Media International Australia incorporating Culture and Policy

Print ISSN: 1329-878X
Publications
In recent years, a narrative has emerged in the Australian popular media about the box office "unpopularity" of Australian feature films and the "failure" of the domestic screen industry. This article explores the recent history of Australian screen policy with particular reference to: 1) the "10BA" tax incentive of the 1980s; 2) the Film Finance Corporation of Australia (FFC), a government screen agency established in 1988 to bring investment bank-style portfolio management to Australia's screen industry, and 3) local production incentive policies pursed by Australian state governments in a chase for Hollywood's runaway production. We argue the 10BA incentive catalysed an unsustainable bubble in Australian production, while its policy successor, the FFC, fundamentally failed in its stated mission of "commercial" screen financing (over its 20-year lifespan, the FFC invested $AUD1.345 billion for $AUD274.2 million recouped: a cumulative return of negative 80 per cent). For their part, private investors in Australian films discovered the screen production process involved high levels of risk (Goldman 1984, Malkiel 2007). Foreign-financed production also proved highly volatile, due to the vagaries of trade exposure, currency fluctuations, and tax arbitrage. The result of these macro- and micro-economic factors – often structural and cross-border in nature – was that Australia's screen industry failed to develop the local investment infrastructure required to finance a sustainable (non-subsidised) local sector.
 
This issue of Media International Australia incorporating Culture & Policy is The New Others: media and society post-September 11, a date that now clearly has has enormous significance in all fields of social inquiry. In the Australian context it was part of an extraordinary sequence of events relating acts of terror to the creation of widespread fear of the new 'others', people of Muslim and Middle Eastern background. Media and Cultural Studies scholars explore some of the issues that confront us in this new political landscape.
 
Online video games are helping to pioneer the use of interactive advertising that targets consumers based on information about their behaviour, consumption patterns, and other demographic and psychographic information. This article draws on the example of in-game ads to explore some of the ways in which advertisers harness virtual worlds to marketing imperatives, and equate realism and authenticity with the proliferation of commercial messages. Since video games have the potential to serve as a model for other forms of marketing both online and off, the way in which they are being used to exploit interactivity as a form of commercial monitoring has broader implications for the digital economy.
 
This paper examines a particular form of online activity-weblogging, and how it has allowed for specific new forms of popular political communication in the context of the Second Gulf War. After describing the basics of weblogging, the paper discusses Western media coverage of the war and then shows how 'warbloggers' positioned themselves vis-à-vis media coverage and propaganda, creating commentaries that frequently combined media and political criticism. While bloggers of every political hue offered a range of perspectives and personal styles, some general tendencies are evident in warblogging discourse. The piece ends by questioning the significance of warblogging in terms of its potential contribution to democratic communication.
 
Southeast Queensland's local independent press (2006) 
Often dismissed as irrelevant and not worth the paper they are written on, community newspapers have received little scholarly attention. Yet results from a survey of independent community newspapers in Southeast Queensland challenge the assumption that this sector is in decline, and reveal a popular and vibrant industry that has an important function in the formation and maintenance of communities.
 
This paper undertakes an overview of two developments in online media that coincided with the 'year-long campaign' that was the 2007 Australian Federal election. It discusses the relatively successful use of the Internet and social media in the 'Kevin07' Australian Labor Party campaign, and contrasts this to the Liberal-National Party's faltering use of You Tube for policy announcements. It also notes the struggle for authority in interpreting polling data between the mainstream media and various online commentators, and the 'July 12 incident' at The Australian, where it engaged in strong denunciation of alleged biases and prejudices among bloggers and on political Web sites. It concludes with consideration of some wider implication for political communication and the politics-media relationship, and whether we are seeing trends towards dispersal and diversification characterising the 'third age' of political communication.
 
What are the education-to-work transition experiences of graduate creative professionals in a time when user-generated content is radically changing the organisations in which they will work? 60Sox is an online creative ecology for these emerging professionals that attempts to answer this question, in the process of showcasing and developing their creative and generic career capacities. We report here on the development and operation of 60Sox.org.au, and argue for its significance in terms of: (1) the centrality of human capital arguments in the operation of the creative economy; (2) the importance of ‘creative ecologies’ as an emerging business concept, particularly in the digital industries; (3) the arrival of online and peer-to-peer (p2p) architecture as a changing distribution mode within the digital content industries; (4) the related importance of pro-am creativity; and (5) the recognition of skill shortages and training requirements in Australia’s digital content industries.
 
