Tom Morton is Associate Professor of Journalism in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at UTS and Director of the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism.Before joining UTS in 2010 he was an award-winning journalist, broadcaster and documentary producer with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation for more than 20 years.From 1993 – 2006 he worked as an investigative journalist on Background Briefing, one of Australia’s flagship investigative current affairs programs. He was a national Walkley Awards finalist in 1995, 1998 (Bay of Secrets (opens an external site)), and 2003 (Trading with Iran (opens an external site)).From 2006-2010 he was a radio feature and documentary producer with ABC Radio National's Features Unit. In 2010 the investigative documentary Shutting Down Sharleen (opens an external site), which Tom co-produced with Eurydice Aroney, won a Gold Radio Award at the New York TV, Film and Radio Festival.In 2008 Tom was the co-producer of one of the most innovative and ambitious multimedia projects ever produced by the ABC, Wide Open Road (opens an external site), a website and radio series about Australian pop music and the landscape broadcast on JJJ and ABC Radio National.Tom has a PhD in German Language and Literature from the University of Adelaide and is a fluent German speaker. In 2010 Tom wrote and produced A German Reunion (opens an external site) / Deutschland eine Wiederbegegnung (opens an external site) an international, bilingual co-production with German radio (Deutschlandfunk) based around the 20th anniversary of German reunification.He is the author of a study of contemporary masculinity in Australia (Altered Mates: The Man Question, Allen and Unwin, 1997), and has written numerous features, essays and op-ed pieces for the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the Australian Financial Review, and Griffith Review.
Can supervise: YES
Investigative journalism and its impact on public policy; government secrecy and the public right to know; the future of investigative journalism; environmental journalism, the politics of climate change, and the philosophy of the environmental movement; journalism, the Internet and new public spheres.Journalism and Cold War history; the reporting of Australia’s involvement in regional conflicts in Asia during the Cold War; the media and contemporary debates in Australian defence and foreign policy.Radio history; the theory and history of listening; radio documentary and feature; radio futures; music journalism and music radio; acoustic ecology.Other interestsTom is a member of The Lovely Assistants (opens an external site), and German/Australian electronic duo tomstu.
Műller, K & Morton, T 2018, 'At the German coalface: Interdisciplinary collaboration between anthropology and journalism', Energy Research and Social Science, vol. 45, no. November 2018, pp. 134-143.View/Download from: Publisher's site
For an understanding of thecurrent ‘coal conundrum’ and the German Energiewende, we applied a collaborative research method involving, anthropological and journalistic practices in villages in East Germany, where the expansion of open-cut lignite mines is contested. We conducted an in-depth study of the local socio-political effects of changing energy production forms at the coalface of prevailing and transforming energy production sites, with human life-worlds as a focal point. Working interdisciplinary with methods of radio journalism and social anthropology helped to provide insights into how national agendas based on political will, techno-economical parameters, social life-worlds and the factor of time intersect.
Despite commonalities between journalism and anthropology, this approach to energy research posed methodological challenges. Our work lead to questions of how to collect and make sense of scientifically sustainable information that would allow us to understand the impact of the Energiewende. It resulted in reflections of the limits of building trust, eliciting quotable statements, dealing with scripted narratives, our own roles as interlocutors, the limits of interdisciplinary work and the impact of these factors on interpreting information in larger contexts of global climate debates and energy policies.
Media reportage about forensic mental health cases raises several competing
rights and interests, including the public interest in open justice; a patient’s
right to privacy, treatment and recovery; the public’s right to know about
mental health tribunal processes; and victims’ and citizens’ interests in
learning the longer term consequences of a publicised serious unlawful act.
This article details a case study of successful applications for permission to
identify a forensic mental health patient in both a radio documentary and in
research blogs and scholarly works in Australia. It compares the authors’
experience in this case with three other cases in Australia and the UK, and
identifies and weighs the competing policy issues and principles courts or
tribunals consider when attempting to balance open justice with the rights
and interests of a range of stakeholders in forensic mental health cases where
the news media and/or patients are seeking publicity and/or identification.
