Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Bridget Griffen-Foley and A Companion to the Australian Media

Browsing in Dymocks, I purchased A Companion to the Australian Media. I knew the book was out, indeed had the opportunity to buy an early copy, but simply hadn't got my act together before this.

Edited by Professor Bridget Griffen-Foley, Professor in Media at Macquarie University, the book contains 497 short articles written by 298 authors (415,000 words in all) on various aspects of the Australian media, past and present.

I am one of the authors with a short piece (500 words) on the Vincent newspaper family. With two chapters in Came to New England published earlier in 2014, that gives me three pieces in two books as my 2014 output in this form.

Reading the Companion made me realise what a mammoth task Professor Griffen-Foley faced in coordinating so many authors across so many topics. I suspect that it has consumed a considerable portion of her life over the last four or so years.  I was trying to remember when she first approached me to write a piece. It must be close to four year's ago.

It is a good book, but also a slightly frustrating one from my perspective. The two are the opposite sides of the same coin. It is a good book because of the breadth of coverage. However, that breadth also means that the book is weak in some areas that I am especially interested in. Out of a vast canvas, Bridget had to select what might be covered. Inevitably, some of the things that I am interested in could not be included.

I guess that's part of the value of my own work Beneath the broad national coverage of Companion lies detail that varies across space and time. As you look at this, patterns shift, new patterns form. Then, suddenly, the top down view shifts as new information is provided that alters perspectives.

My congratulations to Bridget and those that supported her on a job well done.       

No comments: