Priests to presidents: holding power to account

Pulitzer Prize-winning Editor-at-Large of the Boston Globe, and former leader of the Spotlight Investigation into abuse in the Catholic Church, Walter V. Robinson will speak about the role of investigative reporting in keeping democracy alive and power to account at a public lecture tonight at the University of Melbourne.

Mr Robinson said he was honoured to be asked to deliver the 2018 AN Smith Lecture where he will speak on his hopes and fears for the future of journalism.

“In the last year or so, much of the world has been fixated on whether we can trust the news we read and see. To me, what is more worrisome is that much of what should be in our local newspapers and on television news shows is not being covered at all,” Mr Robinson said.

‘From the Catholic Church to President Trump: investigative reporting vs. the excesses of power’ is the title of the 80th AN Smith Lecture in Journalism, one of Australia’s most prestigious annual journalism lectures which has included speakers such as Emily Bell, Mark Scott, Greg Hywood, Sarah Ferguson and Rupert Murdoch.

University of Melbourne, Faculty of Arts, Centre of Advancing Journalism Director Andrew Dodd said the centre is focused on advancing the practice of journalism at a time of great change.

“Journalists have a great responsibility to inform the public on the most important issues facing society and to hold power to account. Investigative reporters play a vital role in functioning democracies,” Associate Professor Dodd said.

“We are proud to host one of the world’s greatest investigative journalists to discuss how journalism has brought attention to the great scourge of institutional child sex abuse.”

While visiting the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Arts, Mr Robinson will also join a public forum to discuss the complexities of covering institutional child sex abuse.

The forum will be chaired by Dart Centre Asia-Pacific (DCAP) board member Matthew Ricketson and includes guest speakers Joanne McCarthy of The Newcastle Herald, Louise Milligan of ABC TV’s Four Corners and Paul Kennedy of ABC News Breakfast.

Mr Robinson and Dart will also deliver a closed workshop on wellbeing for journalists who have covered this traumatic topic at the Royal Commission or in other settings.

Both the AN Smith Lecture and Thursday’s public forum are booked out. Media are welcome to attend via RSVP.