Herald reporter Joanne McCarthy wins Gold Walkley: video, photos

GOLD: The Herald's Gold Walkley winner Joanne McCarthy.

GOLD: The Herald's Gold Walkley winner Joanne McCarthy.

 The Newcastle Herald campaign helped spark the Special Commission of Inquiry concerning the investigation of child sexual abuse allegations in the Hunter region and the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The Newcastle Herald campaign helped spark the Special Commission of Inquiry concerning the investigation of child sexual abuse allegations in the Hunter region and the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

SHINE THE LIGHT: The Herald's complete body of work investigating child sex abuse in the Catholic church. 

NEWCASTLE Herald reporter Joanne McCarthy last night capped a stunning year by winning Australian journalism’s most prestigious award, the Gold Walkley.

McCarthy collected the coveted award at last night’s gala ceremony in Brisbane for her reporting on child sex abuse in the Catholic Church, which led to a state inquiry and royal commission.

It was one of two Walkley wins for McCarthy and the Herald.

Listen to Joanne McCarthy's acceptance speech here, via 1233 ABC and SoundCloud. 

Watch an excerpt of Joanne's speech here.

The Herald team of McCarthy, editor Chad Watson and reporters Ian Kirkwood and Jason Gordon won the Walkley award for coverage of community and regional affairs for the ‘Shine the Light’ series on child sex abuse.

The Herald’s Donna Page, Matt Carr and Darren Pateman were finalists for the community and regional affairs award for their investigation into devastating grout spill by mining contractors in the Mount Sugarloaf State conservation area.

McCarthy’s Walkley triumph completes a sweep of Australia’s major journalism awards in the past 12 months.

She won the Melbourne Press Club’s Graham Perkin Award for Australian Journalist of the Year, was crowned NSW Journalist of the Year at the Kennedy Awards for excellence in NSW journalism and named the Northern NSW Journalist of the Year at the Prodi Awards.

Watch Joanne's Graham Perkin Award acceptance speech here.

Walkleys chairman Laurie Oakes commended McCarthy for her efforts to address the scourge of child sexual abuse through the Shine the Light series.

Read comments from The Walkley Foundation website here

“Joanne’s work is a shining example of what can be achieved through compassionate and sensitive reporting and the ability to engender sources’ trust,” Oakes said.

McCarthy is the second Newcastle Herald journalist to win the Gold Walkley after John Lewis in 1981.

GOLD: The Herald's Gold Walkley winner Joanne McCarthy.

GOLD: The Herald's Gold Walkley winner Joanne McCarthy.

The Newcastle Herald's front page of November 13, 2012.

The Newcastle Herald's front page of November 13, 2012.

GOLD: The Herald's Gold Walkley winner Joanne McCarthy.

GOLD: The Herald's Gold Walkley winner Joanne McCarthy.

STANDING OVATION: The audience applauds Joanne McCarthy's win.

STANDING OVATION: The audience applauds Joanne McCarthy's win.

WINNERS: The 2013 Walkley award winners.

WINNERS: The 2013 Walkley award winners.

GOLD: The Herald's Gold Walkley winner Joanne McCarthy.

GOLD: The Herald's Gold Walkley winner Joanne McCarthy.

PROUD WINNERS: Newcastle Herald editor Chad Watson, left, with Joanne McCarthy and Ian Kirkwood.

PROUD WINNERS: Newcastle Herald editor Chad Watson, left, with Joanne McCarthy and Ian Kirkwood.

Joanne McCarthy, the Newcastle Herald journalist who spearheaded the Herald's Shine the Light campaign.

Joanne McCarthy, the Newcastle Herald journalist who spearheaded the Herald's Shine the Light campaign.

GOLD: The Herald's Gold Walkley winner Joanne McCarthy.

GOLD: The Herald's Gold Walkley winner Joanne McCarthy.

Read more about the Shine the Light campaign here