Date of Award

2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Communications and Arts

Faculty

Education and Arts

First Advisor

Dr Beate Josephi

Second Advisor

Professor Hans-Jurgen Friske

Abstract

The purpose of this thesis is to investigate and compare the traditions shaping the development of literary journalism in Australia and Germany. Tracing the different historical developments of the form in the two countries provides the contextual basis for an in-depth comparative analysis, which concentrates on the concepts of credibility and authenticity. The thesis explores whether different attitudes to news and opinion in journalism in the two countries influence these notions that are central to literary journalism. However, in the comparative analysis other significant factors become apparent. In four case studies, two from each country, consisting of book-length examples of literary journalism, distinct journalistic and literary criteria are applied to gain insights of how credibility and authenticity are achieved and to what extent this influences the perception of these works. One key finding is that in Germany the main instrument to achieve authenticity and credibility is eyewitness reporting in the strict sense of the word, that is, the writer experienced what he or she writes about first-hand. Australia, on the other hand, allows more room and greater emphasis for narrative techniques combined with well-researched and verifiable facts. This difference in understanding of authenticity is also supported by the other key finding that diverging media laws and regulations, above all the laws protecting privacy and personality, greatly influence the production and reception of literary journalism in the two countries. For Germany, this means that the scope for the form is far narrower than in the Anglo-American world, to which Australia belongs.

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