This article analyses how ABC Online's early history might be used for thinking about future directions. While this history is contingent, it nevertheless leaves traces in the current structure which will affect decision-making about the future of ABC Online. There is no doubt that ABC Online is valuable. The question is how to exploit that value.
 
A content analysis of the ABC News Online website during the 2000 Olympic Games reveals a select few female role models were available to young audiences. One female athlete was ‘news-privileged’. Cathy Freeman's exposure came at the expense of her Australian team mates, especially those women who won medals in team sports. While the results indicate an improvement in both the extent of women's sports coverage and the range of sports covered, stereotypical descriptions often characterised adult females as emotionally vulnerable, dependent adolescents. Male athletes were never infantilised and were far less likely to be described in emotive terms.
 
This paper argues that much writing about media and citizenship tends to rely on a set of realist or structuralist assumptions about what constitutes a state, a citizen, and politics. Because of these assumptions, other forms of social organisation that could reasonably be described as nations, and other forms of social engagement that could be called citizenship, are excluded from consideration. One effect of this blindness is that certain identities, and the cultural formations associated with them, continue to be overvalued as more real and important than others. Areas of culture that are traditionally white, masculine, middle-class and heterosexual remain central in debates; while the political processes of citizens of, for example, a Queer nation, continue to be either ignored, or devalued as being somehow trivial, unimportant, or less real. The paper demonstrates that this need not be the case; that the language of nation and citizenship can reasonably be expanded to include these other forms of social organisation; and that when such a conceptual move is made, we can find ways of describing contemporary culture that attempt to understand the public-sphere functions of the media without falling back into traditional prejudices against feminised, queer, working class or non-white forms of culture.
 
This paper intervenes in debates about the construction of ‘publics’ by the media. It traces the way in which one governmental genre of television programming – the public service announcement – attempts the difficult task of constructing a unified sense of ‘the public’ in Western Australia by means of appeals to a supposedly ‘universal’ discourse; that of the protection of children. The paper examines the ways in which these advertisements employ such strategies and discusses the limitations and implications of such appeals by looking at the citizens who are excluded from such a ‘public’
 
This paper examines ramifications of China’s entry into the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in the context of the increasing internationalisation of its audio-visual industry landscape. The paper begins with a discussion of the concept of sovereignty. This is juxtaposed against the proposition advanced by US content industry spokesperson Jack Valenti that liberalisation of markets and openness to 'ideas' is in China's greater interest. The point is made that a leap of faith between open markets and the 'marketplace of ideas' is viewed suspiciously by Chinese elites, despite their declaration that WTO accession represents a win–win outcome for the Chinese nation. The second section of the paper looks at how China might respond to reassert cultural sovereignty through industry development, in particular the use of branding and localisation. The conclusion reframes the utility of the idea of sovereignty in the light of China’s celebration of national champions.
 
If there is one television programming staple for which Australian television drama is known internationally, it is the long-running television soap, with Neighbours (originally produced by Grundy in 1985) lauded as the most outstanding example of Australian series export (Cunningham and Jacka, 1996). Twenty-five years on, this program still airs on domestic and international TV schedules five days a week, despite waning popularity with local Australian audiences. Considering past interest in the success and longevity of this soap, it is apposite to look again at the continuing progress of Neighbours foremost as a global brand. In comparison, Packed to the Rafters is treated here as a contemporary version of familiar Aussie themes related to everyday middle-class suburbia, populated with blue skies and feel-good characters expressing wholesome family values, but with a stylistic innovation defined here as domestic realism. As part of the production ecology of the late 2000s, Packed to the Rafters demonstrates the considerable role for local drama productions as loss leaders and flagship programming for commercial freeto-air networks up against an increasingly difficult domestic market.
 
