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Why news matters now more than ever

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The anonymous letter arrived in the mail the other day, with the word "Journalist" written under my name on the envelope.

It was handwritten, which is a little unusual for the anonymous ones. They tend to be typed and unsigned.

The handwriting was large and not unattractive. It looked like the handwriting of someone who went to school back in the good old days when children were taught cursive writing and had to keep words within black-lined cards.

The writer seemed to be having a go at me. There was no "Dear" at the start. Just "Joanne". The person couldn't believe I hadn't written about an issue involving the Catholic Church and a restructure described as a "money grab" involving schools.

"Parents haven't got a clue," my anonymous informant wrote. "Can't believe it hasn't made the press somewhere."

I've received plenty of letters like this over the years. When I first started writing about institutional child sexual abuse in June, 2006 - and hasn't that 13 years just flown by - the anonymous letters from Catholic Church people were divided into two.

There were the abusive ones that questioned my integrity, honesty, decency, legitimacy, skills, sexual history - the word "slut" was used, once - and general right to live on this planet. Then there were the other ones, always anonymous, describing horrors from the past, suicides and tragic events, and naming alleged child sex offenders. In........

© Canberra Times