‘No wrong way to write. Right?’ by Matthew Ricketson
Matthew Ricketson’s is an influential voice in the world of Australian journalism. In his former role as The Age’s Media and Communications editor he was often critical of Australia’s media, and in his current role as Professor of Journalism at the University of Canberra he is responsible for the next generation of journalists.
Ricketson spends the opening sections of this article, published in the August/September 2010 edition of The Walkley Magazine, praising the resurgence of that ‘quaint literary form normally associated with the 19th-century man of letter’, the essay. He highlights the impact made by David Marr’s Kevin Rudd piece and Annabel Crabb’s Malcolm Turnbull essay, both published in the Quarterly Essay. Ricketson’s goal here is not to promote the essay as such but rather to shine a light on the breadth of journalistic practice in this country.
This brings us to the crux of the article. By investigating the broad range of nomenclature used to identify long-form journalism, Ricketson brings to our attention the lack of a vocabulary for our craft. He argues that if we cannot adequately discuss what we do then how can we understand it and subsequently improve how we do it?
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