This paper investigates the implications of the Australian Government’s proposed Internet filtering system in the light of Australia’s blanket prohibition of ‘child pornography’ (including cartoons, animation, drawings, digitally manipulated photographs, and text) for Australian fan communities of ACG and slash. ACG/slash fan groups in Australia and elsewhere routinely consume, produce and disseminate material containing ‘prohibited content’ (i.e. featuring fictitious ‘under-age’ characters in violent and sexual scenarios). Moreover, a large portion of the fans producing and trading in these images are themselves ‘under age’. Focusing specifically upon the overwhelmingly female fandom surrounding Japanese ‘Boys’ Love’ (BL) manga, the paper argues that legislators have misrecognised the nature and scope of these online communities. It is also argued that the sheer scale of this kind of material, and the fact that it is legal for download and purchase in jurisdictions such as the US and Japan, make attempts to prohibit access to these purely fictional depictions in Australia unworkable.
 
Australia ’s media policy agenda has recently been dominated by debate over two key issues: media ownership reform, and the local content provisions of the Australia–United States Free Trade Agreement. Challenging the tendency to analyse these issues separately, the article considers them as interlinked indicators of fundamental shifts occurring in the digital media environment. Converged media corporations increasingly seek to achieve economies of scale through ‘content streaming’: multi-purposing proprietary content across numerous digitally enabled platforms. This has resulted in rivalries for control of delivery technologies (as witnessed in media ownership debates) as well as over market access for corporate content (in the case of local content debates). The article contextualises Australia’s contemporary media policy flashpoints within international developments and longer-term industry strategising. It further questions the power of media policy as it is currently conceived to deal adequately with the challenges raised by a converging digital media marketplace.
 
This article outlines the evolution of communication studies within the university sector in Aotearoa New Zealand and how this diverse disciplinary field is situated within the academy through teaching and research. It identifies the highly competitive tertiary education structures and systems that can create disincentives for the collective organising of communication scholars both within and between tertiary institutions. At the same time, it acknowledges the international disciplinary contribution of Aotearoa New Zealand researchers, and recent successful inroads into gaining major grants. The article reflects on the challenges that come with the need to position ourselves as 'internationally relevant' while also finding ways of developing and supporting local communication studies initiatives, and contributing to the advancement of Aotearoa New Zealand as a bicultural nation.
 
This paper traces the emergence of media policy reform activism in Australia around media content regulations for commercial broadcasting, from 1953 to 1976. Its focus is on processes of participation in public inquiries, and the ways in which these were manifestations of what Anna Yeatman (1998) has termed ‘activism in the policy process’. It finds evidence that such processes facilitated the emergence of more wide-ranging campaigns for media reform in the 1970s, but also finds that the extent to which such trends can be seen as applying a logic of ‘governmentality’ to broadcast media has in practice been limited by the predominantly commercial nature of the Australian broadcasting system, the conduct of regulatory agencies and their proneness to ‘regulatory capture’, and the extent to which the demands of media critics could be translated into implementable policies.
 
This article looks at the increasing incidence of television format flows in the Asia Pacific, and draws upon findings from a three-year eleven country study. It argues that format activity is both a consequence of demand for low cost content and a catalyst for change in local content. Fashioning formats has become a means of financial and cultural insurance. Media producers in Asia have joined the international television format trade circuit. This paper looks at a number of international formats that have staked out a presence in the Asia Pacific region.
 
This is a case study of the Australian company Jonathan M. Shiff Productions and its ‘tween’ program, action series H 2 0: Just Add Water. The program has sold in 150 countries including the United States, where it was ‘the first non-American live action to be bought by Nickelodeon in America’ and screens every Sunday night as family entertainment. It is also the highest rating children’s drama series on Nickelodeon UK. While Australia’s content regulations are important to its production, of critical importance is ZDF Enterprises, the commercial arm of one of Germany’s two public service broadcasting channels, and worldwide distributor and production partner for all Jonathan M. Shiff productions. Case studies such as the following provide useful insights into the shape and operations of mediascapes elsewhere, and where our own media environment may be heading. They also offer a glimpse into the way the international market place is organising along forms of cooperation designed to facilitate global distribution of cultural content. A central proposition of this case study is that the structural conditions of multi-channel environments require certain adjustments in form, content and business modelling that have essentially coalesced around the operation of brand management.
 
