Representations of childcare in the Australian print media: an exploratory corpus-assisted discourse analysis

Marianne Fenech*, David P. Wilkins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


While an increasing body of Australian and international research has explored the relationship between media and education, few studies have examined this relationship in the context of early childhood education. This paper contributes to this research gap by reporting on a corpus-assisted discourse analysis of how childcare is represented in 801 newspaper texts from six Australian newspapers. As a foundational paper of a broader study investigating public and political influences on parents’ childcare choices, the paper details the use and utility of corpus linguistic tools for exploring the discourse construction of childcare in a large corpus of media texts. It also highlights the value of analysing media corpora via media ownership, focusing on the two dominant Australian media organisations, Fairfax and News Corp. Analyses reveal similarities but also key differences in the representation of childcare in Fairfax and News Corp newspapers. In Australia, print media still sets the daily media agenda and reflects the dominant discourse constructions surrounding major public issues. Accordingly, the beliefs, practices and decision-making of current and potential parent users of formal childcare may be differentially influenced depending not just on their (direct or indirect) access to print media, but by the format (tabloid or broadsheet) and thus ownership (Fairfax or News Corp).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-190
Number of pages30
JournalAustralian Educational Researcher
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • child care
  • media
  • discourse analysis
  • corpus linguistic tools
  • early childhood education


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