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'The Snowtown we know and love': Small newspapers and heinous crimes

  • Year: 2012
  • Author: Hess, Kristy; Waller, Lisa
  • Journal Name: Rural Society
  • Journal Number: Vol. 21, No. 2
  • Country: Australia
  • State/Region: New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria

This paper examines the role of small newspapers in Australia when bizarre and shocking crimes are committed locally. These crimes often attract intense media attention that casts a net of shame across entire townships through their representation as places of fascination and fear in the public imagination. We take a practice approach in the tradition of Pierre Bourdieu to explore the complex editorial considerations, news judgements and community responsibilities small newspapers must negotiate when covering these stories for local audiences. This study focuses on three towns in regional Australia that have been represented in metropolitan and international news media as 'dead zones' after shocking crimes: Bowral in NSW, Snowtown in South Australia and Moe in Victoria.

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