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Ever since Tom Wolfe wrote a 13-page essay entitled “The Birth of the New Journalism: eyewitness report by Tom Wolfe”, in the 1970s, debate has raged over the nature of this New Journalism or literary journalism or creative non-fictions. Yet geographically, the debate has been confined to the United States and the United Kingdom. Australia has remained notably silent on the issue. One thing is certain, no matter where the debate was born—the nomenclature would not be definitive. There is no consensus among media theorists about an appropriate name. This paper investigates the history of the US and UK evolution of the genre pre- and post-Tom Wolfe. Drawing on new research, it then adds Australian voices to the “naming” debate. Creative non-fiction courses are in high demand within the Australian academy. Coupled with the advent of contemporaneous Internet news, this paper suggests that perhaps Australian newspapers should recognise and exploit this genre to reinvigorate its backgrounding news sections, investing journalists with more time, space and resources to write within the genre on running news stories of the day.
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Keywords: Australian discourse; New Journalism; creative non-fiction; literary journalism history

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2010

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