The public interest is commonly presumed to be fundamental to the practice of journalism. Journalists and the media organizations for which they work routinely assume that they are able to identify what is in the public interest, and act accordingly. This article explores notions of the public interest in the context of a particular case study, that of Sharleen Spiteri, an HIV-positive sex worker who appeared on the Australian national current affairs television programme 60 Minutes in 1989 and admitted that she sometimes had unprotected sex with clients. As a consequence of the ensuing wave of moral panic, she was forcibly detained in a locked AIDS ward and a mental asylum. After she was released she was kept under 24-hour surveillance for the remaining 15 years of her life. In 2010, the authors of this article produced a radio documentary for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation about Sharleen Spiteri's case. The authors argue that her story raises some important and difficult questions for the ethical practice of journalism. They analyse the role of journalists and politicians involved in Sharleen's case, and show that their belief that they were acting in the public interest played into well-established historical narratives linking sex workers with disease and dissolution, with disastrous consequences for Sharleen herself. The authors argue that a more reflexive and responsible conception of the public interest for journalists requires them to pay more careful attention to the voices and perspectives of people who are excluded from participation in the public sphere.
Morton, TJ & Pearson, M 2015, 'Zones of silence: Forensic patients, radio documentary, and a mindful approach to journalism ethics', Pacific Journalism Review, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 11-32.
Morton, T 2012, ''Dirty little secret': Journalism, privacy, and the case of Sharleen Spiteri', Pacific Journalism Review, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 46-68.
In both the Australian and British debates about media ethics and accountability, a key question about the News of the World phone-hacking scandal was whether or not the law should provide stronger protection for individuals from invasion of their privacy by news organisations. There is no explicit reference to privacy in the terms of reference of either Britain's Leveson or Australia's Finkelstein inquiries. It can safely be said, however, that invasions of personal privacy by NOTW journalists were an important element in the political atmospherics which lead to their establishment. This article also asks where that dividing line should be drawn. However, it approaches the issue of privacy from a rather different perspective, drawing on a case study from relatively recent history involving Sharleen Spiteri, an HIV+ sex worker who caused a national scandal when she appeared on television in Australia in 1989 and revealed that she sometimes had unprotected sex with her clients
Morton, T 2012, 'This wheel's on fire: New models for investigative journalism', Pacific Journalism Review, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 13-16.
In the following pages of Pacific Journalism Review, the journal is publishing transcripts of Center for Investigative Journalism director Robert Rosenthal's keynote address at the 'Back to the Source' investigative journalism conference in Sydney in September 2010; conference sessions in which Sue Spencer, Richard Baker and Nick McKenzie talk about their work on the Securency story; and Linton Besser and Dylan Welch of the Sydney Morning Herald describe their investigations of the New South Wales Crime Commission. Many other sessions featured at the conference; but these two transcripts give a strong sense of some of the new possibilities for investigative journalism, and of how investigative journalists practise their craft.
Goodman, J, Ghosh, D & Morton, T 2019, 'Climate technology and climate justice: energy transitions in Germany, India and Australia' in Jafry, T (ed), Routledge Handbook of Climate Justice, Routledge, Abingdon, UK and New York, USA, pp. 237-250.
This chapter deliberately focuses on transition as a key site where the development of climate justice claims can be tracked, over time and “on the ground.” It focuses especially on the justice requirements for energy decarbonisation, comparing energy transition and renewable energy in India, Germany and Australia. The three countries occupy radically different places in the decarbonisation process. As a high-emitting, post-industrial society, Germany positions itself as a frontrunner in decarbonisation with its 2011 “Energy Transition” policy. While the fossil fuel sector has protected its share of German electricity generation, the largely community, cooperative and municipality-based renewables sector has played a key political role in legitimising renewables. By contrast, India is a rapidly industrialising country, with up to 40% of its population without access to electricity. The Indian Government’s priority is to increase energy capacity, mainly through coal-fired power, but also through nuclear energy and expanded renewables, extending access to low-cost clean energy ( Mohan 2015 ). As a high-income, high-emitting society, Australia is heavily dependent on fossil fuels for electricity and for export income. The renewables sector is relatively marginal both in terms of overall electricity supply and its political influence. Yet renewables have strong public support that can be mobilised, for instance, to protect the Renewable Energy Target ( Lowy Institute 2014 ).
