Alumnus wins media award in her first year in the industry.
Barely twelve months into her vocation, Indigo Lemay-Conway (B Communication 2021) received her first major industry accolade. Indigo received a 2022 WA Media Award in the suburban category for three feature stories she had written over that year. They included this piece on a group trying to take illegal drifting off the streets, and a story on the inquiry into sexual harassment against women in the FIFO mining industry. The latter became a very high-profile story following the brave, personal account of Labor MP Ms Kim Giddens (MLA) who shared her own experiences of harassment with Indigo from her time in the industry. Now working as a feature writer for Seven West Media’s PerthNow, Indigo recently shared details of her rapid career breakthrough in a highly competitive industry.
Was there a moment when you thought I think journalism is for me?
In all honesty I had a few moments of doubt throughout my degree about whether I could make it as a journalist, but there was definitely a moment when I realised journalism truly was for me and I was going to do whatever I needed to make it happen. During my internship at The West Australian, I was sitting in the busy office, surrounded by people with years of experience and I pitched an idea to one of the editors for a story which impressed them. I remember working for hours on it, and the feeling of researching and writing the piece and then seeing it published the following day was one of the most exciting moments.
How was your time at Murdoch?
My time at Murdoch was great! The atmosphere of the university is so relaxed, and everyone was really supportive of one another. I made some wonderful friends throughout my three years there and it’s been so great to watch them succeed in the industry.
Were there any lecturers/guest visitors or experiences that inspired you?
I think Andrew Porter was one of the lecturers that definitely inspired me. He was my academic chair when I first started and had been in the journalism industry for years. Seeing him still love his job and want to share that passion with people was a really nice thing to experience.
Was it tricky to get a foothold in the industry?
I think I lucked out with getting a foothold in the industry to be honest. At the end of my internship at The West Australian, I was taken to speak to one of the big editors in charge and was told about a position opening up in the Rockingham office and whether or not I’d be interested in it. I remember I joked on my last day that I would make it back into the big office before they knew it and after seven months as a reporter for the Sound Telegraph, I transferred to Newspaper House to write for PerthNow.
Did you know the mining sector sexual harassment story was going to be such a big deal when you started on it?
I definitely knew I was onto a good story when I first started working on this piece. Sexual harassment in the mining industry was such a prominent topic at the time (and still is) and to have someone on the committee who was overseeing the enquiry want to talk to me about their experience was an incredible opportunity.
Did the Kim Giddens personal story and comments make it explode?
Kim Giddens’ personal story was the heart and soul of this piece. I’d developed a really good relationship with her over the past year and knowing she felt safe enough to let me share her story was an honour. I think when people read stories, it can be easy to dissociate from some of the topics and think ‘well this would never happen to me’, so having Kim sit on the committee of this enquiry and say ‘well this happened to me and it is continuing to happen to a lot of other women and it needs to stop’ was so powerful.
How did you feel when you won the Media Award?
To say I was shocked when I won the Media Award would be an understatement and a half. I was actually up against my old boss from my Sound Telegraph days and never in a million years did I think I would beat him. In fact, I was still holding my jacket and handbag when my name was called out because I was so certain it wouldn’t be me. I had only been working as a journalist for a year when I won and that alone made the achievement really special, but it made all the hard work that I had put into my three stories all the more worth it.
What aspects of being a journalist did you not know until you joined the profession?
I didn’t realise how hard journalists work to make a good story come to fruition. Whether it’s a tight deadline, difficult sources or tough topics, it can be really tricky to make a story come together at the end of the day and it gave me a whole new respect for investigative journalism.
What do you love about your job?
I love that no two days are the same. One day I can be writing a court story and the next I could be investigating an issue in the local community. I love the variety of people I’ve gotten to interview as well - only two weeks ago I got to speak to Florence and the Machine, one of my all-time favourite musicians and that was a real pinch me moment. Mostly though, I love that I’ve been able to earn the trust of some really incredible people who have let me share their stories and hopefully, as a team, we’ve been able to make a small difference in the world.