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Five winners reflect on a life-changing experience

The Women in Media community misses our co-patron, Caroline Jones, beyond measure and is proud to continue an initiative that was close to her heart.

The Caroline Jones Women in Media Young Journalist’s Award, supported by the National Press Club of Australia, is now in its sixth year.

As we call for applications, all the past recipients have shared their reflections on the personal impact of the country’s pre-eminent award for up-and-coming regional reporters.

Eliza Goetze: 2017

Winning the inaugural Caroline Jones award was such a vote of confidence in myself as a journalist and more importantly in the work we do: a recognition of just how much of a difference good journalism makes to regional communities, and people’s lives.

Caroline got that, and she knew how to bring people together to encourage each other.

That’s her legacy: to keep inspiring young women into a profession that really needs them! The award took me from the cane fields of Bundaberg to Canberra, and I even dropped in on the ABC bureau in Washington DC.

It connected me with a whole network of incredible journalists including early-career ones just like me, opened my eyes to new possibilities and strengthened my determination to keep telling stories in small communities.

They really matter.

Emily Jane Smith: 2018

There are many unforgettable moments about being the recipient of the Caroline Jones young journalist’s award.

The week in Canberra gave me the opportunity to travel from Broome to see the press gallery, meet other journalists, and get a taste of the media world in the ACT.

I treasure that time with Caroline Jones, speaking not just about a career in journalism, but life as well.

I was so bloody nervous before asking a question at the National Press Club.

Sitting next to Caroline, I remember the gentle nod she gave me after the question as if to say “good on you”.

The encouragement from Caroline, and others I met, had a great impact.

That sort of support has lasted well beyond that week in Canberra.

Caroline really had the power to bring people together.

I think that’s the legacy of this award.

It has connected me with a group of like-minded journalists who have been a constant source of support and wisdom.

This has been helpful as I’ve moved through my journalism career, many years after I stood up and asked that question at the National Press Club.

Virginia Tapscott: 2019

Caroline’s encouragement of my work changed the course of my career.

The simple act of taking an interest in someone else’s work is such a special gift and rare in a vast, fast-paced media landscape.

It felt like she was personally invested in my own success and celebrated alongside me.

Her work creating a culture of supportiveness among women is a legacy we will all enjoy for many years to come.

Elly Bradfield: 2020

While we mourn the loss of Caroline, her legacy will live on through all the lives she touched with her kindness and generosity.

Newsrooms in regional Australia continue to shrink, but Caroline’s belief in the importance of the work we do was unwavering.

Her commitment to regional journalism was a reminder of the importance of bringing stories from the bush to a national audience and the potential to bring about change from policymakers in Canberra and more broadly.

The prize is incredible, but the real gift was the relationships formed with an impressive group of women – a lifetime of support.

Brooke Littlewood: 2021

As a rural journalist, winning this award was incredibly validating and the greatest honour—even more so now.

Caroline was a true inspiration.

She was a selfless and generous mentor who paved the way for generations of women in media.

I feel motivated every day, remembering the kind words of encouragement and support Caroline offered.

I can’t put to words just how grateful I am to have known her.

Applications close at 5pm on September 1, 2022


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