Going Down the Hole: Beaconsfield, Celebrities and the Changing News Culture in Australia

Jason Bainbridge

Abstract

For fourteen days, all of Australia and much of the world was focused on the rescue of two miners trapped underground in Beaconsfield, Tasmania. This article looks at the period from Todd Russell and Brant Webb’s rescue up to and including Channel Nine’s screening of an exclusive interview with the men on 21 May 2006. It analyses the ways in which Beaconsfield was reported—and the exclusive interview with the miners pursued—as a way of exploring notions of celebrity, infotainment, chequebook journalism and the changing shape of news culture in Australia. For these reasons, the events at Beaconsfield should not be dismissed as just another news story, but rather, should be regarded as indicative of the ways in which news is increasingly being reported, packaged and folded back into larger entertainment structures.

Keywords

news culture; Beaconsfield mine; chequebook journalism

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