All Together Now defends the notion of a free press. We believe it is vital that journalists have the ability to inform citizens about public affairs without fear or favour. However, we also note that this freedom comes with the responsibility to present information fairly and accurately. All Australians should be equitably represented by the media, regardless of their racial identity. Our research indicates that opinion pieces published on some mainstream newspapers are failing to do this.
The media is often the only exposure audiences have with people of different racial identities. It has the power to inform interactions between everyday people, and to challenge or uphold systems and structures that inhibit or support racial equity. Importantly, research shows that the majority of media consumers expect social commentary (opinion pieces and current affairs) to present the world fairly and accurately, much like news reporting. We know that race is often debated in opinion pieces and social commentary. With this in mind, social commentary plays a crucial role in forming and shaping public perceptions of race. In 2016, we worked with our partners at the University of Technology, Sydney, to develop a media monitoring framework that collects and analyses racialised opinion pieces from the mainstream media.
Since 2017, we have published the results of our monitoring in periodic reports, and worked with communities targeted by racism in the media to address this pressing issue.
We hope that our research will contribute to the push for much needed media reform, and to a more just and equitable Australian society.
What we do
Our media monitoring project takes a three-pronged approach. This includes:
- Media monitoring: Using All Together Now’s media monitoring framework developed in partnership with UTS, we assess race-related opinion pieces from Australian mainstream media. We analyse media pieces to see if they portray race inclusively, neutrally or negatively, and use qualitative analysis to better understand how racism is mobilised. Specifically, we read the opinion and editorial sections of major Australian newspapers and collect all race-related articles. We then do the same with television current affairs programs, and select all race-related segments. In 2019, we sampled 281 opinion pieces. In 2020, that number was 315.
The newspapers and television programs we monitor are:
|The Age||60 Minutes (Nine)|
|The Australian||7:30 (ABC)|
|The Courier Mail||A Current Affair (Nine)|
|The Daily Telegraph||The Feed* (SBS)|
|Herald Sun||The Project (Ten)|
|The Sydney Morning Herald||Sunday Night* (Seven)|
|Channel 7||Today Tonight* (Seven)|