The Search for Edna Lavilla

Australian Broadcasting Commision
"Radio Eye" program, 2007
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2006009708OK.mp325.44 MB
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The Search for Edna Lavilla Produced by Eurydice Aroney and Sharon Davis. Background A radio documentary in the Journalism research discipline. This fifty-minute historical investigation (Aroney, Davis 2007) produced for the Australian Broadcast Corporation examines Sydneys illegal abortion trade during the 1940s. It involved painstaking archival research and document analysis, the tracking down of sources and eye-witness accounts from the period plus literature searches requiring interpretative analysis of criminal statistics. As a creative work the documentary used narrative script writing, performance, and dramatic historical recreations based on previously unearthed records and media reports. Contribution In the domain of journalism the use of first hand witness accounts are central to both the establishment of facts and storytelling techniques. However in the telling of stories such as this there are tensions between the desire to protect privacy of the individuals and the journalistic aim to put on the public record accurately attributed accounts. These ethical issues were revealed and explored within the narrative of the work by the journalist/producer. The same journalist published a peer review article based on the documentary in Oral History Association of Australia Journal (Aroney 200). A 1,000 word review of the program in History Australia journal says that this fine documentary succeeds in restoring to history some lost stories of abortion (Arrow 2007). Significance Walkley Award (2007), Third Coast International Audio Festival Award (Chicago), Prix Italia selection, finalist UN Media Peace Prize, Victorian Premiers Awards , broadcast on NPR (United States) and RTE (Ireland).
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