Penmanship live at the 2017 Canberra Writers Festival
Episode 42: Katharine Murphy is political editor of Guardian Australia.
Having spent more than two decades as a member of the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery, Katharine has earned a reputation as one of the nation’s sharpest political analysts. While based in Canberra, she has worked as a reporter for The Australian Financial Review, The Australian and The Age, and more recently, she has been a part of Guardian Australia‘s team since the website launched in 2013. In addition to her daily reporting and editorial duties, Katharine also writes occasional longform essays for the Melbourne-based literary journal Meanjin.
In late August, I spoke with Katharine before a live audience at the Canberra Writers Festival, whose theme in 2017 was “power, politics and passion”. Our conversation at the festival touches on Katharine’s approach to political reporting, which requires constant scepticism while avoiding cynicism as much as possible; how her mother’s fiery passion for a Sydney Morning Herald columnist rubbed off on her at a young age; what she has observed about the cultural differences of working for three different media organisations in Fairfax, News Corp and The Guardian; what she has learned about the mechanics and logistics of live blogging political news with little time for coffee or bathroom breaks, and how she came to write an intimate and moving essay about the joys and sorrows of raising her daughter.
Katharine Murphy has worked in Canberra’s parliamentary gallery for more than 20 years, starting at The Australian Financial Review, where she was Canberra chief of staff from 2001 to 2004. In 2004, Katharine moved to The Australian as a specialist writer until 2006, when she became national affairs correspondent at The Age. In 2008, she won the Paul Lyneham award for excellence in press gallery journalism, and has been a Walkley Award finalist twice: for digital journalism for her pioneering live politics blog, and for political commentary. She is a regular panelist on the ABC’s Insiders program, on ABC24’s The Drum, and Sky News Agenda. Katharine is Guardian Australia‘s political editor, and has worked there since the site’s inception in 2013. She is also a regular essayist for the quaterly literary journal Meanjin.
Katharine Murphy on Twitter: @Murpharoo
Special thanks to the team behind the 2017 Canberra Writers Festival for hosting this conversation, and thanks to Bevan Noble at B Natural Productions for recording the audio.
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