Skip to Main Content
Skip Nav Destination

“In the end Steve Irwin got too close” (Sydney Morning Herald 5/9/06). Steve Irwin's untimely death generated an instantaneous and massive response by the media. The cause of his death - a stingray barb - highlights a vital part of the topic of how close we should be to wildlife for our own safety, and for the welfare of the wildlife. As working zoologists, we asked: “To what extent does the media's portrayal of human-wildlife interaction define or obscure the contentious issues in wildlife management?” We examined 287 newspaper articles over one year (7/10/05 to 9/10/06). The journalism was, by and large, informative, readable and entertaining. The usual pattern of reporting was a catchy headline, short story and/or a sensational photo. There is a paradox in our relationship with wildlife - we want to be both close and distant. Media coverage reflects this, presenting wildlife as either dangerous or loveable, depending on the reporter's ‘angle’. Safeguarding the future of our wildlife will need much more than a headline with a pun and an engaging photo of a charismatic creature. In its presentation of wildlife, the media plays a powerful role that will either further its conservation or leave it as a neglected element of our heritage. From our analysis, we argue that scientists and the media can be more profitably engaged, but ultimately the conservation of our fauna will depend on well-supported and diverse teams of scientists and wildlife managers that operate on sound ecological principles, not media precepts.

Archer, M. 2002. Confronting crises in conservation: a talk on the wild side. Pp. 12-52 in A Zoological Revolution. Using native fauna to assist in its own survival, edited by D. Lunney and C. Dickman. Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman, NSW, and Australian Museum, Sydney.
Archer, M. and Beale, B. 2004 Going Native. Living in the Australian environment. Hodder Headline, Sydney.
Baggini, J. 2002 Making Sense. Philosophy behind the headlines. Oxford University Press, UK.
Cheng, C. 2007 Locally Wild; keeping native animals as pets. Pluto Press, Melbourne, Australia.
Gregory, J. and Miller, S. 1998 Science in Public. Communication, culture and credibility. Perseus Publishing, Plenum Press, New York, USA.
Grigg, G.C., Hale, P.T. and Lunney, D. (eds) 1995 Conservation Through Sustainable Use of Wildlife. Centre for Conservation Biology, University of Queensland, Brisbane.
Hunt, K. 1985 How to become an Endangered Species. Boobook Publications, Balgowlah, NSW, in association with the ABC.
Jarmul, D. 1991 Headline News, Science Views. National Academy Press, Washington DC, USA.
Lunney, D. and Dickman, C. (eds). 2002 A Zoological Revolution. Using native fauna to assist in its own survival. Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman, NSW, and Australian Museum, Sydney, NSW.
Lunney, D. and Matthews, A. 2003. “Throw a koala on the barbie” ( Daily Telegraph 15 July 1997): an analysis of wildlife reporting in two daily newspapers. In the proceedings of the Zoology and the Media forum, edited by D. Lunney, A. Matthews and P. Wilson. Australian Zoologist Vol 32, No 2.
Lunney, D. and Burgin, S. (eds). 2004 Urban Wildlife: More than Meets the Eye. Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman, NSW.
Martin, L. 2003. On the transmission of bat diseases by the media - a view from the trenches. Australian Zoologist 32: 298-315, in the proceedings of the Zoology and the Media forum, edited by D. Lunney, A. Matthews and P. Wilson. Australian Zoologist Vol 32, No 2.
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 2005 Theme Report on Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Biodiversity Synthesis in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, World Resources Institute, Washington DC, USA.
Ponder, W. and Lunney, D. (eds) 1999 The other 99%. The conservation and biology of invertebrates. Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman, NSW.
Rayner, P., Wall, P., and Kruger, S. 2001 Media Studies: the Essential Introduction. Routledge, London.
Robin, L. 1998 Defending the Little Desert. The rise of ecological consciousness in Australia. Melbourne University Press, Carlton South, Victoria, Australia.
Viggers, K. L. and Lindenmayer, D. B. 2002. Problems with keeping native Australian mammals as companion animals. Pp 130-151 in A Zoological Revolution. Using native fauna to assist in its own survival, edited by D. Lunney and C. Dickman. Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman, NSW, and Australian Museum, Sydney, NSW.
Webb, G. J. W. 1995. The links between wildlife conservation and sustainable use. Pp 15-20 in Conservation Through Sustainable Use of Wildlife, edited by G. Grigg, P. Hale and D. Lunney. Centre for Conservation Biology, University of Queensland, Brisbane.
Willis, P.M.A. 2003. Making the change - crossing over from research science to science reporting. Australian Zoologist 32: 329-335, in the proceedings of the Zoology and the Media forum, edited by D. Lunney, A. Matthews and P. Wilson. Australian Zoologist Vol 32, No 2.
Willis, P. M. A. 2007. Taking the arid zone to tv: what it required to get a story based on the arid zone to air. Pp 208-11 in Animals of Arid Australia: out on their own?, edited by C. Dickman, D. Lunney and S. Burgin. Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman, NSW, Australia.
This content is PDF only. Please click on the PDF icon to access.

