Degree Name

Master of Arts


Graduate School of Journalism


The thesis describes a cable television AIDS awareness information program, When In Rome, produced and located within a specific prison community cultural environment. This thesis analyses processes of televisually authenticating vital, current, cultural factuality (a discourse predominantly associated with broadcast television journalism), from the perspective of 'within-community communication'. The thesis notes that, when televisual contact is the fundamental mechanism for imparting factuality, the differences between mass televisual discourse and non-professional televisual discourse, can influence the conceptualisation and dissemination of factuality. The thesis demonstrates how the producers imparted vital, current, cultural factuality, not being addressed by daily broadcast television information programs. A study of the origins of authenticating and disseminating moving image information is undertaken. This information is presented as a means of contextualizing choices of image presentation style which the producers utilised to authenticate and disseminate information. It will be demonstrated how the post-modern discourse of When In Rome echoes re-presentational and re-encoding process, distinctly linked to pre-televisual newsreel and documentary film. The thesis notes that film and televisual authenticating devices have been, and are, subject to constant reinterpretation. This is supported by demonstrating how mainstream information-authenticating conventions were adapted for a specific 'within-community communication'. The thesis concludes that by utilising a mélange of documentary genres, combined with culturally-specific symbology and referential links, the producers were able to engage, report, impart and authenticate vital, current, cultural factuality.