About Karen

Trusted journalist and media advocate.

Professional, warm and engaging speaker and presenter.

Experienced director committed to good governance and oversight.

Takes a trauma-informed approach to work and life.

Available for:

Writing/reporting/investigative/research projects
Consulting/training on media and trauma
Board director opportunities
Public speaking, MCing, moderating

From Karen

I am a freelance journalist and board director, skilled in trauma training and media literacy, with a passion for ethics and societal good.

After a long career in day-to-day news, I’m shifting a little.

With a lot of different skills gained over decades as a journalist, I want to share my experiences and pass on knowledge.

Since I left the ABC in 2020, I have completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors course (GAICD 2021). I have also taught media law and social media subjects at La Trobe University.

In recent years, I have become a proselytiser for trauma-informed best-practice, which focusses on understanding what a person has gone through, why they might be behaving as they are, and how empathy and understanding can make a difference.

Destigmatising mental health issues and normalising conversations about improved well-being are crucial – particularly when it comes to the way we deal with people who’ve experienced trauma in their lives. So many of us come across this in our work and our personal lives, but lack the skills and understanding to respond effectively. I know there’s a better way and I want you all to know it.

I am keen to see a strong media sector in Australia underpinned by ethical, public interest journalism. A sustainable, accountable media – that Australians trust – is crucial to our democracy. In this age of misinformation and disinformation, it’s important that we have high levels of media literacy – that media consumers understand how the media works, hold it accountable, and feel comfortable playing their part.

In early 2022 I was elected to the position of Federal Media President of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, representing 5000+ journalists and media workers. It is a voluntary position where I work with members and MEAA staff to protect the rights of journalists in Australia – whether it’s advocating on press freedom, pay and conditions, or the right to a safe workplace. I have helped draft policy submissions related to the News Media Bargaining Code, Media Diversity and Gender Equality. In February 2023 I represented MEAA at the Press Freedom Roundtable hosted by the Federal Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus. I also sit on the MEAA board, and I am a member of the union’s Finance, Audit and Risk Management Committee.

With Iranian writer, Behrouz Boochani, at a MEAA event in February 2023. (Photo - Mark Phillips)
With members of the Walkley Board at the awards ceremony of 2022 (Photo – Christian Gillies)

Since 2017 I have been a director of the Walkley Foundation which celebrates excellence in Australian journalism, serving as Deputy Chair since 2021. The work the Walkleys does is so important, in rewarding the best journalists in the country, offering professional development opportunities, and administering programs that fund and support journalists and their work.

Hosting AIS event in November 2017 looking at gender issues.
(Photo – AIS)

After a number of years moderating panels and hosting events for the Australian Intercultural Society, I am now also a member of the AIS’s Advisory Board where I continue to support the organisation’s efforts to promote societal harmony and multi-culturalism.

With the ABC Women In Media group in 2018

A lifelong feminist, I champion diversity and equality in my work and my life – through mentoring, elevating the work of women and under-represented communities including our First Nations people, and ensuring diversity is front and centre of discussions and actions.

From 2016 to 2019 I was Treasurer with Women In Media Victoria, a volunteer group which provides support, discussion forums and networking events for working journalists and others in the media sector.

From 2020-2022 I was Chair of the Dart Centre Asia Pacific which focuses on trauma and journalism. It followed 7 years as a Peer Supporter in the ABC’s world-class trauma program, which provides support to colleagues exposed to vicarious trauma in their work. I was also a Dart fellow in 2018 and senior fellow in 2018, attending programs in New York with other journalists dedicated to improving mental health in the media and promoting trauma awareness.

I am passionate about public broadcasting having worked in the ABC regions (Alice Springs and Darwin), the cities (Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne), and overseas – running the ABC’s Bangkok bureau 2006-2009.

With the 2018 Dart Centre Ochberg Fellows at Columbia University, New York (Photo – Ochberg Alumni FB page)
In Putrajaya, Malaysia in 2006 during a visit by Prime Minister, John Howard.
I’ve also worked for Channel 10 as a journalist (1994-95), the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (1995-2001) and as a freelance correspondent in Moscow (2010-2013), filing for Deutsche Welle, Radio France International, SBS, ORF in Austria, Radio New Zealand and more.
Performing in The Vag!na Monologues, Moscow 2013
During my time in Moscow I also undertook charity work through the Cold Plunge for the Homeless – a mid-winter polar bear swim to raise money for homeless organisations. I also co-directed and performed in the first English-language version of The VagIna MonoLogues in Moscow.
Doing taekwondo in the driveway during the covid lockdown!
In my spare time I do Taekwondo!
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