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Whitepaper
September 1, 2019

Australia’s Infrastructure: Making Cities Resilient

Australia’s infrastructure and population are constantly growing and as well as being a resilient economy, the expectations of quality infrastructure and connectivity for a better quality of life are increasing. Infrastructure also provides the opportunity for leading companies to finance, construct, own and operate infrastructure assets.

The issue in Australia – most of the infrastructure required to be built are in complex cities and are in highly urbanised environments and with this comes significant environmental issues, planning issues and community issues. It also means that solutions to these problems are expensive and developers and governments are finding it difficult to fund the expensive infrastructure projects. The rise in discussions around future cities has increased by 175 per cent with conversations being had around the Australian government improving productivity and liveability of the nation’s largest cities as they grow over the next 30 years.

In this whitepaper we explore the various infrastructures within Australia including transport, water, energy and telecommunications to understand their current status, the effects each sector is having on the environment and analyse the role media plays.

Fill out the form below to get the full report

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The early start of the bushfire season is being raised by the fire authorities as a serious concern. With another summer of record high temperatures still to come and no sign of the drought breaking, the bushfires have sparked the use of terms such as crisis, emergency, unprecedented and historic in the media. But bushfires in Queensland are not unusual and the subject of climate change being a contributor is also a hot topic. 

In this blog, we delve deeper into these topics by analysing the media coverage around the Queensland bushfires and climate change.

In the past year, “bushfire,” “Queensland” and related keywords returned close to 174,000 mentions.  

Throughout November and December 2018, we saw a spike in mentions predominantly across Broadcast. During this time, the media communicated great concern over an early start to the fire season and the lack of rain that was expected in the coming weeks and months.

Interestingly, the number of mentions from these months combined equates to less than the number of mentions that have happened in September 2019. These figures tell a story with emphasis being placed on the severity of the bushfires, the surrounding issues around climate change and the government’s response.

Media mentions for “bushfires," Queensland” and related terms from September 2018 to September 2019

The current landscape

Queensland has been facing it’s most catastrophic bushfire season in recorded history - with more than fifty bushfires burning at one time. The Bureau of Meteorology’s data on climate change shows that rising temperatures have been evident since the beginning of the 20th century and have been gaining momentum with rising carbon emissions year on year.

This year, a warming climate has contributed to the early fire season. With an unusually dry winter, very little rainfall and above average temperatures, weather conditions like these have not been seen so early in Spring. Vegetation such as rainforests are now flammable thanks to a drier and hotter climate. These conditions are also putting more people at risk with health issues as well as fires threatening people's homes. 

The drought that’s now across much of the eastern seaboard has set the scene for more frequent and intense fires this summer.  Currently, approximately 98 per cent of New South Wales and 65 per cent of Queensland are drought affected. Many towns in regional New South Wales and southern Queensland are having to get water supplies transported to them to avoid water shortages. 

The warming climate has also increased the possibility of bushfires burning in different states simultaneously.  Due to this, the paradigm to a strategic firefighting plan is required whereby states will need to resource their own fires as the resources aren’t available to lend a helping hand.

The economic effects

Despite the numerous bushfires that have happened in recent weeks, politicians have been insisting that climate change isn’t relevant to this year’s fire season.

Climate scientists advise this is a dangerous approach and Queensland's summer of disasters is evidence that climate change will take an economic toll on taxpayers

Bushfires and floods have been ravaging Queensland over the past three months and if natural disasters continue, the State Budget is estimated to take a hit of at least $1.5b.

The government has made disaster recovery payments available for eligible residents, where up to 13 weeks of income assistance can be claimed for those affected by natural disasters. 

Global climate strike

Strikes for climate change have been prominent on a global scale with ‘Strike for Climate’ rallies that have taken place in multiple cities around the world. The first rallies took place Friday 20th September 2019 and continued until Friday 27th September. During the week period, there were over 16,000 media mentions on the subject with 84 per cent of these mentions made online. These numbers depict just how prominent the subject of climate change is in the media.  

