Howard's Way (Indigenous Articles)

Canberra Times
Australian Politics, 2007, 30 June 2007
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'INDIGENOUS TALKING BLACK - Representing indigenous voices in the mainstream media Background When the Howard Government decided to implement the Northern Territory Intervention in 2006, the media representation of Aboriginal communities was largely restricted to coverage of the politics of Noel Pearson and those sympathetic to his position. Most reportage focused on non-indigenous sources. The aim of the Howard's Way feature was to speak to indigenous sources who either worked in remote communities or who were working on support programs themselves, even if not in remote communities. The research question being addressed is: what do indigenous people really think about the Australian government's intervention? Contribution These articles represent an original contribution to knowledge by seeking new ways to give indigenous voices access to mainstream media. It applies techniques borrowed from oral history researchers, advanced journalism methodologies, including researched interviews, surveys and analysis of the available literature, in this case, representation of the range of indigenous position on the intervention in newspapers, journals and broadcast. Over 70 short interviews were conducted with indigenous groups around Australia, searching for fresh voices in the indigenous debates. Of those, 20 were selected for more extensive interviews revealing key concerns about the NT intervention policy which had not been previous adequately publicly understood or analysed. Six women and five men were the focus of the feature and the voices of community leaders Gracelyn Smallwood and Shane Namanurki wre brought into the public sphere through these processes. The response to the feature and further developments gave rise to fresh reports and columns. Significance This research added to public discourse and understanding about a crucial policy move in indigenous politics in Australia.
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