Long time television journalist and founder of the ABC TV Landline program, Kerry Lonergan was formally inducted into the Rural Journalism Hall of Fame at a special event in Longreach last Friday.
He is the Rural Press Club of Queensland’s fourth Hall of Fame member, standing alongside ABC Radio’s Country Hour producer Robyn McConachie, Queensland Country Life editor Malcolm McCosker and photographer Rod Green.
Kerry has been a TV broadcast journalist for over 30 years in a variety of roles both in front of, and behind the camera, and has made a major contribution to rural story telling.
He played a key role establishing and retaining ABC Television’s only national rural program, Landline, launched in 1991, and over the years has helped support and mentor many up and coming rural journalists.
Kerry still presents his Market Report each Sunday on Landline.
Former ABC colleague and now freelance journalist Peter Lewis told the audience attending the induction cocktail party at the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame in Longreach, where the Rural Journalism Hall of Fame exhibit resides, there was no-one who had put together more hour-long programs than Kerry.
“It’s self-evident that he has a deep love for the bush.
“There’s not a show that demands as much time away. Landline journalists go to where the stories are; they don’t just phone them in.”
Peter also paid tribute to bush audiences, saying there was not a place where journalists got a more sincere welcome than western Queensland.
“Bush people get the story-telling idea,” he said. “We always feel we are among friends in the bush.”
The Rural Press Club hosted its first-ever function in Longreach last year, also at the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame, and CEO Lloyd Mills welcomed members to the venue once again.
“It’s a good partnership to have and we look forward to strengthening it,” he said.
“Journalists are an important part of the bush – they help tell our stories.”
The Rural Press Club’s next function is in Cairns on October 8, to coincide with the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists tropical agriculture pre-congress tour hosted by the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists.
National Indigenous Pastoral Enterprises chairman Neil Westbury will be sharing experiences of 20 years of cattle and country.
The dinner will include visiting agricultural journalists from around the world.
Last week’s event included VIP entry to the drought-relief community concert featuring Paul Kelly from the steps of the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame.