Rural and regional women journos, get in on Canberra coverage by applying for this new award

Emma MacDonald, convener of Women in Media Canberra, writes about an exciting new opportunity for women who want to get into political reporting.

The journalists who cover addresses at The National Press Club of Australia hold political leaders to account and grill newsmakers. And this year, one young woman from rural or regional Australia will be joining their ranks, as the winner of the Caroline Jones Women in Media Young Journalists Award.

The award is named after veteran journalist Caroline Jones, who is patron of Women in Media — a national mentoring, networking and professional group backed by the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance.

About Caroline Jones: The Women in Media patron joined the ABC in 1963, and became the first female reporter for This Day Tonight. She worked for Four Corners between 1972-1981 before presenting Radio National’s Search for Meaning. In 1996, Jones became the presenter of Australian Story. This photo by Gemma Deakin.

Started more than a decade ago in Western Australia, Women in Media now has committees in six states and territories. From the glass ceiling and the gender pay gap, to sexual harassment, trolling and death threats, women in media still face many challenges. WiM’s landmark Mates over Merit report has revealed pervasive gender inequality across the industry. Thousands of women have attended the group’s events on work/life balance, negotiating a pay rise, and navigating a freelance career. Its mentoring program connects experienced professionals with those new to the industry or breaking back in after taking caring leave.

Later this year, the WiM website will host a pool of female experts for media organisations seeking greater diversity of talent in their reporting. Long-term, we plan to match potential female leaders with mentors at managerial and board level in television, radio, newspapers and online.
This new award is the first of its kind, allowing non-metropolitan women in the media to see the complexities of the political landscape in the nation’s capital.

The Caroline Jones Award winner will receive an intensive experience of journalism, politics and government in Canberra, including a $2,500 personal learning fund, travel and accommodation for five nights, attendance at a National Press Club event, and mentorship from Canberra’s accomplished Women in Media committee – who will take the winner into their newsrooms and Press Gallery offices, exposing them to the ‘belly of the beast’!

Here’s how to apply:

    • The award is open to any female rural or regional journalist working in a non-metropolitan news setting. Applicants can be aged up to 30 years and must have at least one year of full-time industry experience.
    • Winners will be judged on a portfolio of their work across any media platform (television, newspaper, radio, online) published or broadcast between July 2016 and July 2017.
    • A maximum of three stories must demonstrate tenacity and passion for journalism, an adherence to ethical standards, and a contribution to community understanding and discourse on an issue of choice.
    • Stories may include a single issue or a range of issues, including opinion pieces, features, or news.
    • Entries should be accompanied by links to (or copies of) printed works or online articles, or recordings of broadcasts on television or radio. A written statement of up to 500 words will outline the impact their work has had, and a brief CV must be included.

Email entries to caroline-jones-award@meaa.org by July 1.

Emma Macdonald is a Walkley-award-winning journalist and convener of Women in Media Canberra.