Reflecting on a painful past: Journalism, temporal reflexivity and the collective memory of child sexual abuse in a local news setting

Kristy Hess, Kerry Mccallum

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Abstract

This study examines the role of a local newspaper in shaping a community’s collective memory of child sexual abuse by documenting changing representations of a former rural orphanage and its custodians where such horrific crimes took place. The paper conducts an across-time analysis of news coverage (1944–1954 and 2010–2020) to map these changing representations in their media, policy and social contexts. It extends scholarship around collective memory and temporal reflexivity as a provocation for journalists to acknowledge and engage with their news outlet’s own mediated past (no matter how uncomfortable) when reporting on and interpreting events such as Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalMedia History
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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