Journalists say ‘this is the story of the year’, and Brittany says, ‘hang on, this is my life’.

Gold Walkley-winner Samantha Maiden discusses the issues in the coverage of Brittany Higgins’ allegations and why the result is more important than any award.

Samantha Maiden wins the Gold Walkley. Image: Adam Hollingworth.

Describe the moment you found out you were the 2021 Gold Walkley winner, the title every journalist aspires to.

Photo: Adam Hollingworth.

Your story started a national discussion about how women are treated in Australian politics. You must be so proud.

I’m mindful of the fact that Brittany Higgins herself has made the point that, yes, she is pleased that Australians have really rallied around this issue and taken it seriously, but that she finds it de-humanising when it is referred to almost in terms that forget that she is a human being with a real life and that she’s a real person.

Yes, that makes sense. How did you discover what had happened to Brittany Higgins?

What did it take to get this story out?

Unfortunately you’ve had to deal with subject matter like this many times before. Were you shocked when you found out about what had happened to Brittany and how far it led?

What do you think this story meant for Brittany Higgins, and Australian women more broadly?

I can assure you it is not a warm and fuzzy experience for Brittany Higgins. It is not a warm and fuzzy experience for Grace Tame.

Did you expect the ripple effect from your interview would trigger something as significant as the Jenkins Review?

Do you think it was important that a woman broke this story?

The story dealt with incredibly difficult subject matter. How do you handle the stress and pressure that comes with reporting something like this?

It’s every journalist’s dream to break a story that brings about change and you’ve certainly done that. How does this story compare to some of your other career achievements?

What made you want to be a journalist?

In light of the ripple effects your story has had, do you have a message for the Australian public about why it’s important that we continue to support quality journalism?

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