David Marr (journalist)

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David Marr
David Marr 2007.jpg
(2007)
Born (1947-07-14) 14 July 1947 (age 67)
Sydney, Australia
Education University of Sydney (BA, LLB)
Occupation Author, journalist

David Ewan Marr (born 14 July 1947 in Sydney) is an Australian journalist, author, and progressive political and social commentator. His areas of expertise include the law, Australian politics, censorship, the media and the arts. He writes for The Monthly, The Saturday Paper and The Guardian Australia. He also appears as a semi-regular panelist on the ABC television programs, Q&A and Insiders.

Career[edit]

Marr attended Sydney Church of England Grammar School in North Sydney and subsequently graduated from the University of Sydney with degrees in Arts and Law.[1] Marr worked for a time as an articled clerk at the law firm Allen, Allen and Hemsley, before turning to journalism.

Marr began as a journalist working for The Bulletin magazine and for The National Times newspaper, before being appointed editor in 1981–82.[1] During this period, he oversaw the publication of the articles by David Hickie that detailed long-suppressed allegations of corruption against former New South Wales Premier Robert Askin. The first article, headlined "Askin: friend of organised crime" was famously published on the day of Askin's funeral in 1981.

Marr was a reporter on the ABC TV program Four Corners (1985, 1990–91), a role in which he won a Walkley Award, and presenter of Radio National's Arts Today program (1994–96). From 2002 to 2004, he hosted the ABC TV program Media Watch.[1] He is a frequent guest on ABC TV's Insiders program. During his term as presenter of Media Watch, he played a key role in exposing the ongoing cash for comment affair, which Media Watch had first raised in 1999, concerning radio commentators Alan Jones and John Laws. In 2004, the program's exposé of Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) head David Flint – who had written fan letters to Jones at a time when Jones was being investigated by the ABA – played a significant role in forcing Flint's resignation.

In 2002, Marr stated on Media Watch that conservative newspaper columnist Janet Albrechtsen had misquoted a French psychiatrist, Jean-Jacques Rassial, and claimed that she had done this deliberately to make it look as though violence and gang rape were institutionalised elements of the culture of Muslim youths.[2]

Albrechtsen did not deny the misquote, but responded by accusing Media Watch of inherent left-wing bias, and of deliberately leading a witch-hunt against contrary views. When the Minister for Communications, Senator Helen Coonan, appointed Albrechtsen to the board of the ABC in February 2005, Marr publicly questioned whether she was qualified for such a position in light of what he described as "breaches of proper conduct as a commentator and as a journalist".[3]

In 2008 he was named by Same Same as one of the 25 most influential gay and lesbian Australians for his coverage of the Bill Henson case, and examination of the role of art in Australian society.[4][5]

Marr has advocated drug law reform and has written candidly about his life experiences: "I've had a lot of fun on drugs...I've had a lot of marvellous experiences. I've danced a lot. I've had a great time. I'm not ashamed of it. And I don't see what's wrong with it."[6]

Marr announced his resignation from the Sydney Morning Herald on 13 July 2012, saying "People underestimate what a deeply conventional person I am. I'm turning 65 and that feels like the right time to go."[7]

However, in April 2013 it was announced that Marr was joining Guardian Australia.[8]

Publications[edit]

Marr has published several books including a critically acclaimed biography of Australian writer Patrick White, which won The Age Book of the Year award and the New South Wales Premier's Literary Award for Non-Fiction. More recently, Marr wrote, along with Marian Wilkinson, Dark Victory, an account of the 2001 Australian election campaign in the wake of the Tampa affair.

His books include:

Awards[edit]

  • Liberty Victoria Voltaire Award 2012[12]
  • Alfred Deakin Prize for an Essay Advancing Public Debate, for 'Do Not Disturb: Is the Media Asleep?'
  • Victoria Premier's Literary Awards 2006
  • Walkley Awards 2004 (jointly), 1991 and 1985

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Who's Who in Australia – entry on David Marr
  2. ^ "Janet Albrechtsen's View". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2002-09-09. Retrieved 2006-11-28. 
  3. ^ Caldwell, Alison (2005-02-24). "ABC critic appointed to board of directors". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2006-11-28. 
  4. ^ Bryant, Joel (2008). "David Marr, Journalist and Author". The 25 most influential gay and lesbian Australians. Same Same. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  5. ^ "The 25 Most Influential Gay and Lesbian Australians for 2008". 2008-12-17. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  6. ^ Marr, David (2011-12-03). "The great debate that no one's talking about". Sydney Morning Herald. Farifax. Retrieved 2006-11-28. 
  7. ^ Nick, Leys (2012-07-13). "David Marr to leave Fairfax". Australian. News. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  8. ^ Leys, Nick (10 April 2013). "David Marr joins Guardian Australia". The Australian. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  9. ^ Power Trip: The Political Journey of Kevin Rudd, Quarterly Essay 38, Black Inc. Books, 7 June 2010
  10. ^ We need to talk about Kevin ... Rudd, that is, extract of Power Trip: The Political Journey of Kevin Rudd, Sydney Morning Herald, 7 June 2010
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ http://www.libertyvictoria.org/node/122

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Paul Barry
Presenter of Media Watch
2001–05
Succeeded by
Liz Jackson