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The 'Organic Filament'

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In 1913 the British Idealist Sir Henry Jones (1852-1922) spoke of journalism as an 'organic filament'2 that helped unite individuals in a greater citizenship. This Idealist perception of the media coalesced with the contemporaneous growth of a broader notion of journalism as a fourth estate. Beginning with the social philosophy of Edward Caird (1835-1908) and its extension into the Idealist conception of journalism, this article explores the attitudes of Idealist thinkers in Britain and Australia toward print and radio media. It further examines how Idealist belief in journalism translated into publication of Idealist thought. The media and academic publications of four Australian Idealists are considered. Also identified is a sympathetic Australian media environment. Through this study emerges an Australian Idealism that, whilst anchored within the broader empire of Idealist philosophy, acquired a local, public form through a consistent and, at times, intensive use of print and radio media.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Communication and Creative Industries, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst 2795, NSW, Australia, Email:

Publication date: 2011-01-01

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