Mar 28, 2013

Accidental crusader: how a regional reporter prompted a royal commission

Joanne McCarthy's reporting has been pivotal in creating a royal commission into child sexual abuse. She speaks to Matthew Knott about treading the tightrope between journalism and advocacy.

Matthew Knott

Former Crikey media reporter

When Joanne McCarthy was named journalist of the year at the Quill Awards earlier this month, more than a few of the assorted flacks and hacks at Melbourne’s Crown Palladium stared at each other in surprise.


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14 thoughts on “Accidental crusader: how a regional reporter prompted a royal commission

  1. paddy

    Wonderful piece Matthew.
    Blinking back the tears as I type.
    Thank goodness for Joanne McCarthy’s courage and persistence.

  2. Milanion20

    That is the media for you.

    When it is bad it is very bad,

    and when it is good…

  3. klewso

    As she so succinctly put it – this could hardly have happened in the mainstream press – with their obsession with control of public interest, dead-lines, “entertainment priorities” – their limited news outlook?

  4. GF50

    Wow! great piece, Thankyou Mathew, Thankyou Joanne
    Kate McClymont not in the same ballpark!

  5. Edward James

    Make no bones about it Matthew. What started with Shine the light, and the wonderful journalism of Joanne McCarthy. Went on the boil when family, friends and supporters from Maitland and around the Hunter regions began writing support letters to the Newcastle Herald. The upwelling of disgust and anger looked back at the lifestyle of Milton (the horrible) Orkopolous the Labor Member for Swansea and forward to the prospect of more inaction and cover. Only a few days earlier Prime Minister Gillard was telling the media their would be no Royal Commission the state had it in hand. Then a complete backflip from the Prime Minister, we get our Royal Commission. It happened because the peoples were rising up and demanding a royal commission, with each passing day the numbers were growing. Inspired by the unusual yet invaluable support of the Newcastle Herald, reporter Joanne McCarthy and Peter Fox. The peoples know very well there has been a on going coverup of child abuse. Lets just hope the findings of this Royal Commission are not put into storage somewhere and never acted on. Edward James

  6. jaseologist

    Any chance Crikey can poach Joanne?

  7. klewso

    …… and they couldn’t trust a Coalition (state) government to do it?
    You can imagine a “Catholic PM” pulling one on?

  8. Em_E

    ~ Beautiful story thank you for sharing ~

  9. Edward James

    While we have a Royal Commission. It still requires the families, friends and their supporters who forced the Prime Minister to act. To ride the six member Royal Commission hands and heals all the way to a satisfactory conclusion. Which means defrockings and convictions for those still living. Edward James

  10. Alison White

    Great article,and it’s hard to imagine that there will ever be a more deserving winner.

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