Media, political and legal discourses liberally use the term ‘the public interest’ as a justification for an act or outcome that has an over-riding public good. But what exactly is ‘the public interest’? In New South Wales alone, the term ‘the public interest’ is included in almost 200 Legislative Acts (Wheeler 2006: 22) but, almost without exception, the term is not defined. Pervasive, but poorly understood, and mysterious in its own way, the public interest is described as “one of the most used terms in the lexicon of public administration, [but] it is arguably the least defined and least understood” (Wheeler 2006: 12).

This seminar paper examines the public interest as it relates to public relations and communication, but also, more broadly, as it exists within related discourses surrounding social capital, law and political philosophy. The presentation is illustrated with narratives and case studies that take the audience from West Africa, to Helsinki, to the Australian outback, to the Republic of Ireland, and to the world’s largest online encyclopedia.

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A/Professor Jane Johnston’s book Public Relations and the Public Interest is published by Routledge (2016) and a follow-up journal article Public interest: A new way of thinking for public relations? is in press. Her next book on the topic, co-edited with Magda Pieczka from Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, draws together a collection of leading international scholars to continue the exploration of the public interest across a range of social, political and economic systems. Johnston’s interdisciplinary research explores public relations, media, communication, law and justice – often at their various intersections.  She consults to government and the courts on justice communication.

About Research Seminar and Workshop Series

 


School of Communication and Arts Research Seminar Series

The research seminar and workshop series occur each semester, each with a different topic and guest speaker from UQ or otherwise.

Friday, 23 Febraury
12-1pm

Hybrid: Online via Zoom and in person at the
SCA Writer's Studio
(Level 6, Michie)

The Szondi Test: Mimetic Desire and the Media of PsychiatryDr Grant Bollmer

Friday, 23 Febraury
12-1pm

Hybrid: Online via Zoom and in person at the
SCA Writer's Studio
(Level 6, Michie)

Adaptation, Narrative and Rites of PassageAdjunct Professor Michael Eaton

Friday, 12 April
12-1pm

Hybrid: Online via Zoom and in person at the
SCA Writer's Studio
(Level 6, Michie)

A Wrench in the Works of the Dream Factory: Special/Visual Effects in the Hollywood Studio Era, 1915-1965Prof. Julie Turnock

Tuesday, 23 April
12-1pm

Hybrid: Online via Zoom and in person at the
SCA Writer's Studio
(Level 6, Michie)

An artistic path between art and science: Vulcano, Fata Morgana, and Min Min Light

Maria Leonardo Cabrita

Friday, 3 May
12-1pm

Hybrid: Online via Zoom and in person at the
SCA Writer's Studio
(Level 6, Michie)

The Novel on Stage: Adaptation as Intersemiotic Translation in Intermedial Circulation

Dr Naciye Saglam

Friday, 17 May
12-1pm

Hybrid: Online via Zoom and in person at the
SCA Writer's Studio
(Level 6, Michie)

Spectator-Participation-as-Research for archiving the creation and experience of Punchdrunk’s The Burnt CityDr Emma Cole

Friday, 24 May
12-1pm

Hybrid: Online via Zoom and in person at the
SCA Writer's Studio
(Level 6, Michie)

The digital speed of care:  Temporalities of online petty trading in Vietnam  Dr Giang Nguyen-Thu

Monday, 24 June
12-1pm

Hybrid: Online via Zoom and in person at the
SCA Writer's Studio
(Level 6, Michie)

Mapping Climate Change through a macrocosm – a UNESCO-Tagged World Heritage Site in IndiaA/Prof Deepti Ganapathy

 

Venue

Room: 
Room 601, level 6, Michie Building (#9)