Sonya Voumard’s The Media and the Massacre is a chilling portrayal of journalism, betrayal, and storytelling surrounding the 1996 Port Arthur massacre. Inspired, in part, by renowned American author Janet Malcolm’s famously controversial work The Journalist and the Murderer , Voumard’s elegant new work of literary non-fiction examines the fascinating theme of ‘the writer’s treachery’.
The author brings to bear her own journalistic experiences, ideas and practices in a riveting inquiry into her profession that is part-memoir and part ethical investigation. One of her case studies is the 2009 book Born or Bred? by two prominent journalists – Robert Wainwright and Paola Totaro – about the perpetrator of the Port Arthur massacre, Martin Bryant, and his mother Carleen Bryant. Carleen received an undisclosed legal settlement, over the best-selling book’s use of her personal manuscript.
In the lead-up to the 20th anniversary of the Port Arthur massacre, The Media and the Massacre explores the nature of journalistic intent and many of the wider moral and social issues of the storytelling surrounding the events and their place in our cultural memory.
About the Author
Sonya Voumard is a journalist and author who grew up in Melbourne during the 1970s, the daughter of an Australian journalist father and a mother who was a refugee from wartime Europe. A news junkie from a young age, Sonya’s formative years were shaped by her mother’s wartime experiences, the protests over the Vietnam war, the death of her father in 1975, the sacking of Gough Whitlam and the deaths of the Australian newsmen in East Timor.
Having begun her career as a cadet journalist on the Melbourne Herald in 1980, Sonya worked as a political reporter on the Age in the late eighties and early nineties. These experiences inspired her 2008 novel ‘Political Animals,’ which an Age literary critic described as “a sharp, dark and credibly drawn descent into the benthic relationship between Australian politicians and the media.
” Her memoir pieces have been published in Griffith Review and Meanjin. Sonya now teaches non-fiction writing at UTS while working on a Doctorate of Creative Arts on ‘The Power Dynamics Between Journalists and their Human Subjects’.