Comparative online journalism analysis: ABC News Online Vs. OUTinPerth

NOTE: This assignment has been granted a 5-day simple extension.


Student Name: Yiheng Li

SID: 520194571

Word count: 1510


ABC Online News:

ABC Online is the Australian Broadcasting Corporation‘s (ABC) online and digital services platform, headquartered at the Ultimo Centre in Sydney, NSW. Launched on August 14, 1995, it is a division of the ABC Multimedia Unit. ABC Online absorbed the ABC radio and television operations and subsequently built a mega web platform linking a number of websites. Content production is distributed via streaming, podcasts, vodcasting, SMS, video-on-demand and mobile phones (Jolly, 2014). The ABC Annual Report 2020-21 has declared itself as the number one digital news brand in Australia. It topped the list in terms of average monthly pageviews in 2020, with a 77% increase in average daily viewership to a staggering 2.21 million compared to January 2019. By 2021-22, ABC Online had more sessions and total time spent across its website and application than any other Australian online news brand (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2023).

As Australia’s national broadcaster, ABC Online benefits from government funding. In the October 2020 Federal Budget alone, $1,065.3 million was allocated to its wide-ranging operational activities and Enhanced News Gathering.

Figure 1:  ABC Source of Funds

This statistical chart shows the sources of the ABC budget for 2020-21 and 2021-22 and the funding of the budget by category (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2022).

A 2020 report by the Pew Research Center noted that ABC News’ audience is predominantly older, with over 62% of adults aged 65+ using Facebook to access ABC News (Shearer & Mitchell, 2021). A similar finding was made in a Statista report published in 2022, which found that 44% of ABC News viewers were in the 65+ age group, 22% were aged 55-64 and 14% were aged 45-54. In addition, the audience is relatively evenly split between the genders, with 54% of female and 46% male (Watson, 2022).


Fiore, B. (2023, March 8). Women pose naked in Albany to take back control of their bodies after pregnancy, cancer, sexual assault. The ABC Great Southern.

A well-crafted headline provides a rich context that allows the reader to get a taste of the story before entering it (Bradshaw & Rohumaa, 2017). In this story, the headline clearly explains the characters and content of the event through the first three words – women pose naked. Then, to balance the potential for sensationalism, the title immediately refers to the purpose of the act: to reassert women’s control over their own bodies. At this point, the entire headline conveys a positive value. Fiore’s use of the active voice in the title not only emphasises the woman’s subjectivity, but also makes it more evocative and accessible to the reader.

Privacy and Ethics

The article is extensive in its coverage of nude photographs of women, their real names and ages (e.g. Figure 2), which is intrusive conduct of private information. Bradshaw and Crook (2017) suggest that journalists need to weigh the concept of media privacy carefully, especially when publishing news stories. The story does not confirm to the viewer the legitimacy of the interview and the source of the photograph, or whether it was published with the consent of the person whose photograph was taken. However, there are indications that the author made an effort to do so. Most of the close-ups do not show the faces of those photographed, nor are they specifically named and identified (see Figure 3). Some photographic techniques are used to undermine the sexual gaze of the female nude, focusing the viewer’s attention on the issue of women’s sovereignty over their bodies (e.g. Figure 4).

Figure 2

Figure 3

Figure 4

Collectively, the news story sheds light on an important issue surrounding body image and empowerment, and it is important that the journalist approaches the topic in a sensitive and thoughtful manner. Its publication addresses the moral and ethical implications of images of female nudity, not only in terms of the consent of the participants, but also the potential impact on readers (Notably, the majority of ABC News viewers are 45+). Failure to do so could significantly damage both the author’s professional reputation and the audience’s loyalty to the publishing platform.

Hypertextuality & Multimediality

This article is not hypertextual and does not provide a single link to other related stories. As mentioned in the article, the initial purpose of the women’s naked photo shoot was to celebrate the 10-day Pride Festival in Perth, Australia, and International Women’s Day. The ABC News audience was mostly middle-aged and elderly, for whom Pride Festival may be somewhat novel or uninformed. Adding a jump link to the phrase at this point could be very educational and exploratory.

There are numerous photographic resources in the article, with up to 16 photographs of the event, both individual and group portraits. However, there are no other forms of media, such as short videos, available. This may be due to the sensitivity of the subject matter and the author’s concern to avoid any breaches of privacy.


OUTinPerth website:

OUTinPerth is a website and social media channel focused on sexual and gender diversity. It was formerly a print publication founded in 2002 and fully converted to a digital publication by 2019. The site covers a wide range of topics, including political and social news from within Australia and internationally, information on local community groups and events in Perth, as well as arts and lifestyle. In addition, OUTinPerth provides a platform for LGBTIQ+ voices and perspectives, with content aimed primarily at the LGBTIQ+ community and its allies (OUTinPerth, n.d.). Its values and position are clearly expressed as the website directly adopts a gradient arrangement of rainbow blocks as part of the web design (see Figure 5).

