10 Questions with Bridget Judd

ABC journalist and digital producer Bridget Judd recently won a Melbourne Press Club Quill award for Radio Current Affairs for a piece on women within the Victorian prison system.

In 2017, she was named the Victorian Young Journalist of the Year and was a finalist in the Walkley Australian Young Journalist of the Year Awards.

Now based in Darwin, she answers 10 Questions from Radio Today.

  • You won a Quill for “Behind Bars”, how did you happen across the story?

I started looking into the story around this time last year, when there was a lot of debate going around about repeat offenders being let off too lightly. I thought it’d be interesting to look at why there were so many repeat offenders in the first place, and the story kind of developed from there.

  • A lesson there for young journos to follow a good story?

I think the biggest thing I learned was going with the flow. When I first started this piece, it was going to be more of a profile on post-release transition programs for men, but as time went on, it ended up being a story about women’s prisons. It wasn’t what I set out to do, but I think that was probably for the better and a good lesson.

  • You’ve made the move from Warrnambool to Darwin with the ABC, how have you found it?

Hot. Humid. Amazing.

It’s a totally different world up here, but the people couldn’t be more welcoming and there’s a lot of really interesting stories.

  • How did you get your start?

As an intern at a little community radio station on the Gold Coast when I was 20. My boss was a former journo, and really took me under his wing and showed me the ropes.

My first full-time gig was with the ABC in Warrnambool in 2015. I’d just graduated from uni and was really keen to work in regional Australia, so I’m very fortunate they decided to take a chance on me.

  • What drew you to radio journalism and the ABC?

I think there’s a lot of opportunities to develop a story in radio, particularly when you’re a regional journo and have limited resources. You’re not restricted by getting the right shots or trying to condense it into 700 words for online.

In terms of the ABC, I think definitely the ability to work across all platforms (radio, TV, online) and different programs.

  • Is there any one person (or two or three) that you’ve learned from/been inspired by?

It’s hard to pick any one person specifically, but I’ve been fortunate enough to have some really great mentors over the years.

  • What is it that you enjoy?

I love telling people’s stories. Every day is different and I’ve been fortunate enough to see parts of Australia I didn’t even know existed.

  • You’ve already had cyclones etc, what’s it like to cover that sort of event for the ABC?

Fortunately I had the weekend off when the cyclone hit Darwin, but it was definitely pretty surreal sitting at home and seeing a neighbours outdoor setting get picked up in the wind and land on my roof!

I did a bit of flood coverage back in January though – we ended up being ferried through snake-infested floodwaters in a tinny to watch Barramundi be airlifted to safety (only in the NT), which was pretty nuts.

  • Have you had that ‘pinch-me-is-this-real’ moment?

Definitely. I was fortunate enough to flown out to Arizona last year by the Melbourne Press Club for the Investigative Reporters Conference, and I remember sitting in a room with a bunch of journos from the New York Times thinking ‘how the hell did an idiot from Warrnambool get here?’

  • What’s the big lesson you’ve learned as a journalist for the ABC or in general?

Listen when people speak, don’t just wait for your turn to ask a question. Be kind and welcome feedback.

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