Morton, TJ 2016, 'The first draft of the future: journalism in the 'Age of the Anthropocene'' in Marshall, J (ed), Environmental Change and the World's Futures Ecologies, Ontologies and Mythologies, Routledge, USA, pp. 33-47.
The futures discussed in this book primarily arise from awareness of the potentially disruptive impact of climate change and ecological instability on human societies.
Morton, TJ 2015, 'The Future Would Have to Give Way to the Past: Germany and the Coal Dilemma' in Princen, T, Manno, J & Martin, P (eds), Ending the Fossil Fuel Era, The MIT Press, USA, pp. 223-248.
This is an envisioning exercise, drawing in particular on the futuring work of Donella Meadows and designed to help articulate a politics of transition.36 First, the fossil fuel era, which began worldwide in the 1890s when fossil fuels
Goodman, J & Morton, T 2014, 'Climate Crisis and the Limits of Liberal Democracy? Germany, Australia and India Compared.' in Isakhan, B & Slaughter, S (eds), Crisis and Democracy in the Twenty-First Century: Democratizing Governance, Palgrave Macmillan, London, pp. 229-252.
Morton, T 2012, 'Wide Open Road: Radio as Cultural History' in Matt Mollgaard (ed), Radio and Society: New Thinking for an Old Medium, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, pp. 65-82.
Morton, TJ 2016, 'Beyond the Coal Rush - Series Portfolio', Australia.
Three Radio National documentaries:
Beyond the coal rush part 1: The march of coal
Beyond the coal rush part 2: The age of coal
Beyond the coal rush part 3: The transition begins
Morton, TJ 2016, 'Beyond the coal rush part 1: The march of coal', Beyond the coal rush, Radio National: The Science Show, Australia.
Morton, TJ 2016, 'Beyond the coal rush part 2: The age of coal', Beyond the coal rush, Radio National: The Science Show, Australia.
Morton, TJ 2016, 'Beyond the coal rush part 3: The transition begins', Beyond the coal rush, Radio National: The Science Show, Australia.
Morton, T & Stephens, A 2015, 'Rilke in Ronda', Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australian Broadcasting Commission.
Rilke in Ronda is a 30’00 bilingual radio feature about the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke’s visit to the Spanish town of Ronda in 1913
Morton, T 2014, 'The Man Without a Name', Radio National.
Morton, TJ 2013, 'In King Coal's Kingdom', Radio National, ABC Radio National.
Morton, T 2012, 'Krautrock', The Night Air (broadcast program), ABC Radio National, Sydney.
This documentary continues the author's research interest in formal experimentation in radio documentary, and the radio documentary as a form of cultural history.
The Secret Life of an Australian Mother is a radio series that contributes to the research areas of media arts and radio studies specifically radio documentary formats. The work was broadcast on ABC Radio National and Irelands Documentary on One- described as the most successful radio documentary program in the world as well as on National Public Radio (U.S) along with an interview with Eurydice Aroney about her approach to the production. Chicago based Third Coast Audio festival an internationally respected site/festival for audio documentary producers features the series. It was selected by the True/False Film festival (U.S 2007) as one of several short audio works to be played to audiences in the dark prior to film/video documentary screenings. Eurydice Aroney the author and the producer of the series collaborated with Tom Morton and composer/percussionist Stuart Brown to create a series that uses audio samples of household noises and family feuds as the source for narrative based, short operatic arias. The work aimed to break generic conventions and experiment with documentary recording and editing conventions whilst revealing the conflicting emotions that women experience when caring for small children. It contributes to the field of radio documentary research by exploring and developing a popular genre in radio, that of the musical feature. Crossing the line between fact and fiction the work stands out as an example of short innovative radio production suitable for national and international audiences as demonstrated by the global recognition it received.
