A Mediated Public Sphere: #illridewithyou

It has taken me quite a while to be able to muster up something to write about for week 5’s lecture topic of a mediated public sphere. I didn’t really understand the lecture to begin with and as I kept trying to read my notes over and over, I realised it still wasn’t helping. I then decided to have a look on my tutor’s blog as she uploads the weekly tasks we are meant to partake in and through that, I was able to find an issue to talk about through this blog post.

A Mediated Public Sphere is defined as by McKee (2004) as ‘a metaphor for thinking about how individuals come together to exchange an idea, information and feelings about what matters to them in a liberal society’. This definition helped me to understand exactly what a mediated public sphere is and also, how to go about this blog post.

In television shows such as Q&A, information and feelings on certain issues are spoken about between a panel and an audience. An issue that I thought many people would have opinions and special feelings about was the Sydney Siege that happened in late 2014.

A person that I like to watch when it comes to news events is Russell Brand. His YouTube channel “The Trews” aids in giving his audience a different view on events than what the media is showing everyone, he analyses and gives the honest truth and portrays the way in which we should be thinking about worldly matters. So, when looking for information about the Sydney Siege as inspiration for my blog post, I turned to Russell.

#illridewithyou went viral on the day of the Sydney Siege, with over 120,000 tweets being sent out on Twitter. This experience that Australia went through as a nation arose many issues in the public. Issues that can be seen from this event are:

  • Racism
  • A nation bonding
  • Media Ownership and how it affects the way in which the nation understood the event that took place
  • The gunman’s past criminal and mental instabilities

Through this, I see how media ownership and a mediated public sphere morph together to create discussion. On the day of the siege, Rupert Murdoch sent out this tweet:

Source here.

Source here.

This tweet seems to show that Murdoch doesn’t really care about what’s going on, nor is he sending his sympathies. The newspaper’s that Murdoch owns, including England’s ‘The Sun’ used the attackers past criminal offences as their headlines instead of making it about the actual event. This then showing just how media ownership can cause a discussion in a mediated public sphere about why the attacker wasn’t locked up before instead of what is actually taking place. However, that could also lead to a discussion which can tie into political and law issues of Australia that may also be a good debate.

Some of the #illridewithyou tweets.

Some of the #illridewithyou tweets.

I believe the nation did well in protecting and accepting one another and although the media can sometimes twist a story, we as Australian’s stood up for one another and that’s something that we can all be proud of.

The sea of flowers left in Martin Place.

The sea of flowers left in Martin Place.


–  The Australian, 2014, Sydney Siege, 14/04/15, http://www.abc.net.au/news/image/5976704-16×9-940×529.jpg
– ABC, 2014, Q&A, 14/04/15, http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/
– Russell Brand, 2014, Don’t Let Sydney Siege Claim Your Freedom: Russell Brand The Trews (E212), YouTube, 14/04/15,  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZ8ZYAvWTxo
– Brittany Rupert, 16/12/14, Martin Place Siege: #illridewithyou hashtag goes viral, Sydney Morning Herald, 14/04/15, http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/martin-place-siege-illridewithyou-hashtag-goes-viral-20141216-127rm1.html
– Wikipedia, 10 April 2015, The Sun (United Kingdom), 14/04/15, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sun_%28United_Kingdom%29
– John Donegan, 18/12/14, Sydney siege: photos show community tributes to those affected, hostages fleeing Lindt cafe, ABC, viewed 14/04/15, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-15/sydney-siege-photographs-of-hostage-situation/5969010
– BBC, 16/12/14, Sydney siege: Rupert Murdoch congrats tweet criticised as ‘heartless’, viewed on 14/04/15, http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/30492335
– TrulyDeeply, 22/12/14, #illridewithyoutweets, viewed on 16/04/15, http://www.trulydeeply.com.au/madly/files/2014/12/ill-ride-with-you-tweets.jpg


