Budding journo takes top prize

By Ashleigh Fielding | posted on November 2, 2017

STORYTELLING has been a part of Albany-born Molly Schmidt’s life since she could talk.

She recently graduated from Curtin University with a creative writing and journalism degree, and received the Outstanding Journalism Student Award at Saturday night’s West Australian Media Awards.

The 22-year-old won the prestigious award for three pieces of original writing; her stories on the orphans of Shanghai, a sufferer of Lyme Disease, and a Perth soccer club.

Her humble nature and kind manner make her more than deserving of the accomplishment.

“I was really not expecting it. It’s made me really happy,” she said, during a visit to her hometown this week.

“It’s been quite mind blowing. I’m super overwhelmed! I’ve had people approaching me about my work already, so this award is really helping me get my name out there and creating new contacts.”

One of Ms Schmidt’s university lecturers, Dr Bonita Mason, said the young graduate’s work was always full of rich and investigative material.

“As a student, she was a dream,” Dr Mason said.

“She puts in a great deal of effort and thinks deeply. She is so bright.”

Ms Schmidt’s award-winning Shanghai orphan feature involved a 10-day trip to the overseas city with her fellow university scholars.

“I wanted to look into the one-child policy in China because I found out a lot of kids are abandoned.

“About 90 per cent of the abandoned children were classified as disabled, so it’s not about gender now.

“I found it really devastating.”

Ms Schmidt’s investigative work involved talking to foster homes which look after children and find parents for them.

“It’s a story they are really desperate to tell,” she said.

Ms Schmidt’s story on a sufferer of the controversial Lyme Disease was sparked by working at WA Today.

“I was approached by a lady whose friend was sick and wasn’t being treated,” she said.

“I met with her several times over a month and spoke with doctors, to create an unbiased piece.

“The main angle of my story was to question why doctors weren’t treating a dying lady.”

Ms Schmidt is currently freelancing and has plans to visit Nepal next year to learn yoga teaching and write about her overseas experience.