Morton, T 2010, 'A German Reunion / Deutschland eine Wiederbegegnung', 360documentaries, ABC, ABC.
These 2 radio documentaries (one in English, one in German) explore how German society has changed in the 20 years since reunification, seen through the eyes of characters the author had interviewed for a previous documentary in 1990 (Deutschmark Deutschmark Ã¼ber alles, broadcast on ABC Radio National May 1990). Both focus on the environmental reconstruction of Eastern Germany Awards: Finalist, Prix Europa 2011, Radio Documentary http://www.prix-europa.de/en/prix_europa_2011/nominees/nominees_radio/
Sharleen Spiteri was a sex worker, a drug user, and she was HIV+. In July 1989, Sharleen Spiteri appeared on the national current affairs TV program 60 Minutes and told reporter Jeff McMullen that she tried to get her clients to practice safe sex, but sometimes they wouldn't cooperate. As a result, the NSW government took Sharleen from her flat under police guard, and forcibly detained her in a locked AIDS ward, a mental hospital and a disused nursesâ home. After she was released from detention, Sharleen spent much of the remaining 16 years of her life under 24-hour supervision by health workers. She became the most expensive public patient in NSW history. This program uses the techniques of investigative journalism, including exclusive original interviews with politicians, bureaucrats, health workers, carers, sex workers, nuns and journalists, as well as extensive archival research and material obtained through FOI to uncover the background to Sharleenâs story. It raises important issues about the relationship between the media and public policy, and the clash between individual civil liberties and governmentâs responsibility to protect public interest. Co-producer/author Tom Morton author delivered a paper based on the documentary at Back to the Source, the national Investigative Journalism Conference held at UTS on September 17th-18th 2011. Paper was published in Pacific Journalism Review in 2012. Awards/Competitions/Festivals 2010 Gold Radio Award, New York Festivals: http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/main.php?p=3,1&wp=info&id=405202 Finalist, John Curtin Award for Journalism, Victorian Premierâs Literary Awards, 2010
Morton, T & Dwyer, CM 2008, 'Wide Open Road', ABC, ABC, ABC Radio National.
A 4-part radio documentary series(4 x 58-53 ) and interactive website about the relationship between Australian popular music and the landscape. Co-produced with Cath Dwyer, Wide Open Road consists of 4 parallel narratives about the development of Australian popular music from the 1970s to the early 21st century, and the way in which themes of place and identity are reflected and articulated in popular music from punk to hip-hop. Broadcast on Into the Music on ABC Radio National, JJJ and ABC Local Radio, November 2008. Each episode is organized around a central image or metaphor 'Road, Suburbs, Carpet and Coast - and explores how songwriters and musicians responded imaginatively to the natural and urban Australian landscape. The series is based on approximately 50 original audio interviews conducted by the producers in 2008, and extensive research in the audio archives of the ABC. An academic article based on the series, âWide Open Road: Radio as Cultural Historyâ, will be published in April 2012 in an edited volume entitled: Radio and Society: New thinking for an old media, (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012)
Morton, T 2007, ''Accomplices in Atrocity. The Indonesian killings of 1965' and 'Australia's Secret War with Indonesia'', ABC Radio National Hindsight, ABC, ABC.
1. Accomplices in Atrocity. The Indonesian killings of 1965 http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/hindsight/accomplices-in-a… One of the worst mass murders of the later 20th century happened on our doorstep -- yet few Australians know about it. In late 1965, the Indonesian army orchestrated the killing of half a million communists and suspected sympathisers in reprisal for what they claimed was an attempted Communist coup. Historians who've studied thousands of declassified Australian, British and American documents say they reveal a shocking truth: the Western powers not only knew about the killings, but were accomplices in atrocity. This program includes original research on undertaken by the author/producer on Australiaâs knowledge of the mass killings using declassified documents from the Department of External Affairs held in the National Archives of Australia http://naa12.naa.gov.au/scripts/Imagine.asp?B=583616&I=1&SE=1 Sunday 7 Sep 2008 2. Australia's Secret War with Indonesia http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/hindsight/australias-secre… In 1965/66, Australian troops fought a covert war inside Indonesian territory in Borneo. The Australian public was not told about these cross-border operations. In fact, they were kept so secret that only a handful of Cabinet Minister knew of their existence. The soldiers themselves were under strict instructions to tell no-one - not even their wives. They kept the secret for 30 years. This program features extensive original interviews with soldiers and commanding officers who took part in the top secret operation, and with leading Australian historians.