An examination of the strategies of Packer's PBL, owner of Channel Nine and the Internet portal ninemsn, suggests that the commercial agenda of the mass media — and the quest for audiences — has translated into an attempt to control access gateways to the Internet. Strategic alliances with MSN and partners who can provide transaction-driven services, such as Ticketek and Schwab, are core elements to ‘channel’ users through the ninemsn portal. Its exemplary use of interactive capabilities to establish lasting links to Web users reflects a changing notion of audiences as active, globally connected consumers. The dialogue which unfolds between the technological environment of the Internet and the existing culture of the television industry will impact on future digital cultures and upon regulatory responses.
 
This article takes a co-evolutionary approach to considering the influence of internet cultures and revenue sources on the development of the new commercial search media. The extent to which advertising revenues can be relied upon as a defining characteristic of commercial media in the global era is also problematised. A comparative consideration of the cases of Yahoo!, Google and Sensis pays particular attention to informational forms of advertising and the rhetorical, if not strategic importance of small advertisers. Also considered are the disruptive impacts of new modes of interaction upon the established social relations of media, advertisers, and consumers, in the production, circulation and uses of symbolic power. While new search media business models are suggestive of new strategies for civilising advertising and capital more generally, the resilience and adaptability of the advertiser-funded business model provides an important point of historical continuity between the new search media and the politics and economics of modern mass ('old') media. The more things change, the more they also seem to be at risk of remaining the same.
 
This paper looks at recent developments in the Chinese magazine industry to illustrate trends in advertiser-funded media associated with China's accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). It argues that advertising services are an integral part of the WTO "wrecking ball" now being wielded to reform the marketplace and promote innovation and entrepreneurship. Because it is the smallest of 'main media' categories, and relatively under-researched in comparison to other media, the Chinese magazine industry provides an interesting and manageable starting point for a larger investigation of the impact of competition unleashed by internationalisation on key creative industries sectors, including media and advertising. Two case studies illustrate the roles and limits of advertising in this complex process and, more broadly, in the management of China's developing "commercial culture". These are Shanghai Bride (linlang xinniang), a provincial magazine distributed from Shanghai targeted primarily at women considering marriage; and Caijing, a national 'blue-chip' financial magazine, based in Beijing.
 
Australian Story has developed a distinctive approach to both current affairs and the presentation of stories about celebrities. It has been subject to criticism for both of these, but the article argues that this is misguided, drawing on recent work on celebrity and particularly on John Langer's analysis of the ‘other news’ to point out how pervasive ‘human interest’ style stories are throughout news bulletins and conventional current affairs, and noting how many of these concern celebrities. Calling on a large number of episodes, it demonstrates that the program is capable of acting to set news agendas and of continuing existing news coverage — both prime duties of current affairs programs — and that it uses its celebrity coverage in particular to perform these functions. It also identifies the role of the testimonial as central to what is special about the Australian Story approach.
 
This paper presents a history of the pioneering ABC TV current affairs program, This Day Tonight (TDT). This Day Tonight has mythic status in the history of Australian television news and current affairs, and is often used as a reference point for the kind of political Journalism that is now generally held to have disappeared from Australian television. The research for this paper does endorse this myth to some extent, but it also reminds us of the importance of the broader cultural contexts within which television programming must find its audience. There are significant differences to be noted, and important lessons to be learnt, from the comparison between TDT and its audience, and the kinds of current affairs programming and audiences we have today. Further, the history of TDT's demise challenges the basis for the industry nostrum that audiences find politics boring and that therefore political journalism is no longer a commercial option for contemporary current affairs television.
 
As a new democracy, South Africa's adoption of community radio is significant on a global scale. It can be said to have more progressive broadcasting policies than other long established democracies. But the sector, despite its rapid growth, is struggling. This paper considers community radio in South Africa as an example of 'citizens' media’ that is transforming the country's mediascape. It draws on interviews undertaken in South Africa during late 2001 to discuss the problems that the sector is facing. The role of legislation and regulation is considered as well as an example of a community radio station that serves a severely disadvantaged community. Social and economic underdevelopment in historically disadvantaged communities is seen as a major problem and an example of an initiative that seeks to develop such communities through community radio is described. "If communities cannot have the houses they were promised and the free education they long for their children, let alone the jobs that they are forever crying for, let them at least have their voices" (Console Tleane 2001:32).
 
