Thinking outside the box : public service broadcasting, participatory media and local community networks in regional Australia

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This thesis explores the motivations for and outcomes of participatory media practice in the context of national public service broadcasting in a time of digital transformation. It explores this question through the case of ABC Open, a participatory media initiative of the Australian national public service broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). ABC Open provides an online platform for publishing and distributing media content through the broadcast and publishing networks of the ABC. A distinctive element of ABC Open is that it provides ‘on-the-ground’ training for regional Australians to assist these citizens to engage in participatory media practices. This thesis investigates the motivations of a group of participants, using qualitative research methods, and the impact of their participation on themselves, in particular, on the creation and strengthening of local networks. The research question for this thesis is: What are the motivations and outcomes of participatory media production in the context of the national public service broadcaster in a time of digital transformation? It situates this question in the context of a rapidly changing technological environment and heightened scrutiny of the role of the public service media, in an age of the convergence of media and the fragmentation of audiences. It concludes with a discussion of the potential role of participatory media to show a more pluralistic representation of national identity through the ABC as a national public service broadcaster.
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