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Beyond Gallipoli: New Perspectives on Anzac


Chapter 3



Journalism Ethics and the Anzac Centenary

Sharon Mascall-Dare and Matthew Ricketson

In 2002, on the death of Alec Campbell, Australia’s ‘last living Anzac’, the Australian author and journalist Tony Stephens composed a feature article for the Sydney Morning Herald.1 It was a thought-provoking piece, highlighting the fallibility of memory and the burden of celebrity: as an Anzac, Campbell had become ‘national property’, carrying a responsibility that his wife described as ‘quite dreadful’ on occasion. In an interview with Stephens, author of The Last Anzacs,2 Campbell had rejected the mythology imagined by others: ‘I joined for adventure,’ he had said matter-of-factly, ‘There was not a great feeling of defending the Empire. I lived through it, somehow. I enjoyed some of it. I am not a philosopher. Gallipoli was Gallipoli.’3

Stephens’ journalism acknowledged the complexity – and questioned the mythology – inherent in the Anzac experience, but his work was not typical. In 2010, Sharon Mascall-Dare – co-author of this chapter – interviewed thirty journalists, commentators and broadcasters who had been assigned to Anzac Day media coverage in the previous decade: their responses raised concerns about formulaic coverage and the prevalence of cliché.4 Anzac Day had become a media ritual, a ‘season’ in its own right, but despite more air-time and column centimetres the quality of reporting was inconsistent at best and clichéd at worst. As the veteran journalist John Hamilton described, there was a need for reporters to ‘get their boots dirty’ and seek a deeper, richer understanding of the Anzac story.5 Alternative journalistic approaches were necessary to prevent coverage from becoming stale; accuracy was needed, but so too was fresh reporting, original lines of journalistic inquiry and an ethical approach grounded in greater awareness of the number of war veterans, of conflicts present as well as past, who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress.

From 2014 until 2019 – the Anzac Centenary commemoration period – the need for ethically responsible, original journalism on the Anzac story has become even more important. A national focus on a ‘Century of Service’ has put the spotlight on veterans old and new; the story extends well beyond Gallipoli. The return of a new generation of servicemen and women from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq has posed a new set of challenges for reporters. As James Brown argues in Anzac’s Long Shadow, many younger veterans reject Anzac mythology and feel burdened by its legacy; the conflating of historical and contemporary experience is highly problematic.6 For journalists there is also the issue of ethical responsibility, particularly when interviewing those who have experienced Post-Traumatic Stress.

The purpose of this chapter is to set out and to discuss alternative approach es available to journalists that will enrich and deepen media coverage during the Anzac Centenary years. As a working journalist, Mascall-Dare has taken a particular interest in the development of alternative journalistic models: her BBC World Service radio documentary Anzac7 tested a prototype framework for reporters assigned to Anzac Day and the Anzac Centenary; her Anzac Day Media Style Guide8 has incorporated that framework into a handbook that offers guidance, background information and story ideas to Australian journalists. This paper explores the making of Anzac alongside four other case studies that show how alternative journalistic approaches can be taken in writing and broadcasting about veterans’ experiences: Susan Neuhaus’s book, Not for Glory,9 Chris Masters’s book, Uncommon Soldier,10 the UK television documentary, The Not Dead11 and David Finkel’s book, Thank You for Your Service.12 In each case, we will discuss the repercussions of each work for journalism practice and ethics; we close by reviewing the resources available to journalists seeking to reflect Australians’ experiences of war with originality, accuracy and ethical responsibility.


On Saturday 8 December 2012, at 2205 GMT, the BBC World Service broadcast a radio documentary publicised as an exploration of ‘tension and interplay between myth, memory and multiculturalism in the fraught process of creating a modern Australian identity.’13 Entitled Anzac, the documentary aimed to tell the stories of Australians ‘trying to understand themselves and their past’. As the documentary maker, Mascall-Dare also sought to question prevailing interpretations of the Anzac legend. By exploring forgotten narratives, the broadcast aimed to contribute alternative perspectives on the commemoration of war and remembrance in contemporary Australia.