8 responses to “A Mediated Public Sphere: #illridewithyou

  1. I really enjoyed this post. I find it similar to the #putyourbatsout when Phillip Hughes passed away, and, more recently #putyourdressout in light of Stephanie Scott’s murder. I think it’s really inspiring that Australia unites in these sorts of demonstrations of solidarity over social media. And whilst the media may influence these sympathies, the #illridewithyou transcended what was being covered by the legacy media at this time(as, understandably almost all outlets were remained focused on the unfolding of events) and was completely motivated by individuals. One thing I didn’t quite understand in your post was the link between Russel Brand and the #illridewithyou. Did he make a video about it? Maybe that might have been helpful to embed in your post. I also would have found it more explicit if you included some of the #illridewithyou tweets, but otherwise the links were very helpful and informative.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kind words and constructive criticism, Amy! I didn’t even think of embedding the video in, thank you for giving me that idea. The post would probably make much more sense if I did that. I appreciate it! As for the #illridewithyou tweets, I might as well add them in too. 🙂


  2. I really enjoyed reading this post. The #illridewithyou is a great source of showing of how much power social media has in the modern world. The amount of support it got all around Australia and internationally is very similar to the #putyourbatsout hastag for the recent Phillip Hughes tragedy. It also as a mediated public sphere provokes discussion and debate on some major issues in Australia such as racism, terrorism and another important part you mentioned Media ownership and how the media covered the story. The Rupert Murdoch tweet I thought was a great touch highlighting that maybe media companies care maybe more about making headlines than actually the event itself. Using your own personal thoughts throughout I thought was a great view really getting an inside view of your thoughts. The only part I didn’t understand was the link between Russell Brand and the Sydney Siege and the #illridewithyou hashtag. If you had expanded on this it would have great because I believe Russell Brand has some really interesting view on news and the world. Well done Jade one of the best post’s I’ve seen though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Ryan, I appreciate it.
      I’m going to embed the Russell Brand interview into the blog post tonight sometime, if you want to take another look at the post when that’s up, hopefully it will make more sense. Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jade, your fantastic discussion in this post about the ‘mediated public sphere’ and how we as a society can band together in situations that are catalysts for change, in this case the Sydney siege, and overcome adversities was a pleasure to read. I particularly loved the fact that you referenced Russell Brand’s ‘The Trews’, a channel that I watch religiously, and subjected the reader to a completely unmediated yet publicly shared opinion on such an event. Also, your inclusion of Rupert Murdoch’s insincere and disgraceful Twitter post on the morning of the siege ending with a sickening ‘Congrats.’ served to sum up the whole regard and approach of News Limited on the siege.

    Touching on the viral #illridewithyou tag and digital equivalent of extending the olive-branch to Muslim-Australians, I found that it encouraged me to consider the power of the ‘hashtag’ in creating discussion and public debate between individuals on Twitter, for better or worse. Finally, though, congratulations on a fantastic and thought-provoking article Jade!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Overall a fantastic post on how media ownership can create wide discussion within the mediated public sphere. It was interesting to read how society bands together through a public, open platform such as social media, more specifically as you stated twitter, during the events after the Sydney siege. It is evident that social media can be used for “good” and is not all about cyber-crime like most think, and it can actually aid in overcoming adversities such as racism and terrorism highlighted through #illridewithyou. I loved how you included Murdoch’s response to the siege to further highlight his bias in ownership of the media, and cared most about who broke the story, rather than the casualties of the event, “congrats” really Rupert, really..

    Your post was easy to read, as the large chunks of necessary content were broke up with images, and examples of tweets, in addition to a video of Russell Brands (amazingly satirizing but ‘true’ news) YouTube show “TREWS”.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I found this article really interesting and a little confronting!! You had so many good relevant points and arguments that you displayed really well. I enjoyed the fact that you had many visual aspects to your writing such as the video and the images of the twitter feed!

    You picked a very controversial topic but did a good job at not putting too much bias opinion on it, however, just your own opinion! Your writing style also really suited the issue you were discussing and I found it very easy to read and follow.

    I also really enjoyed the way you made it clear to your reader what exactly the mediated public sphere is! If I could give any suggestions, however, I would maybe try and link your example with the mediated public sphere a little bit more frequently throughout, just to give it a little more of a flow. Besides this you did a fantastic job at writing an article on this topic and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about what you had to say on the issue!

    Thanks for writing such a great piece! ☺

    Liked by 1 person

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