Governments and big business tout the affordances of new technologies, but there is little research available that tells us why wireless connectivity should be or is desirable, or shows that its benefits have fully been established. In our minds, wireless technologies and cultures have not been given the sustained attention they deserve. Informed by these concerns, our hope is that this special issue, which follows on from a 2006 workshop sponsored by the ‘Cultural Technologies’ node of the ARC Cultural Research Network, will promote debate and further research into wireless technologies and cultures in the Australian and New Zealand regions.
 
What would an innovation systems approach to the creative and especially the digital content industries look like? This is important for two reasons: such an approach may open up dynamic and central policy territory which has been the preserve of science, engineering and technology (SET) worldwide; and it asks new questions, outside the domain of cultural support, which may precipitate a more holistic approach to the creative industries. This article draws on aspects of a report produced as part of the Australian Government’s Creative Industries Cluster Study which outlined key elements of such a system. It focuses on the issues raised in looking at the role of key public institutions such as research agencies, educational and training bodies, including universities, government support agencies and others. We argue that these elements need to be greatly strengthened as well as challenged in terms of their orientation and their capacity to contribute to the innovation system.
 
This article argues that the Australia–United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) selectively recognises and affirms international conventions and agreements that promote the narrow economic self-interests of powerful groups. It does this whilst disregarding those international instruments — including the Convention on Biological Diversity and the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity — that seek to recognise and promote the cultural and intellectual property rights of Indigenous people. Although AUSFTA does make some concessions for Indigenous interests by providing negative exemptions from the chapters dealing with trade in services, government procurement and investment, these concessions are relatively weak in the face of the Agreement's pursuit of free trade. Using the model of Chapter 19, which imposes positive obligations on the United States and Australia to promote environmental interests, it is proposed that future Australian FTAs should enunciate positive obligations for Australia's Indigenous people.
 
Free-to-air broadcasting is currently facing some tough challenges. Amidst declining viewing figures, the rise of competing technologies and the infiltration of pay TV, free-to-air broadcasters have watched their audience fragment and their revenue base become shaky. This paper examines the way the Ten Network has reconfigured itself in response to some of these challenges, recasting itself as a free-to-air broadcaster narrowcaster, appealing specifically to the youth market as a way of making itself economically viable. In doing so, Ten has introduced to the Australian television environment a new way of conceiving a television network — as an entity that transcends the broadcasting medium and configures itself as a desired cultural space. This paper examines Ten's shift from the position of a broadcaster to a narrowcaster through the introduction of niche marketing and determined counter-programming strategies. Hand in hand with this. Ten's branding strategies and expanded media interests have sought to establish the network as a youth cultural mecca rather than simply a youth-focused broadcaster. This paper will look at the way the reconfigured Ten exists as a portal for youth viewers to gain access to a youth-specific public sphere, a commercial space where they can engage in semiotic self-determination and utilise transnational products enabling a process of DIY citizenship (Hartley, 1999: 162).
 
Alan Jones is among the most controversial, and reputedly the most influential, of talkback hosts in Australia. Governments appear to provide privileged access, and his media campaigns appear to achieve results. However, an increasing number of commentators have argued that his so-called influence is an illusion — the product of indefatigable self-promotion and a gullible public. While debate over what the radio audience might make of Alan Jones continues, in this article we use quantitative and qualitative analyses of the program itself to examine what is distinctive about his performance as a radio talkback host in order to also address the question of how, and to what extent, Jones both seeks and achieves political influence. Additional, detailed information on the data which underlies this article, but which was unsuited to the confines of a normal journal article, is freely available on the Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies website. There is also information on the data analysis of Graeme Turner's broader research project on talkback radio, of which this article forms a part.
 
In the field of digital sampling, disk jockeys have shown a recent enthusiasm for 'mash-ups' - new compositions created by combining the rhythm tracks of one song and the vocal track of another. Most famously of all, DJ Danger Mouse remixed the vocals from Jay-Z's The Black Album and the Beatles' White Album and called his creation The Grey Album. The Grey Album poses a number of difficult issues regarding copyright law and digital sampling. Does such a 'mash-up' go beyond the de minimis use of a copyright work? Is The Grey Album protected by the defence of fair use under copyright law because it provides a transformative use of copyright works? Can such remixes be compulsorily licensed? Does a 'mash-up' raise issues concerning the moral rights of attribution and integrity, which are recognised in Europe and Australia?
 