Anzac was more than an attempt at original storytelling. Its production processes challenged journalistic convention by testing a new framework for Anzac Day reporting: it explicitly drew on debate among historians regarding interactions between history and memory14 to develop a customised methodology that combined journalism theory with the practice of ethnography. It was both a work of journalism and a doctoral artefact, drawing on Mascall-Dare’s background as a working journalist. Once tested and refined, the framework was also incorporated into the Anzac Day Media Style Guide as a practical tool for story generation.

The foundation of the methodology lay in Janet Cramer and Michael McDevitt’s framework for ethnographic journalism (see fig. 3.1). Their framework advocated immersive reporting and participant-observation; it also accommodated subjectivity and collaborative story-telling. Ethical treatment of interviewees was integrated into its methods: a commitment to pursue authenticity through collaboration offered interviewees greater influence, and agency, over how their stories were portrayed. Rather than speak on behalf of interviewees, the reporter ‘becomes a medium, through which the group’s story is told’. This contrasts with conventional news reporting where a journalist’s perspective dominates because it is the journalist (or their editor) who determines which news event is reported and who is included – and excluded – from the news report.


Fig. 3.1. Cramer and McDevitt’s framework for ethnographic journalism15

Cramer and McDevitt’s framework was aimed at all journalists, but it was not designed for a specific context or assignment. In order to customise the framework for Anzac Day reporters, and test it through the production of Anzac, Mascall-Dare sought to reflect academic debate about the intersection of history and memory. Six key characteristics of the framework’s methodology were prioritised for analysis and discussion:

immersion through participant observation;

an inductive approach;

the acknowledgement of subjectivity;

narration by the group, not just the journalist;

shared editorial control; and

the pursuit of authenticity over balance.

All six characteristics challenged newsroom practice as well as ethical guidelines: objectivity and editorial independence continue to be advocated as intrinsic to ethical journalistic conduct.16

In her analysis of immersive journalism and participant observation, Mascall-Dare drew on the work of Jay Winter and Emmanuel Sivan, positioning Anzac Day at ‘the intersection of private memories, family memories, and collective memories.’17 This was contested territory, requiring a reporter to apply a ‘lens’ that distinguished history from memory and recognised that memories are socially framed. Through a series of questions, the framework applied this lens in order to identify original story angles: Does the dawn service draw on historical fact or invoke individuals’ memories? What interaction is there between history and memory? Whose memories are chosen and why? In what ways are those memories socially framed? What appears to be the view/agenda of the organising committee (as an elite influence within ‘the collective’)? What is the reaction/view/memory of attendees (as individuals and as part of ‘the collective’)?

Mascall-Dare identified that journalists, as participant observers, could also apply the lens to their own experiences and interactions. Reporters bring their own memories to Anzac Day services that are socially framed: they may be personal; they may be family memories; they may be narratives learned in school that conflate history, as constructed in textbooks, with the memories of a teacher. The work of the journalist is, therefore, both a product and producer of memory, carrying an ethical responsibility for reporters to ‘remember’ accurately, conscious of the risk of distortion and the repercussions of forgetting.

Awareness of this responsibility prompted further questions that were also integrated into the methodological framework. What are the memories and/or experiences that a reporter brings to an assignment? Are they helpful, in adding colour or human interest, or do they compromise his/her ability to portray history, memory and their interactions accurately? What can be done to record and remember facts, observations and an interviewee’s memories/views accurately?

A similar process of inquiry was also applied to the acknowledgment of subjectivity. Although Cramer and McDevitt identified subjectivity as a key characteristic of ethnographic journalism, they did not offer guidance about ways it might be expressed or how often. Similarly, their notion of ‘traveling’ rather than ‘mining’ to obtain information required further exploration. Mascall-Dare identified that as ‘travellers’ journalists have ‘baggage’, carried as subjectivity.

