Global story-telling in a socially-networked world

Gearing, Amanda Ann (2013) Global story-telling in a socially-networked world. In Redrawing the Boundaries : Journalism Research, Education and Professional Culture in Times of Change, 2-4 December 2013, Sunshine Coast, QLD. (Unpublished)


Journalists work in an intensively time-pressured environment, researching and writing to daily, often 24 hour, deadlines and always aware of the competition with other news outlets to be first with the news. This results, as Karen Sanders has observed, in journalists having very little time for reflection. “If they do reflect, it’s usually after a decision has been made” (Sanders 2003, 168). Yet time for reflection upon professional practice is important, especially in an era of extremely rapid and seismic technological change in the global media. This paper will reflect upon how freelance journalists can use advances in social media and web-based connectedness to tell global stories via mainstream media outlets. In exploring this question, I will examine the techniques and communications technologies used by three reporters working in the UK and Australia to find, investigate and break a series of articles, published simultaneously on the front pages of The Australian and The Times (London) newspapers, was a result of a six month investigation. The series exposed a 50-year cover-up of the serial abuse of children by one of the Church of England's most senior clergy, Robert Waddington, in Australia and the UK. It unearthed the existence of a culture of physical and sexual abuse at St Barnabas boarding school in Queensland, the sudden closure of the school and disappearance of student files - as well as Waddington's subsequent offences against children while Dean of Manchester Cathedral. We produced more than 20 articles. The coverage sparked church-ordered investigations in both countries, and also prompted the Archbishop of Canterbury to order a commission of inquiry – headed by a sitting UK judge - as well as a nationwide child safety audit of dioceses in Britain. In Australia, the church referred the case and handed its files to the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse. The coverage marked the first publishing collaboration between The Australian and The Times to break an exclusive story in Australia and Britain simultaneously, on May 10, 2013.

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ID Code: 68620
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Refereed: No
Additional URLs:
Keywords: network theory, social media, web communications, social network, investigative reporting
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Past > Schools > Journalism, Media & Communication
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 The Author
Deposited On: 17 Mar 2014 01:22
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2014 01:22

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