Trust Karen to elevate your media skills and media presence

It’s been more than a few years since I first walked into a newsroom, but I love being a journalist as much now as I did back then. It’s never been more important to have quality, ethical, public interest journalism that holds power to account and supports democracy.

These days I’m less about the frantic day-to-day deadline and much more interested in telling deep, meaningful stories that have impact. And helping you tell your stories!

More importantly I see the importance of putting the ‘public’ back into public interest journalism.

My webinars will improve media literacy and the public’s understanding of how journalism works, and how we can all be more savvy media consumers.

It’s also crucial that our media better represent the make-up of Australia, not just those who are reporting but those who are reported on. As a champion of diversity and inclusion, I am keen to break down barriers and improve understanding of the media, as well as elevate new voices.

Let me strengthen your media presence as an individual, a business or a community. By offering strategic advice, practical writing and presentation skills, and more you’ll understand the media better and your potential role in it!

I can help you:

  • understand the media landscape better
  • detect and deal with misinformation/disinformation
  • understand and use social media
  • deal with the media if approached
  • improve your writing 
  • boost your confidence in public speaking and media performance
  • strengthen your role as an informed media consumer 

Media Advocate and Speaker:

In my role as the elected Media President of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance I advocate for greater press freedom, journalist safety (physical and mental) and ensuring journalists are able to have long, rewarding careers. It’s a voluntary role but one I relish. I have contributed to MEAA policy submissions on the News Mandatory Bargaining Code, Media Diversity, legislation affecting press freedom and more.

In February 2023 I took part in the Attorney-General’s Press Freedom Roundtable to discuss issues affecting press freedom in Australia. I have also given multiple speeches about Press Freedom including the need to free Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange.


Karen is a professional, warm and engaging speaker and presenter.

Karen will inspire, motivate and educate your team with her passion and warmth as a speaker, event host or moderator

Karen says: “Ever since I was a little girl I have loved an audience – right back to the days when I was telling cousins and friends about surviving Cyclone Tracy, including seeing Santa Claus that night. My fact checking has improved since Darwin in the 70s, but not my desire to share stories – to entertain, to inform, to guide.”  

“Over many years as a broadcaster and reporter I have had the privilege of meeting so many amazing people from all walks of life. It’s been such an honour to tell their stories.” (again maybe a side bar or someway denoting this is from Karen rather than about Karen)

A polished, lively, energetic and informative speaker Karen shares her experiences, her knowledge and her observations with warmth and candour.

She draws anecdotes and moments from her long journalism career – as a foreign correspondent interviewing the likes of Malaysia’s Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, Former First Lady of the Philippines Imelda Marcos, the late Russian Opposition leader Boris Nemtsov; as a court reporter bearing witness to some of the nation’s most notorious criminal cases; as a long-time observer of journalism and society.

Whether it’s addressing journalism peers about the need to uphold ethical, public interest journalism or encouraging students to make noise about their needs as citizens or reflecting on societal harmony at iftar dinners during Ramadan – Karen is thoughtful, poised and understands her audience.

Karen has presented on climate change, journalism ethics, trauma in the workplace, the threat of homelessness in older women, gender bias, family violence, online safety for women and more. 

Tapping into her research and communication skills, she’s always well prepared and handles difficult topics with sensitivity and care. 

She’s witty, inclusive and always meets the brief. 

She makes speakers and guests feel welcome and ensures a variety of views are heard. 

A savvy user of social media, she’ll promote wherever possible. 

She takes pride in running on time as well!

Karen can speak about:

  • Gender equality and diversity
  • Press freedom and the need for a strong media to support democracy
  • How ordinary Australians can exercise their power as media consumers 
  • The need for society to address mental health issues, understand trauma and embrace trauma-informed best practice
  • Her lived experience as a foreign correspondent in South East Asia and Russia, as a journalist, media leader, unionist, feminist

Karen takes a trauma-informed approach to work and life.

Karen’s practical training will give your public-facing staff the skills and understanding they need to deal with distressed clients, and their own experiences.

