Croakey Health Media was incorporated in 2018 as a not-for-profit public interest journalism organisation. Our membership comes from people involved in the Croakey Health Media social journalism team. We provide a range of social journalism services and related activities that are important for the health and wellbeing of people, families, communities, societies and the environment. A board elected by the members provides governance oversight.
Croakey Health Media was incorporated in order for our social enterprise to become more sustainable, to develop our governance, and to increase our impact and reach. Before incorporating, we had developed as a network of committed individuals and contributors, with an 11-year history of providing innovation and service in health journalism.
Please see our Strategic Plan for 2019–2022.
Founding members of the Croakey Health Media board are:
Janine Mohamed is a Narrunga Kaurna woman from Point Pearce in South Australia and is currently CEO of the Lowitja Institute, a national health research organisation with a sole focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. She was previously CEO of CATSINaM, the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives and has over 20 years’ experience in nursing, management, health workforce, health policy, and project management in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector.
Dr Megan Williams is Senior Lecturer and Head of the Girra Maa Indigenous Health Discipline at the Graduate School of Health, University of Technology, Sydney. She has over 20 years’ experience combining health service delivery and research, particularly focusing on Aboriginal peoples’ leadership to improve the health and wellbeing of people in the criminal justice system and post-prison release. Megan is a Wiradjuri descendent, and also has Anglo-Celtic heritage. She is also a Contributing Editor at Croakey and a member of the #JustJustice project.
Lyn Brodie MBA FAICD is CEO of Optometry Australia, the national peak body for optometrists. An experienced executive with a career that has spanned the corporate and not-for-profit sectors, Lyn has worked as a Ministerial Advisor in the Federal Government where she advised on Food Policy and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. Previously held positions include CEO of The Lowitja Institute, the only national health research organisation with a sole focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, CEO for the Gandel Charitable Trust, one of Australia’s largest philanthropic foundations and Executive Director, Zoos Victoria Foundation.
Dr Melissa Sweet, Managing Editor of Croakey, is one of Australia’s most experienced health and medical journalists. Writing about health and medical issues since the late 1980s, Melissa covered the medical round for the Sydney Morning Herald and Australian Associated Press and authored several health-related books. As Founding Editor of Croakey, she is passionate about new media innovation and Public Interest Journalism. Melissa is also involved in various research and teaching activities, is Adjunct Senior Lecturer in the Sydney School of Public Health at the University of Sydney, and recently completed a PhD at the University of Canberra where she was awarded the Parker Medal for the University of Canberra’s most outstanding thesis of 2017.
Paula O’Connell MBA MAICD heads Oconsult, a strategic business consultancy for business owners of small and medium firms. Her experience is gleaned from forming, growing and subsequently selling an executive search firm in the Netherlands and is backed by a grounding in recruitment with Morgan & Banks, Sydney, in the 1990s. She brings strategic and business experience to the Croakey board.
The members, who collectively contribute to Croakey’s social journalism team, are:
- Dr Ruth Armstrong
- Amy Coopes
- Jennifer Doggett
- Summer May Finlay
- Marie McInerney
- Paula O’Connell
- Dr Mark Ragg
- Dr Lesley Russell
- Dr Tim Senior
- Dr Melissa Sweet
- Mitchell Ward, and
- Dr Megan Williams.
Croakey’s Social Journalism team is steered by public health journalist Melissa Sweet, in collaboration with many others. The team includes the editors, as well as contributing editors, columnists and people who collaborate on various projects.
Members of the team wear multiple hats, and the editors declare our conflicts of interest here. You can read more here.
Roles: Overall editorial responsibility; steering social journalism activities and development; outreach and sustainability. Melissa is also one of the rotating editors.
Follow her on Twitter: @croakeyblog.
Melissa Sweet is an independent journalist, media columnist, author, blogger and researcher. She has been covering health matters for more than 25 years. She founded Croakey and @WePublicHealth. She is a Croakey editor, as well as contributing to various projects, including #JustJustice, #JustClimate and #IHMayDay.
Roles: Commissioning, editing, writing and publishing articles. Contributing to social journalism activities and development.
Follow her on Twitter: @mariemcinerney
Marie McInerney is an editor at Croakey and reports for the Croakey Conference News Service. She also contributes to various projects, including #JustJustice and #CripCroakey. She is a freelance journalist for a range of publications, including Croakey, BBC Australia, Thomson Reuters, the British Medical Journal, the Saturday Paper and Text Pacific publications, including the HCF member magazine.
Follow her on Twitter: @JenniferDoggett
Jennifer Doggett is an editor at Croakey and reports for the Croakey Conference News Service. She is a Fellow of the Centre for Policy Development and a consultant working in the health sector for a number of professional, industry and consumer groups. She has previously worked within the Federal Department of Health, as a political advisor and in a community health organisation.
