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University education and the quest for the professionalisation of journalism in Australia between the world wars


Darian-Smith, K and Dickenson, J, University education and the quest for the professionalisation of journalism in Australia between the world wars, Media History pp. 1-19. ISSN 1368-8804 (2020) [Refereed Article]

Available from 16 May 2022

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is the Author’s Original Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Media History on 15 Nov 2020, available online:

DOI: doi:10.1080/13688804.2020.1843421


The crisis of World War I, including the challenges of reporting from the fighting front, sparked public discussion about the reliability and status of journalism. In response, unprecedented changes to the education of journalists were introduced around the world, including in Australia. By the 1920s, the majority of Australian universities offered a Diploma in Journalism, developed in collaboration with the Australian Journalists’ Association (AJA). Yet despite the AJA’s commitment to developing professional standards, by 1945 these courses were either defunct or struggling. This article explores the introduction and subsequent failure of tertiary journalism education in the context of discussions within the AJA about educational ‘relevance’, and whether journalists required improved ‘thinking’ or improved ‘skills’. Analysis of the establishment of these university courses highlights debates around the professionalism, status, and ethical practice of journalism in the interwar years, at a time when the newspaper industry was expanding.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Australia, history, professionalisation, journalism, education, interwar period
Research Division:History, Heritage and Archaeology
Research Group:Historical studies
Research Field:Australian history
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Understanding past societies
Objective Field:Understanding Australia's past
UTAS Author:Darian-Smith, K (Professor Kate Darian-Smith)
ID Code:141755
Year Published:2020
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DP160101109)
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Office of the School of Humanities
Deposited On:2020-11-17
Last Modified:2021-04-07

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