Kate Taylor rocking the    look with her awards

October 10th, 2020Kate Taylor rocking the look with her awards

IT ALL started with a pile of rocks that ended in an award. Well, kind of. A few years ago, my husband decided we should go for a drive around Hepburn looking at the old-school drystone walls. I had to try and turn it into something that would interest me – a story. It turned out that they’re actually pretty interesting, as well as being a popular geo-tourism attraction.

I’d already met Donna and Kyle at a lunch at the Moorabool News and along with that paper’s editor Helen Tatchell, we had a couple of drinks and a right laugh. Happy days. Now? Time for me to pitch a story to them.
Essentially a pile of rocks, drystone walls were a tricky topic for Kyle to get a photo of to go with the story. So he got chatting to a local, which is how so many of our stories start out. He ended up turning it into his own story on the kind of mystic influence of Mt Franklin in the area and, just like that, we were two stories in to a five-story series that won the Feature Series of the Year category at the Rural Press Club Awards. From my nervous first pitch of a story on piles of rocks, I now get to put ‘award-winning journalist’ in my pitches.
I love the people stories, though. They’re my favourite to write. I loved interviewing Tonia Todman, because she’s an incredible woman. Actually, I got to interview 16 women as part of my ‘Inspiring Women’ series that I wrote after Donna and Kyle put in for a grant from the Judith Neilson Institute. I got to speak with Claire, from The Boathouse Restaurant, and she’s in my top-five list of people ever that I’ve admired. She’s awesome. And Millie, the beautiful artist and hell of a woman who I’m determined to have a wine and a laugh with as soon as the pandemic is over.
Also, I got to speak to Nicole Chvastek, on ABC Radio’s state-wide Drive program. I find myself turning into a bit of a bumbling groupie whenever I chat to her because she’s eye-wateringly smart. But if I’m ever going to be intimidated, it might as well be by Nicole. Twice we’ve chatted on-air – first about the award and then about the ‘Inspiring Women’ series – about the people stories that I love writing.

There was another award, too, which is very close to my heart – and even more so recently. The Rotary Club of Daylesford gave me the Employee of the Year Award a couple of years back and I was so excited. I even still remember where I was when I found out, the way people do with big world-changing events. Sadly, I was just cooking scrambled eggs with Carrie Bickmore on the telly in the background when they called to tell me. I was so excited.
And then. Oh, and then. Last month, one of my beautiful, amazing nieces sent me an email. The best email I’ve ever been sent. The body of the email read simply:

“Hi Auntie Kate,
We had to write about our role model at school and I chose you.”

Oh, little woman. I’m feeling the love.
She sent me her essay about how I inspire her, how she looks up to me because I’m blind and win awards. Donna had sent my sister a copy of the edition with the story of my award in it, with a pic of me on the front page. My niece put that photo in with her essay and sent it off to her teacher. It choked me up more than a bit.
I do love it when we get really nice feedback about The Local. And it feels great because sometimes it’s a bit of a challenge to fit in with deadlines, to stay up writing a story that really needs to be done and in the layout for the next day. But it’s a love, a passion. And it turns out that, in the end, every pile of rocks is worth it, for a good story.

Words: Kate Taylor

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