Isaac Irons’ podcast mission for Australian news

There is no stopping journalism student Isaac Irons. After an award winning involvement on Shandee’s Story, he’s determined to renew people’s belief in Australian journalism as a noble and trustworthy profession via his own podcast called Bylines. Featuring longform interviews with the nation’s top journalists and editors, listeners will get a deeper understanding of how the news is made, who the people are that make it, and the issues facing the Australian media today.

Irons, as a second year University student, was given the opportunity to be mentored by Hedley Thomas, travelling with him as an unpaid intern and assisting in the research and writing of the investigative series Shandee’s Story. That podcast, about the murder of young Mackay woman Shandee Blackburn, looked at failures in Queensland’s state-run DNA laboratory and led to two royal commission-style inquiries, tens of thousands of cases requiring re-testing, and a $200m overhaul of the lab. It won the 2022 Walkley Award for Investigative Journalism and last year’s Radio Today Podcast Awards Podcast of the Year.

Isaac Irons

Irons said:

“The first working journalist I ever met in my life was Hedley Thomas. My mate at the pub introduced us. And the first big story I worked on won a Walkley. It was a very cool way to enter journalism and it introduced me to some truly amazing people.

The media cops a lot of criticism, much of it deserved. But my overwhelming experience has been that journalists – the people behind the bylines – are hardworking and deeply committed people with extraordinary personal stories to tell. My friends and peers are very sceptical of the media. I think if people, particularly young people, discover that journalists are everyday people who often willingly go through incredible hardship to produce the news, they would trust it more, and be more interested in what’s going on around them.”

Guests so far on Bylines have included three other true-crime podcasters, Alison Sandy, Kate Kyriacou and Caroline Graham, who, like Hedley Thomas, have worked tirelessly toward reigniting public interest in the cases they investigated.

“My guests have been physically threatened, shot at, imprisoned, sued, they’ve exposed crimes by the world’s biggest governments, delayed state elections, caused royal commissions and willingly put themselves in dangerous war zones to cover stories. Some of their own personal stories are truly extraordinary and make compelling listening,” Irons said.

“The best part of the podcast is I get to meet the country’s best journalists and editors while I do it.”

You can listen to Bylines via its website or your favourite streaming platform.



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