When reporting on Anzac Day, a reporter’s ‘baggage’ can take a number of forms: psychological, emotional or intellectual. When viewed through a lens that distinguishes memory from history, such baggage takes on new significance. How open is a reporter to ‘new’ memories that challenge ‘old’ historical narratives? How ready are reporters to ‘abandon’ their baggage, and report memories that may challenge their audiences to reconsider assumptions and preconceptions? In order to discover new territory, construct alternative narratives and incorporate memories that challenge official histories, there must be a willingness to accept that ‘new’ territory exists. Discovery requires imagination; it also requires an acknowledgement of silences and a readiness to remember the forgotten.

Mascall-Dare’s next stage of analysis focussed on group narration and shared editorial control. While journalists may be comfortable with the former, the latter continues to be excluded by many newsroom practices. The reasons why are closely linked to ideas of the importance for journalists of retaining editorial independence, free from hegemonic or other influences, especially when dealing with politicians and those well versed in the dark arts of public persuasion. Allowing interviewees to ‘push’ a particular agenda is considered a form of manipulation.

When viewed through the lens applied previously during the customisation process, the decision-making process for shared control was clarified. What is the motivation behind an interviewee’s request to make edits to a narrative? Does the request relate to upholding the truth of an individual memory, as remembered and held personally, or does it relate to the memory of someone else (another individual, or a group)? Does the request concern the accuracy in recording of history, and if so, whose history?

Acknowledging the fallibility of memory, and its shifts and distortions within the context of Anzac, was also integrated into the framework. Interviewees do not always remember accurately: checking information with three independent sources (a common newsroom practice known as triple sourcing) was confirmed as a viable method to mitigate the risk of memory shifts and distortions. There was also acknowledgement that journalists, too, must be aware of their fallibility. Reporters do not, necessarily, recall facts and experiences accurately: they may confuse and forget information, as do their interviewees. Their ‘baggage’, and their exposure to others’, may influence how they frame and process content. In the same way that interviewees are influenced by the process of interviewing, interviewers are also affected.

Finally, the customisation process turned to the pursuit of authenticity. In Anzac Day reporting, interactions between memory and history are intrinsic to the telling of the story: the exploration of individual memories confirm, deny and at times confuse any official narrative. The story of Anzac Day was continuing to evolve: it could not be told through one single narrative. This was accommodated by the framework and became a key theme in the documentary.

Once developed, the customised framework was tested as a ‘prototype’ through the production of Anzac. Mascall-Dare evaluated its application through reflective practice and this led to further modifications. The final iteration (see fig. 3.2) was incorporated into a reporters’ ‘crib-sheet’ published in the Anzac Day Media Style Guide which was first released in 2012 and has been updated in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Anzac was well-received by industry and the public:18 it met its objectives in using alternative journalistic methods to produce a documentary that aimed to be both accurate and original. In particular, Anzac explored alternative and forgotten narratives, including multicultural themes, acknowledging the tensions raised by a commemorative tradition that has been conflated with nationalism. It told the story of Billy Sing, an Anzac of Chinese ancestry; it also included Arthur Walker, a Ramindjeri man who fought at Gallipoli. Subjectivity was expressed and acknowledged; authenticity was pursued through collaboration with interviewees. But while the documentary received positive feedback, and was recognised for its high ethical standards, the drawbacks of its production process should also be acknowledged.


Fig. 3.2 Anzac Day reporting: a customised framework19



The customisation process delivered a viable framework for ethical journalistic practice in the context of Anzac Day reporting, but it required a long time-frame. The length of time spent immersed in the subject matter was atypical of a journalistic assignment – the background research phase (for the accompanying PhD exegesis) took four years to complete which is a long time, even for long-form journalism. Once production of Anzac was underway, however, the pressure of deadlines and limited resources were no different from any other assignment – the framework was found to be viable in a feature-making context. To make the framework more accessible and user-friendly for newsroom reporters, the ‘crib-sheet’ was developed for the style guide.

