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How community radio performs community identity

Patricia Cruz

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The study “‘Just like us’: community radio broadcasters and the on-air performance of community identity” by Bridget Backhaus from Griffith University looked at an understudied sub-area in community media studies: community identity. The study is situated in Australia, a country with rich and diverse scholarship on the topic. 

The concept of community is foundational in community media studies. This third sector of media is separated from state-run and commercial models by being run by and for specific communities. Communities here can refer to geographical, demographic, cultural or interest-based communities. 

The traditional understanding of the term community encapsulated geographic and interest-based communities, while the more modern interpretations include communities of practice, interpretive communities and online communities. There appears to be no consensus on how the term should be understood, while the emphasis on community is clear. 

Collective identity, in order to become salient, needs to be performed by the community. The perception broadcasters have on their audience affect how they perform collective identity, which then feeds community building and the effect of community radio itself.

A key notion to defining community in this context is social contact. Carpenter, Lie and Servais (2007) consider it a defining feature of community. However, there is limited social contact from the community to the broadcasters, as the former are often merely in the audience role. 

How then, is a sense of community maintained by the broadcasters? The answer may lie in the concept of imagined communities, as explained by Anderson (2006). Anderson argues persuasively that all larger communities exist in the minds of the members, as most have no contact with each other.

This study was conducted by using critical discourse analysis (CDA) on the broadcast content of ten Australian community radio stations that were transcribed for the analysis. They were all from the Brisbane area in Queensland. 

The findings highlighted the key differences between the stations and two themes were identified: commercialization and the performance of local. Half of the stations were rather similar to their commercial counterparts, closely echoing their repertoires. 

In the study, music was the main marker of commercialization. The four local stations under analysis all opted for a mixture of 70s and 80s pop with some more recent hits in the mix. The author suspects this is due to the older demographic of the stations.

The other stations under the study had a much more specialized music selection. 4MBS is a classical music special interest station, 98,9 played more country, while 96,5 FM played more family-friendly fare with religious songs mixed in. 4ZZZ had an eclectic playlist combined with news on the music scene, and Switch FM played almost exclusively new music from the last couple of years. 

It was shown that stations with more clearly defined communities were able to more effectively target their audiences with music selections, while local radio stations serving an area were closer to commercial channels. The tendency toward commercial selection is termed by Forde, Meadows and  Foxwell–Norton (2002) as ‘creep of commercialism’.

The sense of localness was performed in several ways. The first way was overt repetition and reinforcement of place. This was seen in traffic and weather reports and advertisements. However, in addition some channels opted to use phrases like ‘Narangba, this is your station’ and ‘Toorbul, this is your station’.

According to the author, this emphasis on the local reinforces the radio’s role as a rhizome in the community. For example, in discussing building a business, local businesses were mentioned. 

Despite this local focus, however, in majority of the cases the engagement with localness remained superficial, in the level of traffic and weather. Eight of the ten syndicated news services produced out of state or even overseas. One channel had their own news service and one had no news at all. 

The second area for performing locality was the on-air discussions that took place on the channels. Of course, stations that had a disembodied broadcast role were ruled out. Stations with more than one presenter performed better in this regard, but even with one presenter it was possible to have on-air discussions. 

In the conclusion, the author raises an uncomfortable question: if a local station shares “no local news, does not create space for community voices and discussions, and echoes mainstream content, is it a community radio station at all?” Nevertheless, the results do not entirely support this negative view.

Through mediated self-disclosure, the local stations manage to sound ‘just like us’ and thus reinforce their localness and community identity. They build relationships and camaraderie through the discussions. 

The study ‘Just like us’: community radio broadcasters and the on-air performance of community identity” by Bridget Backhaus is in Continuum. (free abstract).

Picture: Untitled by Brisbane Local Marketing

License Unsplash. 

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Journalism

The Top Journalism Websites for News and Analysis”

Alice Trout

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Journalism plays an essential role in keeping the public informed about current events and issues. The internet has made it easier than ever to access a wide range of news and analysis from reputable sources. Here are some of the best journalism sites for keeping up-to-date on the latest happenings around the world:

