Continuing on from earlier posts, here are some more suggestions re stories in Aboriginal health that deserve reporting.
Anthropologist Tess Lea, the Director of the School for Social and Policy Research at Charles Darwin University and author of a recent book on the culture of public health, Bureaucrats and Bleeding Hearts: Indigenous Health in northern Australia (2008 UNSW Press), suggests:
• The media generally swings between the horror and the twee good news stories. We need more of the “grey stories” in between, looking at why are things as they are and what might be done about them in a structured way. These sort of stories generally aren’t done. Much reporting is just recycling government lines.
• Some hard-headed analysis of housing policy. So much reporting in this area is just amplifying govenrment spin
• Governments and government-funded agencies regularly distort or suppress the results of research they don’t like. This is a field ripe for journalistic investigation in Aboriginal affairs. Researchers are under so much pressure to earn income for their universities that this can pressure us into signing contracts with governments that don’t include provision for open publication of our findings.
And Matthew Leonard, News Director of the National Indigenous Radio Service, suggests:
• Often there’s an Aboriginal angle in the mainstream news stories of the day but often these are not explored. For example, asbestos is often in the headlines but we don’t hear much about the impact on the communities in northern NSW where Aboriginal people were living in asbestos tailings
• Similarly, we haven’t heard much about the impact of the Gunn’s paper mill on the local Aboriginal communities and their cultural heritage.
• Fallout on the Malu Sara immigration boat inquest in Torres Strait, with the Immigration officer implicated in the case allowed to resign before departmental investigation, and the police officer Flegg transferred.
• The aftermath of the assault on the Queensland Health nurse on Badu Island (mistakenly and repeatedly reported as a ‘rape’ by the ABC and others). The regional Queensland Health director has been stood down, and made to take the fall in the leadup to the state election, and she actually has a lot of supporters on TI. So is Stephen Robinson the worst health minister ever?