News Values, Older People and Journalistic Practices in Australia and Malaysia

Muhammad Asim Imran – University of Adelaide

Platform: Journal of Media and Communication

Volume 9.2, ANZCA Special Issue (2022): pp.55 – 76


This article builds on a research project examining news values, journalistic practices, and media power in Australia and Malaysia. These two countries differ from each other in socio-cultural, religious, regional, political perspectives, and journalistic practices but share the presence of indigenous people, appreciation for multiculturalism, and increasing numbers of older people. The comparison of journalistic practices – Asian-based development journalism and Western journalism practices – along with other differences, especially socio-cultural values, provides the rationale for the selection of these two countries. The study draws on Fairclough’s three-dimensional critical discourse analysis and Caple and Bednarek’s discursive news values analysis to explore the discursive practices of journalists in providing voices and prioritising different actors in news stories. 99 news articles from 8 mainstream Australian newspapers – The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, The Advertiser, The Daily Telegraph, The Courier-Mail, The Herald Sun, and The Canberra Times – and 5 English-language Malaysian newspapers – New Straits Times, The Malay Mail, The Star, The Borneo Post, and The Sun – published between January 2011 and December 2013 are selected as the dataset in this study. The study finds that reference to elite persons remains a uniform news value in both Australian and Malaysian newspapers, indicating the role of journalists in reflecting and reinforcing the status quo, and the imbalance of power in society. This dominant news value amongst journalists tends to silence those who are not conceived as newsworthy or seen as less newsworthy, such as older people. While the dominance of elites can be linked to social norms in Malaysia that prevent challenges to the social hierarchy and the maintenance of a high regard for people in authority such as political leaders, the discursive practices of Australian journalists do not align with their role to provide a uniform forum for the exchange of ideas, as elderly Australians are given limited opportunities to be active participants.


News Values, Older People, Malaysian Newspapers, Australian Newspapers, Journalistic Practices, Discourse Analysis.

Download PDF