“In a lengthy career reporting on calamity and chaos, I have come to value taking a trauma-informed approach to myself and my interview subjects, because understanding and empathy bring better results for me and my journalism,” Karen says.

It was almost thirty years into my career, seven of those as a foreign correspondent, when I really noticed the effects of the stories I had been covering – natural disasters, political unrest, civil protests, a military coup, a political assassination, criminal court cases and more. It was the 2014 murder of Luke Batty that led me to confront the build up of vicarious trauma I had experienced. It was not a pretty sight, and shocked my colleagues to see the hardened, veteran former foreign correspondent in a puddle of tears!!  (can we put this in a side box or otherwise set it apart as a “personal ‘from Karen’ type of content”??

You don’t have to be a frontline emergency worker or a journalist at a disaster scene to be affected by the work you do. 

Call-centre workers, receptionists, insurance assessors, membership services teams, sales staff, service staff, indeed ANYONE who talks to distressed customers or clients, is at potential risk. 

Vicarious trauma comes in many forms, sometimes from the most unexpected quarters in the most unlikely of situations.

There is no one-size-fits-all. But there are effective ways to manage the mental health impact on staff who are dealing with distressed and traumatised clients.

Mental health issues are costing the Australia economy billions – in absenteeism, payouts to workers and lost productivity. Governments are starting to pay attention and employers are being required to pay heed to the mental and psychological state of their workers.

Trauma-informed best practice entails considering a person’s experiences, how that might be affecting their behaviour, and responding appropriately.

It starts with destigmatising mental health issues and normalising conversations about mental well-being. Then it’s about recognising the ways mental health issues can affect behaviour and responding in a way that supports and gives agency to clients and staff.

When staff feel equipped to handle what’s in front of them their job satisfaction improves, there’s lower absenteeism, lower turnover of staff.

By sharing her experiences Karen can help you and your company to:

  • understand what trauma is, especially vicarious trauma
  • recognise it in yourself, your colleagues, your clients
  • adjust work environments to support better mental health 
  • manage trauma-related events in your work and your life 
  • take a trauma-informed approach if you or your staff are dealing with vulnerable people and those exposed to trauma
  • utilise self-care tips and tools
  • prepare a self-care plan
  • look at short, medium and long term ways to improve mental health

From 2020-2022, Karen was Chair of the Dart Centre Asia-Pacific – which focuses on trauma in the media – and took part in two trauma-in-journalism fellowships at Columbia University in 2018 and 2019.

Karen was part of the ABC’s world-class Peer Supporter program from 2014-2020, where staff trained to understand the effects of trauma, looked out for each other while covering difficult news events. During the early days of the pandemic, Karen held regular webinars for ABC staff to provide support and resources as they endured lockdowns, hostile audiences and industry turmoil.

She’s held webinars for journalists, lawyers, unionists and others to pass on her skills and knowledge in trauma-informed best-practice.



Karen is an experienced director committed to good governance and oversight.

“As a board director I ask the questions, test the assumptions, and don’t let past performance hinder future possibilities,” Karen says.

She’s an experienced Non-Executive Director and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Her skills include:

  • Excellent risk analysis and crisis management skills 
  • Exceptional communications and stakeholder management experience as a veteran journalist accustomed to dealing with governments, businesses, the public, as well as media 
  • Strategic thinker
  • Understand financial statements 
  • Recruitment Committee experience – assisted in hiring of CEO at Dart, Walkleys and MEAA
  • Over the past five years as an active board member in various roles she has instituted reviews on policies, introduced Code of Conduct and Conflict of Interest policies

Karen is currently the Deputy Chair of the Walkley Foundation, which celebrates excellence in Australian journalism. 

Since 2017, she has been also on the board of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, which represents workers in media, music, film, live events. In 2022, she was elected as the Federal President of the media section. Karen serves on MEAA’s Finance, Audit and Risk Management committee.

She is on the Advisory Board of the Australian Intercultural Society which promotes harmony and multicultural exchange in Australia.

From 2020 to 2022 she was Chair of the Dart Centre Asia-Pacific, which focuses on trauma and journalism.

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