Communicating catastrophe

Blame, Black Saturday and newspaper constructions of bushfire risk

Jason Bainbridge, Chris Galloway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


In the crucible of a major bushfire crisis, such as Victoria's devastating 2009 Black Saturday fires, media not only function as sources of information but also help to construct events through discourses that include disaster and blame. While local radio is often the 'go to' source for bushfire information, it is in newspapers that these discourses play out most extensively. In this article, we use Black Saturday as a case study, focusing on the newspaper reportage in the week immediately following (8-13 February) to explore how newspapers function as 'interpretive communities' for a public trying to make sense of a complex cauldron of risks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-108
Number of pages9
JournalMedia International Australia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


Cite this