If the voice is a window to the soul, then Nance Haxton, Griffith University’s first Journalist-in-Residence, will be fine as she continues to uncover award-winning stories for radio.
Nance has won the 2016 Clarion Award for Best Sports Reporting for her investigative series of stories on ABC Radio Current affairs titled “Why are Boxers dying in Queensland?”
“I was thrilled to receive this year’s award,’’ she says. “To be recognised for my work by my peers in this way is such an honour.”
For more than six months Nance reported a series of stories for ABC Radio Current Affairs looking into the lack of regulations around combat sports in Queensland, despite the deaths of two young boxers after boxing matches.
“Winning this award validates for me what a powerful medium radio still is. It’s so much more than ‘poor man’s TV’.
“Hearing another person’s take on a situation, without the distraction of pictures, is incredibly intimate and powerful and inspires me to keep on working in radio and keep learning and improving.
“As I often say, radio or nowadays podcasting, is ‘Theatre of the Mind’. When done well, it takes listeners on a journey. Like reading a great book, the story becomes alive in the listener’s head in an incredibly personal way.”
As Journalist-in-Residence, Nance teaches and mentors Griffith University journalism students two days a week, then reports for the ABC another two days.
“It’s the perfect balance as both positions feed into each other so well,” she said.
Inspiring young journalists
“I am very passionate about the continuing need for investigative journalism in today’s media landscape.
“I want to encourage young journalists to think outside the square, to go somewhere they’ve never heard of and chase stories that need to be told.
“I think one of the best skills we as journalists can nurture is our instinct and gut feeling. We need to trust ourselves when something strikes us as being out of line and pursue that further.”
Nance hopes her success inspires Griffith students to go out and become “accidental investigative journalists.”
“In my experience sometimes stories find you. This series on boxing was definitely like that. You can choose to ignore them or pursue them further.
“There’s no better time to be a journalist than now. You can stumble across injustice and fight it bravely with your pen, keyboard, and smartphone. The possibilities emerging today in the digital realm are so exciting.”
The Clarion Awards, administered by the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance, recognise excellence in in Queensland journalism across a range of categories.