Speakers Profile - Jennifer Byrne

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Jennifer Byrne started her career in journalism at a young age as a Cadet Journalist with The Age newspaper in Melbourne. At the age of 23, she was posted to California as The youngest-ever Foreign Correspondent for The Age.

In 1981, Jennifer moved to Sydney as Founding Reporter with Channel Nine's Sunday program and five years later, joined the reporting team at 60 Minutes. In 1993, she became the morning presenter of ABC Radio 2BL and in 1995, was appointed Publishing Director of Reed Books.

In 1999, having spent a couple of years as Stand-in Presenter for both ABC-TV's 7.30 Report and Lateline, Jennifer took up the anchor job at Foreign Correspondent, and spent five years as Host and Reporter, travelling with the program. She also continued to write features and book reviews, and regularly hosted Radio National's Breakfast program.

Jennifer moved on from Foreign Correspondent in 2003 to join The Bulletin magazine as a Senior Writer, working on a weekly column, for which she won several national awards. In May 2006 she developed and launched a new book program, the ABC Book Club, along with a series of literary specials and interviews featuring such international guests as J.K.Rowling, Bill Bryson and Ian McEwan, and local authors including Tim Winton, Helen Garner and kids favourite Andy Griffiths.

She wrapped the programme after 11 successful years and continues to work in print, with regular appearances in leading newspaper and travel magazines. This year, Jennifer year took on the role of Patron of Coastrek, which has raised some $20 million for the Fred Hollows Foundation to fight preventable blindness. She is also a long-time Ambassador for the Australian Indigenous Education Programme, a private sector initiative providing scholarships for young Indigenous students to attend leading Australian schools and universities.