Figure 5

The scope and magnitude of the website are tiny compared to the behemoth that is ABC News Online. The two-person team of Graeme Watson and Leigh Hill took on the editorial and other operational duties of the OUTinPerth website. It is not evident how the site was previously run, as some sources suggest that in 2016 Leigh and Graeme co-founded Speirins Media Pty Ltd and took over the publication of OUTinPerth (OUTinPerth, n.d.). Consequently, there is no source to access its specific audience data and funding sources.


OUTInPerth. (2023, March 8). International Women’s Day celebrated with nude photoshoot. OUTInPerth. Retrieved March 27, 2023, from

On social media platforms, a headline is not only the title of a post, but also a potential window of opportunity to earn more clicks. In Linehan et al. (2021), the ideal headline needs to be concise in its message while encouraging some desired user behaviour such as clicks, likes, shares, etc. By this standard, the title – ‘International Women’s Day Celebrated with Nude Photoshoot’ – is not sufficiently informative and introduces much uncertainty and is potentially misleading. The audience has no way of knowing where, what and why the nude photoshoot is taking place, nor is it certain whether the subject of the nude photoshoot will be male or female. It also implies a potential tendency towards sensationalism. Furthermore, for news that relies on a digital presence, the loss of important information can be significant, with Linehan et al. (2021) noting that algorithms have become an influential determinant of whether and how news is pushed to users on websites and apps. The headline does not mention that the event falls within the 10 days of Perth’s Pride Festival celebrations, while OUTinPerth’s customer base is indeed one that is highly engaged with LGBTIQ+-related content. Taken together, the headline may have lost a significant portion of its click-through rate.

Privacy and Ethics

Unlike the previous story, which used the woman being photographed as the subject of the narrative, this story uses the perspective of photographer Lauren Crooke, a women’s rights activist who campaigns against sexism, violence and assault against women, to highlight women’s ownership of their own bodies through her lens. The illustrations used in this story therefore focus on Crooke as the ‘clothed’ photographer, with the unclothed women as a blurred background (see Figure 6). This initiative was a good way of avoiding the leakage of images and information about naked women’s bodies. Meanwhile, the authors have considered the moral and ethical risks (Bradshaw & Crook, 2017) and have explained in the text that the accompanying photographs were taken with the permission and consent of the participants (see Figure 7).

Figure 6

Figure 7

Hypertextuality & Multimediality

In line with the ABC News text, the OUTinPerth text does not provide a single hyperlink. But unlike ABC News articles which usually end with a few related stories to entice readers to browse further, the OUTinPerth website does not offer the option of pushing other related news. This may have something to do with the relatively small size of the website and the limited energy of the team to explore more dimensions of news content.

Besides, the text merely provided two photographs of the photographer’s backside, which in itself did not further support the theme of the woman being photographed naked in an attempt to regain control of her own body. It is tedious and offers no leeway for the viewer’s imagination or reflection. The ABC News text, on the other hand, presents a series of very event-driven and colourful photographs, with plenty of captions and notes to accompany them, and there is something to chew on and savour in almost every shot and context. The importance of the budget and resources allocated to a story is evident in the comparison of these two texts.





Australian Broadcasting Corporation. (2022). Australian Broadcasting Corporation annual report 2020-21. Transparency Portal.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation. (2023). Australian Broadcasting Corporation annual report 2021-22. Transparency Portal.

Bradshaw, P. & Rohumaa, L. (2017). Writing for the Web. In Oxon (Ed.), The Online Journalism Handbook: Skills to Survive and Thrive in the Digital Age (pp. 72-98). New York: Routledge.

Bradshaw, P. & Crook, T. (2017). Introduction to online media law. In Oxon (Ed.), The Online Journalism Handbook: Skills to Survive and Thrive in the Digital Age (pp. 186-219). New York: Routledge.

Fiore, B. (2023, March 8). Women pose naked in Albany to take back control of their bodies after pregnancy, cancer, sexual assault. The ABC Great Southern.

Jolly, R. (2014, October 20). The ABC: An overview. Parliament of Australia.

Linehan, L., Rayson, S., & Chiu, H. W. (2021, August 17). 100m Articles Analyzed: What You Need To Write The Best Headlines [2021].

OUTInPerth. (2023, March 8). International Women’s Day celebrated with nude photoshoot. OUTInPerth. Retrieved March 27, 2023, from

OUTInPerth. (n.d.). About us – outinperth: LGBTQIA+ news and culture. OUTInPerth. Retrieved March 27, 2023, from

OUTInPerth. (n.d.). Our Team – outinperth: LGBTQIA+ News and Culture. OUTInPerth. Retrieved March 27, 2023, from

Shearer, E. & Mitchell, A. (2021). News Use Across Social Media Platforms in 2020. Pew Research Center’s Journalism Project.

Watson, A. (2022). TV news in the U.S. – statistics & facts. Statista.


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