The rich and diverse history of regional media, and its recent evolution, will be examined as Victoria University hosts the 12th Australian Media Traditions conference.
The theme, Exploring the Regions, addresses the history and importance of rural and regional media and the changes that have occurred in recent years across all sectors – film, TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, books.
Dr Marc C-Scott, convenor of the conference and Senior Lecturer, Screen Media, at Victoria University, says rural media is a topic close to his heart. “I grew up in Shepparton, a regional town in Victoria, with GMV6, the local television station. I remember seeing those who were on screen in the local shops. My high school media teacher had previous hosted the Super Six Saturday television show, a show that I watched every Saturday as a child.
“Regional media meant something very different them, the person on the screen is far less likely to be seen at local shops now,” he says.
During the two days of the conference, speakers will range far and wide through the fascinating media landscapes of Australia and overseas.
Keynote speakers are Professor Lisa Waller, Professor of Digital Communication in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University, and Kyle Barnett, Associate Professor of Media Studies in the Department of Communication at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky.
Professor Waller will deliver the third KS Inglis Address, which considers the development of media history as a field of research in Australia. Associate Professor Barnett will address the conference on how rural and regional recording companies were fundamental to the history of US sound recording.
Media amalgamation and changing technologies have created a gloomy outlook for regional news in Australia, but guest speaker Lucie Peart, managing editor at Gilgandra Newspapers Pty Ltd and president of Country Press New South Wales Inc, has shown that rural newspapers can still be a success.
The conference includes a paper by Bridget Griffen-Foley from Macquarie University titled “Aunty and the Sandgropers”, which explores the history of the ABC in Western Australia. Michael Thurlow, also of Maccquarie University, is a media historian and he examines changes to localism and independence in regional commercial television.
Sybil Nolan from the University of Melbourne, will describe and analyse the role the media played in shaping and recording life in remote Jeparit in the 1900s; Jamie Medhurst of Aberystwyth University will talk about Wales in broadcasting history; Andrew Mason from the University of Southern Queensland is delivering a paper on amateur radio clubs as regional media networks, and Robert Phiddian of Flinders University is speaking about Smith’s Weekly and the larrikin tradition in Australian cartoon humour.
Dr Kate Fitch of Monash University, will speak about two women who worked promoting the Australian Wool Board from the late 1950s. Her paper highlights feminised labour in media and offers insights into the interdependence of promotional and media industries.
Conference details & tickets
Everyone is welcome at Australian Media Traditions 2021.
When: 29-30 September 2021
Cost: Full-price tickets: $80; concession and student tickets: $60