Julie Posetti

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Julie Posetti is an internationally published Australian journalist and academic. In 2018 she was appointed Senior Research Fellow with the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford (UK). There, she leads RISJ's new Journalism Innovation Project. Posetti is the author of UNESCO's landmark global study 'Protecting Journalism Sources in the Digital Age' (2017)[1] which examines the erosion of journalistic source protection conventions essential to investigative journalism in the context of national security overreach, and widening surveillance nets. She has won multiple professional awards (including the 1996 Australian Human Rights Award for Radio for her coverage of social affairs for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and a 2017 Gold Award at the New York Radio Festival), and journalism education and research honours (including a national award for teaching and learning excellence in 2007). Based in Paris in 2013 and 2014 as a Research Fellow and Editor with the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum, she edited the flagship publications Trends in Newsrooms 2014 and Trends in Newsrooms 2015 In 2010, she was targeted by the right wing Murdoch newspaper 'The Australian' and threatened with legal action, after reporting, via Twitter, critical comments made by one of the newspaper's former reporters during a journalism conference in Sydney. This episode became known as "Twitdef"



Posetti began her career as a cadet journalist with the Wollongong commercial radio station 2 Double O (now i98fm) and WIN TV in 1989. She was a reporter and newsreader with the station (owned by the WIN group) and she won the Australian Journalists' Association's regional Cadet Journalist of the Year award in 1989. She moved to ABC News (the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is the countries national public broadcaster) in 1990, where she was a reporter and presenter with ABC Illawarra. In 1992, she became the ABC's Regional News Editor based in Wollongong. From there, in 1994, she joined ABC TV Documentaries as a reporter on the series Living in the 90s. In 1996, she joined ABC Radio Current Affairs' national programs AM, PM and The World Today as a Sydney-based reporter, before heading to Canberra as an ABC political correspondent in the Federal Press Gallery.[2] After initially studying politics and history at the University of Wollongong, she graduated with a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) degree from the University of Canberra. In 2005, she was appointed Lecturer in Journalism at the University of Canberra. She moved to the University of Wollongong (UOW) to join the Journalism School within the Faculty of Creative Arts in 2013. In 2013-2014 she was based in Paris on secondment with WAN-IFRA and the World Editors forum as Research Fellow and Editor. She is currently completing a doctorate through UOW. In early 2018, she was appointed Senior Research Fellow at Oxford University's Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, where she leads the Journalism Innovation Project.


Posetti was the subject of Australia's first threatened Twitter lawsuit however no writ was ever issued by the man who made the threat, Editor-in-Chief of The Australian, Chris Mitchell.[3] On 25 November 2010 while at the Journalism Education Association of Australia conference in Sydney, Posetti used Twitter to cite part of a presentation by rural reporter Asa Wahlquist, who suggested that the editor in chief of The Australian had been prescriptive about her election coverage of environmental stories. The three tweets that were subject to debate were:

  • 'It was absolutely excruciating. It was torture': Asa Wahlquist on departing The Australian after being stymied in covering #climate
  • Wahlquist: ‘Chris Mitchell (Oz Ed) goes down the Eco-Fascist line’ on #climatechange.’ I left because I just couldn’t do it anymore"
  • Wahlquist: ‘In the lead up to the election the Ed in Chief was increasingly telling me what to write.’ It was prescriptive.

The following day, Chris Mitchell, the editor-in-chief of The Australian, stated that he had been defamed by the tweet and was considering suing Posetti for the statements.[4]

By 29 November, Mitchell's lawyers had sent a letter[5] demanding an apology.[6]

However, with a tape recording of the conference proceedings supporting Posetti's side of the story,[7] a lawsuit increasingly seemed unwinnable.

Posetti's employer, the University of Canberra, expressed their support for Posetti and on 9 December, Posetti's lawyers replied refusing an apology and inviting Chris Mitchell to attend lectures on journalism at the University of Canberra.[8]

Posetti's supporters also created a Facebook page to support her case.[9]

Journalist Jonathan Holmes pointed out that the case was significant because "It's not every day that the editor of a newspaper threatens to sue a journalist simply for reporting a matter of public interest. To put it mildly, it's a somewhat counter-intuitive action for a newspaperman to take."[3]


  1. ^ a b Posetti, Julie (3 June 2016). "New research: 11-point plan for protecting journalism sources in the digital age". blog.wan-ifra.org. WAN-IFRA. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  2. ^ Julie Posetti - Unleashed (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
  3. ^ a b ABC The Drum - Editor's letter makes for a bizarre Posettigate twist
  4. ^ The Australian's Chris Mitchell to sue Julie Posetti for defamation | The Australian
  5. ^ http://www.justinian.com.au/storage/pdf/mitchellvposetti.pdf
  6. ^ Posetti receives letter of demand from Chris Mitchell, and a special invitation | Crikey
  7. ^ http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/11/29/3079695.htm
  8. ^ http://www.canberra.edu.au/blogs/vc/files/2010/12/Letter-HWL-Ebsworth1.pdf
  9. ^ Niet compatibele browser | Facebook

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