Schultz, J. (1998) “Reviving the Fourth Estate” Introduction: Paradoxes of the Bastard Estate. Pp. 1-15 Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Julianne Schultz (a board member for the ABC) explains in her opening chapter of her book that the media (as a check against the “other estates” abuses of power) is a “bastard estate”. It is independent of government, and therefore has autonomy on what issues it covers, yet is subject to its own financial upkeep, which dictates that its content must sell to perpetuate its existence. She writes that of all the checks against government, the press is the only one that’s success is measured in currency. The two commitments; an ideological defense of democratic accountability, and a partisan enterprise of producing a profit, are not easily compatible with one another yet must be co-mingled (at the expense of diluting one another). “Its not just a matter of getting the right mix between news and entertainment, personalities and issues, but inserting the values of entertainment into the news… entertainment values have swamped public life”. She quoted the New York Times as publishing an article called “from 4th estate to real estate”. There is a perceptible bias towards public media, and she does praise the ABC through a selection of certain facts. However she does present a convincing argument that the media must prioritize financial sustenance over optional ideological raisons d’etre. She also notes that if media outlets neglect social responsibility over financial incentives, they become another branch of the ruling minority. “Without greater accountability, the media is little more than another powerful elite, detached from the public interest which gives it legitimacy”.
Howard, M.(2011, Oct 8) “Queensland Police Service to Test Disaster Dashboard QLDalert with Mock Zombie Outbreak to Coincide With World Zombie Day” The Courier Mail, Retrieved from: http://www.couriermail.com.au/entertainment/weird/queensland-police-service-to-test-disaster-dashboard-qldalert-with-mock-zombie-outbreak-to-coincide-with-world-zombie-day/story-e6frep26-1226161515796
This article was about the testing of a new government disaster response dashboard called QLDalert. Howard explained some of the approaches of the model. It was noted as “a one-stop-avenue” to find information relevant to the users specific location, by utilizing social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. It was deliberately based upon a theoretical zombie apocalypse so as to attract media attention to the campaign. In bold type at the top of the article, Howard wrote “ Cancel any plans you may have had for this weekend, zombies are set to take over Queensland”. He specifically referred to an undead holocaust as “ludicrous” and adopted a condescending tone towards the threat (“…there is no information to suggest that a zombie attack is actually imminent. For now” ). Of the 8-minute press release issued by the Queensland Police Service, 3 paragraphs were quoted verbatim, and only one of these had the word “zombies” in it. As the URL shows, the Courier Mail saw fit to categorize a zombie preparedness plan under the classifications “entertainment” and “weird” which shows their view of the potential disaster as spectacle and sensationalism.
Greene, R. (2011, May 19)“Ready For a Zombie Apocalypse? CDC Has Advice” CNN “Geek Out”, Retrieved from; http://edition.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/05/19/zombie.warning/index.html
This is an article about Rear Admiral Dr. Ali. S. Khan’s (Director of the “Centers of Disease Control and Prevention”, CDC) “novel and creative ideas to engage the public”. The CDC noticed that when the topic of zombies was brought up in an online chat about radiation from Fukushima, traffic rose considerably. Dr. Khan suggested that by exploiting interest in zombies, more audiences might be generated, which could then be directed at more appropriate information, such as hurricane or pandemic disaster stratagems. Despite the CDC’s website crashing from frequent traffic, 2 days after releasing information on how to survive a zombie apocalypse (indicating the publics widespread recognition of it as a serious catastrophe) the article quoted “a top official” as saying “it’s a lighthearted way to get people to think about disaster preparedness”. The juxtaposition of “a big serious government agency with a big serious job” (the CDC) with the “metaphor” of an undead threat was justified in such a manner. Greenes article was part of the CNN section “geek out” which further suggests the networks view that zombie advice is only suitable for “geeks”. The CDC releasing Zombie information precedes the Queensland polices initiative, which implies that the Australians may have borrowed this model from the Americans.
Gosden, E. (2011, June 10) “Council Quizzed Over Zombie Invasion Plans By Resident” The Telegraph, Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/8567867/Council-quizzed-over-zombie-invasion-plans-by-resident.html
This article was about a concerned citizens (Robert Ainsley) inquiry to the City Council of Leicester. As dictated by the UK’s Freedom Of Information Act, the council was obligated to respond within 20 days of his request. In the inquiry, Ainsley asked what the council had done to prepare for a “zombie invasion” and voiced his concern that the “kingdom must prepare for” this phenomenon. The LCC head of Information Governance Lynn Wyeth was quoted as replying “unfortunately there’s nothing in there…[in the LCC’s disaster plan]…saying how we would respond to zombies” and added that “we’ve had a few wacky ones but this one did make us laugh” The article noted that Ainsley stated his concern arose chiefly from watching movies, and depicted a picture from a scene in “Dawn Of The Dead” (1978) which further aligned the concept with that of entertainment values. Gosden’s article was categorized under “weird news” and included the adverb “bizarre” within the first sentence. Lynn Wyeth was described as not being too dismissive of the inquiry, and articulated that it was an issue that could be assuaged by applying logic utilized on more conventional disaster stratagems. She addressed the inquiry personally over local radio, which suggests the perception that there was public value in broadcasting the information. However, Gosden and The Telegraph decided that a 262 word summary of the issue was sufficient, choosing to portray it as an oddity and not as a initiative for the paramount defense of human welfare.