Follow her on Twitter: @coopesdetat
Amy Coopes is an editor for Croakey and also reports for the Croakey Conference News Service. She is a seasoned reporter with more than a decade’s experience in news, including several years as Australia correspondent for Agence France Presse. She is now a medical student, but continues freelance work, contributing to the BMJ, Fairfax and various UNSW publications. Amy has a Bachelor of Arts (Communications – Journalism) and Master of Arts (Creative Writing) and is working towards a Bachelor of Medical Studies/Doctor of Medicine.
Dr Ruth Armstrong
Follow her on Twitter: @DrRuthAtLarge
Ruth is an editor at Croakey and also the Croakey Books Editor. She reports for the Croakey Conference News Service, and offers medical storytelling workshops as part of the Croakey suite of professional services.With a background in general practice, she worked from 1997-2015 on the editorial team of the Medical Journal of Australia.Her long career at the MJA included working as Indigenous Health Editor, and undertaking special projects such as MJAbooks, supplements and theme issues.
Follow him on Twitter @MarkRagg
Mark is a writer and editor. He worked as a doctor in emergency medicine originally, then as a journalist at The Australianand the Sydney Morning Herald, before starting a consultancy, Ragg & Co. He has written a novel, The Dickinson Papers(Random House, 2009), and has had short stories and poetry published.
Follow her on Twitter @nmackee2
Nicole has worked in health and medical publishing for more than 20 years. She was Deputy Editor and sub-editor at Australian Doctor before taking the plunge into freelancing in 2011. For the past eight years, Nicole has written for InSight+ – the Medical Journal of Australia’s online newsletter – and, since 2016, she has been a regular contributor to Medicine Today.
Creative director/web development
Roles: Website design and development; graphic design; contributing to social journalism activities and development.
Follow him on Twitter: @rocklilydesign
Mitchell is the creative director and website developer for Croakey. He is also principal of Rock Lily Design, and has vast experience in graphic design and web development across a multiple of industries including multinational companies, small boutique businesses, not-for-profit organisations, government and non government organisations and academia. Mitchell has creative skills in both website development, photography and videography and is a keen musician and artist.
Roles: Providing advice; contributing to social journalism activities and development; outreach and engagement.
Summer May Finlay
Follow her on Twitter: @OnTopicAus
Summer May Finlay is a Yorta Yorta woman who grew up in Lake Macquarie near Newcastle. She engages with Croakey in a number of capacities, including as a contributing editor, and as a member of the #JustJusticeproject, and has reported for the Croakey Conference News Service. Summer is currently undertaking a PhD with the University of South Australia, has a Master of Public Health Advanced majoring in social marketing from the University of Wollongong and a Bachelor of Social Science majoring in linguistics from Macquarie University.
Dr Tim Senior
Follow him on Twitter: @timsenior
Tim is a GP who works in Aboriginal health, and who crowdfunded the Wonky Healthcolumns at Croakey, investigating the impacts of policies upon health. He is a contributing editor at Croakey, and also a contributor to the #JustJustice project. He has his own blog, and won the inaugural Gavin Mooney Memorial Essay Competition, writing about climate change and equity.
Dr Megan Williams
Follow her on Twitter: @MegBastard
Megan is Senior Lecturer in Aboriginal Health and Wellbeingat the Graduate School of Health, UTS. She has over 20 years’ experience combining health service delivery and research, particularly focusing on Aboriginal peoples’ leadership to improve the health and wellbeing of people in the criminal justice system and post-prison release. Megan is a Wiradjuri descendent, and also has Anglo-Celtic heritage. She is a contributing editor at Croakey and a member of the #JustJustice project.
Dr Lesley Russell
Follow her on Twitter: @LRussellWolpe
Dr Lesley Russell is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Menzies Centre for Health Policy (MCHP) at the University of Sydney. She is a contributing editor at Croakey, and also began contributing the regular Health Wrap columnin early 2018. Her research interests include healthcare reform in Australia and the US, mental health, Indigenous health, addressing health disparities and health budget issues; her policy papers and annual budget analyses are available on the University of Sydney e-scholarship website.
Director, Business Development and Relationship Management
Roles: Supporting financial sustainability and development; business planning; working with funders; and providing outreach and relationship management.
Follow her on Twitter:@CroakeyServices
Laurell works as Croakey’s Director, Business Development and Relationship Management supporting financial sustainability and development; business planning; working with funders; and providing outreach and relationship management.
Laurell has a keen interest in participatory democracy supported by her previous studies in public policy. She is currently also working at General Practice Training Tasmania (GPTT) as project manager to the GPTT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Training Initiatives Strategic Plan. She has worked at senior levels at the Commonwealth, Department of Health within population health, health workforce regulation and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce.