Morton, T 2007, ''The cry of the Coorong' and 'In the tracks of Goyder'', ABC Radio National, ABC, ABc.
The 2 x 50 minute documentaries detailed below, both broadcast on ABC Radio National, explore a wide range of issues relating to sustainable agriculture, use of water resources, environmental policy, environmental history, and the nature of human relationships with landscape. The author presented a paper based on these programs at the recent Symposium on Environmental Politics and Conflict in an Age of Digital Media at the University of Tasmania, 17-18 November 2011. 1. The cry of the Coorong The Coorong is one of Australia's most fragile wetlands - a narrow lagoon that runs parallel to the South Australian coast a couple of hours' drive south of Adelaide. The setting for Colin Thiele's famous story Storm Boy, it's been home to vast numbers of water birds. But now, the Coorong is choking to death. The Cry of the Coorong is a meditation on the meaning of landscapes and how they call to us. Broadcast: Saturday 6 December 2008 12:00AM (view full episode) http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/radioeye/the-cry-of-the-co… 2. In the tracks of Goyder The Goyder Line is a South Australian icon. It runs across the mid-north of the state from the fringes of the Nullarbor all the way to the Victorian border. South of the line there's enough rainfall to grow wheat; north of the line rains become too unreliable. In dry years, you can see the line in the landscape, where the saltbush ends and the mallee begins. It's a natural boundary which marks the limits of sustainable agriculture. http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/hindsight/in-the-tracks-of…
Morton, T 2006, 'Australia and The Nuclear Renaissance', Background Briefing, ABC, ABC.
The program was produced for Background Briefing, ABC Radio Nationalâs flagship investigative journalism program. It is 54 minutes in duration and the product of 6-7 weeks of intensive research, interviewing, editing, sound design, writing and production Nuclear is back. Australia, with its abundant ore and 'good guy' status could become a key member of the uranium enricher's club. But what would the neighbours think? And how would the twin threats of weapons proliferation and waste disposal be addressed?
Morton, T 2006, 'Perils of Peacekeeping', ABC Radio National Background Briefing, ABC, ABC.
The program was produced for Background Briefing, ABC Radio Nationalâs flagship investigative journalism program. It is 54 minutes in duration and the product of 6-7 weeks of intensive research, interviewing, editing, sound design, writing and production It's well known that soldiers can be traumatized by war but peacekeeping can be just as stressful with its own horrors. Australian veterans of the peacekeeping operation in East Timor have taken their own lives, committed crimes, or are living with mental illness
Morton, T 2006, 'Renovating Muslim Australia'.
The program was produced for Background Briefing, ABC Radio Nationalâs flagship investigative journalism program. It is 54 minutes in duration and the product of 6-7 weeks of intensive research, interviewing, editing, sound design, writing and production. It's been a tough year for Australian Muslims. The Hilali controversy has exposed deep divisions in the Sydney Muslim community - between different religious factions, generations and classes. But the younger generation of Muslim leaders is saying it's also a time to renovate - and lay some new foundations.
Morton, T 2006, 'Torn Curtain: The Secret History of the Cold War', ABC Radio National Hindsight, ABC, ABC.
This is a 5-part series and website which investigates key themes and episodes in Cold War history. Through the use of declassified documents, archival research, original interviews with participants (former officials, diplomats, intelligence officers, political activists etc), interviews with academic historians, journalists, contemporary witnesses, and archival sound material, the series delivers new insights and an original perspective on Cold War history and the underlying geo-political, ideological and cultural forces which shaped it. (5 x 53â57)
Morton, T 2005, 'Aboriginal Canada', ABC Radio National Backgrounfd Briefing, ABC, ABC.
