Pioneering journalist Caroline Jones, star of ABC Four Corners TV, dies in Sydney aged 84

Pioneering journalist Caroline Jones, who died aged 84 this week, is seen as a ‘graceful and wise soul’ and ‘warrior for women’ who gave up having children to build a career ‘in gold standard”.

Ms Jones, best known as the host who set the standard for the Four Corners current affairs show, died after a fall at her Greenwich home in Sydney.

Tributes flooded social media on Friday and Saturday for Jones, who is widely remembered as an outstanding journalist and a woman of rare generosity and passion for her craft.

Canberra journalist Emma Macdonald with Caroline Jones, who died aged 84 this week after a fall

Pioneering journalist Caroline Jones, who died aged 84 this week, is considered a

Pioneering journalist Caroline Jones, who died aged 84 this week, is seen as a ‘graceful and wise soul’ and ‘warrior for women’ who gave up having children to build a career ‘in gold standard”.

She was notably a women’s champion and a great supporter of the Australian football team the Matildas.

The Women in Media group printed one of their quotes on a t-shirt that read, “I know there’s a special place in heaven for women who help other women.”

Several female journalists have revealed on social media that Jones has personally reached out to them to congratulate them on their work.

“She once emailed me out of the blue to compliment a story I did. LA Caroline Jones! I couldn’t believe it,” said Queensland journalist Isabel Roe.

Caroline Jones was an award-winning journalist who spent 53 years working for the ABC and supporting her female colleagues

Caroline Jones was an award-winning journalist who spent 53 years working for the ABC and supporting her female colleagues

“I saw her at an event just a few weeks ago. What a shock. Thank you for everything you have done Caroline.

Former ABC chief executive Mark Scott called her “a giant of Australian journalism”, while Lisa Wilkinson said she was “a trailblazer especially for generations of female journalists” and that she has become the “gold standard”.

Journalist Annabel Crabb called her a “superb woman”. Smart, brave, funny and generous.

His last social media post was a cheeky joke at the expense of Vladimir Putin.

Sky News’ Helen Dalley said she was “a legend in journalism” and “a beautiful person who was always so engaged, articulate and curious about the world and the community around her”.

Several politicians also paid tribute, including North Sydney MP Trent Zimmerman, who said: ‘She never missed the chance to give me advice when we saw each other outside.

An only child, Ms Jones was brought up in Murrurundi, in the Upper Hunter region of New South Wales.

Prior to her debut hosting the ABC’s flagship news program in 1972, a newspaper clipping noted that “girl will take over Four Corners”.

While on a publicity tour for the show, Ms Jones was photographed in a miniskirt putting on makeup and a reporter wrote ‘she smells very feminine’.

A Daily Telegraph reporter wrote “The Jones girl doesn’t particularly appeal to me as a sex symbol” at the time.

In her first year, she won one of Australia’s biggest television awards, a Logie, for her investigation of inner-city slum landlords.

In 2013 she won a Walkley Award, for Outstanding Contribution to Journalism, and in 2021 she was inducted into the Australian Media Hall of Fame.

In 2014, she was named one of Australia’s 75 “Living Treasures”.

She married twice but told the Newcastle Herald: “I chose not to have children”.

Ms Jones worked for the national broadcaster for 53 years, starting as a reporter in Canberra in 1963, before moving to Sydney TV as a reporter on This Day Tonight in 1967.

From 1987 to 1994, she presented a spiritually-focused ABC radio show called The Search for Meaning, which included people telling their life stories.

In 1996, aged 58, she returned to top-tier television, hosting Australian Story until 2016. When she left, she said she would not retire.

In her seventies, Jones traveled from her home in western Sydney to teach children to read and championed the work of fellow female journalists until she was in her eighties.

She remained dedicated to the ABC even after her departure, continuing to promote Four Corners and Australian Story on social media.

Australian Story executive producer Caitlin Shea released a statement on Friday.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Caroline Jones, our beloved Australian Story presenter for many years.

“Caroline died after a fall in her Sydney home. She was 84.

“Caroline’s contribution to Australian Story is immeasurable. The program would not be what it is today without her.

“As a team, we remember Caroline’s grace, warmth and absolute professionalism.

“Even after her retirement, she regularly got in touch to encourage us from behind the scenes.

“And she always promised that she would do one last presentation for us.

“Caroline was a pioneer in journalism, a pioneer for women.”

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