Local journalism and the ethics of inquiry

Kristy Hess, Kerry Mccallum, Lisa Waller, Alanna Myers

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Much of the public and scholarly attention on the role of journalism in public discussion of historical clergy sexual abuse has focused on investigative reporters and the national impact of their coverage, which is widely understood as the impetus for the highly significant Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (2013-2017). This paper looks beyond the national role of interventionist journalism in creating political pressure for the Royal Commission to consider the importance of media witnessing in the context of local journalism, virtue ethics and the ‘response ability’ model for reporting sensitive issues. It draws on interviews with editors and reporters who covered the issue of clergy sexual abuse and the Royal Commission for news audiences in the Ballarat region, which was positioned as a key site of church based crimes and cover-ups through the inquiry process. The aim here is to understand how news-makers’ perceived moral
    and ethical responsibilities shaped their reporting.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number3
    Pages (from-to)20-35
    Number of pages16
    JournalEthical Space
    Issue number3-4
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


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