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Brisbane Reading Group: Floods, media, governance and policy

04/03/2015 @ 7:30 am - 8:30 am

The SEQ Branch of the River Basin Management Society is pleased to invite you to our first reading group for 2015. Our reading groups are held bi-monthly and involve getting together over a morning coffee to discuss an interesting, topical, controversial or informative article.

Join us on Wednesday March 4th to discuss “Framing the flood: a media analysis of themes of resilience in the 2011 Brisbane flood, Regional Environmental Change”.   SEQ has experienced it’s fair share of flooding in recent times and during these events we rely on the media for information and advice. Following flood events the public want to know why it happened, and what will be done to minimise the impact of future floods.


The paper to be discussed at our next reading uses the experiences of the 2011 SEQ flooding event and the media’s coverage of the flood to gauge an understanding of the broader public perception of floods. Key concepts discussed include the public’s perception of links between floods and climate change,  and the perceived role of the government in managing flooding.


Understanding what influences public perception toward catchment management is beneficial for those who work in policy development, undertake research and work in the various related fields of catchment management.


Read the paper, form an opinion and come along.

For a copy of the paper, please email us:


Hope to see you there!
RBMS Committee



Reading Material

Bohensky, E. and Leitch, A. (2013) Framing the flood: a media analysis of themes of resilience in the 2011 Brisbane flood, Regional Environmental Change, 14, 475-488.



Abstract In the wake of the flood that affected Brisbane, Australia, in January 2011, public attention turned to the causes of the event and lessons for minimizing the impacts of future floods. The news media was an important vehicle for understanding and internalizing the 2011 Brisbane flood. Examining how the flood was framed in the media is, therefore, useful to understand broad public perception of floods. We undertook a systematic newspaper analysis during a one-year period to explore media framings of the flood, focused on learning as an aspect of resilience in relation to two themes: (1) perceived links between the flood and climate change and (2) perceived roles of government in managing the flood. We show that media coverage of the flood reinforces aspects of resilience by acknowledging community spirit, self-reliance and the importance of sharing experiences for learning; articulating the risk of extreme events in a changing climate; and highlighting regional management trade-offs. Much of the discourse is likely to inhibit resilience, however, by casting the flood in terms of blame and political opportunity and paying inadequate attention to longer-term aspects of regional resilience. The limited learning observed to date may highlight a need for other mechanisms and actors to lead learning processes. As policy related to the 2011 Brisbane flood, and extreme events more generally, is influenced by the public discourse, it is important to understand the nuances of communication around these events and the media’s role in reinforcing or changing perceptions.





7:30 am - 8:30 am
Event Category:


Emjay’s Coffee
Corner Creek St and Adelaide St
Brisbane CBD, QLD 4000 Australia