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November 6, 2019

Your Right to Know: Who is leading the Media Freedom conversation?

The Your Right to Know Campaign was established in response to deteriorating media freedom. It prompted an unprecedented collaboration between competitors including Nine, News Corp, the ABC, SBS, The Guardian and journalists’ union in the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance. All in an effort to call for reforms to protect public interest from Australia.

Politicians dominate the discussion

On Monday 21 October, Australian media organisations blacked-out text on print newspapers, instead of showing front-page headlines. The first bold statement instigated by campaign members. As a result, it created a lot of chatter in the media –  mentions spiked at 3,042 across across social and traditional media.

Data analysed by Isentia, shows in the week October 21 to October 25 2019 there were a total of 6,242 mentions of “press freedom.” 

While it was the media who started the campaign on Monday, through the week politicians had 60% share of voice on the topic. Prominent journalists followed with 22.8% and CEOs of media organisations 15.3%.

Groups leading the conversations. Key term used ‘Press Freedom’ 21 – 25 October 2019

Top spokespeople

Despite journalists and media organisations instigating the campaign, politicians dominated the conversations. The top spokespeople discussing the topic for the week period were:

1.Scott Morrison, Australian Prime Minister – 95 mentions

2.Anthony Albanese, Federal Opposition Leader – 38 mentions

3. Barnaby Joyce, Nationals MP – 33 mentions

4.Hugh Marks, CEO Nine Entertainment – 33 mentions

5. Campbell Reid, Senior Journalist, News Corp – 32 mentions


Dominating the discussions, politicians generated negative sentiment around “press freedom”.

Sentiment of the keyword “press freedom” in the media from 21-25 October

Background

Over the past two decades, 75 laws related to secrecy and spying have been passed through parliament. These laws criminalise some practices within journalism and penalise whistleblowers. Government wrongdoings could be hidden and important decisions regarding public information may be concealed. As a result, Australia has been described by the New York Times as the world’s most secretive democracy. 

Media organisations are taking action with the ‘Your Right to Know’ campaign. They’re determined to change the government’s approach to media freedom so they can provide Australians with essential information.  They’re pressing for the introduction of a Media Freedom Act, which they say would be advantageous for national security, press freedom and democracy, and ensure legitimate journalism is not subject to criminal charges.

If you would like to receive unparalleled media insight or to better understand trends in the media, get in touch with us today.

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R u ok?

Challenge

R U OK? is a public health campaign founded in Australia, focusing on creating a world where we’re all connected and protected from suicide. Their mission is to inspire and empower people to meaningfully connect with those in their world and lend support when they are struggling with life.

R U OK? focuses on building the motivation, confidence, and skills of the help-giver—the person who can have a meaningful conversation with someone who is struggling with life. R U OK? encourage four steps to have a meaningful conversation:

  1. 1. Ask R U OK?
  2. 2. Listen
  3. 3. Encourage action
  4. 4. Check in

R U OK? have a host of free resources to help you ask, ‘are you OK?’ and lend support to the people in your world every day of the year. Because when we genuinely ask, ‘are you OK?’, and are prepared to talk to them about how they’re feeling and what’s going on in their life, we can help someone who might be struggling to feel connected and supported long before they’re in crisis.

The annual R U OK? Day campaign is their National Day of Action, where people are reminded that every day is the day to start a meaningful conversation that could change a life. 

To assess their impact and gauge progress towards their goal of behavioural change, R U OK? sought to evaluate the effectiveness of their campaign messaging, ambassadors, and public discourse in their communities. Additionally, they wanted to understand the main narrative in these communities to shape their future campaign themes and strategies.

Our approach

Through a number of different datasets, Isentia provided the organisation with comprehensive insight into its campaign messaging as well as the volume and quality of media reporting on R U OK? This valuable information was obtained through Isentia’s Media Analysis reports shedding light on common themes, trends, and messages associated with R U OK? through media coverage.

“We know Isentia are trusted friends. We know we can come to the team with any ideas or queries and be provided with a great solution. Our long term partnership has allowed us to go on this journey together, seeing such change in the Australian landscape for health and suicide prevention.

Isentia’s reports have helped us (and continue to) understand the impact of our coverage and the reach of our campaign messaging, and that every day is the day to ask, are you OK?”

Katherine Newton, R U OK? CEO

Katherine Newton, R U OK? CEO

The analysis revealed the following:

  • - Message penetration in the media
  • - Impact of ambassadors and spokespeople
  • - Campaign effectiveness in raising awareness and encouraging meaningful conversations
  • - Measurement of media coverage quality and tone for R U OK? 
  • - Insights into community, workplace and school engagement with R U OK? and the types of positively received content.
Having a meaningful conversation

Outcome

Isentia’s support to R U OK? has helped them measure their campaign impact consistently over time.

