Pandemedia – how COVID changed journalism

The global pandemic posed unique challenges for everyone, but its impact on journalism and many journalists’ working lives was unprecedented.

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After three years of turmoil, some of those journalists at the coalface of the pandemic’s disruption have reflected on just how much their world has changed.

In a special event marking the release of the book Pandemedia – how COVID changed journalism, we bring together a panel of journalists to discuss how the pandemic reshaped their jobs and their industry.


Rachel Baxendale started as a cadet in The Australian’s Melbourne bureau in 2012 and has since covered federal and state politics for the paper in Canberra and Melbourne. She has been The Australian’s Victorian Political Reporter since 2018.

Patrick Durkin has been the Melbourne Bureau Chief of the Australian Financial Review for more than eight years and Deputy Editor of the AFR’s BOSSmagazine and leadership content for more than a decade. He has won multiple awards during his sixteen-plus years as a journalist writing on business, politics and economics, including the National Press Club’s joint Financial Journalist of the Year and Citi Journalism Award for Excellence. Patrick was previously a litigation and insolvency lawyer at a top-tier law firm and an in-house lawyer at a Big Four bank. He is an Asia Pacific Journalism Fellow and a member of the Dromana Life Saving Club.

Gavin Fang is the ABC’s Deputy News Director and Head of the National and International reporting teams. He is also the ABC’s News Diversity lead. Gavin has twenty-five years’ experience in print and broadcast journalism, with most of the past decade spent in a senior leadership role. He is a former Indonesia correspondent and video journalist for the ABC’s Australia Network News. During the pandemic, Gavin led the daily national editorial meeting at ABC News

Dr Erin Smith is Dart Centre Asia Pacific’s CEO. She is a long-time advocate for supporting the mental health and wellbeing of those impacted by trauma. Her research, writing and expert opinion can be found published widely in academic journals, magazines, textbooks and news media, including The Conversation. Her commentary on the traumatic impact of the 2019–20 Australian bushfires, the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and the COVID-19 pandemic reached a global audience of over 600 million. In 2022 she was nominated for a Volunteering Victoria Leadership Award for her contributions to mental health advocacy within the community.


Copies of Pandemedia, published by Monash University Publishing, will be on sale at the lunch. All author proceeds go to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.


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