Media & Journalism: 21st Century News & Information
Saturday 8 June
- In Conversation: Kerry O’Brien – A Life In Journalism
Sunday 9 June
Kerry is one of Australia’s most distinguished and respected journalists with six Walkley Awards for excellence in journalism, including the Gold Walkley, and the Walkley for Outstanding Leadership. Other industry awards include a Logie for public affairs coverage.
In a career spanning more than 50 years, Kerry has worked for newspapers, television and a wire service, as a reporter, feature writer, columnist and foreign correspondent. Thirty-three of those years were at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation where he cut his teeth on the trail-blazing current affairs programs This Day Tonight and Four Corners. He was the first presenter of the ground-breaking late night news analysis program Lateline for six years, the editor and presenter of 7:30 Report for 15 years, and the presenter of Four Corners for five years. For 20 years he was also the face of the ABC’s election night coverage.
Kerry’s acclaimed four-part interview series with former Prime Minister Paul Keating was broadcast on the ABC in 2013, and his book expanding on those conversations, Keating was published in 2015.
His new book Kerry O’Brien, A Memoir (2018) provides insights into his remarkable journalistic career over half a century. Whether strolling the history-laden corridors of the White House unhindered while waiting to interview Barack Obama, talking with Nelson Mandela on his first day in the presidential residence in Pretoria in a room filled with the ghosts of apartheid, receiving a haughty rebuke from an indignantly regal Margaret Thatcher, or exploring ideas with some of the great artists, philosophers and scientists of our time, Kerry has sought to unearth the truth behind the news. In Australia, he has watched 13 prime ministers come and go and has called the powerful to account without fear or favour.
In his intimate account, told with wit and insight, O’Brien reflects on the big events, the lessons learned and lessons ignored, along with the foibles and strengths of public figures who construct our world. The end result is a memoir like no other—an engrossing study of a private life lived in the public eye and wrapped in nearly three-quarters of a century of social and political history.