The Observer journalist Liana Walker.
The Observer journalist Liana Walker.

Meet the team: News reporter Liana Walker

I remember the exact moment I decided to become a journalist.

It was in 2013 while I was on a gap year after my plans to study law/arts fell through.

I was watching an interview with one of my favourite bands, Vampire Weekend, who told the interviewer they credited much of their success to a review in the New Yorker.

They weren’t politicians or established celebrities, just regular Joes who were trying to make a living making music. I realised how powerful that review was.

I was not much of a writer at the time, in fact I completed school at the Queensland Academy for Creative Industries studying the International Baccalaureate which I attended in hopes of becoming a fashion designer – it’s fair to say I’ve changed my mind on my career several times.

While on my gap year I started writing about all the concerts I attended and albums I liked on a blog.

I enrolled in a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Business, majoring in Public Relations at QUT in 2014.

I graduated from the Queensland University of Technology in 2017.
I graduated from the Queensland University of Technology in 2017.

During that time I interned for a music publication and realised pretty quickly music writing was not for me. However unlike my previous fleeting dreams, I kept at this one.

I interned with Channel 10, the Brisbane Times and the ABC before picking up a short gig with ABC Wide Bay.

In my limited spare time I volunteered at community radio station 4ZZZ initially as a news reader and then producing longer current affairs stories.

Once I graduated at the end of 2017, I started my cadetship with the Stanthorpe Border Post in 2018.

Moving from the big city to a rural town was a challenge in many ways, but the experience I gained was priceless.

Myself at an animal sanctuary in the Granite Belt region which was taking in animals that had been displaced due to drought.
Myself at an animal sanctuary in the Granite Belt region which was taking in animals that had been displaced due to drought.

There I covered everything from new businesses, to community meetings, to farmers picking their first crops of the season, but the main area I covered was crime.

However, it was my coverage of the devastating fires through the Girraween National Park and an unforgiving drought that saw me awarded third place for Young Journalist of the Year at the Queensland Country Press Awards.

But as anyone who has driven along the Bruce Highway knows, Stanthorpe is the coldest place in Queensland and for someone who had grown up in Queensland’s heat, I knew I couldn’t take the cold anymore.

When the job offer came up in Gladstone I jumped at the opportunity.

I joined The Observer team in April 2019, as a general news reporter.

Like in Stanthorpe I was drawn to reporting on crime in Gladstone, however I have covered a vast array of stories here including new businesses opening, Gladstone Regional Council general meetings, health concerns and developments in the region.

On Quoin Island covering the release of Polly the Loggerhead turtle.
On Quoin Island covering the release of Polly the Loggerhead turtle.

This year I’ve taken on the role of court reporter, which should come as no surprise for someone who once considered a career in law.

I believe the media plays an important role in reporting on court proceedings while also giving the community satisfaction, knowing that those who commit crimes will be appropriately punished.

Although court takes up much of my time now, there are still so many issues I am passionate about in Gladstone and will make the time for.

The stories that remind me of the reason I wanted to do this job in the first place are the ones that come from the individuals in this community.

It’s the young business owner who’s dream to make earrings started when she was 11 years old and now she’s living it.

It’s the couple who shared their concerns about a damaged car children had been playing in because they wanted it to be moved before someone got injured.

It’s the dad who opened up about his son’s suicide as he fundraised for more awareness.

It’s the mother who bravely talked about the abuse she endured from her former partner to show other victims there is a the way they can get out.

Your stories are the ones that matter and I am always open to sharing them.

To reach me email liana.walker@gladstoneobserver.com.au or call 49703022.

I’m also on Facebook and Twitter.

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Meet the team: Senior reporter Rodney Stevens