Contents

Figures & Tables

References

Archer, M. 2002. Confronting crises in conservation: a talk on the wild side. Pp. 12-52 in A Zoological Revolution. Using native fauna to assist in its own survival, edited by D. Lunney and C. Dickman. Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman, NSW, and Australian Museum, Sydney.
Archer, M. and Beale, B. 2004 Going Native. Living in the Australian environment. Hodder Headline, Sydney.
Baggini, J. 2002 Making Sense. Philosophy behind the headlines. Oxford University Press, UK.
Cheng, C. 2007 Locally Wild; keeping native animals as pets. Pluto Press, Melbourne, Australia.
Gregory, J. and Miller, S. 1998 Science in Public. Communication, culture and credibility. Perseus Publishing, Plenum Press, New York, USA.
Grigg, G.C., Hale, P.T. and Lunney, D. (eds) 1995 Conservation Through Sustainable Use of Wildlife. Centre for Conservation Biology, University of Queensland, Brisbane.
Hunt, K. 1985 How to become an Endangered Species. Boobook Publications, Balgowlah, NSW, in association with the ABC.
Jarmul, D. 1991 Headline News, Science Views. National Academy Press, Washington DC, USA.
Lunney, D. and Dickman, C. (eds). 2002 A Zoological Revolution. Using native fauna to assist in its own survival. Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman, NSW, and Australian Museum, Sydney, NSW.
Lunney, D. and Matthews, A. 2003. “Throw a koala on the barbie” ( Daily Telegraph 15 July 1997): an analysis of wildlife reporting in two daily newspapers. In the proceedings of the Zoology and the Media forum, edited by D. Lunney, A. Matthews and P. Wilson. Australian Zoologist Vol 32, No 2.
Lunney, D. and Burgin, S. (eds). 2004 Urban Wildlife: More than Meets the Eye. Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman, NSW.
Martin, L. 2003. On the transmission of bat diseases by the media - a view from the trenches. Australian Zoologist 32: 298-315, in the proceedings of the Zoology and the Media forum, edited by D. Lunney, A. Matthews and P. Wilson. Australian Zoologist Vol 32, No 2.
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 2005 Theme Report on Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Biodiversity Synthesis in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, World Resources Institute, Washington DC, USA.
Ponder, W. and Lunney, D. (eds) 1999 The other 99%. The conservation and biology of invertebrates. Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman, NSW.
Rayner, P., Wall, P., and Kruger, S. 2001 Media Studies: the Essential Introduction. Routledge, London.
Robin, L. 1998 Defending the Little Desert. The rise of ecological consciousness in Australia. Melbourne University Press, Carlton South, Victoria, Australia.
Viggers, K. L. and Lindenmayer, D. B. 2002. Problems with keeping native Australian mammals as companion animals. Pp 130-151 in A Zoological Revolution. Using native fauna to assist in its own survival, edited by D. Lunney and C. Dickman. Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman, NSW, and Australian Museum, Sydney, NSW.
Webb, G. J. W. 1995. The links between wildlife conservation and sustainable use. Pp 15-20 in Conservation Through Sustainable Use of Wildlife, edited by G. Grigg, P. Hale and D. Lunney. Centre for Conservation Biology, University of Queensland, Brisbane.
Willis, P.M.A. 2003. Making the change - crossing over from research science to science reporting. Australian Zoologist 32: 329-335, in the proceedings of the Zoology and the Media forum, edited by D. Lunney, A. Matthews and P. Wilson. Australian Zoologist Vol 32, No 2.
Willis, P. M. A. 2007. Taking the arid zone to tv: what it required to get a story based on the arid zone to air. Pp 208-11 in Animals of Arid Australia: out on their own?, edited by C. Dickman, D. Lunney and S. Burgin. Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman, NSW, Australia.
Close Modal

or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal