Scholar’s Spotlight- Jodie Gunders

The challenges and opportunities for rural journalism in public broadcasting – a case study of the ABC and BBC

Jodie is the Executive Producer of the Queensland Country Hour, leading a team of nine rural reporters and two presenters to broadcast a daily radio program focused on rural current affairs. She also provides editorial leadership across a range of platforms and promotes rural stories to other divisions in the ABC, with an aim to increase audiences for rural content. She has worked in the fields of journalism, research and communications for 20 years, including 15 years as a journalist at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. She also holds a research-based masters’ degree in learning and development.

Rural journalism has evolved in recent years as ABC Rural was disbanded and brought under the banner of the ABC Regional division, and the BBC has also undergone considerable change in recent years, with rural programmes moving to a Rural Affairs Unit in Bristol. This has presented challenges (the need to maintain specialist rural journalism skills and knowledge) and opportunities (new platforms and audiences for rural content).

Jodie plans to travel to the United Kingdom and spend a week with the BBC Rural Affairs Unit in Bristol, working with rural journalists to compare challenges and opportunities to protect and progress specialist rural journalism in a public broadcasting context. There are many common issues