This paper investigates the current turbulent state of copyright in the digital age, and explores the viability of alternative compensation systems that aim to achieve the same goals with fewer negative consequences for consumers and artists. To sustain existing business models associated with creative content, increased recourse to DRM (Digital Rights Management) technologies, designed to restrict access to and usage of digital content, is well underway. Considerable technical challenges associated with DRM systems necessitate increasingly aggressive recourse to the law. A number of controversial aspects of copyright enforcement are discussed and contrasted with those inherent in levy based compensation systems. Lateral exploration of the copyright dilemma may help prevent some undesirable societal impacts, but with powerful coalitions of creative, consumer electronics and information technology industries having enormous vested interest in current models, alternative schemes are frequently treated dismissively. This paper focuses on consideration of alternative models that better suit the digital era whilst achieving a more even balance in the copyright bargain.
 
Alternative media should not be marginal, but central, to the developing agenda of media and communication studies, because they challenge the massive concentration of 'symbolic power' (Bourdieu) in mainstream media institutions and the resulting 'exclusion' of most people 'from the power of naming' (Melucci). Precisely because alternative media organisations, in relative terms, lack symbolic resources, their activities tend to be largely invisible, but that is no reason why, as 'weapons of the weak' (Scott), they should be ignored. With some exceptions, media studies has neglected alternative media for too long, and neglected also the inequalities of symbolic power in which media institutions themselves are involved. But now there is less excuse for that neglect. When the 'digital divide' and the atrophy of representative democracy are hotly debated not only by academics but also by policy-makers, media studies should listen to those who are not prepared to accept their exclusion from the power of naming; they are citizens with something important to contribute to debates about democracy, and in paying more attention to them, media studies can make an important link between its own agenda and urgent agendas in political theory and democratic debate.
 
This paper argues for a more specific formal methodology for the textual analysis of individual game genres. In doing so, it advances a set of formal analytical tools and a theoretical framework for the analysis of turn-based computer strategy games. The analytical tools extend the useful work of Steven Poole, who suggests a Peircian semiotic approach to the study of games as formal systems. The theoretical framework draws upon postmodern cultural theory to analyse and explain the representation of space and the organisation of knowledge in these games. The methodology and theoretical framework is supported by a textual analysis of Civilization II, a significant and influential turn-based computer strategy game. Finally, this paper suggests possibilities for future extensions of this work.
 
The prominence of media events in 2006, including the release of former US Vice President Al Gore's documentary An Inconvenient Truth, the publication of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, even the death of 'eco-celebrity' Steve Irwin, suggested a need to devote an issue of Media International Australia to media and the environment. The study of environmentalism through the lens of media, journalism and communication is all but absent in Australia, with some notable exceptions. This issue of MIA goes some way towards redressing the absences identified by Tom Jagtenberg and David McKie in their influential book Eco-Impacts and the Greening of Postmodernity, published more than 10 years ago, which claimed for the environment an equal status with traditional research foci: class, race and gender The current public interest in environmental issues emphasises this point, although it is not unprecedented History shows that environmental issues move in waves to and from the heart of public debate. As well as showcasing some of the field's distinct approaches and traditions, the articles in this issue contribute to a better understanding of this current wave and its likely aftermath. In doing so, it goes some way towards moving the environment in the direction of a more central position on the research and public agenda.
 
This article argues that the term ‘technoculture’ is frequently used in a woolly manner to refer in a general way to technologies implicated in Western cultures, and to constructions of culture that incorporate technological aspects. The opportunity for the term to convey a specific meaning is lost in the generality of this everyday usage. Arguing from first principles about the nature of technology and culture, the paper suggests that technoculture as a term should be applied to communications technologies that are used in the mediated construction of culture. To be technocultural, the technology concerned must facilitate cultural communication across space and/or time and should, in some way, raise issues of place. Since culture is a construction involving communication and more than one person, technoculture involves the communication of cultural material in technological contexts — which is to say, other than the face-to-face. If this definition were to be adopted, future discussions of technoculture would indicate reference to a technology that allows the construction of culture across space and time.
 
This article examines a number of cinematic, literary and journalistic texts in the context of what filmmaker Tom Tykwer calls the 'aesthetic memory' of September 11. In particular, it explores the way these narratives relate to deeply embedded Western cultural myths of the apocalyptic. The apocalyptic language of American Christian fundamentalism and the heroic narratives of Hollywood film are explored as twin influences on a powerful civil religion dubbed 'The Captain America complex' by Jewett and Lawrence (2003a).
 