By pursuing ethnographic methods and signposting the expression of personal views throughout the documentary, Anzac was able to challenge audiences’ assumptions and beliefs through the representation of a range of perspectives (including those of the producer/presenter). Care was also taken to avoid sentimentality or the glorification of war. There was recognition of its horror and its legacy, as the Adelaide-based reporter Andrew Faulkner told Mascall-Dare during an interview in 2010: ‘If there is an over-arching story it is that we should remember the people that died… it is that war is bloody terrible.’20

Not for Glory

Not for Glory – a century of service by Australian medical women to the Australian Army and its allies explores women’s contributions to the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps, noting that such stories were worthy of recognition as part of Anzac Centenary commemorations. Almost all the women featured in the book had not received publicity previously: the book’s originator and co-author, Susan Neuhaus, is a doctor and academic who set out to find stories that had not been previously told, undertaking more than five years’ research in libraries and research facilities in Europe and New Zealand, as well as Australia. Her collaboration with Mascall-Dare – who worked on the project as a journalist – gave a voice to women whose narratives had been previously forgotten or overlooked. It also provided an opportunity to tell her own story, featured in the book’s Epilogue. In doing so, the book demonstrated collaborative story-telling in a long-form journalistic context.

While earlier chapters of the book focussed on women who were no longer living, later chapters drew on interviews with women who were either still serving in the Australian Army or had retired, including Neuhaus herself. Rather than ‘mine’ for quotes and pursue her own interpretation, Mascall-Dare drew on the collaborative story-telling methods developed during her Anzac documentary, combining ethnographic interviewing with oral history methods, offering interviewees the opportunity to set the terms of their interview and review the data presented before publication.

The outcome, in the second half of the book, was interviewees’ memories told as stories. Not for Glory did not claim to be an official history, although some historical sections were included and extensive historical research was undertaken in order to contribute context, drawing on Neuhaus’s expertise as a surgeon and former Army Medical Officer. In setting the terms of their interviews, and retaining editorial control over their portrayal, a number of the women reported a sense of ownership and empowerment; the book gave them a voice through both its production processes and its content.

The contrast between Not for Glory’s collaborative methods and conventional newsroom practice became clear during publicity surrounding the book’s launch in November 2014. One woman featured in the book was contacted by a journalist in her local area seeking an interview about her story. While she had experienced challenges during her Army career, she saw her military service as positive: in the book, the recounting of her story recognised the multi-faceted nature of her experiences. When contacted by the local journalist, however, she was disappointed to discover that the reporter was only interested in her negative experiences: repeatedly, she was asked whether she had experienced gender discrimination and harassment in the Australian Army. When she explained that she had not, the local journalist refused to go ahead with the interview, even though the media outlet had been planning to cover the launch of the book for some weeks. The message to her was clear: either the interviewee adhered to the storyline determined in advance by the journalist, or the interview did not go ahead.21

In this context, accuracy is a necessary but not sufficient element of newsworthiness. It was evident that a more sensational narrative may have secured publicity in local media, but it was only a part of the whole story. Neuhaus encountered similar questioning in some of her media interviews about the book. While multi-faceted narratives can be accommodated in long-form journalism, what Neuhaus and the woman interviewed by a local media outlet found was that daily news reporting still prefers a single angle that highlights conflict which is included in almost every definition of news values but is an outcome that is ethically problematic, when as a result important voices and perspectives are excluded or silenced.

Thank You for Your Service

David Finkel, an American journalist and author, makes it his mission to find and recover voices that have been excluded or silenced. The title of his 2013 book, Thank You for Your Service, comes from the phrase routinely uttered by Americans to their countrymen and women returning from the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq but many veterans loathe it. One of them, Adam Schumann, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and having come close to committing suicide, is invited by a well-meaning Veterans Affairs officer to an all-expenses-paid pheasant hunt promoted as a weekend for ‘Healing Heroes, Healing Families!’ He hates the ‘We Support the Troops’ bumper stickers on cars driven by people who have never been to war, never will go, and who say to soldiers, ‘Thank you for your service,’ with their ‘gooey eyes and orthodontist smiles’.22 They fawn over the soldiers with gunshot scars and missing limbs but they miss Schumann’s invisible scars; that makes him feel even more worthless.

