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Rumour Mill: Journalism Ethics and Identifying Suspects in the Media—a Case Study into the Marysville Bushfire Disaster

posted on 24.04.2019, 03:09 by STEVEN BRADLEY LILLEBUEN
This PhD provides new insight into crime reporting practices: first, by examining why a fire captain was wrongly accused of lighting the Black Saturday fire at Marysville, killing 40 people, and then by examining the role of ethics in identifying suspects in the media. The study found Australian journalists overwhelmingly view naming suspects as an ethical decision, yet, still do so on a daily basis, even in cases with little evidence. This work has important implications for journalists working in a global media environment, and it proposes a re-think of existing crime reporting practices and ethical guidelines.


Principal supervisor

Johan Karl Einar Lidberg

Additional supervisor 1

Margaret Simons

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

School of Media, Film and Journalism


Doctor of Philosophy (Journalism)

Degree Type


Campus location



Faculty of Arts