Year

1994

Degree Name

Master of Arts (Hons.)

Department

Graduate School of Journalism

Abstract

This thesis examines the history, operations and content of the Koori Mail, a bi-weekly, nationally-distributed newspaper jointly owned by a group of Aboriginal communities in the area around Lismore, NSW. It places that newspaper into a 'broader historical, cultural arid theoretical context, examining the question of the place of Aboriginal print journalism in the development of contemporary Aboriginal communications and media and in the ongoing transformations of contemporary Aboriginal culture. It does so in light of the related theoretical notions that traditional Aboriginal culture was primarily oral in nature, and that the adoption by such cultures of printed-word materials is a highly significant phenomenon with potentially profound consequences.

The thesis shows that the appropriation of print journalism by Aboriginal people has been much more energetic and began much earlier than previously thought and that, along with contemporary Black creative writing, it has played an important part in the development of Aboriginal political and social activism. The thesis examines questions of the "authenticity" of certain forms of Aboriginal media production, including newspapers, and addresses the question of the authenticity of the Koori Mail as an Aboriginal "text". It argues that while the Koori Mail is a highly significant and noteworthy example of Aboriginal print journalism, in several important respects it is not achieving its full potential, its full authenticity, under the editorial and management regime in place at the end of the period examined.

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