Commentary, Analysis, Opinion and Critique
In Melbourne, Australian Rules football inspires religious fervour. Revelations of supplement abuse at Essendon Football Club made headlines around the country, and Caroline Wilson was part of The Age’s ongoing coverage that won this year’s Walkley Award for coverage of a major news event (see page 56). Her opinion pieces took a deeply unpopular stance, highlighting the consequences of the club’s culture, and campaigning for coach James Hird to be held accountable.
Wilson began her newspaper career as a 17-year-old copygirl at the Melbourne Herald. When she joined the sports department in 1982, she became the first woman to cover Australian Rules football full time. She has been chief football writer at The Age since 1999. She is the first woman inducted into the Melbourne Cricket Club’s Media Hall of Fame, and in 2010 won the Australian Sports Commission’s Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to sports journalism. Wilson also works across television and radio as a football commentator.
The Essendon drugs saga defined the 2013 AFL season and dominated media in Melbourne for months. Caroline Wilson led the running, breaking news and framing the issue better than any other journalist. Her commentary was fearlessly independent, calling out the game’s administration, club officials and its favourite son, coach James Hird. Her voice was the strongest, the most consistent and the one most vindicated by the ongoing investigation.