The Food Barn

Document Type

Creative Work

Publication Details

Mclaren, N. & Blackall, D.R. (2008). The Food Barn, ABC Stateline, TV Current affairs program [audio-visual recording]. Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Sydney, 29 November.

Transcript available here.

For a dvd copy of this television program, please contact Michael Organ, Manager Repository Services, University of Wollongong, email: morgan@uow.edu.au.



Research Background
This creative work developed through collaboration between cinematographer, David Blackall, and journalist, Nick McLaren. The development of ‘The Food Barn’ built on this relationship to develop a current affairs story for ABC television. Radio journalist McLaren conducted the initial research and ‘pitched’ the story idea to the ABC’s Stateline.

Research Contribution
‘The Food Barn’ documents a good news story on social disorder and poverty when most journalism reports negatively. The Food Barn of Warrawong, in south Wollongong, is one of NSW’s most disadvantaged areas. The story shows how a church pastor and his wife took a mortgage on their home to set up a food store selling discounted items to approved customers. A small donation enables customers to walk away with a bag of groceries and a heart full of hope. The Food Barn is a starting point for a wider network of outreach programs. The story also suggests a trend towards more ethical use of excess food.

Research Significance
Blackall’s documentary styled cinematography resulted in a high definition social realism video. Research in journalism, filming and scriptwriting was peer-reviewed by editors and senior ABC journalists for quality, accuracy, style and social relevance. ‘The Food Barn’ continues to be used as a case study in teaching the processes in developing high-level professional stories for broadcast on prime-time current affairs programs. Thus its social relevance extends beyond the first outcome: the television broadcast. The creative partnership between McLaren and Blackall has since generated a number of Stateline stories.