The concept of 'creative industries' presents a new idea for the Arts/Humanities faculty predicated upon forging a conjunction between the creative arts and cultural industries. It also provides a unique opportunity for the creative arts as well as the old Humanities faculty to acquire a new role at the centre of policy discussions about the new economy. 'Creative industries', in short, provides arts and humanities with a 'new' industry face suited to the needs of the twenty-first century. Yet, so far, discussions about creative industries have focused upon either their new economy connections or upon their delineation from 'cultural industries'. This fosters the impression that the concept of creative industries is forged from the intersection of cultural studies, the new economy and cultural industries alone. What is the place of the creative arts within creative industries? Has it any feasible critical role when it is constantly dubbed 'the subsidised arts'? This paper presents a reading that shows that the conception of creative industries is actually reliant upon the creative arts - in particular, the legacy of interdisciplinary modernist practice within the visual arts. It will examine how the sometimes anti-art rhetoric of some creative industries manifestos evokes this legacy. It then draws out some important socio-political implications of throwing this legacy into this mix that currently constitutes 'creative industries'.
 
As part of a benchmarking project commisioned in 2002 by ACUADS, the Australian Council of University Art and Design Schools, I conducted a series of focus groups with candidates for higher degrees in Visual Art in Australia in order to gain some insight into how the terminology of research was understood and used by Visual Art higher degree candidates. The present paper makes use of that data in order to examine to what extent art practice-led research could engage in general research debate. Yes Yes
 
There is a discursive split in Australian arts policy between subvention of the arts justified in terms of ‘humanistic’ objectives and subvention of the arts justified in terms of ‘economic’ objectives. It is possible to locate the emergence of this particular split to the 1976 Industries Assistance Commission Report, Assistance to the Performing Arts. Over the last two decades, these policy objectives have been constructed as in competition. This paper traces the history of the construction of the ‘arts as industry’ in Australian arts policy. In conclusion, it queries the more recent terms in which ‘arts as industry’ policy objectives have been set as in opposition to ‘public provision’ models of arts subvention.
 
This paper presents a case study of three glass art studios situated in the southwest of Western Australia. The study is designed to provide a model for a larger study of the arts industries that will contribute to a strategic analysis of cultural policies for arts industry development. Its purpose is to offer insights into why arts policy frameworks and arts development strategies in the southwest of Western Australia appear to have had limited outcomes consistent with their arts industry objectives. It proposes that one of the reasons — difficult to formalise in policy documents but a persistent theme in informal discussions I have had with arts practitioners all over the southwest region — is a conceptual problem related to instrumentalities charged with the responsibility of implementing arts policy and development. I propose that this is a ‘problem of culture ‘. I explore this proposition in relation to cultural policy planning and development at the regional level within a wider framework at the state and federal levels in Australia and internationally.
 
This paper positions current Australian discussions about practice-led research within international, national, historical and policy contexts and relates them to the developing pedagogical debate around performing and creative arts doctorates. Arguing that the creative industries offer benefits across the economy, it suggests that recognition for the research methodology specific to practice-led disciplines and the creative industries is overdue. The discussions in this paper, and in this theme issue of MIA, are all the more critical as a result of their articulation with the imminent introduction of the Research Quality Framework (RQF), which will allow nuanced, rigorous and internationally benchmarked evaluation of the quality and impact of research outputs. The RQF and the proposed research assessment panel for ‘creative arts, design and built environment’ herald the way for wider acceptance of practice-led outputs in the Australian research environment.
 
In this article, I analyse the regional strategy of luxury Japanese cosmetics brands to investigate the claim of the Japanisation of Asia. I begin by examining the emergence of pan-Asian advertising for Japanese cosmetic brands, then make the case for an emphasis on branding, as distinct from advertising, which changes the way in which we understand this regional phenomenon. I explore the different ways in which a brand engages consumers, and argue for a sober assessment of the relative importance of advertising (and the salience of image of country of origin) in the overall branding process. I then follow the regional circulation of Japanese brands and media contents, neither of which can any longer be understood coherently in terms of a national framework such as Japanisation. I argue that the globalisation of advertising in Asia is a complex process shaped by large multinational corporations and a disjunctive flow of media contents, and that a more pronounced focus on brands will help to make sense of this process.
 
