SBS South Australian correspondent Karen Ashford. Pic: Fernando Goncalves


Karen Ashford: Multi-skilled multi-media master

From the age of 16 to 46 years, Karen Ashford has been dedicated to honest journalism and as she transitions into corporate life, she reflects on her 30 years of service to the industry.

Karen began her career as an ABC cadet.

That cadetship soon turned into a position that she had for six years before moving onto the role of a government media advisor before settling down to work for the SBS.

As the sole South Australian SBS Correspondent for the past ten years Karen describes her career choice as ‘partly by accident, partly by design’.

She says her inquisitive mind and sheer curiosity led her down the path of journalism, as she grew passionate about sharing ‘real stories about real people’.

“It was my natural enthusiasm and determination to always know more that drove me,” she says.

Karen is a perfect example of the modern day journalist, working 6 am to 10 pm and weekends.

A self-confessed workaholic, she is completely dedicated to the people behind her stories and giving them a voice.

“As journalists, we have a responsibility to accuracy and balance. I believe in presenting without fear or favor and reporting the facts as you see them,” she says.

Karen has seen massive change in her 30 years working as a journalist and thinks a great deal about the future of digital journalism,

“Social media and traditional journalism are rubbing against each other and news reporting risks being eroded by the desire to compete for trendiness and popularity,” Karen says.

“I did filming, technical stuff, reporting, engaging with talent, thinking about radio, television, online, tweeting, social media, deadlines!!

“It’s a juggle – it’s about how many balls you can keep in the air at once now.”

As we prepared for our Digital Media Boot Camp session for the Walkleys at the SA Writer’s Centre, Ellie Cooper spoke to Karen about the realities of working as a digital journalist in a massively changing and challenging media environment and produced this podcast…

Karen’s journey to become a multi-skilled multi-media journalist has taught her many lessons that young journalists like Emmalie Balnaves-Gale who interviewed her and provided the words for this story can learn from.  Emmalie’s full profile on Karen Ashford will be published on Stories Well Told very soon so watch out for it.

Image: Fernando Goncalves

Music: Datarock

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