Director of finances
Roles: Financial management.
Follow her on Twitter:@paula_oconnell
Paula O’Connell is an independent business consultant. Her expertise includes business strategy, digital marketing and operations. In 2002 she created an executive search firm in the Netherlands that she grew to a team of 20 before selling and returning to Australia in 2017. Before this, she established the marketing contracting division for Morgan & Banks: Australia’s premier recruitment firm in the 1990s.
Croakey Strategic Plan
Croakey Health Media’s Strategic Plan (2019-2022) sets out a vision for “A vigorous and sustainable public interest journalism sector contributes to the health and wellbeing of people, families, communities, policies, societies and the environment”.
Report to Stakeholders 2018-2019
Profiling innovation and developments in healthy journalism
This report showcases some highlights of our innovative model of social journalism, from our governance structures and processes, to our community engagement, and how we “do” journalism, using multiple platforms and methods – such as our walking journalism initiative, #CroakeyGO, development of Twitter Festivals, and the Croakey Conference News Service.
Croakey Stakeholders Report 2017
This report summarises our 2017 activities (including 528 articles published, 18 conferences and events covered), and also shares some of our exciting plans.
2020 press releases
Grant to support Croakey Health Media development (28 April, 2020). Download press release here.
Investigating prisoner health in the pandemic (5 May, 2020). Download press release here.
New report shows demand for healthy public interest journalism (2 June, 2020). Download press release here.
2019 press releases
Croakey Health Media appoints inaugural Board (7 May, 2019). Download press release here.
Join the #AusVotesHealth Twitter festival: 8 May (7 May, 2019). Download press release here.
Croakey Health Media calls for protection of public interest journalism (4 July, 2019). Download press release here.
Join a #CroakeyGO for better mental health – follow #NavigatingHealth (29 July, 2019). Download press release here.
Where is the vision for sustainable public interest journalism? (18 December, 2019). Download press release here.
The Croakey project was born out of conversations in early 2007 about mainstream media’s coverage of health issues, involving public health academic Professor Simon Chapman and journalists Melissa Sweet and Mark Ragg. Journalist Ray Moynihan was also part of these discussions at different times.
We talked about ways to create structures and processes that might enable the development of counter-narratives to the mainstream focus on medical “breakthroughs”, hospital beds, and lifestyle choices.
Chapman, who at that time wrote regularly for the Crikey e-news bulletin, picked up the phone to its publisher Eric Beecher and suggested we would set up a panel of experts to provide informed articles about topical health issues.
Melissa Sweet took on the founding and moderation of the Crikey Health and Medical Panel, as outlined in this 2009 article in The Medical Journal of Australia, CHAMP: A novel collaboration between public health and the media (abstract is free; full article is not but if you want a copy, please contact Croakey).
From mid 2007 until the end of October 2009, Crikey paid Melissa Sweet for coordinating the CHAMP. By this time, the Croakey blog had been established. Although it sat on the Crikey website, its editorial operations were run by Melissa Sweet, independently of Crikey.
Melissa Sweet was the founding moderator of Croakey and ran it by herself until late 2012, when health policy consultant and analyst Jennifer Doggett came on board to help with moderation, as did health consultant Michelle Culhane-Hughes in early 2013. In August 2013, journalist and editor Marie McInerney joined the Croakey collective (former Fairfax journalist Mark Metherell was also briefly involved).
In mid-2013, the Sax Institute launched a probono contribution, The Health Wrap, which is compiled every fortnight by experienced health and medical journalist/editor Kellie Bisset and her colleagues.
Many others have also contributed to various projects with Croakey, including Kelly Briggs, Dr Justin Coleman, Summer May Finlay, Dr Lynore Geia, El Gibbs, Dr Tim Senior and the many who have reported for the Croakey Conference News Service.
The Croakey contributors’ list includes more than 250 people who want to help contribute to a more informed and wide-ranging public debate about health issues.
In June 2015, the Croakey project won a $5,000 grant from the Walkleys Grants for Innovation in Journalism which was used to fund the redevelopment of Croakey as this standalone platform. We acknowledge and thank the Walkleys Foundation and the sponsors of these grants. We also acknowledge and thank the team at Crikey who have previously hosted us.
We hope that having a standalone platform will enable us to provide a better service to our readers, contributors and funders, and that it will enable us to continue developing and hopefully also to become more financially sustainable.
We welcome your feedback and suggestions for how we can continue to develop and improve.
On 24 August 2018, Croakey Health Media Ltd was registered as the holding company for all the Croakey services: croakey.org, Croakey Conference News Services, Croakey Professional Services and all our ad hoc projects. By professionalising Croakey, we look to make it a financially sustainable entity with a momentum greater than any one of us.
• The National Library of Australia archives Croakey for its PANDORA project.