Race-related reporting in Australian mainstream media

At All Together Now, we believe that all Australians should be equitably represented by the media, regardless of their racial background. 

In 2016, All Together Now commenced work to gain a better understanding of race-related reporting in the Australian media. Our background research indicated that the ways in which race is portrayed in the media must be taken seriously. The media is often the only interaction audiences have with people from other cultures, nationalities or ethnicities. With this in mind, the media plays a crucial role in forming and shaping public perceptions of race. These perceptions then affect how the public interacts with people from different racial backgrounds.

The project came about through collaboration with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) which highlighted the need for such work.  We worked with the UTS to create a media monitoring framework for collecting data about race-related media pieces. We continue to work with UTS to refine the framework as needed.    

What we do

We use a three-pronged approach that consists of media monitoring, analysing the online response to race-related media pieces, and community-lead solutions to reduce the negative impacts on affected communities.

  • Media monitoring: Using All Together Now’s media monitoring framework developed in partnership with UTS, we assess race-related newspaper articles and TV shows.  We look to see if they portray race inclusively, neutrally or negatively. Specifically, we sample articles from the opinion and editorial sections of newspapers with the highest readership, and selected TV current affairs shows.  The newspapers and TV shows we cover are:
NewspapersTV shows
The Age60 Minutes (Nine)
The Australian7:30 (ABC)
The Courier MailA Current Affair (Nine)
The Daily TelegraphThe Feed (SBS)
Herald SunThe Project (Ten)
The Sydney Morning HeraldSunday Night (Seven)
Channel 7Today Tonight (Seven)
  • Online impact: Using the data from our media monitoring, we analyse online comments made in response to media pieces.  We identify themes from the comments and look at whether the comments agree with the media piece or question it.
  • Community-lead solutions: Using the results from our media monitoring analysis, we work with communities impacted by negative media pieces.  We first seek to understand the impact on the communities, and then work with them to identify potential solutions in response to the negative media pieces.

Our media monitoring framework

We assess the content and context of a media piece. We use definitions to see if a media piece portrays race inclusively, neutrally or negatively. The definitions are based on wording from the Racial Discrimination Act and the UNESCO Declaration on Race and Racial Prejudice, and our previous research.  


2019 Report: Social Commentary and Racism in 2019

2017 Report: Who Watches the Media? Race-related Reporting in Australian Mainstream Media