Two prolific Canberra journalists - The Canberra Times' former editor-at-large Jack Waterford and the late Gay Davidson - have been inducted into the Australian Media Hall of Fame.
The pair joined a list of 46 other media greats - including TV legend Ray Martin, the renowned war cameraman Neil Davis and former political editor of The Age and The Australian Michael Gordon - to be added to the Hall of Fame at a gala event in Melbourne on Friday.
The Media Hall of Fame is a decade-long project of the Melbourne Press Club that only last year expanded to include NSW, and this year finally included the country’s other states and territories.
Waterford’s citation comes after a 43-year career with The Canberra Times, where he famously began as a copy-boy and eventually became editor-in-chief.
Along the way, he was named Australian Journalist of the Year in 1985, and through persistence and example, taught Australian journalists to use Freedom of Information laws as a matter of course.
Although he has nursed a lifelong case of imposter syndrome, Waterford said his inclusion in the list had been “awfully flattering and nice”.
“It renews some sort of sense of being of a vast profession - something that's given an awful lot to me," he said.
"I've always thought I fell into this trade by accident. I've got a lot more from it, from my colleagues, from my readers and my friends than probably I've ever put into it myself, and I've always also said that I was going to stay in the trade until I got found out. [The Hall of Fame] is going to yet again increase the price of finding me out and throwing me out.”
His erstwhile colleague Davidson, who died in 2004, had the distinction of being the first female political correspondent for a major newspaper in Australia and, by extension the first woman in the Canberra Press Gallery, where she famously insisted on a ladies’ lavatory.
The New Zealand native was also a prolific writer with a deep understanding of politics, public policy and economics, reflected in her writing.
“Gay was a damn fine journalist in everything she did at The Canberra Times - she invented and laid the pattern for Gang Gang, the column on page 3,” Waterford said.
“She knew an awful lot about health and health politics, and she was terribly well connected to the bureaucracy. If you ever went over to the home she shared with her then-husband Ken Davidson, it was sort of veritable salon of journalists, public servants, politicians there, talking freely and essentially off the record, about things that you ought to know about.”
Davidson was also a passionate public health campaigner, driven in large part by the death of her 13-year-old daughter Kiri from complications from a childhood case of measles in 1984.
She would go on to use her expertise and contacts to make politicians, health officials and the public far more aware of the risks of measles, then regarded by many as a harmless childhood disease.
She eventually left the profession to work in public relations, and worked on various boards and local causes.
"She was a New Zealander originally, but a real Canberra citizen," Waterford said.