Saturday, August 27, 2011

New News Conference Day 2

Journalists and Trauma

Dr Denis Muller of the Centre for Advanced Journalism and bushfire survivor Di James host journalists who report trauma, the survivors of disasters and the public.

Denis Muller

2009 Victorian bushfires research: Black Saturday: In the Media Spotlight

Ethical dilemmas

Impact of media on survivors'consent and survivor autonomy"

  • "informed consent' impossible in "considered' sense
  • surprise at being in media, unaware that personal info given
  • 'instinctual' consent
  • Q of recognition  & respect of autonomy (eg getting them to cry)
  • autonomy a 'crucial factor'
  • survivors dependent on others not much left but autonomy
  • research: survivors believe that exposure to media more good than harm
Di James

Agrees with DM's finding
Overall positive feelings in months after bushfires

Focus on first 48 hours:

Stayed in Marysville during fires - too late to leave
Left own house, went to neighbours, lost phone, drove to oval where large group gathered, spent night there, some 'catatonic', some 'hyped on adrenalin' incl Di. Helicopter came but not emergency services but media chopper. Evacuated by convoy.

First contact with journalists on oval - approach gentle and appropriate. What was broadcast was the tears.

Debris all over the road. Car stopped. Mic and camera through car window, followed by stupid Q and sharp reply. Q broadcasts with Di's closeup image in back seat - seen by son at Adelaide airport who was shocked. Very distressing experience. Images of Di comforting neighbour used for 6 months as publicity. family still shocked by recent use.

Photos of dead bodies from bushfires in the media still traumatising, esp for families of dead.

Media's reporting intensely important but needs to be balance with sensitivty and awareness. What does the public need to know?

Swing in front garden. Di desperate to remove it before the media got into Marysville. Fortunately this happened.


Good Qs?? About experiences, about what happened, not feelings.

How do we teach ethics to journalists?

How do we get media to focus on what happened not people's private trauma?

What does the public need to know, not just want to know?

Democratic Media - Populism or powershift?

How do we balance public participation in news media without pandering to populist prejudices and political hacks? How do we inspire the community to promote and prioritise the issues they are concerned with and have politicians and CEOs publically respond to those issues? Come and contribute ideas to the team behind, a website connecting you with the people in charge. Discussion led by OurSay.

Latest Climate Change Questions: attempts to hijack for own agendas (eg Andrew Bolt) interesting development.

Security & privacy issues?? Very personal. How anonymous?

  • First comment moderated last week.
  • Getting people to own and take responsibility for their own Qs.

How to move this kind of online forum into the real world?

  • Make incentives for participation. 
  • Public events like Brunswick State election forum. 
  • Breaking into traditional media.
Is Our Say open to being hijacked by groups with own "facts" such as Tea Party-like organisations? Is it open to manipulation?
  • Risks and perceived risks can cause outrage
  • Transparency & engagement as weapons

How to avoid gossip and opinion that are not fact-based? Is it too rational?

People who answer the Qs??

  • Chosen and publicised beforehand. 
  • Choice could be risky. 
  • Roles change eg Lindsay Tanner resigned.

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