BEYOND TRUE CRIME: TRANSFORMING JOURNALISM INTO DOCUMENTARY
When a convicted baby murderer wrote to one of Australia’s leading investigative journalists from prison, EXPOSED endeavoured to turn the true crime model on its head.
What do you do when a convicted baby murderer writes to you from prison, claiming innocence and wrongful conviction? How do you produce a documentary series when the central character – the victim’s own mother – is inaccessible, behind bars?
This is the dilemma Gold Walkley and Logie award-winning journalist Caro Meldrum-Hanna was faced with when Keli Lane wrote to her. The end result was the ground-breaking, critically acclaimed three-part documentary series EXPOSED: The Case of Keli Lane, which aired on the ABC in late 2018. The series quickly racked-up recording breaking audience figures and became the most viewed factual program online, even eclipsing the viewer figures for international dramas such as Dr Who.
Unique and original in both its execution and production, EXPOSED broke away from traditional journalistic storytelling modes and brought the audience something unique and original to engage with. It also turned the true crime model on its head by investigating and re-examining a notorious closed case and the psychology of the accused, testing her claimed innocence and the rigour and fairness of the case against her, rather than revisiting a cold case.
In conversation with Bernadine Lim, Meldrum-Hanna will step through her journalistic and creative methods, including how to deal with controversial characters and unpredictable, unfolding material to create something unique and original in a short period of time. She will also discuss experimenting with new forms of storytelling, the role of the audience, and the fascination with true crime and justice.
Image 01: EXPOSED: The Case of Keli Lane key art
Image 02: Caro Meldrum-Hanna of EXPOSED: The Case of Keli Lane