I’ve worked as a journalist, an editor, a barmaid, a cleaner, a camp cook and a waitress. I’ve edited Overland literary magazine and I’ve contributed features to The Age, The Australian, The Courier-Mail, Good Weekend, Art Monthly, Griffith Review and others. I’m interested in the ways science debates are played out in the media. I’d like to write a book-length piece of literary journalism on this topic.
Abstract: What follows is a folio of three first-person journalistic features I wrote in my honours year,1 and an exegesis that gives a reflective analysis of these features.
The first feature, ‘Mixed Signals’, was written under academic supervision. It is not thematically linked to the second two, and contains fewer primary sources. This is because — despite repeated attempts — I failed to get ethics clearance for a proposed article about Tamil men charged with terror offences, by late August.
The second and third essays — ‘Guns, Guards & Gates’ and ‘Thought-crime and punishment’ — were written before I secured a supervisor. They have been published.
In all these essays, I intended to write literary journalism, but instead I wrote in the tradition of journaliste engagé, or ‘advocacy journalism’, which is evidence- based but sets out to advance a specific viewpoint.
In examining the methods by which I constructed these features, my exegesis considers whether ‘advocacy journalism’ is an oxymoron or a redundant phrase. It argues that, while in some ways my features take a journalistic approach, they are ultimately not journalism as it is ideally understood.
My exegesis explores where advocacy and journalism meet, where they depart, why this matters, and where method and a more narrative approach might prevent this departure. In doing this, I consider common understandings of bias, balance and fairness.
Author: Kath Wilson
Supervisor : Margaret Simons
Note: This research consisted of three published literary journalism articles and an exegesis. They are not available via this site due to copyright restrictions, and contain sensitive information concerning informants and sources.