James Saunders from IndigenousX and award-winning filmmaker Yaara Bou Melhem are JNI’s first Australian Journalists-in-Residence. They were announced during an event at the Institute’s Chippendale headquarters on Thursday.
The Institute’s Journalist-in-Residence Program gives working journalists, as well as those involved in the production of news and factual content, an opportunity to undertake a deeper piece of work at the Institute.
The program has two streams. The Australian stream is named after Catherine Martin, the inaugural winner of the Gold Walkley award in 1978. The International stream is named after celebrated war correspondent and author Alan Moorehead.
As Catherine Martin Journalists-in-Residence, James and Yaara will work on significant individual projects and will also participate in the Institute’s activities and events.
James’s project will focus on helping other young Indigenous journalists and content creators to use social media more effectively to tell stories about First Nations life in Australia. James will conduct a series of workshops at the Institute with young participants from across Australia.
Yaara will use her time at the Institute to work on a documentary mapping the tens of thousands of inactive mines in Australia, highlighting the environmental and financial impact of these sites.
The Journalist-in-Residence Program is a tangible expression of the Institute’s goal to make its Abercrombie Street headquarters a place where journalists can work, learn and collaborate.
‘Trailblazer’ Catherine Martin
Catherine Martin’s daughter Kaye Martin spoke at the program’s launch about her mother’s trailblazing journalism and the impact her reporting had on West Australians’ lives.
“Her exclusive reports on life-threatening diseases, Aboriginal health, and the dangers of smoking and drinking initiated changes in people’s social habits and have been referred to by the medical fraternity as ‘historical documents’,” Kaye Martin said.
“These feature stories focused Government and public attention on serious community health problems, which provoked measures for change.”
In 1978, Catherine Martin won the inaugural Gold Walkley for her reporting on the deadly effects of blue asbestos mining. It was one of 20 awards she won during her 29 years reporting for the West Australian.
Despite her exemplary reporting, Martin was paid less than her male colleagues. So she took matters into her own hands.
“Catherine staged a one-woman strike,” said Kaye Martin.”And, yes, she got what she deserved, an A grade salary.”
Martin was awarded an MBE in recognition of her outstanding service to the community in 1982 and was posthumously inducted into the Australian Media Hall of Fame.
Lessons from a master journalist
Speaking at the launch, The Australian‘s Editor-at-Large and JNI board member Paul Kelly said Alan Moorehead’s legacy should continue to inspire Australian journalists.
“He was a master of what every journalist aspires to achieve; to capture accurately and authentically the times in which he or she lives,” Kelly said.
He said Moorehead had a clear vision of what he wanted to be from a young age.
“At 15 he knew he would become a journalist and a writer, and he knew his stage would be the world,” he said.
“This is the first lesson for any journalist or writer from Moorehead: follow your passion and never forget it.”