In the below, we see the dispersion of mentions about the climate change strikes across Broadcast, Print and Online news. 

Media mentions for “Global Climate Strike” and related terms from
September 20 - September 27 2019

These strikes were brought on after Swedish teenage activist, Greta Thunberg started to raise global awareness of the risks posed by climate change. She wanted to put pressure on politicians to be held accountable for their lack of action on the climate crisis. 

Within Australia, hundreds of thousands of school students walked out of classrooms and rallied for action to be taken. The September strikes followed strikes that were held in March this year where over 150,000 people marched in Australia and 1.5million world wide.

Australia was one of the first countries in the world to join the global climate strike protests, with hundreds of thousands rallying in countries around the world. In capital cities around Australia, people prepared signs and chanted slogans in favour of swift climate action.

In Australia protesters want the Federal Government to commit to:

  • No new coal, oil or gas projects
  • 100 per cent renewable energy generation and exports by 2030
  • Funding for "a just transition and job creation for all fossil-fuel industry workers and communities"

Looking to the future, it will be interesting to see how government bodies around the world respond to the rallies, to the changing climate and the effect they are having on the environment and community. 

If you would like to learn more about the media coverage about this topic or anything media intelligence related, get in touch with us today.

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Blog
The burning issues: bushfires and climate change

The early start of the bushfire season is being raised by fire authorities as a serious concern. Predicted to be another summer of record high temperatures with no sign of the drought breaking, their presence have sparked concern within the media and ignited debates over the role climate change plays with fires.

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Alert the media! Audiences are more informed than ever but can there be too much of a good thing? Experts say that the internet has democratised free speech, but when there is too much content to choose from, we're left overwhelmed, trying to escape a boundless house haunted by trolls, clickbait and conspiracy theorists.

 Isentia’s webinar, Misinformation: Stopping the Spread, brought together three expert communicators, journalists, data analysts and fighters of fake news to discuss how PR and comms professionals can best navigate misinformation.   

Follow these tips so your audiences find your communications and social media strategy is informed and reliable.

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1. Conserve public opinion that uses facts 

While the internet, including social media, can be a hub of helpful information from DIY projects, recipes and tips to fight misinformation… It's also an open platform for anyone to post and publicise anything. Pulsar CEO and Cofounder Fran D'Orazio encourages comms professionals to promote public opinion that's built on a contextually rich foundation so that the everyday scroller sees more than a title and a tagline. 

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2. Call out misinformation, even your own

Content creator @sydneyraz, known for his "things to know before you're in your 30s" content, corrected his misinformation post from 2021, where he said you could store your avocados in water to stop them browning. Reputable news outlets, food experts and the FDA responded to his original post, saying this avo hack could actually put you at risk of salmonella and listeria poisoning. Unless misinformation is called out and unreliable content is debunked, media consumers will struggle to know what is correct and who to trust.

3. Seek out the experts

If your misinformation senses are tingling, don't hesitate to send content and questions to groups with expertise in this area. Initiatives like RMIT Factlab and The Disinformation Project investigate misinformation on media platforms. RMIT Factlab takes misinformation Meta has identified, and then fact checks it. They then write an article, post it on their site, and provide it to Meta, who attaches the URL to the original fake news post - offering the opportunity for people to read the truth first. Throughout this process, Meta, using its algorithms, downgrades fake news, so it's not seen as often. "It is better to work with them [Meta], so some misinformation is downgraded, rather than not having a relationship with them," says Sushi Das, Assistant Director of RMIT Factlab. 

4. Share truth

Kate-Hannah of the Disinformation Project recommends equipping people with tools like counterspeech to use in discourse spaces. Think about how stories and fact-checking tools can divert a negative conversation and direct it onto the main issue or reveal more context. Empathy, humour and reminding perpetrators of ill-informed public messaging of the consequences to spreading hate or dangerous speech, are some communication strategies to use.

