Graham Perkin (1929-1975) was one of the finest Australian editors of the twentieth century.
Perkin led The Age from 1966 to 1975. He revived the paper so completely that it became recognised by international authorities as one of the world's best newspapers. He showed inspirational and courageous leadership and promoted young talent. He advocated fiercely for press freedom. He was proud for his journalists to be called muckrakers; if there was muck to be raked, it needed to be raked.
Above all, he had a passion for the words, pictures and cartoons. And he could make them dance together on a page. He campaigned vigorously and fearlessly. It was no accident that his editorship coincided with a period of great commercial success for the paper.
Perkin's biographer Ben Hills says of Perkin: "He changed forever the way Australian newspapers look at the world, and what the public expects of its newspapers ... many of the innovations he brought to The Age have become part of the fabric of the Australian media."
"His ground-breaking use of investigative journalism put law-breakers behind bars and helped bring down governments ... he enlarged the scope of newsgathering to include, for the first time, what today are mainstream issues. These included the environment, social welfare, Aboriginal affairs and health." And he concludes: "Few would challenge him as the greatest editor of his generation, if not the twentieth century."