Annie Blatchford

  • Annie Blatchford

    PhD candidate

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Annie Blatchford is a PhD candidate at the Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne. Her research explores the impact of the law on the media’s production of stories on intimate partner homicides. Her research interests include the media’s role in the prevention of violence against women, media law, feminist legal and media studies.

With a background in journalism as well as law, Annie has been involved in multiple research projects aimed at improving the media’s reporting of violence against women in Australia. These have included a three-year Australian Research Council project carried out at the Centre for Advancing Journalism called ‘Violence against women: A media intervention’, developing a curriculum for journalism students and professionals on best practice for the national organisation Our Watch, and co-authoring an evaluation of Our Watch’s national media engagement project including recommendations for future work. She is also a team member on the Melbourne Research Alliance to End Violence against Women and their Children seed funded project which involves a comparative study of the media’s reporting of gendered violence in India and Australia.

She has published in the Conversation about how the media are changing the way they report violence against women, spoken on ABC radio about the link between media and community attitudes of violence against women, and has an upcoming publication on the difficulties of studying online news in the journal Communications Research and Practice.

Annie previously worked as a Media Coordinator for Domestic Violence Victoria where she worked with the domestic violence sector and media industry in the production of news stories about violence against women and longer-term prevention projects. Most recently she was a Senior Research and Policy Officer at the Victoria Law Reform Commission where she worked on the consultation paper for the Contempt of Court review.

Thesis Title


Producing media on intimate partner homicides: The impact of legal rules, restrictions on the news production process

Thesis Summary


Drawing on concepts and methods from both legal and media disciplines, this thesis aims to show how the law impacts the media’s production of stories about intimate partner homicides. Media reports of intimate partner homicides are criticised for excluding information about the accused’s prior violence and the broader social context of violence against women. This occurs despite the reality that IPHs, more than any other crime, arise out of a history of prior violence and an environment where gender inequality is ingrained in social, cultural and organisational structures and practices. What has not been sufficiently recognised in these critiques however, is the impact of the law on the media’s production of stories on IPHs. This thesis examines the impact of legal rules and processes which govern and shape what raw material presented in court, the legal restrictions which prohibit the publication of certain types of material and the influence of the criminal justice system and legal authorities which also shape the narrative of the story. Her research has been referred to in The Age’s reporting of domestic homicides.

Supervisors

  • Criminal Law
  • Feminist Legal Theory
  • Media Law
  • Free Speech Law
  • Evidence and Proof