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Mediating the national conversation: Journalism and the Child Abuse Royal Commission 2013-17

Tue 12 May 2020

Kerry McCallum, University of Canberra

11:00am - 12:00pm

Virtual seminar

Seminar recording is available on our YouTube channel.


Royal Commissions represent an opportunity for national-level reflection, truth-seeking and public discussion. While at times politically motivated, they often become a touchstone of national debate, a mediated ‘critical conversation’. Media and journalism play a central role in this process, but to date there has been little academic research on the role of media in commissions of inquiry. This presentation introduces the Breaking Silences project that is investigating the role of media, journalism and social media activism in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (2013-17). I will explore the interplay between the Child Abuse Royal Commission’s media-related practices, news media reporting, and survivor groups digital media use in pursuing justice and redress for the victims of child sexual abuse through the inquiry process.  Drawing on a critical listening framework I ask: whose voices were heard in the Royal Commission process, which institutions got the most attention, and whose voices were overshadowed in the mediation of the inquiry?

About the speaker

Kerry McCallum is Professor of Communication and Media Studies, and Director of the News & Media Research Centre at the University of Canberra. Her research in Political Communication focuses on the relationships between a changing media and Australian social policy. Kerry has been the recipient of four Australian Research Council grants and is currently lead CI on the Breaking Silences: Media and the Child Abuse Royal Commission (DP190101282) project. She is author (with L. Waller) of The Dynamics of News and Indigenous Policy in Australia, Intellect, 2017).

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