The program was produced for Background Briefing, ABC Radio Nationalâs flagship investigative journalism program. It is 54 minutes in duration and the product of 6-7 weeks of intensive research, interviewing, editing, sound design, writing and production Canada's relationship with its Aboriginal peoples has many similarities with Australia's - from the early beginnings of European colonisation to the ways Canada is wrestling with the legacy of its own stolen generations of Aboriginal children. The research for this program was undertaken with the assistance of a Commonwealth Broadcasting Association Travel Bursary in February 2005
Morton, T 2005, 'Australian Muslim Youth', ABC, ABC.
The program was produced for Background Briefing, ABC Radio Nationalâs flagship investigative journalism program. The programs listed below are each 54 minutes in duration and the product of 6-7 weeks of intensive research, interviewing, editing, sound design, writing and production In Muslim communities across the world there's an intense battle of ideas going on about how to confront extremism and isolationism; what it means to be a Muslim in a modern, globalizing world - and how Muslims should live in non-Muslim societies. That same battle is happening here - and Australian Muslim youth are on the frontline. Young Muslims see debate and diversity as a sign of strength and maturity.
Morton, T 2005, 'BioWar', ABC Radio National Background Briefing, ABC, ABC.
The program was produced for Background Briefing, ABC Radio Nationalâs flagship investigative journalism program. The programs listed below are each 54 minutes in duration and the product of 6-7 weeks of intensive research, interviewing, editing, sound design, writing and production. America has beefed up biological weapon research by $6 billion, and 11,000 people now have hands-on access to virulent biological agents. Scientists and analysts question the sanity of such a strategy. Remember anthrax was dispersed by an American.
Morton, T 2005, 'Lula: Brazil's Worker President', ABC Radio National Background Briefing, ABC, ABC.
The program was produced for Background Briefing, ABC Radio Nationalâs flagship investigative journalism program. It is 54 minutes in duration and the product of 6-7 weeks of intensive research, interviewing, editing, sound design, writing and production Elected with impeccable leftist credentials, President Lula now walks a political tightrope. He has to stay friends with America and work with shifts in global politics. He has to keep faith with the poor, yet not upset the rich. What he does has ramifications for all South America.
Morton, T 2005, 'Nuclear Nightmares', Background Briefing, ABC, ABC Radio National.
The program was produced for Background Briefing, ABC Radio Nationalâs flagship investigative journalism program. It is 54 minutes in duration and the product of 6-7 weeks of intensive research, interviewing, editing, sound design, writing and production. Is the world headed for a new nuclear arms race? Sunday 22 May 2005
Morton, T 2005, 'Nuclear Nightmares / Australia and the Nuclear Renaissance', Background Briefing, ABC, ABC.
http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/backgroundbriefing/nuclear… The program was produced for Background Briefing, ABC Radio Nationalâs flagship investigative journalism program. It is 54 minutes in duration and the product of 6-7 weeks of intensive research, interviewing, editing, sound design, writing and production. Is the world headed for a new nuclear arms race? Sunday 22 May 2005 http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/backgroundbriefing/austral… The program was produced for Background Briefing, ABC Radio Nationalâs flagship investigative journalism program. It is 54 minutes in duration and the product of 6-7 weeks of intensive research, interviewing, editing, sound design, writing and production Nuclear is back. Australia, with its abundant ore and 'good guy' status could become a key member of the uranium enricher's club. But what would the neighbours think? And how would the twin threats of weapons proliferation and waste disposal be addressed?
Morton, T 2005, 'Testing Industrial Relations', ABC Background Briefing, ABC, ABC.
The program was produced for Background Briefing, ABC Radio Nationalâs flagship investigative journalism program. The programs listed below are each 54 minutes in duration and the product of 6-7 weeks of intensive research, interviewing, editing, sound design, writing and production Workers at the Boeing Williamtown site near Newcastle have been on strike for almost 5 months. They're on individual contracts, and most have never been in a union before. Now they want the Industrial Relations Commission to authorise a secret ballot on the right to have a collective agreement. It's never been tried before, it's risky - and the obstacles are formidable.