File(s) under permanent embargo
Making inroads: a critical examination of the ABC’s commitment to local news
journal contributionposted on 2017-01-01, 00:00 authored by Julie FreemanJulie Freeman, Kristy HessKristy Hess, Lisa Waller
This article examines the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s (ABC) provision of local news to rural and regional communities. Drawing on critiques of the public sphere and its relationship to public service media, it analyses submissions to a Parliamentary Bill to include rural and regional amendments in the ABC’s Charter. The analysis reveals three key concerns: resourcing and restructuring of rural/regional newsrooms, declining local news content and voices, and inequality of access to the ABC. The submissions indicate that geography continues to shape understandings of issues that matter and how news is received. However, amid ABC funding cuts and digital adaptations, the quality of local news is relegated in favour of promoting national identity and universal appeal. This article contends that the ABC’s current Charter resonates with outdated conceptualisations of a singular public sphere. A framework enabling construction of geographically targeted localised communication spaces would instead direct resources where they are needed most in rural and regional locations.