Yet Schumann was an exceptionally brave soldier who hoisted on his back a wounded comrade whose blood ran into Schumann’s mouth as he carried him to safety, and remained stained into his tastebuds years afterward. Schumann was also brave enough to ask for a ‘mental health evacuation’ when he could no longer go on fighting. Life after three tours of duty is as hard, if not harder, for him, for his wife Saskia and their young children. He can’t work for any sustained period, he and Saskia fight bitterly and continuously. The book opens with a scene of him cradling his four-day old baby in their bed and as he falls asleep loosening his grip and waking only when he hears a crack followed by a thud as the baby hit the floor.

Thank You for Your Service, which was made into a film in 2016, is an almost unbearably sad book; it is also an important book for those who have not experienced war as it is almost impossible to read without beginning to appreciate the appalling toll war takes on combat troops. It is a sequel of sorts to Finkel’s 2009 book, The Good Soldiers,23 which chronicled the eight months he spent with a battalion of 800 US Army soldiers from Fort Riley, Kansas, that was known as the 2-16 (Second Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment of the Fourth Infantry Brigade Combat Team, First Infantry Division). Where The Good Soldiers, which won several prestigious awards, showed how the Bush administration’s ‘surge’ policy in 2007 actually affected troops on the ground, Thank You for Your Service follows them home to report on what Finkel calls ‘the after-war’ which turns out to be disturbingly bleak. By 2010, he writes, the number of former troops who commit suicide exceeds the number of combat deaths and averages almost one a day.

A long-serving Washington Post journalist who now devotes much of his time to book-length journalism, Finkel is an extraordinarily compassionate writer. He almost never inserts himself into the narrative yet through painstaking research, saturation interviewing and first-hand observation, he takes the reader deep into the desperate struggles, the daily setbacks and the small victories of the returned soldiers and their families. The book is rendered in a series of scenes with half a dozen or so returned soldiers and a widow who talks to her husband’s ashes because she can’t bring herself to deal with them. Finkel also shows the quietly heroic efforts of those who seek to help the veterans; most of them are either veterans or are married to one.

Two of the veterans commit suicide, one after subjecting his wife to sickening verbal abuse and violence, the other after feeling both desolate guilt and dumb defiance over his role in the deaths of nine men including two journalists in Iraq. This event later became notorious as the ‘Collateral Murder’ video on the WikiLeaks website. Finkel has been criticised, with some weight, for failing to condemn the soldiers over the event, which he first wrote about in The Good Soldiers. In that book he was primarily concerned with ‘documenting their corner of the war, without agenda’;24 in this one Finkel does not shy away from describing the impact of the killings but he allows himself this editorial comment about the millions of viewers who commented on the ‘Collateral Murder’ video ‘in absolutes and certainties, as if war could be comprehended fully by a high-speed connection to the Internet and a carefully edited video clip’.25 But it is not necessary to reduce the matter to an either/or choice; we need both WikiLeaks’ disclosing of important information that had been kept secret and Finkel’s quest to understand rather than judge.

Uncommon Soldier

David Finkel’s book is part of a sizeable, rich US literature of long-form journalistic accounts of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.26 The comparable literature in Australia is smaller. There have been several notable books but the premise of Chris Masters’ Uncommon Soldier, published in 2012, is that despite Australia’s involvement in the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq, the public has been told little about the soldiers’ experiences either good or bad.