Our analysis quantified the success of R U OK? in reducing negative portrayals of suicide and stigma in the media and R U OK? events. With an impressive 87% national brand awareness and a 25% participation rate, it highlights the positive and supportive behaviour that emerges when individuals actively engage in these conversations.

Media coverage, including increased editorial attention, has effectively promoted R U OK?, raising awareness and fostering an important culture around meaningful conversations. 

The organisation’s brand mentions, advertising space rate (ASR), and cumulative audience figures have consistently increased each year, also indicating the successful penetration of their messages. The most prominent messages, in terms of volume, emphasise that R U OK? builds awareness of suicide and mental health issues, while the annual campaign day helps to build community capacity to have meaningful conversations with the people in their world.

What our analysis showed

Our analysis demonstrates the positive changes in the Australian landscape regarding health and suicide prevention. People are more engaged, have a better understanding of their role in suicide prevention, and desire deeper connections. This means genuinely asking, ‘are you OK?’, and knowing how to connect with and support others when they express they are not okay. 

Isentia’s data and analysis not only fulfilled their objectives but exceeded their expectations. The reports provided are invaluable, so much so that we are their sole earned media insights provider.

These Media Analysis reports helped the organisation understand the impact of their messaging on their audience. They learned what worked and what didn’t, providing insight for future messaging and their content development strategy. These reports have also served as a valuable tool for reporting to the R U OK? board of directors, funding partners, and government. Providing concrete evidence of the organisation’s campaign impact in the media and success in stimulating community action for suicide prevention.

R U OK?

“Isentia’s Media Analysis reports help us look at the narratives to see where people are at and where we can take them next.”

For more information on how Isentia's data and insights can help your organisation, simply fill out the form below.

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Case Study
How R U OK? harness Isentia Insights for their campaign strategy

Challenge R U OK? is a public health campaign founded in Australia, focusing on creating a world where we’re all connected and protected from suicide. Their mission is to inspire and empower people to meaningfully connect with those in their world and lend support when they are struggling with life. R U OK? focuses on […]

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Don’t be deceived by the tip of the iceberg

Likes, shares, comments and retweets. These social media metrics are often used by marketers to measure the performance of their campaigns or contents. However, this is just the tip of an iceberg. In this whitepaper, Isentia reveals why.

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Whitepaper
The social numbers

Likes, shares, comments and retweets. These social media metrics are often used by marketers to measure the performance of their campaigns or contents. However, this is just the tip of an iceberg.

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The story around supermarket prices has been evolving for a number of months, finally reaching an inflection point as the Woolworth’s CEO appeared in a challenging interview with Four Corners and then announced his upcoming retirement only two days later.This chain of events underscores the critical importance of understanding the connections made by broadcast media, as they can significantly influence public perceptions and shape the narrative surrounding key industry players.

https://www.reddit.com/r/PublicRelations/comments/1aukych/australia_woolies_ceo_interview_mishap/?share_id=S-JDSwqI-UlHg_mIeTlkg&utm_content=2&utm_medium=ios_app&utm_name=ioscss&utm_source=share&utm_term=1

It was only the latest in a series of media items to seize Australia’s attention, and cast the nation’s supermarkets into something of a PR and Comms crisis.

And yet, viewing events through this framing also only gives a partial picture. As the discussion surrounding the impact of supermarkets on the rising cost of living intensifies, we've observed a notable surge in the usage of terms such as 'shrinkflation' and 'skimpflation'. Reaching back even further, we can see how the topics attained a gradually greater place on Australian news and social channels. Shrinkflation and skimpflation are tactics employed by supermarkets during economic challenges. Shrinkflation involves reducing product sizes while maintaining prices, subtly passing on costs to consumers. Skimpflation maintains product sizes but compromises on quality to preserve profit margins. These strategies often frustrate supermarket shoppers, especially during economic strains like inflation.

Clearly, the topic has become ubiquitous. But if we want to understand how information and perceptions have been communicated to mainstream Australian audiences, then it becomes vitally important to pay particular attention to broadcast media. 

Broadcast media (which includes television, radio and podcasts)  plays a pivotal role in shaping public discourse and influencing perceptions, particularly on pressing issues such as the cost of living crisis. 

Using Isentia to monitor these data sources, we gain valuable insights into their contribution to consumer attitudes. From identifying which organisations are most associated with the issue to pinpointing key public figures and preferred channels within radio and TV, broadcast media monitoring allows us to understand the complex dynamics that shape public opinion.

