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Saving the silent voyager: Mapping virtues in the writing of eva sommer, australia’s first walkley award winner

journal contribution
posted on 2020-01-01, 00:00 authored by Jennifer MartinJennifer Martin
In 1956, 22-year-old cadet journalist Eva Sommer won Australia’s first Walkley Award for a story about a supposedly stateless stowaway who was ‘doomed’ to sail between Italy and Australia because he had lost his memory. Sommer’s dedicated reporting skills revealed the man was a traumatized Holocaust survivor from Poland who had been granted asylum in Australia five years earlier. A ‘girl reporter’ had achieved in two days what immigration officials from two countries had failed to achieve in three months. Yet, despite Sommer’s remarkable story and her status as the inaugural Walkley winner, little is known of her writing or her life. This article aims to reinstate Eva Sommer to her rightful place in Australia’s journalism history through an analysis of how her three articles on the stowaway communicated emotions and virtues to readers. For the first time I will apply the Virtue Map, my analytical tool for examining the role of emotion and virtues in journalism, to a series of articles instead of a single long-form feature, illuminating a forgotten moment of Australia’s journalism history.

History

Journal

Australian Journalism Review

Volume

42

Issue

2

Pagination

261 - 277

Publisher

Journalism Education Association of Australia

Location

Adelaide, S.Aust.

ISSN

0810-2686

eISSN

2517-620X

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

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