Kerry-Anne Walsh, the Sydney Sun-Herald ’s political correspondent in Canberra for the past seven years, resigned yesterday and will leave Fairfax in three months’ time.
“KA” is a long-serving member of the Canberra media scene. She has worked for newspapers, radio and television, once producing the ABC radio program hosted by Pru Goward, now the Liberal MP for Goulburn in the NSW Parliament, and SBS. For a brief period in the 1980s she worked as a staffer to ministers in the Hawke Government and in recent years she has been a commentator on Barrie Cassidy’s Insiders , Paul Bongiorno’s Meet the Press on Ten and on panel discussions hosted by David Speers and Kieran Gilbert on award-winning Sky News.
Her departure will be a significant blow to Fairfax’s Sydney Sunday paper because she has been such a prolific performer, delivering regular front-page splashes, breaking news stories, writing political comment and co-authoring a regular column, The Naked Eye .
In one of the accidental consequences of her resignation, Fairfax’s dollar-driven CEO Brian McCarthy may opportunistically seize the moment to unfold his plan for a single Canberra bureau serving the major papers in the group, The Sydney Morning Herald , The Sun-Herald , The Age , The Sunday Age , The Canberra Times and the online brisbanetimes.com.au . Whether the fiercely independent Australian Financial Review becomes rolled into the homogenized single bureau remains to be seen.
Rob Chalmers, editor of the weekly newsletter Inside Canberra and a member of the Canberra Press Gallery for an astonishing 58 years, told Crikey : “Working on a Sunday newspaper in Canberra is never easy. Stories that you might pick up on Tuesday or Wednesday can be knocked off by the daily papers on Thursday or Friday. You are always fighting for exclusives which will hold until Sunday. Kerry-Anne is a topline political reporter and a reliable producer of good stories who has a great network of contacts.”