Rediscovering Nation Review

Author: David Olds

Olds, David, 2016 Rediscovering Nation Review, Flinders University, School of Humanities and Creative Arts

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Rediscovering Nation Review

An examination of the Nation Review newspaper, an independent media voice in Australian political and cultural affairs, from 1970 to 1980.

The thesis is divided into three main components:

1. A history of the newspaper from its inception in 1970 to its demise in 1981.

This is a detailed timeline of key events in the life of the paper, but is not exhaustive. It is seen as providing a reliable and accurate framework for development through future additions, as and when research can be undertaken by interested academics. For the purposes of the thesis, the history provides details, on an issue-by-issue basis, of operational structure, publishing and ownership changes, and of developments in style, content and emphasis.

2. A qualitative evaluation of Nation Review’s effectiveness as a newspaper.

This section of the thesis makes direct comparisons between Nation Review and other contemporaneous newspapers, framed by the question: What qualities did Nation Review offer its readers, and how effectively? Comparisons are based on one significant domestic event (the 1976 NSW state election), and one international event (Salvadore Allende’s overthrow in Chile in 1973). The comparisons consider how effectively Nation Review functioned in its primary news reporting role, whether it offered other dimensions to its primary role, what journalistic styles were used, and what political stance was demonstrated. Contribution and overall relevance to popular debate are considered.

3. Nation Review and New Nationalism.

This section addresses the phenomenon of New Nationalism that emerged in Australia in almost exact synchronicity with the appearance and ultimate demise of Nation Review (and its immediate predecessor, the Sunday Observer). New Nationalism is explained as a function of external pressures and internal cultural developments, and is contrasted to the earlier form of nationalism that arose in the 1890s. The thesis hypothesizes that Nation Review was tightly bound up with the New Nationalism project, in its political stance, its use of an Australian version of New Journalism, its promotion of nationalist causes and its perspective on international relations. Furthermore, contributors to Nation Review were themselves, for the most part, enthusiastic supporters of the broader New Nationalism movement. The thesis speculates that one element contributing to the closure of Nation Review was the defeat of New Nationalism, thus depriving the newspaper of a definable and distinctive mission, and rendering it irrelevant to a nation now set on a course towards globalism and neo-liberalism.

Keywords: Nation Review, Ferret, Media History, Australian newspapers, New Nationalism, 1970s, Gordon Barton

Subject: English thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2016
School: School of Humanities and Creative Arts
Supervisor: Robert Phiddian