It’s the oldest of these media types which accounts for the most mentions of the supermarket crisis. Beyond reporting updates on the senate inquiry and government actions, radio excels in facilitating in-depth conversations between hosts and listeners, which surfaces more individual consumer stories than television or podcasts can match.

ABC's predominant coverage of the topic corresponds with the network's content strategy. Major programs such as the Supermarket Four Corners special and podcasts like The Briefing attract substantial listenership and garner attention from other channels. Channel 7, in addition to delivering key news updates, focuses on the shopper experience within supermarkets, shedding light on everyday challenges faced by audiences, such as navigating shrinkflation and skimpflation tactics.

Understanding the majority share of broadcast channels within this topic is important as it reflects who has the loudest voice, and is most persistently advancing a certain narrative or way of framing the situation. 

Coles and Woolworths dominate the conversation, reflecting their prominent presence in the retail landscape. Their widespread accessibility and familiarity to consumers make them prime subjects for discussion in the context of rising costs and economic pressures. 

Conversely, Aldi and IGA, while still significant players in the grocery market, may receive comparatively less focus in these discussions. Aldi's reputation for offering lower-priced alternatives and IGA's decentralised business model, with independently owned stores, may also contribute to their reduced presence in conversations about supermarket practices during times of economic strain. 

Each channel and network approaches discussions about supermarket groups differently. While Coles and Woolworths understandably dominate each station's broadcasts, the precise balance (and the time afforded to Adi and IGA) is revealing.

For instance, 4BC has encouraged audiences to diversify their shopping habits, with one 4BC broadcaster highlighting that "Aldi and IGA are actually doing more than the other two to really help enormously with the cost of living."

In the discourse on supermarket practices during the cost of living crisis, a number key figures emerge across broadcast channels. Anthony Albanese, the Australian Prime Minister, is predictably prominent on just about every channel, particularly broadcaster 2SM. 

All of them, that is, apart from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), which spotlights Allan Fels, an economist and former ACCC chair who has analysed price gouging by major corporations. Other notable politicians mentioned include Treasurer Jim Chalmers, Craig Emerson, Steven Miles, and David Littleproud. 

Media's focus on these figures is crucial for shaping public discourse and policy responses amid economic pressures. While supermarkets are often discussed as a key antagonist in the cost of living crisis, they are increasingly being viewed in the context of potential solutions, particularly regarding government policy to regulate supermarket giants.

At the same time, focus does not only fall on the prominent individuals driving business decisions and policymaking. Country Hour (NSW), for instance, focused a story on cherry grower Michael Cuneo, who ceased selling to supermarkets after he made a financial loss on a shipment of fruit. And it was this story that achieved the greatest media reach of any radio content on the topic.  

Clearly then, the topic has not played out in any one way across any one channel. The prominence of key figures and top broadcast channels in this conversation underscores the importance of understanding how media coverage impacts public discourse and regulatory decisions. Isentia's broadcast capabilities offer unparalleled insight into the role of broadcast media in shaping the narrative surrounding supermarket practices. By harnessing Isentia's monitoring and analysis tools, organisations can gain deep insights into how influential discourse and coverage can impact an industry. 

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Blog
How Australian broadcast media has shaped the cost of living crisis narrative

The story around supermarket prices has been evolving for a number of months, finally reaching an inflection point as the Woolworth’s CEO appeared in a challenging interview with Four Corners and then announced his upcoming retirement only two days later.This chain of events underscores the critical importance of understanding the connections made by broadcast media, […]

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The rising cost of living is not just an issue in Australia but a global concern that affects countless individuals, with people facing the daunting challenge of affording basic necessities while striving to maintain a decent standard of living. It’s a topic that can touch a nerve for many, but it’s also a dynamic conversation that drives the media, public opinion, and individual experiences. 

What’s driving the cost of living concerns?

A range of factors are driving the cost of living in Australia, with some having more of an impact than others. Using data from our sister company, Pulsar, inflation (as the overarching issue) is gaining the most media coverage as the price of goods and services continues to increase over time.

The top drivers of the cost of living
Source: Pulsar TRAC, 1 Jan - 30 Jun 2023

The chart also shows the rise in energy costs, interest rates, and housing prices (rent and mortgage prices) as other main drivers for cost of living concerns. As energy prices continue to increase, households are feeling the pinch as their expenses soar. And when it comes to housing, whether it's the skyrocketing rent or the burden of increasing mortgage payments, many individuals and families are finding it increasingly challenging to secure affordable accommodation.

