Kudos to Sydney Morning Herald investigative journalist Kate McClymont for her decades-long reporting on Eddie Obeid.
Her pioneering work played no small part in the unveiling of one of the biggest sagas in NSW political history.
I’m not going to repeat her words. But I do urge you to go to the smh.com.au website and read her amazing work for yourself.
McClymont is among the very best of our profession … and proof of the power of journalism to change the course of history.
I put her in the “they’re so valuable and irreplaceable we need to clone them” category along with David Attenborough.
We don’t need just one Kate: we need a dozen all across Australia.
And we need to properly reward and recognise the work of McClymont and her tireless colleagues.
That is why I propose a new category in The Walkleys: The McClymonts.
Investigative journalism is long and arduous and brutal and expensive.
It is a heavy cross to bear for the practitioner and not a role for the faint-hearted, which is why so many of us admire Kate.
Sadly, in a world of reduced media profits and budgets, investigative journalism is among the most threatened fields of journalism.
And yet, from Woodward and Bernstein and beyond, investigative journalism can rattle the cages and shake the foundations of power … and even change the world.
Indeed, what would the world look like without investigative journalism?
With no one to tell us any different we might believe that we had somehow entered a magical, more moral era.
That perhaps what governments told us was unquestionable and true, that we had never had it so good, and that our business and political leaders were figures of nobility beyond temptation. That our air, food and water was untainted, that graft and corruption were on the decline, that life was becoming better for the average citizen despite evidence otherwise, that councils behaved themselves, and that a million other calumnies both big and small were no longer practised.
The work of Kate and her colleagues is a vital tonic for the health of our society.
So yes … let’s have the inaugural McClymont Award For Investigative Journalism in next year’s Walkleys.
My ebook military thriller The Spartan is out now on Amazon.