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Bridget Griffen-Foley

Bridget Griffen-Foley

Bridget Griffen-Foley is a Professor of Media at Macquarie University, where she founded the Centre for Media History. She is the author of The House of Packer (1999), Sir Frank Packer: A biography (2000, 2014), Party Games: Australian politicians and the media from war to Dismissal (2003), Changing Stations: The story of Australian commercial radio (2009) and Australian Radio Listeners and Television Viewers: Historical perspectives (2020). She edited A Companion to the Australian Media (2014), now available on AustLit.

Bridget Griffen-Foley reviews ‘Singo: Mates, wives, triumphs, disasters’ by Gerald Stone

October 2002, no. 245 27 March 2024
Most people, at least in Sydney, have a story to tell about ‘Singo’. As Gerald Stone comments towards the end of this independent but enthusiastic biography: ‘Anecdotes about John Singleton, even the most affectionate, tend to swing between total admiration and head-wagging disbelief. He leaves no one feeling neutral.’ It would be impossible to write a boring biography of John Singleton, ... (read more)

Commentary | Redneck radio? by Bridget Griffen-Foley

February 2006, no. 278 01 February 2006
On Saturday, 3 December 2005, the day after Nguyen Tuong Van was hanged in Singapore, David Marr contributed a major article, ‘Death of compassion’, to the Sydney Morning Herald’s News Review section. A year earlier, Marr had made a welcome return to the SMH following his spell as host of Media Watch. He is always worth reading: informed by broad interests in the arts, politics and religion, ... (read more)

'Ming’s Legacy' by Bridget Griffen-Foley

August 2006, no. 283 01 August 2006
Australian historians admire Robert Menzies. Pardon? Aren’t historians, like the rest of the Australian academy, left-wing propagandists? Don’t they all loathe the prime minister’s political role model? Regardless of how historians view Menzies’ attitudes to the monarchy, appeasement, the middle class and the Communist Party, they have reached a consensus on one point: Menzies played a sig ... (read more)

Flip-flops by Bridget Griffen-Foley

April 2004, no. 260 01 April 2004
On-air banter. It’s a staple of radio and television shows seeking to project a friendly, accessible image. Think of the chats between Steve and Tracy on Today, and Mel and Kochie (and, increasingly, their viewers) on Sunrise. Chats between news, sports and weather presenters are routine. It helps if the weather presenter is gorgeous, zany or eccentric, such as Tim Bailey on Channel Ten’s 5 p. ... (read more)

Ode to the Test Pattern by Bridget Griffen-Foley

November 2006, no. 286 01 November 2006
Australian television’s golden anniversary roadshow kicked off in September 2005 with the screening of 50 Years, 50 Shows on Channel Nine. Some twelve months were to elapse before the actual anniversary, on 16 September 2006. In 2005, Channel Nine was entering television’s anniversary year and, as the first station to go to air in Australia, determined to present its own history as synonymous ... (read more)

Bridget Griffen-Foley reviews ‘Tabloid Man: The Life and Times of Ezra Norton’ by Sandra Hall

November 2008, no. 306 01 November 2008
Phillip Knightley, Murray Sayle and other authors of the Daily Mirror’s historical feature used to relish their days sitting in the Sydney ‘public library’ researching and writing pieces on rape, pillage, sexual betrayal and murder most foul. Decades later, in the early 1990s, I began spending days sitting in what had become the State Library of New South Wales wading through yellowing copie ... (read more)

Bridget Griffen-Foley reviews 'Ray: Stories of My Life: The Autobiography' by Ray Martin

December 2009–January 2010, no. 317 01 December 2009
Beginning as a voice on ABC radio, Ray Martin became a face familiar to most Australians. He reported from the United States for Four Corners in the 1960s and 1970s, was one of the original reporters on 60 Minutes from 1978, presented the Midday show from 1984 to 1993, and twice hosted A Current Affair (ACA). As he notes, he was the face of Channel 9 in the 1990s, also hosting Carols by Candleligh ... (read more)

'Bring on Warnie' by Bridget Griffen-Foley

October 2005, no. 275 01 October 2005
An Indian fast-food outlet has named itself after Mahatma Gandhi and features a caricature of his face in neon lights. Tacky? Certainly. Only in America? Only in Australia, actually, or at least that’s what a major cable television channel would like to suggest. I saw this story about nefarious goings-on in Melbourne, and the indignation of a Gandhi family member, while sitting in a Singapore h ... (read more)

'The small picture' by Bridget Griffen-Foley

May 2006, no. 281 01 May 2006
The Sydney Morning Herald has been ‘Celebrating 175 Years’ all year. The words adorn every front page; the Herald ran a number of commemorative features to mark the actual anniversary on April 18; and The Big Picture: Diary of a Nation, consisting of essays by journalists and photographs from the Herald’s magnificent photographic library, has been published (see John Thompson’s review in t ... (read more)

Bridget Griffen-Foley reviews 'Bold Types: How Australia’s first women journalists blazed a trail' by Patricia Clarke

January-February 2023, no. 450 28 December 2022
After she left journalism, Patricia Clarke turned to researching and writing books, beginning with The Governesses in 1985. Bold Types is her fourteenth book. The Canberra writer was a familiar figure at media history and other conferences, and in the National Library of Australia reading rooms, until Covid-19 at least. Her books, augmented by dozens of articles and conference papers, focus mainly ... (read more)
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