'The Australian we all aspire to be' : commemorative journalism and the death of the Crocodile Hunter

Hanusch, Folker (2009) 'The Australian we all aspire to be' : commemorative journalism and the death of the Crocodile Hunter. Media International Australia incorporating Culture and Policy, pp. 28-38.

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This article examines the news coverage the death of Steve Irwin, widely known as the Crocodile Hunter, generated in Australia. In line with past research on commemorative journalism, the study demonstrates the dominant discourses employed in the reporting of Irwin's death. It is argued that Australia's newspapers invoked a number of national myths, such as mateship, larrikinism and anti-elitism, in order to re-assert notions of Australian identity and social values and to deal with the grief over his loss. Most importantly, the study sheds new light on how news media deal with challenges to the dominant memorialising discourse. Past studies had not been able to investigate in much detail alternative discourses, but in examining Irwin's death, we are able to see how the media deal with such an unwanted interruption. It is argued that newspapers appropriated the alternative perspective within the mythical terms of their memorialising discourse, thereby not allowing it to disrupt the memorialisation itself and in fact further strengthening the process of mythologising the Crocodile Hunter.

Impact and interest:

3 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 68328
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: journalism, collective memory, commemorative journalism, Steve Irwin, values
ISSN: 1329-878X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > JOURNALISM AND PROFESSIONAL WRITING (190300) > Journalism Studies (190301)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA STUDIES (200100)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Past > Schools > Journalism, Media & Communication
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 The University of Queensland.
Deposited On: 12 Mar 2014 02:14
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2014 03:52

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