‘Silence to Voice’. A cross disciplinary approach was adopted in this activity. Nick Hartgerink from the media office at UoW provided input regarding the components of a good media release. Students were then required to produce their own release illustrating the innovative/positive nature of the nursing profession. The rationale behind developing the assessment task was that only through sharing with the public what they really do will nurses find a sense of pride and job satisfaction and this may contribute to improved retention  rates in the profession. It is also envisaged that as a result of this exercise, these future nurses will feel more empowered to interact with the media after graduation.

Evaluating News
Monika Bednarek,
University of Technology Sydney

This paper introduces a new approach to analysing evaluative meaning in news stories. Evaluative meaning deals with the function and usage of language to express the speaker’s/writer’s opinion along a number of evaluative parameters (e.g. good-bad, expected-unexpected, true-false). This paper proposes that there are at least ten different parameters along which journalists can evaluate aspects of the world in the stories they compose. The ‘parameter-based framework of evaluation’ (Bednarek 2006) that will be described can be applied both in qualitative and in quantitative analyses of news stories. Crucially, the use of evaluative language can be related to journalistic practice, in particular but not limited to the attempt to increase ‘news value’ (Galtung and Ruge 1965, Hartley 1982, Brighton & Foy 2007).


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