NEWCASTLE Herald reporter Joanne McCarthy last night capped a stunning year by winning Australian journalism’s most prestigious award, the Gold Walkley.
McCarthy collected the coveted award at last night’s gala ceremony in Brisbane for her reporting on child sex abuse in the Catholic Church, which led to a state inquiry and royal commission.
It was one of two Walkley wins for McCarthy and the Herald.
The Herald team of McCarthy, editor Chad Watson and reporters Ian Kirkwood and Jason Gordon won the Walkley award for coverage of community and regional affairs for the ‘Shine the Light’ series on child sex abuse.
The Herald’s Donna Page, Matt Carr and Darren Pateman were finalists for the community and regional affairs award for their investigation into devastating grout spill by mining contractors in the Mount Sugarloaf State conservation area.
McCarthy’s Walkley triumph completes a sweep of Australia’s major journalism awards in the past 12 months.
She won the Melbourne Press Club’s Graham Perkin Award for Australian Journalist of the Year, was crowned NSW Journalist of the Year at the Kennedy Awards for excellence in NSW journalism and named the Northern NSW Journalist of the Year at the Prodi Awards.
Walkleys chairman Laurie Oakes commended McCarthy for her efforts to address the scourge of child sexual abuse through the Shine the Light series.
“Joanne’s work is a shining example of what can be achieved through compassionate and sensitive reporting and the ability to engender sources’ trust,” Oakes said.
McCarthy is the second Newcastle Herald journalist to win the Gold Walkley after John Lewis in 1981.
Read more about the Shine the Light campaign here