Amanda Gearing is an investigative journalist, author and broadcaster.
She completed her Doctor of Philosophy in the field of Journalism at Queensland University of Technology in 2016. Her thesis Global investigative journalism in the network society explores Castells’ network theory and Berglez’s global journalism theory to conceptualise global investigative journalism and the emergence of a global Fourth Estate. The study found that, although most reporters were reluctant to embrace new technologies, they are finding new ways to engage with audiences, news sources, their colleagues and rival media outlets to create reportage that has yielded significant political or social change. New communication networks are enabling journalists to continue their Fourth Estate role in the digital age by using social media platforms, Web based communication technologies, reporter collaborations and organisational collaborations. They are also using these technologies to expand the scope of their work beyond domestic borders to function as an emerging global Fourth Estate, calling power to account internationally and globally. Some of the specific findings of her research are reported as a digital multimedia presentation on The Conversation.
Amanda returned to higher degree study after a long and distinguished career as a reporter in western Queensland, London and Toowoomba. Her reporting for The Courier-Mail from 1997-2007 earned several state and national awards.
In 2011 Amanda spent a year reporting and researching a deadly flash flood disaster that struck her region. She wrote a book, produced a radio documentary broadcast on ABC Radio National and completed a Master of Arts (Research) exegesis. The data gathered in her research forms a very large digital archive The Amanda Gearing Collection in the Queensland State Library. Her radio documentary The Day that changed Grantham won a Walkley Award in 2012. Her Masters’ Degree thesis Lessons from media reporting of natural disasters received a High Distinction. In 2016 Amanda revised and updated her book on the flood. The Torrent: A true story of heroism and survival was released in January 2017 by the University of Queensland Press.
Interestingly, the collation of journalistic work into a book has helped many survivors to recover, as predicted by a local ambulance communications director:
The book is an important historical document which will be a permanent reference source for the future, researched thoroughly and written very quickly while memories are still fresh. I also think your book will be an important step in the healing process for many people.
David Hartshorn, Ambulance Communications Director, Toowoomba
Amanda has been invited to contribute material from her research into this natural disaster to the Queensland Disaster Management Committee to inform current and future responses by the State Government to natural disasters via the State Disaster Management Group.
As an academic, Amanda presents guest lectures on specialist topics such as how to ethically interview people who have experienced severe trauma. An example of her interview techniques with traumatised news sources is her radio documentary A living sacrifice about a woman who survived being an intended child sacrifice.
Amanda continues to undertake large reporting projects. Her reporting in 2013 of an international child sexual abuse scandal in the Anglican Church in Australia and the Church of England led to an inquiry and significant reforms of the Church of England in Britain.
Walkley Award 2012 Best Radio Documentary .