The Media and the Massacre

The Media and the Massacre is a chilling portrayal of journalism, betrayal and storytelling surrounding Australia’s 1996 Port Arthur Massacre. Inspired in part by American author Janet Malcolm’s famous and provocative work The Journalist and the Murderer, The Media and the Massacre explores the fascinating theme of ‘the writer’s treachery.’ Sonya Voumard brings together her journalistic experiences and ideas for an inquiry into the journalism profession – and her own complicity in some of the practices she criticises – that is part-memoir and part ethical investigation. The central case study is on the 2009 book  Born or Bred? Martin Bryant: the making of a mass murderer, which focuses on the perpetrator of the Port Arthur massacre, Martin Bryant and his mother Carleen. It was written by two prominent journalists—Robert Wainwright and Paola Totaro after their collaboration with Carleen, their central subject, ended acrimoniously. The Media and the Massacre reveals that Carleen Bryant received an undisclosed legal settlement over the best-selling book’s use of her personal manuscript without her explicit permission. It explores the ethical conflicts of Born or Bred? and the stark failings of Australia’s media complaints process, which Voumard says undermine the integrity of Australian Journalism.

The Media and the Massacre is published by Transit Lounge and distributed by NewSouth Books