  1. The New York Times (www.nytimes.com) – The New York Times is a well-respected newspaper that has been in operation for over 150 years. It offers a wide range of news and analysis on politics, business, technology, and culture.
  2. The Washington Post (www.washingtonpost.com) – The Washington Post is another well-respected newspaper that has been in operation for over 150 years. It offers in-depth coverage of national and international news, as well as commentary on politics, business, and more.
  3. The Guardian (www.theguardian.com) – The Guardian is a British newspaper that offers a wide range of news and analysis on politics, business, technology, and culture. It has a strong reputation for investigative journalism and has won numerous awards.
  4. BBC News (www.bbc.com/news) – BBC News is the online news division of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). It offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events.
  5. Al Jazeera (www.aljazeera.com) – Al Jazeera is a Qatari news organization that offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events. It has a strong reputation for its coverage of the Middle East and North Africa.
  6. Reuters (www.reuters.com) – Reuters is a global news organization that offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events. It has a strong reputation for its coverage of business and financial news.
  7. CNN (www.cnn.com) – CNN is a global news organization that offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events. It has a strong reputation for its coverage of breaking news and live events.
  8. The Economist (www.economist.com) – The Economist is a British magazine that offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events, with a focus on economics and politics.
  9. The Atlantic (www.theatlantic.com) – The Atlantic is an American magazine that offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events, with a focus on politics, culture, and technology.
  10. ProPublica (www.propublica.org) – ProPublica is a non-profit organization that focuses on investigative journalism. It has a strong reputation for its coverage of politics, business, and social issues.

Guest blogging is a highly effective marketing strategy that every business should be utilizing. By purchasing PR publications, you can increase traffic and establish authority.

These are just a few examples of the many great journalism websites that are available. Whether you’re looking for breaking news, in-depth analysis, or a particular perspective on current events, these sites are an excellent starting point.

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Journalism

The Ethics of Healthcare Advertising: Balancing the Right to Information with the Risk of Deception

Alice Trout

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Healthcare advertising has the potential to inform and educate the public about important medical treatments and products, but it must be done in an ethical and responsible manner. On one hand, the public has the right to access information about healthcare options that may improve their quality of life or save their lives. On the other hand, there is a risk that healthcare advertising could deceive or mislead consumers, leading to negative consequences for both the companies and the public.

One issue with healthcare advertising is the promotion of prescription drugs for off-label use. Off-label use refers to the use of a drug for a purpose that has not been approved by the regulatory agency, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States. While it is not illegal for doctors to prescribe drugs for off-label use, it is illegal for pharmaceutical companies to promote drugs for off-label use. This is because the FDA has not determined that the drug is safe and effective for the unapproved use.

Unfortunately, some pharmaceutical companies have been known to engage in off-label promotion in order to increase sales. This can be harmful to patients, as they may be prescribed a drug that has not been thoroughly tested for the specific condition they are suffering from. In some cases, off-label use of a drug can even be dangerous.

Another issue with healthcare advertising is the use of exaggerated or misleading claims. This can include making false or unproven statements about the effectiveness of a drug or treatment, or downplaying the risks and side effects. Such practices can lead to consumers making informed decisions about their healthcare, and can also harm the reputation of the healthcare industry as a whole.

In order to strike a balance between the right to information and the risk of deception, it is important for both regulatory agencies and the healthcare industry to prioritize ethical practices in healthcare advertising. This can include measures such as strict oversight by regulatory agencies, clear guidelines for the approval and review of advertising materials, and campaigns to educate the public about how to evaluate and interpret healthcare advertising. By taking these steps, we can ensure that the public has access to accurate and reliable information about healthcare options, while also protecting against deceptive practices that can harm both consumers and the healthcare industry.

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Journalism

Supporting Startup Founders’ Mental Health: The Importance of Prioritizing Well-Being in the Fast-Paced Startup World

Alice Trout

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As the startup world continues to thrive and grow, it’s important to recognize that the fast-paced, high-stress environment can take a toll on the mental health of founders and employees. In fact, research has shown that entrepreneurs are at a higher risk for mental health issues such as anxiety and depression compared to the general population.

One key factor that contributes to this risk is the pressure to succeed and the fear of failure that can come with starting and running a business. Additionally, the long hours and lack of work-life balance that are often associated with the startup world can also contribute to mental health challenges.

It’s essential that startups prioritize the mental health of their founders and employees, not only for the well-being of the individual, but also for the overall success of the business. Research has shown that mental health issues can negatively impact productivity and decision-making, which can have serious consequences for a company.

There are a few steps that startups can take to support the mental health of their team members:

  1. Encourage open communication and create a safe space for employees to talk about their mental health concerns.
  2. Offer resources such as counseling and mental health benefits to employees.
  3. Foster a culture of self-care by promoting healthy habits such as regular exercise and proper nutrition.
  4. Set boundaries and encourage work-life balance to prevent burnout.

For those not ready to go to the doctor or looking for support, mental health startups Europe offer help through apps.

It’s important to remember that mental health is just as important as physical health, and it’s crucial that startups prioritize the well-being of their founders and employees. By taking steps to support the mental health of their team, startups can create a positive and healthy work environment that leads to success for both the business and its employees.

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