Cultural Change in Australian regional newspapers
Jacqui Ewart and Brian L. Massey
Griffith University

This paper presents the results of the first major study of journalists’ reactions to an organisational change initiative in an Australian newspaper corporation. The study and its findings make a significant contribution to the literature on journalism and journalists in Australia and to the literature on organisational change in newsrooms internationally. This is the first time research into an Australian media company’s organisational change effort has been carried out over a sustained period of time. In this paper we present the results of a three-year study of Australian journalists’ reactions to and uptake of a corporate change program. The study draws on data from surveys of journalists working for 14 regional daily newspapers owned by the company Australian Provincial News & Media. The research provides a unique insight into how journalists at 14 Australian regional daily newspapers responded to the efforts of their parent corporation to bring about cultural change in their newsrooms. The data are drawn from annual surveys of journalists over a three-year period from 2005 to 2007. The main aim of the study was to track the extent of attitudinal change, if any, among the journalists working at those newspapers because they were the forefront staff targeted by, and charged with implementing, the corporate change program. While the surveys also explored a range of other issues, this paper tracks the attitudes of journalists towards the program, its impact on their roles and their job satisfaction levels from 2005 to 2007. It also explores the effect of the program on the relationship between the 14 daily newspapers and the communities they serve. It does so because a key aim of the change effort was to engender more positive relationships between the corporation’s newspapers and their readers.  We conclude this paper with suggestions as to the implications of the findings of this study for journalists experiencing change and media corporations considering embarking on similar change initiatives. This paper provides a research model from which those intending to undertake similar research can proceed.

“No girls allowed” – the gender barriers female journalists feel limit their reporting careers in Australian newsrooms.
Anne Gleeson
University of NSW

This paper investigates a little explored area in the Australian news industry; that is, any barriers that female journalists believe they have encountered in the workplace during their journalism careers. This paper draws on preliminary findings arising from the initial stages of a doctoral research examining in-depth the experiences of female journalists in the Australian news industry. The literature outlined here positions my initial findings in the context of the gender, sociology, organizational and cultural factors that come into play. The data are drawn from interviews with 16 female journalists, past and present, employed by either print, radio or television news organisations in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory. The sample size is limited and not designed to be representative of all female journalists working in the Australian news industry, but rather endeavours to draw out any commonalities and differences women experience as journalists employed in Australian newsrooms.

Tabloidization: A Devil to Popular Journalism?
Meng Fan
Hong Kong Baptist University

The new media culture consists of covering big stories, flashy graphics and quotes from officials who say nothing. In this age of 24-hour cable channels and the Internet there is more news, but we ask, is there more information? The media are traditionally regarded in the role of democracy “watchdog”, but a growing number of media scholars argue that media have a much wider social and political role (Dahlgren & Sparks, 1992; Hartley, 1999; Gripsrud , 1999).  Informing citizens in a way that enables them to act as citizens has traditionally been the responsibility of the press. Hence the press major function is to call on citizens from all classes of life concerning their role in society and their contribution to it.  We will argue that in the media culture the classic function of journalism reporting on a true and reliable account of the day’s events is being undermined. It is displaced by the varying standards of journalism and polarizing arguments. Yet these characteristics are conventionally regarded to deepen the disconnection with citizens, diminish the press’s ability to serve as a cohesive culture force and weaken the public’s need of a true account of the news. Being a forum for public debate and as such a catalyst for problem solving, the long term implications for the role as the most important for the press, are being eroded. In this way, most media scholars agree that the task of press is to cater the needs and interests of the public as a whole and to represent it in all its diversity of different social classes, even in a so called “tabloid” way. This kind of need and assumption raised both by reality reflection and academic ideal results the trend of popular journalism. In my study, the quality of popular press starts from “democratic citizenship”, the investigation goes on nature of tabloid and the final observation presents the current situation in Chinese television journalism in particular.

Reporting for the small screen: the role of journalists in Australian television news from1956 to 2008
Barbara Alysen
University of Western Sydney

These are challenging times for Australian television journalists and not just because of the cutbacks to news-related programs that have affected Channel 9, in particular, over the past twelve months.
The style of news delivery is changing. Presenters have become anchors. Journalists are spending more time reporting live, and writing for more than a single medium. More are editing their own video and some are shooting their own pictures.  At the same time, audiences are being invited to see themselves as part of the news-making process. If we look at the full half-century of Australian television news, this is the fourth large-scale shift in journalistic work practices. This paper addresses the transitions between each era of Australian television news and looks at what it has meant for journalists and their audiences.

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