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5. Ensure a source is reliable 

"Everybody is sort of a publisher now," says Sushi Das. We all deserve to feel like we're in a safe space, but the ungovernable realm of the online world puts safety into question. We are all tapping into our smart devices for news content but the key is having high standards of the publishers and creators whose content you consume. Traditional media is still held to account with regulations to follow and trained journalists on staff - posing a strong force against misinformation. With standards, regulations and trained journalists, their outputs are a strong force against exposure to misinformation. The moment a news story goes online, the context is at risk of being blurred, whether a filter is used or not.

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[embed width="1080" height="450"]https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/10098209[embed]

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6. Bring context into the mix.

What does context look like in a world still learning to understand the vague guidelines governing online spaces? The devil truly is in the details or the lack of them. Pulsar's recent partnership with Newsguard, "the Internet's trust tool," helps them rate outlets producing news content based on such specific details: their standards of accountability, do they gather info responsibly, and correct their own errors? The results contribute to a credibility score. Data powered by Pulsar show which brands are most susceptible to having misinformation about them distributed online - showing that every sector is vulnerable.

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7. Consider framing. 

There are multiple ways to frame a conversation or narrative. Kate-Hannah says, "there is a responsibility to tell the truth, but in ways that help people make good decisions." People need to be reading the news, not switching off. When reading or producing news content consider how you want readers to feel, but also what you want them to do with that information. Hannah during the webinar, referred to an instance in New Zealand where exposure in the city of Whangarei to Covid-19 spurred people to get tested even in the intense heat. Hannah holds journalists to account for their negative framing of that event, and offers an alternative, that those lining up to get tested in those conditions are ensuring the safety of their community.        

8. Prioritise what issues you’re going to speak to 

Fran D'Orazio says there is a big job in predicting what narratives will spin out of control, "if you try and attack all the different fronts that get opened on the web, it's difficult to make an impact." Brands must choose what battles to fight and prioritise who should be answered. Develop a response framework for your brand to use when it’s found to be in the middle of a misinformed online dispute. Answer these questions, who are those agitators that need a response and what should they, along with their followers, take away from your response? 

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9. Anticipate rather than confront 

Anticipate the impact of a narrative on particular audiences. If you confront an audience already exposed to a misinformation narrative, they are unlikely to change their mind. If you anticipate them and introduce that audience to a truthful record, you may manage to immunise them once they encounter the myths. 

10. Improve your media and news literacy

It may be your first impulse to hit that share button but "stop and think before you share anything. That share button is a trigger." Sushi Das says, "everyone needs to be aware of themselves." Question what you see and how the content makes you feel. Don't just read a headline and share it with your communities; use resources like First Draft and NewsWhip to better verify what you and your audiences are consuming online. 

Extensive research into misinformation is showing that people are getting splintered into different realities based on the news they consume and the algorithms that continue the pattern of content. By developing our media literacy and sharing the truth with our communities, experts say we can change people's minds before they engage with falsehoods. It Just goes to show, don't keep an avocado in water…or accept everything you see online as fact.

 If you see something that is mis or disinformation, send them to initiatives like, info@thedisinfoproject.org or RMIT Factlab.

Watch Isentia's webinar, "Misinformation: Stopping the Spread", for more.

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Blog
Building a Communications Strategy in the era of Misinformation
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Credit keeps the world economy moving, with Visa, MasterCard and American Express brand names easily identifiable. As time passes by, we can see a definitive shift taking place, with each of these brands increasingly becoming part of conversations taking place around the world.

This Global Report, powered by Isentia and Pulsar's data, analyses international trends and zeroes in how credit card incentives are discussed in Singapore.

Fill up the form below to download the whitepaper and read more.

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Whitepaper
[Pulsar Report] Transactions & Reactions: The Online Credit Card Conversation

Credit keeps the world economy moving, with Visa, MasterCard and American Express brand names easily identifiable. This Global report sheds light on international trends and zeroing in on how credit card incentives are discussed in Singapore.

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The social trends and audience behind healthy drinking behaviour

While the pandemic and lockdowns made some people more likely to grab an alcoholic drink, audience interest in low alcohol or no alcohol drinks keeps growing online, both globally and in Australia. 

