Understanding the media has never been simple, and it is becoming more difficult every day. It is not surprising that The Media and Communications in Australia is considerably different to editions one and two of The Media in Australia. Since the first edition was published in 1993, the mediascape in Australia has changed dramatically under the successive waves of liberalisation, the introduction of pay and then digital TV, and the comprehensive effects of media convergence. Even more significantly for our purposes, research and analytical paradigms have moved on. Whereas in 1993, textual analysis and political economy featured strongly in our map of what students needed to know in order to understand the media, issues of policy and technological change are now major components of any thorough account. As a result, the structure and orientation of this book have undergone significant change in order to reflect the new configuration of the media industries and of the academic field.
It is fitting that we should thank the contributors to this edition for their cooperation in what has been a large and complicated project. The quality of the contributions well reflect the quality of the field in Australia and we are delighted that we could assemble such a strong collection of writers. Elizabeth Weiss, of Allen & Unwin, has, as always, provided us with astute advice during the redesign of the book. Particular thanks, however, are due to Harvey May, who took on the tasks of turning the chapters into a single manuscript and of developing the material at the end of each chapter. Both of these tasks were performed with distinction and Harvey has made a substantial contribution to the final form of the book. Of course, we bear the editorial responsibility for that final form, and we hope that our readers find it continues to make a substantive contribution to studies of the media and communications in Australia.
Graeme Turner and Stuart Cunningham Brisbane, May 2001