For researchers investigating online communities, the existence of the internet has made the activities and opinions of community members visible in a public domain. FPS gaming culture is a highly literate culture - members communicate and represent themselves in textual forms online, and the culture makes use of a wide variety of communication and publishing technologies. While a significant amount of insider knowledge is required to understand and interpret such online content, a large body of material is available to researchers online, and sometimes provides more reliable and enlightening information than that generated by more traditional research methods. While the abundance of data available online in some ways makes research far easier, it also creates new dilemmas and challenges for researchers. What extra knowledge is required of the researcher? How can one ensure that one's interpretations of member statements are made with an understanding of meaning within that culture? What responsibilities does the researcher have in their representation of the culture under examination? What ethical issues must be considered?
 
The intersections between journalism and democracy are explored in this paper through an analysis of the ‘voices’ through which the news is ‘told’ by specific segments of the Australian print media. We argue that evidence of the extent to which a newspaper fulfils its roles to democracy and society is partially found in the range of sources quoted in the news stories it publishes, and in the prominence and dominance it gives to various types of sources in those stories. Our goal was to quantify the validity of the widely held assumption that, in Australia, regional newspapers are closer than metropolitan newspapers to their readers. This suggestion guided our content analysis of the types of news story sources quoted or paraphrased in the general news published in four regional newspapers and one metropolitan newspaper in one Australian state. The assumption of closeness to readers for Australian regional newspapers did not hold up well in this test.
 
The history of TV ratings and developments in audience measurement has been well documented in Australia, but little attention has been paid to TV networks' use of ratings in their decision-making processes. This paper examines changes to the structure of the TV ratings industry since 2000, when ATR/OzTAM replaced ACNielsen as the official provider. It also examines the changing functions of audience research by Australian television broadcasters, highlighting three trends. Increased efficiency in ratings provision has made commercial broadcasters more reactive and conservative in programming decisions. At the same time, however, the increasing sophistication of ratings data enables broadcasters to strategically reposition themselves in response to the changing media environment. Market fragmentation has seen increasing importance placed on commissioned and in-house research in a shift away from mass audience capture to establishing and maintaining an audience bond.
 
Around four million listeners in an average week tune into community radio stations around Australia, primarily to hear local news and information - evidence of a failure by mainstream media to meet their diverse needs. This discussion draws from the first qualitative study of the Australian community broadcasting sector to explore the role being played by community radio and television from the perspectives of their audiences. The authors argue that community broadcasting at the level of the local is playing a crucial role in the democratic process by fostering citizen participation in public life. This suggests a critique of mainstream media approaches and the central place of audience research in understanding the nature of the empowering relationships and processes involved. The authors argue that the nature of community broadcasting aligns it more closely with the complex 'local talk' narratives at the community level, which play a crucial role in creating public consciousness. They suggest that this quiet revolution has highlighted the nature of the audience-producer relationship as a defining characteristic of community media.
 
This article discusses the ways in which the relations among professional and non-professional participants in co-creative relations are being reconfigured as part of the shift from a closed industrial paradigm of expertise toward open and distributed expertise networks. This article draws on ethnographic consultancy research undertaken throughout 2007 with Auran Games, a Brisbane, Australia based games developer, to explore the co-creative relationships between professional developers and gamers. This research followed and informed Auran’s online community management and social networking strategies for Fury (http://unleashthefury.com), a massively multiplayer online game released in October 2007. This paper argues that these co-creative forms of expertise involve co-ordinating expertises through social-network markets.
 
This article seeks to examine the ongoing struggle between narrowcast media piracy practices serving migrant communities and the attempts currently being made by players in the Indian film industry to legitimate, and thus capitalise on, the circulation of Indian films in key offshore markets. This article poses the question of whether an alternative network of distribution is likely to emerge which might supplant Asian food stores as the primary distribution network for Indian films, and to place this problem within the existing framework of cultural practices surrounding Indian films in Australia.
 
Top-cited authors
Stuart D. Cunningham
  • Queensland University of Technology
Sarah Pink
  • Monash University (Australia)
John Postill
  • RMIT University
Kevin Dunn
  • Western Sydney University
Jim Macnamara
  • University of Technology Sydney