Paul Barry, one of Australia’s most outstanding investigative journalists, has joined the full-time editorial staff of Crikey, Australia’s leading independent news website.

A former Four Corners, 60 Minutes and Sydney Morning Herald investigative reporter and ABC TV Media Watch host, Barry is also the author of several acclaimed books, including The Rise and Fall of Alan Bond, Rise and Rise of Kerry Packer and Rich Kids, which documented the collapse of One.Tel.

Barry has won two Walkley Awards, for Best Business Report (1993) and Best News Report (2001).

“I am totally delighted to be moving from the old, traditional media into online media, and to be doing it as part of the team which produces the most independent and interesting online journalism in Australia, namely Crikey,” Barry said today.

Crikey publisher Eric Beecher described the appointment of Paul Barry as yet another watershed in the new media revolution. “We continue to attract outstanding talent who are choosing to leave traditional media platforms to work in the new world of online journalism. Our commitment to going behind the scenes and telling the stories that other media refuse to tell will be further strengthened by the appointment of Paul Barry, one of Australia’s finest investigative journalists.”

Amanda Gome, CEO of Private Media, which publishes Crikey and SmartCompany, said that signing Paul Barry was the latest investment in the evolution of Crikey as a commercially and editorially successful online news enterprise.

“At a time when there are heated discussions about the viability and profitability of online business models and pay walls, Crikey is a success story and beating all its budget targets for the half year and continuing to hire new editorial and production staff,” she says.

“Our subscriber numbers are growing every day. More than 15,000 subscribers wait avidly at lunchtime for their Crikey. The Crikey website also attracts enormous traffic, with November 2010 unique visitors climbing to 488,030 – an 87% increase on November 2009 (261,048), according to independent auditors, Nielsen.

“We are also experts at talking to our community via social media with more than 21,000 Twitter followers and a thriving audience on Facebook. In addition, we’re an increasingly attractive place for advertisers who want to reach intelligent and influential Australians.”

Crikey editor Sophie Black said today: “Crikey has consistently displayed a commitment to investigative journalism, and we’ve pursued this with even more vigour over the last year with our coverage of the federal election, three state elections, several special projects in conjunction with universities and our long-running coverage of WikiLeaks. The appointment of Paul Barry is a great addition to our growing team of hard-working, insightful, committed and talented journalists.”

Crikey boasts a long tradition of connecting the dots and highlighting the power networks that run behind the news — and it’s for this reason that Paul Barry is a great fit. ”

Crikey will continue to navigate the new possibilities that the online medium can bring to investigative journalism…”