Voices in the Wilderness: Images of Aboriginal People in the Australian Media

Voices in the Wilderness: Images of Aboriginal People in the Australian Media

Voices in the Wilderness: Images of Aboriginal People in the Australian Media

Voices in the Wilderness: Images of Aboriginal People in the Australian Media

Excerpt

This is a book about journalism—specifically Australian journalism—and the ways in which it reports on Indigenous people and issues. It is also about the ways in which journalism practices—and the stories they generate—have been and remain complicit in creating and sustaining particular images of Indigenous people in Australia and beyond.

In a sense, it is an attempt to map out a process in which I have been both a participant and an observer. It is a process that began almost 25 years ago when I started work as a journalist on a local newspaper in Brisbane. I worked as a print and broadcast journalist for 10 years before becoming involved in more critical reflection through journalism education and research.

It seems to me quite apparent that journalism, as a set of cultural practices, tends to fulfill a role in providing simplistic, commonsense explanations for questions or events where, more often than not, complex and contextual answers are needed. This is partially the result of the production processes of news, but journalism—with all its contradictions—remains a central influence.

The practices of journalism offer up powerful ways of interpreting the world. This is especially true when representing race relations, because for most people the news media are the only sources of information about such topics. While much of this book is concerned with a critique of mainstream journalism practices, it is optimistic about the possibilities for change. If the book provokes discussion and debate that lead to a better understanding of cross-cultural communication—and the critical role of journalism in this—then it will have succeeded.

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