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Paper Emperors by Sally Young wins 2020 Roderick Literary Award

Paper Emperors by Sally Young wins 2020 Roderick Literary Award

Dr Sally Young has won the 2020 Colin Roderick Literary Award for her exposé of the Australian newspaper industry in Paper Emperors: The Rise of Australia’s Newspaper Empires.

Dr Young has said she wrote the book wanting to document the important role of newspapers in Australian politics, history and public life.

‘In the future, people will wonder what was so special about the musty, old papers and their digital versions – many of which won’t make it through the era of Facebook, Google and Netflix,’ she said.

‘I hope this book helps us to think about the role of news, journalism and the media in democracy – then, now and into the future.’

The judges praised Dr Young’s research into the time period, which spans more than 100 years from 1803 to 1941.

Chair of the judging panel Dr Leigh Dale said the book is particularly relevant this year as the industry struggles with online business models and social media.

‘It is fascinating to read about its beginning and the influence it had on the nation, its politics, and its social fabric,’ she said. ‘The opening words ‘Newspapers have found it very difficult to tell the truth about themselves’ gives an indication of what is to come.’

‘Meticulously researched and compulsively readable, it examines closely the power struggle between newspapers and politicians and how they were lost and won,’ Dr Dale said.

‘We eagerly await a sequel.’

The Colin Roderick Award is one of Australia’s oldest literary awards. It was founded in 1967 by the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies. The Foundation has supported public engagement with Australian Literature for more than 50 years, and was renamed in 1991 in honour of Professor Colin Roderick and to mark the 25th anniversary of the award.

The award is presented and annually and is worth $20,000, coupled with the silver H.T. Priestley medal.

You can buy the book here!