The impact of media and public discourse, including on new media platforms, is one of the priority themes of the Victorian Social Cohesion and Community Resilience Ministerial Taskforce. The proposed project aligned with the Taskforce’s research priority on “community polarisation and marginalisation”, wherein the project examined the media’s role (both traditional news media and non-traditional/new media such as social media platforms/apps) in disseminating news and information about transnational events and multicultural issues in Victoria. For example, following the November 2015 Paris attacks, the media's coverage of the news event and the Australian community's reaction to the event – irrespective of its positive or negative nature – caused unease among Australian migrants, particularly those following the Muslim faith, as they felt they were put under the spotlight by the media.
The primary aim of this project was to investigate the nature, and consumption, of news, information, and audience reaction to news available on various media platforms/sources, with a focus on cultural diversity in Australia. We also sought to ascertain the reasons for audience preference for specific media sources for news by undertaking a content analysis of news and information available in the mainstream media and on new/social media platforms. In the process, we facilitated a dialogue between the media, the policy makers, representatives of various communities and scholars by holding an inaugural conference on “Cultural Diversity and News in Australia”.