In the mid-2000s, as a long time reporter with ABC television’s prestigious current affairs program, Four Corners, Masters lobbied for access to the Australian soldiers deployed in Afghanistan. He was met with resistance, he writes, because the military’s reason for being is to fight wars not publicity campaigns. Eventually, the military hierarchy began to see how little of the lived reality of the Australians’ efforts overseas was being reported. The public generally understood the courage needed to put your life in danger for your country but little beyond that.

Masters did gain access, initially to training camps for soldiers, at Kapooka in rural New South Wales, and for officers, at Duntroon in Canberra, then to Afghanistan where he was embedded with troops. He witnessed fierce fighting as well as the satisfactions – and the frustrations – of working to build relationships with local Afghans to help them re-build their country. The only way to build trust with the military, he writes, is to earn it and eventually he is invited to attend the 2nd Commando Regiment’s Anzac Day dawn service.

The first noteworthy point about Uncommon Soldier is the amount of useful and relevant information it provides, whether context about the history and politics of Afghanistan or the cost to taxpayers of deploying soldiers – about $1 million a year – or the barracks-room wit where soldiers coin nicknames for officers such as Blister – ‘pops up after hard work’. The second is that the book gradually unfolds a rounded portrait of the Australian military that is by turns sympathetic, tough-minded and clear-eyed. Masters shows us the uglier side of military life – the alpha males, the misogyny, the hazing rituals, the uneasiness about homosexuality, the army’s institutional inflexibility – but he also reveals the psychological benefits of submitting your individuality to the service of a unit, and the camaraderie flowing from it. ‘Loners tend not to survive because the engine of the corps of cadets is fuelled by the internal combustion of co-operation, with sole operators a mistrusted contaminant.’27 He also allows us to see the truly extraordinary courage shown by many troops including Victoria Cross winners Mark Donaldson and Ben Roberts-Smith.

Masters immersed himself in military life but he does not immerse the reader by presenting soldiers in the narrative from their own perspective as Finkel does in Thank You for Your Service, which may have something to do with his approach to long form journalism but also to the difference between American and Australian soldiers. Where the former ‘can seem like contestants in a talent quest,’ the latter do not perform on cue. Indeed, when Masters and his film crew walk into a recreation room saying they want to gather footage, the soldiers flee: ‘A consequence of the intense group bonding is the individual’s aversion to attention.’28 They have what is called a ‘carton rule’, whereby anyone appearing in the media is obliged to buy a carton of beer for their mates. Masters understands the Australian wariness of ‘big-noting’ but comments ‘it does not help when trying to tell their story, a story they universally conceded was not getting through to the broad public.’29

The Not Dead

Where Masters tells the stories of many Australian soldiers for the first time, and Finkel’s extraordinarily empathic reporting and writing enables readers to begin to understand the impact of combat on soldiers, The Not Dead uses a particularly innovative method of story-telling to explore the lives and experiences of former servicemen who have post-traumatic stress. A documentary first aired on Channel Four in the United Kingdom in 2007, The Not Dead’s story-telling method blends poetry with testimony in its portrayal of traumatic memory.

The documentary film incorporates the stories of three men from three generations: Cliff, who returned from Malaysia in 1951; Rob who served in Iraq and Eddie who served in Bosnia. In a break with conventional journalistic practice, the film does not rely solely on interviews, script or footage: it incorporates poetry to convey the men’s experiences through metaphor and description. According to publicity material released by the International Documentary Film Festival – Amsterdam:

Director Brian Hill films the men in an unembellished manner, intentionally placing them against the backdrop of archive footage and their current everyday reality, which they still seem isolated from. Poet Simon Armitage wrote a series of poems based on their deeply emotional accounts, and the men recite them as they look straight into the camera. In the process, these revisited nightmarish experiences intensify their history, rendering it universal.30

Reviews of the film called it ‘deft and moving’, ‘bleak, beautiful, blistering’ and ‘incredibly moving’.31 The incorporation of war poetry was seen as highly original, offering new avenues for audience empathy and engagement. The Not Dead was the result of continuing collaboration between Armitage and documentary film director Brian Hill that used similar production methods in previous works: Feltham Sings (2002) told the stories of inmates in a young offenders’ institution though rap and music; Pornography – The Musical (2003) gave an insider’s perspective on Britain’s pornography industry through interview and song. While the pair’s collaboration had previously dealt with confrontational content, The Not Dead raised questions about ethical practice in media interviews, particularly when interviewees are asked to recall experiences of trauma.

