From wheat farm to the Big Ap­ple

The Bulletin - - 2013 Newspaper Of The Year Awards: The Winners - By Sarah Home­wood Spon­sored by China South­ern Air­lines

GROW­ING up on a wheat and cot­ton farm in north­ern NSW, Sally White al­ways had a pas­sion for agri­cul­ture but re­port­ing on it wasn’t her first ca­reer choice.

“When I fin­ished high school I was ac­tu­ally go­ing to study the­atre, bizarre I know. I wanted to be a play­wright or a film di­rec­tor, but then I saw an ad for a cadet­ship with The Land,” she said.

“I was with my dad at the time and he said I should go for it, so I had a crack at it and I got it. I was only go­ing to stay for a year but that’s not how it turned out.”

Af­ter her time as a cadet, Ms White stayed within the com­pany mov­ing around the coun­try from Syd­ney, back home to Moree then to Mel­bourne where she was ed­i­tor of Fair­fax’s re­gional Vic­to­rian pa­per Stock and Land. Then came an op­por­tu­nity to edit the pa­per on which she started.

“When the op­por­tu­nity came up to come back and edit The Land, I felt as though I had gone full cir­cle. Ev­ery few years I had been mov­ing around and it felt so great to be of­fered the ed­i­tor’s job,” she said.

“Work­ing at The Land is such a priv­i­lege be­cause you get to write for an au­di­ence whose voices on so many is­sues some­times mes don’t get heard, and we get tot to cam­paign i forf for th them.” ”

It was Ms White’s com­mit­ment to her au­di­ence while edit­ing The Land that saw her take home this year’s He­garty Prize.

Ms White ex­plained that when she found out she didn’t know what to say, which h she pointed out was rare.

“I was quite speech­less and peo­ple who know me well know that I am never speech­less.”

With The Land’s suc­cess in the past, Ms White thought her chances were slim for a He­garty as well.

Work­ing at The Land is such a priv­i­lege be­cause you get to write for an au­di­ence whose voices on so many is­sues some­times don’t get heard, and we get to cam­paign for them’

How­ever, The Land not only took out News­pa­per of the Year in the 25,000 to 90,000 cat­e­gory for the fourth year in suc­ces­sion but Ms White was award He­garty Prize, which recog­nises the man­age­ment po­ten­tial of young news me­dia ex­ec­u­tives.

“We were re­ally stoked to have won three PANPA Awards and to win a fourth was just the ic­ing on the cake – and with the run we’d had I just didn’t think we’d win the He­garty as well.”

Ms White has had lit­tle time to think about her trip to visit over­seas news­rooms, which is part of the prize – but she be­lieves that she will end up go­ing to the US.

“My ul­ti­mate, I would love to go to the New York Times or The Guardian. I think I’ll prob­a­bly end up go­ing to the US, hope­fully vis­it­ing a mix of Metro and agri­cul­tural pa­pers,” she said.

While He­garty is an in­di­vid­ual prize, Ms White cred­its her suc­cess to her team, as well as the read­ers who place The Land in such high es­teem.

“As a team, they just couldn’t be more chuffed and it was truly a team ef­fort,” she said.

“How well we’re do­ing as a pa­per re­ally comes from our read­ers, whether we’re en­gag­ing with them on our cov­er­age of is­sues. Mak­ing a dif­fer­ence that is our real level of suc­cess. You’re only as good as your last pa­per, it’s clichéd but it’s true.”

Ms White is now gen­eral man­ager of Far­mon­line, the online arm of Fair­fax Me­dia’s ru­ral mast­heads, and An­drew Nor­ris is now the ed­i­tor of The Land.

For­mer The Land ed­i­tor Sally White af­ter re­ceiv­ing the 2013 He­garty Prize

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.