Groundbreaking former ABC journalist, Caroline Jones, has passed away, age 84.
Jones was a celebrated journalist who took her groundbreaking place in history when she became the “first female reporter on the ABC current affairs segment, This Day Tonight, the first woman to anchor Four Corners, and was associated with Australian Story since its inception in 1996″, according to the ABC.
We lost a treasure today. Vale Caroline Jones
“She was so much more than a presenter. She was a champion of the program and an ambassador, a discerning taste-tester of stories and a cheerleader for weary producers.”
— AustralianStory (@AustralianStory) May 20, 2022
The late reporting icon is remembered for her steps in paving the way for women in reporting and television broadcast and for her infectious personality and undeniable humour. Jones has been described by a number of former TV presenters and fellow colleagues as a woman of fierce talent and respect.
Popular ABC 7.30 TV host, Leigh Sales, made a touching tribute to Jones on Saturday, May 21, acknowledging the late icon’s contribution to Australian television.
“The reason you are watching a woman anchor the ABC’s federal election coverage tonight is because trailblazers like Caroline Jones did the heavy lifting over decades,” Sales said, as revealed by the ABC.
“We pay tribute to her incredible public service, her grace and her impeccable character.”
Barrie Cassidy, former Insiders presenter, praised Jones for possessing “genuine” expertise and modesty.
According to Cassidy, Jones was “one of the first presenters on the ABC with genuine star qualities”.
“So much talent yet so humble and dignified,” he added.
In an interview with WIM in 2021, Jones described her privilege upon being asked to be a part of the team on Sydney’s current affairs segment, This Day Tonight at age 31.
“I knew I had been given an opportunity when I was invited to join the This Day Tonight team,” Jones said.
Previously, in a 2013 ABC interview, Jones revealed the gig had been particularly significant given the segment was entirely male-dominated.
“That was a big deal to be asked to go there, especially since they were all men,” Jones admitted in a 2013 ABC interview.
Despite the male orientated environment, Jones revealed she had been treated with dignity by her male colleagues.
“I joined a team of extremely competitive young men, most of whom went on to make their mark in the industry. I did not find that a difficulty, and I found that I was treated with the respect and friendship by the male members of the team,” Jones revealed.
Jones determination to success despite breaking through new barriers saw her become an icon in the eyes of both colleagues and audiences.
“What I saw was a gritty, determined and highly polished broadcaster who knew what she wanted to achieve and did it. It was what made her very special,” described physician and ABC broadcaster, Norman Swan.
A number of well-known journalists and fans alike took to social media to pay their own special tributes to the late “trailblazer”, describing Jones as an “inspiration” and a “role model” for women in the industry.
So profoundly sad to hear of the passing of one of this country’s true trailblazers – and a pioneer in particular for generations of female journalists, Caroline Jones.
Respected and loved by colleagues and audiences alike.
She was, and always will be, the gold standard.
— Lisa Wilkinson (@Lisa_Wilkinson) May 20, 2022
Vale beautiful Caroline Jones. ???? You were my hero and inspiration. The first woman I ever saw in a senior journalist broadcasting role. I was stung by a sudden realisation… ‘if she can, maybe … I can too!’ ???? @abcnews @WIM_Aus pic.twitter.com/t8BERW7ooq
— Virginia Haussegger (@Virginia_Hauss) May 20, 2022
Shocked and deeply saddened to hear Caroline Jones has died. A giant of Australian journalism. Hearing her interviews on ABC radio inspired me to become a journalist. She prised that door open for so many of us. Vale Caro, you’ll never be forgotten. #carolinejones pic.twitter.com/OCdfYYFcBd
— Jenny Brockie (@JenBrockie) May 20, 2022
Caroline Jones, always a role model for me, launched my first book, Storyteller, in 2014. Caroline was a trailblazer for women like me, and then she lifted me up. I hope to honour your grit Caroline, tomorrow. Rest In Peace my brave friend. Your legacy lives.
— Zoe Daniel (@zdaniel) May 20, 2022