As Armitage acknowledged: ‘Most of the poems I wrote revolved around a key ‘flashback’ scene, requiring each soldier to re-visit the very incident he was desperately hoping to forget.’32 This contrasted with his other poems, which were less direct in their portrayal of troubling experiences – production of The Not Dead required interviewees to confront their traumatic memories directly, as part of an interview process that had both creative and therapeutic consequences.33 It is not known what steps were taken to ensure that the interviews were carried out in accordance with recommended ethical practice. It appears from the documentary that the veterans participated willingly and there has been no negative reaction from them about their experience – at least not publicly; what is evident is that the style of representation on screen offered an alternative approach to the representation of traumatic memory in a media context.

While the use of poetry was described as ‘intensifying’, for the interviewees it might also have been experienced as distancing: enabling them to refer to their experiences in the words of an ‘other’ – namely Armitage. This approach provided an opportunity, potentially, for simultaneous engagement and disengagement – an outcome discouraged by conventional documentary-making that encourages interviewees to describe memories in detail, reliving through recalling, in order to maximise the impact of content.

It is notable that the inclusion of poetry in Armitage and Hill’s work has not been widely adopted by other documentary-makers; it remains a hallmark of their collaboration. In Australia, the blending of poetry and testimony to tell veterans’ stories has taken place on stage – notably in the Sydney Theatre Company’s production The Long Way Home34– but is yet to be explored in a journalistic format.


The case studies in this paper demonstrate a willingness, on the part of some journalists and writers, to pursue a more immersive style of reporting that pursues authenticity as well as ethical responsibility. Still, such examples remain the exception rather than the rule in Australia: as Mascall-Dare identified in her analysis of interviews with Anzac Day reporters, journalists need guidance, support and increased resources in order to achieve the standards they have set for themselves.

The Anzac Centenary offers an opportunity to diversify coverage of veterans’ affairs in Australia; it also offers an opportunity to review and expand the resources available to journalists for the task. The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma offers practical advice on ethical conduct and self-care to journalists assigned to stories involving war, violence, conflict and trauma; it is actively engaged in journalism education in Australia through its website ( and Dart Centre Asia Pacific, based in Melbourne. The Anzac Day Media Style Guide also offers independent guidance to journalists, including advice on ethical conduct and protocol, backed by an editorial advisory board that includes representatives from academia, the media, Ex-Service Organisations and the wider defence community. Journalists also have access to briefing material from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the federal government’s Anzac Centenary website and state government agencies.

Despite the availability of such resources, material support for ethically responsible, original journalism is still lacking. Immersive reporting is time-consuming and expensive; as a business, long-form journalism is not economically viable for newsrooms under financial pressure. While the conventional paradigm of journalism is changing – with audiences becoming reporters, particularly through social media – there is still a place for immersive reporting that demonstrates a deeper, richer understanding of matters of public interest. As Australia revisits its national narrative through the Anzac Centenary years there is an opportunity to ask how that story should be told, and how its reporters can be supported – ensuring that authenticity, integrity and ethical standards are upheld.


1 Tony Stephens, ‘Last Anzac is Dead’, Sydney Morning Herald (17 May 2002) available at: (accessed 12 March 2015).

2 Tony Stephens, The last Anzacs : lest we forget (Fremantle: Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 2003).

3 See John Shaw, ‘Alec Campbell, Last Anzac at Gallipoli, Dies at 103’, New York Times (20 May 2002) available at: (accessed 12 March 2015).