But what events are driving Australians towards the #sobercurious lifestyle? And which brands are piquing their interest?

[embed width="900" height="450"]https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/8866524[/embed]

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According to data from our sister company Pulsar, social conversation and search interest in low-no-alcohol peaked in April '21-Oct '21 as the press announced a $1 million government grant (as part of the Australian Government’s Modern Manufacturing Strategy) was awarded to Modus Operandi Brewery to manufacture a non-alcoholic ale, NORT. The mentions of low/no-alcohol experienced a peak in June, leading to Dry July and Sober October.

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Mention metrics show that health and socialising are major motivational drivers for Australians when choosing a drink of the low/no-alcohol variety. The two are closely related, as prominent tags associated with low/no-alcohol mentions are #mindfuldrinking, #soberissexy, and #soberdating.

[embed width="900" height="450"]https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/8949469[/embed]

Meanwhile, popular millennial and gen z media outlets like Fashion Journal and Refinery29 are reporting on how-tos and the benefits of sober dating. Young Australians are reading that by avoiding the booze, their anxiety is reduced, and they are setting themselves up for relationship success.

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Mental health improvements associated with the trend aren’t the only benefits being publicised; the physical gains are too. Australian media personality Erin Holland told Women’s Health Magazine that her preparation for the popular reality series SAS Australia involved a strict no-alcohol rule. Rugby union Wallaby player Radiko Samo credited a no-alcohol stance to his improved performance on the field.

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The data also suggests Australians genuinely enjoy the taste of low/no-alcohol beverages followed by ethical reasons. For centuries, abstinence from alcoholic drinking has been tied to ethical beliefs, but open discussion and acknowledgment of Australia’s amoral history keep this motivator current. Aboriginal-owned and led non-alcoholic craft brewers SOBAH advocate for this and aim to break toxic Indigenous stereotypes by providing “healing opportunities outside the reliance on government funding and control."

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Globally, drinks like beer, vodka, and whiskey tend to be more popular, but Australian consumers are hitting the spirits and mixers. Non-alcoholic cocktail bars were springing up across Australian metropolitan areas like Brunswick Aces in Melbourne, giving non-drinkers a chance to socialise without feeling left out. From hotels to online delivery services, hospitality businesses connect with Aussies’ healthier lifestyle choices. In particular, small-batch distilleries and breweries utilising bush tucker flavours are getting covered in widely read hospitality and entertainment sites like Broadsheet. 

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Australian-made distilleries are also proud to represent the small-batch, independent ethos which aligns with the Aussie tendency to support one-of-kind artisanal producers over big-name brands.

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British and Australian brands Seedlip and Lyre’s appear as the most mentioned across media platforms between July-November 21. In the news, Aussie founded Lyres had taken out best non-alcoholic spirit for their Italian spritz at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Seedlip took out two non-alcoholic spirit awards in the Australian Drinks Awards held in November 2021.

While we might expect fitness enthusiasts to be discussing the benefits of lowering alcohol consumption online, a deep dive into the different audiences talking about low alcohol brands reveals this is a popular conversation amongst more niche subcultures.

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Across twitter, discussions of non-alcohol spirits are popular amongst Australian bookworms. Popular non-alcoholic brands like Lyres and Seadrift use old-fashioned or themed storytelling as part of their branding language—an aesthetic that lets  literary lovers know they ”can enjoy the mirth and merriment of a soiree or shindig” without alcohol. This group is also keen to share with their community the book they are currently reading and a matching mocktail.

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This trend continues to grow as Aussies aspire for optimal performance at work, in their social and romantic lives, and for their overall wellness. The data shows Aussies celebrating and sharing their alcohol-free experiences with their digital communities, and with the backing from the government and smaller brands taking out big awards, this trend continues to offer Australians an opportunity to get on the wagon.

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This blog was produced using data from our sister company 
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Thought Leadership
Australia gets on the wagon: what’s driving low and no alcohol trends

Written by Loren Botica

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