This annotated bibliography focuses on the current media coverage of the Allison Baden Clay murder, focussing mainly on her funeral, and how her husband has been portrayed in the light of the media. Each source that has been analysed presents a slightly different portrayal of Allison Baden Clays husband, Gerard Baden Clay. The media coverage of the funeral was all quite similar, which shows that journalists were working off the same press release. In a tragic event such as this, this is a good thing, as it means there were minimal media outlets at the funeral. The academic text that is used in this annotated bibliography discusses how trauma can be enhanced on the community and family members when mass amounts of media outlets appear not only to cover the funeral, but the entire story in general. A journalist’s job is to be the eyes and ears of the community, without increasing the trauma of a family and community further (Kay, Reilly, Connolly, & Cohen, 2010).
Kay, L., Reilly, R.C., Connolly, K., & Cohen, S. (2010) Help or Harm? Symbolic Violence, secondary trauma and the impact of press coverage on a community. Journalism Practice, 4:4, pp. 421-438. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17512780903429829
The authors of this article discuss the secondary trauma and symbolic violence that can result from the news coverage of a traumatic event (Kay, Reilly, Connolly, & Cohen, 2010, p. 421). The main author, Linda Kay is the Chair and Associate Professor of the Department of Journalism at Concordia University. Her extensive knowledge about journalism makes the content of this article exceptionally credible. Kay and the Concordia University Community Resilience Research Team carried out extensive research on the way that press coverage of a traumatic event in a community can affect the victims, community members, and the community itself (Kay, Reilly, Connolly, & Cohen, 2010, p. 422). They carried out this research in a small community in Quebec. The town of only 2000 people experienced a traumatic event in 2005 where a sixteen year old girl was abducted and murdered. Throughout the disappearance, funeral, and ongoing murder investigations, the town was inundated with media outlets and journalists. Each journalist was fighting for interviews with residents, and for the latest news regarding the disappearance (Kay, Reilly, Connolly, & Cohen, 2010, p. 423). The results of the research conducted proved that five key themes are evident in relation to the impact news coverage can have on a community. The five themes are: alienation from the community, anger at the media’s public construction of the media, intrusion on community life, intrusion on the private process of grief, and triggering renewed feelings of loss and grief. Kay stresses how important it is for journalists to report these highly traumatic events with sensitivity and empathy. Kay believes the mandate for traumatic events is clear: get the story and get it fast (Kay, Reilly, Connolly, & Cohen, 2010, pp. 422- 425).
Dalton, T. (2012, May 12). Posies, a boxful of tissues and tears for the mum gone. The Courier Mail, pp. 4-6.
A traumatic event that has recently affected the community of Brookfield is the murder of much loved and respected mother, Allison Baden-Clay. The Courier Mails news article, written by Trent Dalton, covered the funeral of Allison Baden-Clay. The content in Dalton’s article can be considered highly credible as Dalton has a well respected reputation throughout Australia, being considered one of Australia’s best feature journalists. The article was written with respect to the late mother and wife, it did not draw upon any of the gossip or suspicion surrounding the murder investigation, unlike the news clip by Nine News. The article focussed upon on the emotions of her daughters, husband, and other family members at the funeral. It portrayed her family as being incredibly upset throughout the duration of the funeral. The article also reflected upon the great respect Allison had from loved ones, and her community (Dalton, 2012, pp. 4-6). In comparison to the other news articles that have been analysed, this article is definitely the most thoughtful and displays the most respect towards Allison’s family. Compared to the news clip about Gerard Baden Clays affair, this article would not bring further trauma to the family who are trying to grieve, especially to the young girls. Dalton reported the traumatic event like a good journalist should, with sensitivity and respect to Allison’s family, and the Brookfield community.
Beveridge, S. (Writer). (2012, May 11). Sister promises justice for Allison [Television broadcast]. Brisbane, Australia: Ten News. http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/justice-for-allison-her-familys-vow-20120511-1ygrm.html
Ten News’ short broadcast of Allison Baden-Clays funeral focussed more on the murder investigation, rather than the funeral itself. The news clip restates what Allison’s sister, Vanessa Flower, pledged at the funeral: “We will bring you to justice, and put the pieces of the puzzle together to answer the many questions that remain unanswered.” (Beveridge, 2012) The news clip then restates the facts of Allison’s disappearance and the discovery of her body. The footage used in this news clip focussed mainly upon Gerard Baden Clay, showing him crying outside the church (Beveridge, 2012). Ten News broadcasts news throughout Australia on a daily basis, it is nationally recognised as one of Australia’s most prominent sources of news, it is therefore considered a credible source. Compared to Courier Mail’s newspaper article, this was a very concise story, where as the courier mail talked a lot about the emotions of the family. The information about the funeral that was included in the news clip was the same information used in Dalton’s newspaper article, which shows that all the media outlets would have used the same press release to cover this story.
Gates, A. (Writer). (2012, May 20). Baden Clay ‘knew of husbands affair’ [Television Broadcast]. Brisbane, Australia: 9 News. http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/8470325/baden-clay-knew-of-husbands-affair
Nine News’ crime reporter Alyshia Gates spoke live on May 12, announcing that there had been another twist in the Allison Baden Clay murder investigation. The new twist regarding the murder investigation is the confirmation that Gerard Baden Clay was having an affair with former co worker, Toni McHugh. At the beginning of the report Gates states that: “Nine News understands Allison’s husband, Gerard had been having several affairs which are now the subject of the police investigation.” Gates put emphasis on ‘several affairs’ in the report, despite the fact that only one affair has been officially confirmed. Gates then continues to say that Toni McHugh is one of several people the police have spoken, to including Gerard Baden Clay. Gates once again puts emphasis on the fact that Gerard Baden Clay has been interviewed by police (Gates, 2012). The academic article by Linda Kay discusses how damaging it is for the affected families when the media reports on gossip surrounding a murder investigation (Kay, Reilly, Connolly, & Cohen, 2010, p. 421). This murder investigation has been the subject of a lot of gossip throughout Brisbane, and reports like this do not help in controlling this gossip. Although Nine News is considered a reputable media outlet in Australia, this news clip says that Gerard Baden Clay has had several affairs, when only one has been confirmed. Unlike the article by The Courier Mail, which reflects positively on Allison’s life, news clips such as this one would increase trauma in Allison Baden Clays family, who are trying to deal with grief.