Joanne McCarthy epitomises why investigative journalism is so crucial.
Last night she won Australian journalism’s most prestigious award, the Gold Walkley for her reporting on child sex abuse in the Catholic Church, which led to a state inquiry and royal commission.
Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard spent some of her last moments as PM penning a letter to McCarthy, describing the mother-of-three as a “remarkable person.”
“Thanks in large measure to your persistence and courage, the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry and the federal Royal Commission will bring truth and healing to the victims of horrendous abuse and betrayal,” Ms Gillard wrote.
In her acceptance speech the Newcastle Herald reporter thanked the victims and their families for their trust saying, “they had every reason in the world not to trust.”
Social media has had a negative impact on the business model of traditional media but this woman relied on the basics of good reporting to achieve justice. Fairness, accuracy, balance and putting the truth in the public domain. This is why trained journalists are so important.