Media Monsters

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n 1941, the paper emperors of the Australian newspaper industry helped bring down Robert Menzies. Over the next 30 years, they grew into media monsters.

This book reveals the transformation from the golden age of newspapers during World War II, through Menzies’ return and the rise of television, to Gough Whitlam’s ‘It’s Time’ victory in 1972.

During this crucial period, twelve independent newspaper companies turned into a handful of multimedia giants. They controlled newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations. Their size and reach was unique in the western world.

Playing politics was vital to this transformation. The newspaper industry was animated by friendships and rivalries, favours and deals, and backed by money and influence, including from mining companies, banks and the Catholic Church.

Even internationally, Australia’s newspaper owners and executives were considered a shrewd and ruthless bunch. The hard men of the industry included Rupert Murdoch, Frank Packer, Warwick Fairfax’s top executive Rupert Henderson, and Jack Williams, the unsung empire builder of the Herald and Weekly Times.

In Media Monsters, Sally Young, the award-winning author of Paper Emperors, uncovers the key players, their political connections and campaigns, and their corporate failures and triumphs. She explores how the companies they ran still influence Australia today.

About the Author

Sally Young is professor of political science at the University of Melbourne. She is the author of six previous books on Australian politics and media, including the prequel to this book (Paper Emperors, 2019) which won the Colin Roderick Literary Award and the Australian Political Studies Association Henry Mayer Book Prize, and was longlisted for the Stella Prize. Sally has also published over forty journal articles and conference papers and is a regular media commentator.