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This year we received four exceptional nominations for the Young Journalist of the Year and it’s a pity not all can experience a week in the Canberra Press Gallery for their efforts.

Only a few points separated the four nominees who all received the commendation from their respective editors for producing high calibre work and displaying initiative in sourcing leads and delivering positive changes within their communities.

Again all four nominees Sara Gilligan (Murray Pioneer), Katie Jackson (The Border Watch), Brooke Littlewood (The South Eastern Times) and Samantha Thomas (The Loxton News) have displayed maturity and skill, and above all else built trust with their readers. Examples of their work showed their empathy for others when dealing with very sensitive topics such as a suicide in the family, declining health issues due to breast implants, fighting the stigma of mental health, tackling drug abuse and helping an 80 year old charitable organisation survive after a lack of membership.

Each of the nominees has taken on extra responsibilities early in their careers and all are considered important and reliable employees of their respective publications. They are all producing hard news, sport reports, human interest stories and most are doing the usual rounds of reporting that city young journalists can only dream about.

Congratulations to all four nominees, but there can be just one winner and this year the award goes to :


Brooke is a valued member of the newspaper where she started her cadetship as a 17 year old. After completion she lived and worked overseas for four years, gaining valuable life experiences before taking up a job offer and returning to The South Eastern Times.

She is described by her editor, Brett Kennedy, as a hard working journalist who has left her mark on the community. That is more than evident from a body of work she produced last year to reduce the stigma of Mental Health.

Suicides in any community often go unreported, usually as a mark of respect for the families left grieving. Brooke Littlewood helped break the silence and stigma of suicide and mental health.

She told the tragic story of a Penola family grieving the loss of a loving husband and father. Brooke wound back the clock to the day the mother and two daughters lost their loved one to suicide and her empathy for the family and the four year struggle they endured following the death was the basis of a heart wrenching story.

Together with the family, Brooke helped to break the silence and alert the wider community that suicide is too often the result of ongoing, undiagnosed mental health issues.

Like the family concerned, Brooke was determined to turn this negative into a positive and make sure no family goes through what they experienced.

In another of her stories also related to mental health, Brooke vividly told the story of how a young woman’s traumatic memories of being a child in the oncology ward fighting Hodgkin Lymphoma left her battling mental illness on a daily basis.

Such sensitive issues were handled professionally and with empathy and because of the trust she built among locals, other people with their own battles are reaching out to her for help. Brooke’s willingness to go the extra mile with her reporting saw her join the region’s Suicide Prevention Network.

Her editor said “Brooke is an upcoming journalist, and has shown maturity and skill beyond her years in reporting sensitive issues. Her work ethic has been outstanding and her positive attitude is a great asset to the company.”

Congratulations Brooke, I hope you enjoy the journalistic experience of a lifetime.



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Trevor McAuliffe
Mobile: 0408 845 104

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