War secrets: how an Australian Prime Minister developed investigative journalism techniques, 1941-1945

Coatney, Caryn (2014) War secrets: how an Australian Prime Minister developed investigative journalism techniques, 1941-1945. In: Resiliency in Investigative Journalism Conference 2014, 11 Jul 2014, Springfield, Qld, Australia.

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During escalating Pacific crises, the former journalist and Australian Prime Minister John Curtin confided war secrets to a select circle of reporters to elicit media support for his leadership in World War II. Although his briefings appeared astonishingly indiscreet, there are research gaps on how Curtin selectively developed journalistic techniques, including off-the-record talks and news leaks, to influence the media portrayal of Australia’s role in the Pacific war. This paper uses secret wartime diaries, confidential cables and unscreened newsreels to reveal Curtin’s ability to win press support for his controversial decision to bring home the nation’s troops from Burma battles in 1942. He expanded the political correspondents’ roles as instruments of public diplomacy to sway Allied public opinion towards supporting Australian defence. While he benefited from censorship, he legitimised the use of candid press relations that opened more opportunities for the growth of investigative reporting of Australia’s involvement in war.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: USQ conference.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Arts and Communication
Date Deposited: 15 Sep 2014 03:06
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2017 04:40
Uncontrolled Keywords: John Curtin; Prime Minister; Australia; Australian; press support; journalism; World War II
Fields of Research : 19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 1903 Journalism and Professional Writing > 190301 Journalism Studies
16 Studies in Human Society > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160503 Communications and Media Policy
21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210303 Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
Socio-Economic Objective: B Economic Development > 89 Information and Communication Services > 8904 Media Services > 890405 Radio and Television Broadcasting
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/25976

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