Nick McKenzie on Breaking Big Stories

Nick McKenzie is one of the country’s most celebrated investigative journalists, yet few people see the enormous pressure he faces when breaking big stories.

In an interview with Democracy’s Watchdogs, a new organisation dedicated to recognising the achievements of Australian investigative journalists, McKenzie reveals that the fear of getting a story wrong makes him physically ill.

“I’ll vomit in the morning,” he says, reflecting on the anxiety, panic attacks and fear which hover over him.

McKenzie adds that legal threats and defamation actions are exhausting, and urges rival media organisations to collaborate in hunting for the truth.

You can watch the interview, conducted by Democracy’s Watchdogs founder and former Melbourne Press Club committee member Bill Birnbauer, at

The Democracy’s Watchdogs website also features a conversation with Andrew Rule, and will soon post interviews with Adele Ferguson and Richard Baker. Other interviews and profiles will be added progressively, including a piece on David Wilson.

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