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Type: Journal article
Title: ‘An image of hope in a week of despair’: Representations of Sam the Koala in the Australian mainstream news media
Author: Due, C.
Thompson, K.
Every, D.
Citation: Media International Australia, 2014; 151(151):47-55
Publisher: The University of Queensland
Issue Date: 2014
ISSN: 1329-878X
Statement of
Clemence Due, Kirrilly Thompson and Danielle Every
Abstract: Natural disasters are events with far-reaching humanitarian implications that frequently receive international attention through the use of an image that comes to represent the disaster in question. The most successful images often comprise ‘identifiable’ and therefore human victims. What is more unusual is for a single animal image to become representative of an entire disaster. This was the case with the 2009 Victorian bushfires in Australia, when the image of a firefighter offering a koala a drink gained international fame. Given that this image of ‘Sam’ the koala does not conform to traditional disaster imagery, we undertook a thematic analysis of mainstream news media representations of Sam in order to identify how she was represented by the media. In this article, we discuss these themes in relation to the ‘identifiable victim’, together with the implications of Sam’s success in terms of disaster-relief campaigns.
Rights: Copyright state unknown
RMID: 0030000004
DOI: 10.1177/1329878x1415100107
Published version:;dn=352489733897235;res=IELLCC
Appears in Collections:Psychology publications

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