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Developing journalism protocols for reporting elder abuse in Australia


McGaurr, L, Developing journalism protocols for reporting elder abuse in Australia, 2018 AAG CONFERENCE PROGRAM, 21-23 November 2018, Melbourne (2018) [Conference Extract]

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Until recently, elder abuse was largely hidden from the public gaze, just as child abuse, domestic violence and depression were in past decades. But this may be changing: in 2017, revelations of elder abuse at the Oakden older persons’ mental health facility made headlines around the country, appearing in more than 670 Australian press stories in the course of the year; in the month that the Australian Law Reform Commission released its 400-page report into elder abuse, the term itself appeared in 160 press reports; and in the days of the Fifth National Elder Abuse Conference in Sydney earlier this year, the topic generated nearly 40 media items, ranging across local, state, national, commercial, public, generalist and special-interest media. Often news reports about these kinds of incidents, events or developments are accompanied by the stories of people who have experienced elder abuse. As governments and NGOs work to increase public awareness of the problem, it is important for journalists to have the knowledge and resources necessary to portray the problem sensitively. Our presentation explores the way forward for developing journalism protocols for reporting elder abuse and ageism. We compare and contrast our proposal with the exemplary work of the Mindframe project in developing protocols for journalists reporting suicide and mental illness, and the resources disseminated by Our Watch for journalists reporting domestic violence. We discuss our plans to conduct preliminary media frame analysis in December this year, when attention from journalists is likely to increase for a time if the Council of Australian Governments fulfils the commitment given by the Attorney-General to develop a national plan to address elder abuse. We then consider what kind of research and consultation might deliver the best protocols, and discuss options for dissemination and evaluation.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:media, elder abuse, prevention
Research Division:Language, Communication and Culture
Research Group:Communication and media studies
Research Field:Communication technology and digital media studies
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Communication
Objective Field:The media
UTAS Author:McGaurr, L (Dr Lynette McGaurr)
ID Code:129837
Year Published:2018
Deposited By:College Office - CALE
Deposited On:2018-12-19
Last Modified:2018-12-19

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