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lip top 10: homegrown female journalistic talent

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Today is World Press Freedom Day – a day I didn’t know existed until I typed ‘May 3’ into Google. Its purpose is exactly what you think it is – promotion of freedom of expression, specifically through the media. I thought today would be an appropriate day to take a look at some of our homegrown journalistic talent. Female, of course.

1. Ita Buttrose
Oh Ita, the epitome of grace. Expert on etiquette, immaculate dresser and picture of poise. Oh yeah, and something about being the founding editor of Cleo. Australian of the Year, Centenary Medal, OBE, AO…

2. Annabel Crabb
I’m not a massive fan of Kitchen Cabinet, but as a journo, I’m a little bit in love with her political commentary. Or maybe it’s lust. Or both. All I know is that I want it, and I want to be it.

3. Geraldine Doogue
You know her now as the host of Compass, but did you know that she received the United Nations Media Peace Prize for her coverage of the Gulf War? You do now.

4. Michelle Grattan
Grattan was the first female editor of an Australian metropolitan daily newspaper, being The Canberra Times. Now, that’s great, but then I looked at the date that that happened. It was in 1993. Good on her, but it’s a little sad that it took that long.

5. Alice Henry
Alice Henry wasn’t a journalist in the way that everyone else on this list is. She lived from 1857 to 1943 and was prominent in the suffrage movement. While journalism for her was originally just a way to support herself, her knowledge gained her attention in America, and she eventually became a citizen and edited the journal for the National Women’s Trade Union League. This isn’t really a name you hear when you think about the suffrage movement, but it was people like this that you needed working behind the scenes to support those working out front.

6. Margo Kingston
Kingston has written for many newspapers, but I reckon the coolest thing she ever did was organise a sit-in of journalists at the launch of the federal election campaign for One Nation. They were protesting the way that the party was treating journalists. I don’t think it was particularly successful, but kudos for trying.

7. Jacquelin Magnay
Magnay worked mainly in sports journalism and rattled a few cages when she demanded that women be allowed access to locker rooms for post-match interviews. For this she was told to ‘get home and wash the dishes’ and to ‘stop behaving like a temperamental schoolgirl’. She took action against the last comment and filed a successful complaint with the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission, forcing an apology. Boom.

8. Leigh Sales
Let’s just enjoy this spectacle again.

9. Sally Sara
I’m going to make a list of all the awards Sara has won, mainly for her work as foreign correspondent in Africa and the Middle East: United Nations Media Peace Award, Queensland Journalist of the Year, South Australian Young Journalist of the Year, the British Prize for Journalism, Excellence in Rural Journalism, the John Douglas Pringle Award. She has also been nominated for almost a dozen Walkley Awards, and the big one, a silver Logie. I’m sure that Logie would have been the pinnacle of her career.

10. Lisa Wilkinson
I know lately we tend to see her on red carpets and pity laughing at Karl Stefanovic’s “jokes”, but she started her career in print, becoming editor of Dolly at 21. Twenty-one years old. Just let that sink in.

3 thoughts on “lip top 10: homegrown female journalistic talent

  1. I think it’s a shame you can find room on the list for Lisa Wilkinson, or Leigh Sales – mainly because of ‘that’ interview – but not for renowned policy wonk journalists, like Lara Tingle or Lenore Taylor.
    While its important to celebrate female journalists who have broken through barriers or achieved celebrity fame, we should also recognise those who dont appear on tv and write about obstensibly boring policy stuff but do it at least as well as the very best male journalist.

    • You’re completely right. After Googling them and reading a bit of their work, they are very deserving of a spot. You’ve also demonstrated exactly why I’d love more people to engage in the comments. I simply can’t include people if I’ve never heard of them, so when people like yourself and Amy (above, suggesting Chris Wallace) jump in, I get to Google and learn!

      I don’t know if that comes across as insincere or not, but it’s not meant to, so genuinely, thanks for getting involved. I’d love for you to throw some more names at me.

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