Graham Perkin

Journalist, Deceased Person

1929 – 1975


Who was Graham Perkin?

Edwin Graham Perkin was an Australian journalist and newspaper editor.

Perkin was born at Hopetoun, Victoria, elder son of Herbert Edwin Perkin, baker, and his wife Iris Lily, née Graham, both Victorian born. Graham grew up at Warracknabeal and was educated at the local high school. In 1948 he began to study law at the University of Melbourne, but abandoned his course in the following year when he obtained a cadetship with The Age. At the Methodist Church, St Kilda, on 6 September 1952 he married Peggy Lorraine Corrie.

As a young reporter, Perkin rapidly acquired a reputation for enthusiasm and restless energy. In 1955 he won a Kemsley scholarship in journalism which took him to London. Returning to Australia as a feature writer, he shared the Walkley award for journalism in 1959 for an article on pioneering heart surgery. His rise in the newspaper hierarchy was rapid: he became deputy news editor in 1959, news editor in 1963, assistant-editor in 1964 and editor in 1966. He was appointed to the additional post of editor-in-chief in 1973.

Under Perkin's editorship, and with the encouragement of his young managing director Ranald Macdonald, The Age again set itself to influence the agenda of governments, as it had under David Syme. Perkin aimed to establish the paper's credibility as a purveyor of reliable information, authoritative analysis and entertaining writing that would be read by the young and the middle class, and that would make politicians sensitive to the needs of their constituency. He succeeded in part by raising the Age's journalistic standards. He recruited ambitious young reporters, a stable of talented cartoonists and photographers, and a group of senior writers to contribute news analysis and comment. He redesigned the typography and layout of the paper, expanded its foreign coverage, appointed a team of investigative reporters and an environmental writer, doubled the space for readers' letters, and began an occasional feature which explained and apologized for the paper's mistakes.

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Dec 16, 1929
Oct 16, 1975

on July 23, 2013


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