News on community radio project wins 2021 JERAA Research Award

By Fiona Martin


The 2021 winners of the JERAA Research Award are Dr Heather Anderson and Dr Bridget Backhaus from the School of Humanities, Languages and Social Science at Griffith University, who will be undertaking Codes in Practice: a critical analysis of news and current affairs on community radio.

This research project interrogates how effectively news and current affairs (NCAF) on Australian community radio upholds and promotes the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia Codes of Practice. Using content analysis and semi-structured interviews they focus on a) the extent to which stories broadcast on Community Radio News and The Wire address Code 2 – Principles of Diversity and Independence; Code 3 – General Programming (provide access to views not adequately represented by other broadcasting sectors); and Code 4 – Indigenous programming and coverage of Indigenous issues, and b) how producers of these shows perceive their responsibilities in relation to the Codes. The research aims to develop a stronger understanding of the scope and quality of NCAF on Australian community radio, and to highlight best practice in NCAF production.

The judging panel noted that their application was selected from a very strong field of applicants. The panel noted:

Their proposed project involves a very good case study about a topic of substantive importance to journalism research and practice. It will set them up very well to apply for an ARC grant or other competitive funding in the future. The application was clearly written with concise, pertinent details of the methodology that will serve well to address the research problem. The project was well scoped to be achievable within the timeline and budget/other resources available for the research, and they have clearly demonstrated the potential significance and impact of the intended outcomes. As early career academics they have demonstrated excellent publication track records following their PhD completions and build well on the track record that Griffith University has for research in this subject area.

Dr Heather Anderson is a Senior Lecturer in Journalism and Communications, with the School of Humanities, Languages and Social Science at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. She is also a community radio practitioner and scholar, specialising in radio production with marginalised groups to explore voice and empowerment. She published her first book, Raising the Civil Dead: Prisoners and Community Radio, in 2012 through Peter Lang.

Dr Bridget Backhaus is a Lecturer in the School of Humanities, Languages and Social Science at Griffith University. A former community radio practitioner, Bridget’s research explores the role of community radio in social and environmental change with particular focus on issues of voice, listening, identity, and participation. Her first book, Polyphony: Listening to the listeners of community radio, is scheduled for publication with Routledge in July 2021.


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