Let’s take a closer look at these topics.

Energy fuels the discussion

Energy sources and prices are hot topics in the media, impacting households, affordability, and vulnerable populations. But a troubling discrepancy emerged in the May 2023 Budget: businesses got more attention than households in energy relief measures. Surprisingly, only 13% of media coverage focused on the struggles faced by individuals, while a whopping 29% centered around the politics and policies of Australian businesses. This raises valid concerns about whether the media is truly addressing the needs of Australian communities.

The energy narrative and the cost of living

Sectors feeling the heat of media scrutiny

Media outlets play a crucial role in shaping public opinion and influencing the cost of living. When it comes to specific energy sectors, they have become the subject of intense media scrutiny. Data from our Energy Transition report shows that coal and gas are in the hot seat, with a significant portion of media coverage - 43% for coal and 26% for gas - dedicated to discussing these fossil fuels. This media focus highlights the ongoing conversations surrounding the environmental impact of coal and gas, their contribution to climate change, economic considerations, and the urgent need for policy changes to transition to cleaner energy sources.

Feeling the pinch

The cost of living crisis goes beyond numbers; it’s intertwined with the housing market and interest rates. Escalating housing costs, fueled by rising prices and interest rates, can put immense strain on household budgets, leading to financial stress and widening economic inequality.

But the conversation doesn't stop there. The story behind the data is clear: the cost of living is an issue that affects us all, and the media plays a crucial role in shaping and amplifying the conversation. Google searches and social media activity reflect people’s ongoing concern about the weight of living expenses, especially around RBA announcements. Anxiety emerges as a dominant theme, with a staggering 93% of media coverage highlighting the keyword.

cost of living comparisons
Source: Isentia (print, online, broadcast), Pulsar TRENDS (Twitter), Google Trends, May 1 - July 30 2023

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows living costs have reached an all-time high. Over the past 12 months, all living cost indices have risen between 7.1 percent and 9.6 percent for all households, compared to a 7 percent annual increase in inflation.

The difference largely stems from living cost indices taking into account mortgage interest charges. Housing and interest rates have been the largest contributors to the rise in the cost of living, with home owners feeling the pinch from rising mortgage payments and renters feeling the brunt of it. According to the RBA, the average mortgage size in Australia has increased by 38% in the past decade. According to Pulsar data, unsurprisingly, 84% of Australians are left feeling sad about the cost of living. 

Influential figures shaping the conversation

Data from the Pulsar Platform gives a visual snapshot of how several Australian and foreign individuals and groups are influencing the conversation, including politicians, economists, consumer advocacy groups, and business owners.

who is talking about the cost of living
Source: Pulsar TRAC, 1 Jan - 31 May 2023. Influential people and organisations

Unsurprisingly, the Australian Labor Party (ALP) holds significant influence when it comes to shaping the cost of living conversation in Australia’s political landscape. As the governing body in Australian Parliament, their policies and initiatives subjectively bear the everyday Australian in mind, aiming to tackle the affordability challenges that many face. The ALP resonates with citizens worried about rising living costs due to its focus on income inequality, social justice, and fair economic policies. But are they doing enough?

Treasurer Jim Chalmers, along with other influential ALP members including Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Chris Bowen, and Mick de Brenni, are leading the conversation in an effort to alleviate living expenses and promote income growth. Despite their desire to achieve these outcomes, the public outcry on Twitter shows the frustration Australians are feeling. The Prime Minister and Treasurer are in the firing line, with the public urging more action on the cost of living crisis.

Jim chalmers and the cost of living
online sentiment about the cost of living

How media intelligence can help you navigate the cost of living

Advocacy efforts can be significantly enhanced through the use of social listening and media monitoring. These tools allow you to effectively navigate the dynamic narratives surrounding the cost of living. By tailoring your advocacy approach, you can foster a more equitable and sustainable solution that brings positive change to communities and influences public opinion.

Additionally, by staying well-informed about the ongoing public discourse and trending discussions related to the cost of living, you can develop compelling communication strategies that effectively inform and engage your stakeholders.

Curious about how media intelligence can enhance your communication strategies to connect with your audience? Request a demo here, and our expert team will reach out to help you develop your communication strategies.

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Blog
The Story Behind the Data: Navigating the Cost of Living

The rising cost of living is not just an issue in Australia but a global concern that affects countless individuals. Within our shores, people are facing the daunting challenge of affording basic necessities while striving to maintain a decent standard of living. It’s a topic that can touch a nerve for many, but it’s also a dynamic conversation that drives the media, public opinion, and individual experiences.

Ready to get started?

Get in touch or request a demo.