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My attempt at critically assessing research into my AOI

NICHE THIS WEEK: Youth vigilant groups and/or support networks: help or hinder?

This week I am to critically assess any research found about the audience or participants related to my Area of Interest (AOI). This proved to be a tad tricky as there isn’t a terribly large amount of research done into youth websites so I decided to search for research in the following ways:

  • Searching for demographic information of the Reach Out and various other youth support network and information websites.
  • Searching for any research findings pertaining to readership, contributions (who? what? where?) and anything else that may help to decipher where information related to my AOI is coming from and from whom?

Firstly, I used the trusty tool some call “Google” to see firstly where youth support websites are getting their hits. I came across a report on The Reach Out! Rural and Regional Tour (RORRT).

This tour stemmed from the Reach Out website, and aimed to educate the youth on ways in which to promote mental health through the website, which leads me to believe that the people that are participating in the tour are the kind of people that would visit the site. According to data obtained through the RORRT through surveys on internet use:

“The mean age of students surveyed was 15 years with a range of 12 to 17 years.”

By searching the Reach Out website by itself, I also obtained data pertaining to the demographic that the website aims their content at. Interestingly, although through the tour it was discovered the mean age of users was 15 years, the Reach Out website accommodated those aged 14-25. In this way it is obvious that my niche has a very large market and possibly there is a gap to fill within the ages of 17-25.

PIC CREDIT: Sourced from The Word Guy.


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Who Should I Be Following?

As creepy as that sounds, this week I had to track down some Twitter users that are in line with my Area of Interest.

Firstly I began to think about the kind of user I should follow- youths? Youth organisations? Journalists with strong opinions on youths? Gloria Estefan?

I settled on searching for all of the above (minus the last one).

The first Twitter account I came across was Headspace Australia . So I clicked ‘follow’. Why? Within their Twitter feed I was exposed to countless links and articles highlighting the fabulous work going on to help troubled teens. Not only that though, but it seems that Headspace is a great tool for championing the idea of youths- in a positive light.

Just like my Area of Interest- *bing bing bing bing*.

Another great Twitter account to follow is Aus Youth which “is a project aimed at inspiring debate between young people on social media channels and raising awareness about the issues that concern young people.”

This account provides a great supplement for research into my Area of Interest and will point me in many directions where I can gauge the extent as to which youth issues are covered in a positive way- a way that reinforces faith in the younger generations.

These two Twitter accounts in particular give me enough information on who is talking about particular issues such as mental health and eating disorders.

Through Aus Youth, I also came across Jan Owen who is the CEO of the Foundation for Young Australians. By following her I’ve gained access to another news base of information on youths creating grassroots organisations and I’m learning about the different teenagers that are taking an active role in encouraging other youths to follow a safe and prosperous path through life.

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Who’s Talkin’ ‘Bout My Work?

Continuing on from my recent blog post about the nature of Youth Issues and how they are portrayed online, I set out to see what, if anything, was being said about my Area of Interest.

It’s quite hard to find scholars or media professionals who have published works in the area of positive youth action, so I started by looking at who was plainly talking about positive youth engagement.

Ariadne Vroman from the University of Sydney and Philippa Collin of Inspire Foundation, speak about youth-led and youth participation in policy making and the affect it has on both the policies but also those involved in their article, ‘Everyday youth participation? Contrasting views from Australian policymakers and youth people’.

As Vroman and Collin discover,

      it was found that participation and active involvement in decision making was 
meaningful for young people when it was youth-led, fun and informal, and based 
on relevant, everyday issues rather than complex policy processes.

It is hard to critique this article on the basis of how it applied to my Area of Interest, as it doesn’t wholly cover it (nothing does really, I picked a gooden), but what it does do is give me an insight into ONE facet of positive youth action and the consequences it has. In this way it’s easier for me to garner what kind of angle to steer my Area of Interest.

One of the more interesting ideas put forward is the notion of youths being a part of the political process that adults normally are in order to breath fresh life into policies and to make youth-themed policies achievable and relevant to the audience they are intended for. What a great idea- zing!

In this way, it looks as though there is a place for online content that focuses on youth-led initiatives that will take some attention from the plethora of negative online content.

The article can be found at:

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Kirsten Dunst Bares All In Comeback Movie (via



03 Aug, 2011

Just when we thought we’’d seen the end of Kirsten Dunst, bam! The Spiderman actress is back in a big way — getting her gear off in upcoming film Melancholia.

Dunst won the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actress in the sci-fi/drama flick where she … er, strips off for some scenes.

Getting nekkid in front of a whole camera crew would be daunting enough, but get this: Dunst’’s director, Lars Von Trier, refuses to airbrush his actors.

“I trusted everyone and the lighting was beautiful,” Dunst told Elle UK.

While most of us would need more than flattering lighting to encourage us to go nude on film, Kirsten claims she did very little to prepare for the baring role.

“I didn’t work out beforehand, it was all very natural … I don’t have any real body issues,” she told the magazine.

On her body and diet, Kirsten says she isn’t obsessive.

“I never really overeat, I shed weight in the summer, put it on in the winter and yes, I do have big boobs. People don’t realise because I cover up a lot, but they are there.”

And who can forget her trademark ‘snuggle fangs’’? Most of us would opt for braces but nope, not Dunst.

“They give me character and character is sexy,” she says.

“People comment, but the only person who ever told me to fix them was my mom. Mothers are always like, ‘Wear lipstick, put on rouge!’ They can be s****—-y about that stuff because they love you. I just went my own way, like daughters do.”

Melancholia, which also stars 24’s Kiefer Sutherland and Charlotte Gainsbourg is due for Australian release later this year.

Welcome back Kiki!