4 Sharon Mascall-Dare, ‘An Australian Story: Anzac Day coverage investigated ‘, in The Information Battlefield, ed. Kevin Foster (Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2011), 162-80.

5 Mascall-Dare, An Australian Story, 170.

6 Brown, J., Anzac’s Long Shadow: The Cost of Our National Obsession (Melbourne: Black Ink Incorporated, 2014).

7 Anzac is available via the BBC at (accessed 12 March 2015).

8 For the 2015 edition see, Sharon Mascall-Dare, 2015 Anzac Day Media Style Guide – Centenary Edition, available at: (accessed 12 March 2015).

9 Susan Neuhaus and Sharon Mascall-Dare, Not for Glory – a century of service by medical women to the Australian Army and its allies (Brisbane: Boolarong Press, 2014).

10 Chris Masters, Uncommon Soldier, (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 2012).

11 At the time of writing, The Not Dead is available via youtube: (accessed 12 March 2015).

12 David Finkel, Thank You for Your Service, (Melbourne: Scribe Books, 2013).

13 See (accessed 12 March 2015).

14 Sharon Mascall-Dare, ‘Interactions between history and memory: a new approach to Anzac Day coverage’, An Australian Story: Media and Memory in the Making of Anzac Day (PhD thesis, University of South Australia 2013), 93-122, available at: [accessed 12 March 2015].

15 Janet Cramer and Michael McDevitt, ‘Ethnographic Journalism’ in: Taking it to the Streets: Qualitative Research in Journalism, ed. Sharon Iorio (Mahwah: LEA, 2004).

16 For example, see Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance – Journalists’ Code of Ethics, available at: (accessed 12 March 2015).

17 Jay Winter and Emmanuel Sivan, ‘Setting the framework’, War and Remembrance in the Twentieth Century, eds. Winter and Sivan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 9.

18 Anzac received positive previews in The Independent on 8th December 2012; The Daily Mail on 8th December 2012; and was Gillian Reynolds’ ‘Pick of the Week’ in The Daily Telegraph, on 6th December 2012. It won two awards at the 2013 New York Festivals International Radio Awards: silver for ‘Best Writing’ and a bronze for ‘Best History Program’. It was a finalist in the 2013 United Nations of Australia Association Peace Awards (Multicultural Affairs category) and Highly Commended at the 2013 SA Media Awards.

19 Sharon Mascall-Dare, ‘An Australian story: the making of ‘Anzac’, An Australian Story: Media and Memory in the Making of Anzac Day (PhD thesis, University of South Australia 2013), 168-9, available at: [accessed 22 March 2016].

20 See Mascall-Dare, An Australian Story, 177.

21 Mascall-Dare was involved in the negotiations regarding this media contact; the interviewee’s name has been withheld to protect her privacy.

22 Finkel, Thank You for Your Service, 127.

23 David Finkel, The Good Soldiers (Melbourne: Scribe, 2009).

24 Finkel, The Good Soldiers, 285.

25 Finkel, Thank You For Your Service, 227.

26 Steve Weinberg, ‘The book as an investigative vehicle for news’, Nieman Reports (Spring 2007), available at: (accessed 12 March 2015), and Matthew Ricketson, Telling True Stories (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 2014), 12-14.

27 See Masters, 58-9.

28 Masters, 115.

29 Masters, 115.

30 See (accessed 12 March 2015).

31 See (accessed 12 March 2015).

32 Simon Armitage,The Not Dead (Pomona: Hebden Bridge, 2008).

33 J. Gutorow, ‘‘Damaged beyond help’? Simon Armitage’s The Not Dead and the paradoxes of trauma’, Trauma: Theory and Practice (Prague: Czech Republic, 2011).

34 See Jason Blake, ‘The Long Way Home: Soldiers’ stories have real impact’, Sydney Morning Herald (9 February 2014) available at: (accessed 12 march 2015).

Beyond Gallipoli: New Perspectives on Anzac

   by Raelene Frances and Bruce Scates