Australian radio and television journalist Caroline Jones AO passed away at the age of 84 after sustaining injuries from a bad fall at her Greenwich home in Sydney. The Australian media industry mourned the demise of the legendary journalist remembering her as "a pioneer in journalism (and) a trailblazer for women."
Caitlin Shea, executive producer of 'the Australian story' a program Jones hosted for several years confirmed her passing in a statement on Friday.
With a career in the media industry spanning over 50 years, Jones became a household name as the first female reporter for an Australian Broadcasting Commission's (ABC) current affairs program 'This Day Tonight' in 1968 and later went on to host the longest running show on Australian TV, 'Four Corners' from 1972 till 1981 as the first female anchor, simultaneously broadcasting on Sydney morning radio.
In 1996 she started hosting 'The Australian Story' an acclaimed documentary series. Two decades later Jones announced her retirement from ABC in 2016 but remained a strong supporter of the program and regularly checked in with the team. She also continued promoting the Four Corners and Australian Story on social media according to Nine News Australia.
Jones was also associated with ABC radio for nearly eight years for presenting 'The Search for Meaning' programs which were the inspiration behind the Australian Story, where hundreds of men and women told their life stories. The recorded tapes and transcripts of these interviews were later published by ABC books and Jones' fifth book became one of the 10 best-sellers of 1998.
Referring to her awards and achievements, apart from receiving a plethora of awards for her work in the media industry, Jones was also honored with the Officer of the Order of Australia in 1988 for her distinguished service to the country and in 1997 was voted one of Australia's living treasure, as per ABC Australia.
As a foundation member of the Australia Council of Arts, Jones was appointed as a Reconciliation Ambassador for the Aboriginal Council for Reconciliation since 1998, in the same year her book An Authentic Life: Finding Meaning and Spirituality in Everyday Life became an Australian bestseller.
Besides being a recipient of an honorary doctorate from the University of Sydney in 2017, a portrait of Jones was also hung in Australia's National Portrait Gallery painted by an Italo-Australian artist Salvatore Zofrea OAM.
According to the Daily Mail, tributes poured in for legendary journalist on social media on Friday and Saturday, from female reporters to politicians as they remembered Jones for her outstanding reporting, and as a woman of "rare generosity and passion for her craft."
North Sydney MP Trent Zimmerman recalled that Jones, "never missed the opportunity to give me advice when we saw each other out and about."
Many female reporters revealed on that Jones had on several occasions had personally reached out to them and congratulated on their work. "She once emailed me out of the blue to compliment a story I did. THE Caroline Jones! Couldn't believe it," said Queensland journalist Isabel Roe.
Former ABC managing director Mark Scott referred to her as 'a giant of Australian journalism', while Lisa Wilkinson, an Australian TV presenter stated Jones was "a pioneer in particular for generations of female journalists" and became "the gold standard".