By Mel Evans

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Promoting healthy body image discovers a deeper issue


MISS Universe 2004 is the Elephant Woman. Flawed with a dimple, creases and hips which accentuated her as a real woman.

Over 400, 000 readers feasted upon the February issue of Marie Claire ready to be entertained by another tantalising article about the successful Jennifer Hawkins. It appeared they were let down dismally. On first glance eyes were greeted by the model juxtaposed alongside words such as ‘revolutionary’ and ‘daring’ Fumble through the lustrous pages of the thick magazine, however, and the reader is soon transported to another dimension. A dimension where this glamazon beauty is not leading the cause for a body happy image but objectifying her own ‘defects’ and blemishes, much to the anger of those 485, 000 who buy Marie Claire on a monthly basis.

Social commentators reported passionately about the sheer tenacity of the ex-Newcastle Knights cheerleader to pose in such a context and illustrate her “flaws”. Marie Claire readers suggested the shoot contradicted the very foundation of promoting a healthy body image to those who were suffering their own image issues.

After all, Jennifer Hawkins has made her millions for looking good.

The backfire from this shoot was illustrious, prompting the magazine industry to swiftly defend its position as a healthy, body happy advocate for women across the nation. Very angry women, that upon scanning through the glossy pages of the monthly, were now turned off the idea of buying the March issue.

Women’s rights advocate Melinda Tankard Reist was one of these readers who upon sight of a naked Hawkins was deeply offended. Marie Claire’s attempt at capturing the figure, attitude and vitality of the real woman was lost on Reist, who believes the media at the time was attempting to depict a healthy body image. However, its endeavours were empty mantras.

“There is a contradiction involved… [they were] giving the appearance of social responsibility while not actually doing anything,” Reist said.

The sheer mention of the word “real” affects women. You can feel the shudder of disgust and the verbatim sigh that resonates deeply upon sight of the article shot in response to a nation-wide survey. The results of those 5500 surveyed illustrated that only 12 per cent were happy with their appearance. However instead of prompting women to feel inspired and engaged with the content, they were left isolated and angry.

Since the January debacle, many glossies have boldly followed in editor of Marie Claire’s footsteps. The Australian’s Women’s Weekly plastered a make-up free Sarah Murdoch front and centre and Madison magazine positioned naked radio personality Bianca Dye and pop star Tiffani Wood among their pages. Australian women did not react so malevolently this time round, instead embracing the bravado of these ladies who were truly classes as “real women”.

From what evidence do these editors know the formula of the ‘real woman’?

Professor Marikka Tiggemann from Flinders University’s School of Psychology is uncomfortable when presented with the ‘real woman’ as she attempted to illustrate her strong opinion of the media, with the slightest of trepidation. Tiggemann believes there is a culture of unrealistically portraying the female body. However, as many women and men will contradict wholeheartedly, this negative affect on body image is not just the media’s fault, but society’s.

“The models present unrealistic ideals, but people need to buy into them,” Tiggeman said. “It’s [the fault of] the articles in the magazines and those surrounding the magazines.”

It has been long suggested that the magazine industry plays a pivotal role in the issue of unhealthy body image, illuminating the tense atmosphere created through Hawkins’ naked pose, sandwiched between ads for mascara and girly cars.

With confidence the deputy editor of Dolly magazine Harriet Farkash, believes the blame should be placed on the advertisers.

“While we choose to put girls of all different sizes into our editorial pages we don’t have control over the ads that go in,” Farkash said.

Remorse is lost in the voice of this professional and successful magazine journalist, who over her years of working in the fabled glossy world has come across many a ‘real girl’ slogan.

“It’s an obvious issue when advertisers are trying to sell an aspirational image but choosing these ‘perfect’ models,” she said while imitating speech marks with her fingers.

It is blatantly obvious to readers of Marie Claire that Jennifer Hawkins embodies this exact notion of ‘perfect’ and the very mention of her a ‘real woman’ is offensive and depressive.

On the other hand, perhaps we are all ‘real women’.

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My excursion to the Twittersphere

Four years ago if you asked me if I could be an avid Twit I would have probably cried and wondered why someone could be so mean. If you then asked me if I have a Facebook, I would have probably thought you were trying to make a move.

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Twitter and Facebook making university easier

Never thought I would think that a social networking site like Twitter  or Facebook would make my university course so much easier*! But alas, I have found third year one of the easiest to navigate thanks to Twitter and FB (that’s slang for Facebook, y’know).

As I’ve noticed, journalism in this day and age is snuggly accompanied by an online presence. However in my journalism course this online presence isn’t just through the blogs I post here for my Online Journalism class, but also through Twitter and Facebook pages and posts that go along with my Advanced Broadcast Journalism tutes.

My tutor, Julie Posetti, is quite a maverick when it comes to combining the world of journalism with the magical and transforming world of online. As part of my assessment, we are tweeting almost continuously about our course (Sorry to anyone that follows me that has no idea what #abj is and is quickly growing tired of it- it will end soon) and we are able to chat to other class mates and our tutors with ease through this and through our Facebook page.

I’ve posted about the pitfalls of the social networking site, especially Facebook, but here is where I shout to the world how much easier it has made some of my subjects this year (so far).

If I need to catch up on some blog posts here, I log onto my tutor Eleri’s blog page where I can see all that I need to blog about.

If i’m having trouble uploading a broadcast bulletin to the internet and I need some techno, tutor advice- I ask my tutor on Facebook.

If I want to engage in witty, educational banter with my fellow journalism green-horns, I log onto Twitter and use the ABJ hashtag.

IF only something like Twitter came along in my first year’s studies- I wouldn’t have just left the good marks for my last year.

*It also makes for great Royal Wedding coverage.

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