Narrative news in the Australian press: An endangered species in the changing media space

TitleNarrative news in the Australian press: An endangered species in the changing media space
Publication TypeConference Paper
Author(s)Johnston, J. L., and C. E. Graham
Affiliation (1st Author)Faculty of H&SS, Bond University
Section or WGJournalism Research and Education Section
DateSat 29 June
Slot CodeJRE S1a
Slot Code (Keyword)JRE S1a
Time of Session9:00-10:30
Session TitleThe ‘Glocalization’ of Journalism Crisis Theme III: Professional Journalism
Submission ID4878

This paper presents the findings of a longitudinal study into the use of narrative journalism in Australian newspapers. The five-year study used content and textual analysis approaches to investigate the dominant writing styles used in the news pages of the two metropolitan daily broadsheets The Australian and The Sydney Morning Herald. It found that narrative news declined during the period under review while commentary and inverted pyramid styles had increased in both papers. It also identified a hybrid approach to newspaper writing, combining narrative techniques with an inverted pyramid summary form, finding this style had increased over the period under review. Drawing on a total sample of more than 7,000 articles from 2007, 2009 and 2011, the findings are considered within the context of the contemporary news environment which has been beleaguered by reduced readership, economic strife and journalist shedding. Indeed since the last data set of the study was produced in 2011, the Australian press has suffered the most significant cuts in a decade and these, too, are considered within a broader analysis of the industry. The paper draws on a range of theoretical approaches to journalism, notably the work of literary and narrative journalism scholars, including Jack (2006), Hartsock (2007) and others who have considered changes to the industry in recent years.  Indeed, Jack’s (2006) concerns over the merging of comment and news, at the expense of quality journalism, foreshadowed the rise in commentary in this study some five years later.  He noted: ‘‘Comment is cheap but facts are rather expensive,’’ (2006, p. viii). Such insights help to provide a deeper understanding of how the study can be positioned within the broader international context of newspaper practice and production.Hartsock, J. (2000) A History of American Literary Journalism: the emergence of a modern narrative form, Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press.Jack, I. (2006) The Granta Book of Reportage, 3rd edn, London: Granta Books.

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer