Investigative journalist John Lyons has set his sights on his most formidable target yet

John Lyons is no stranger to controversy. When I first met him on this newspaper 33 years ago, the debate around him, at least among some of his older colleagues, was whether, at the age of 24, he had the maturity to serve as chief of staff for the country’s national daily.

To no one’s great surprise he proved he had both the mettle and the brains for the job, and over the past three decades he has gone on to an impressive career in Australian journalism: editor of The Sydney Morning Herald at 33, national affairs editor at The Bulletin at 37, executive producer of the Nine Network’s Sunday program at 42. And in between New York correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and Washington correspondent for The Australian.

In the process he has earned numerous accolades, including three Walkley Awards and, in 1999, the Graham Perkin Award for his “groundbreaking and outstanding reporting on national affairs”.

Along the way this Catholic-born son of a working middle-class Melbourne family has frequently created a storm — sometimes in a teacup but more often than not of the kind that roils the atmosphere and creates outbursts of feeling that never quite dissipate.

Read the review by David Leser in The Australian (subscription required).

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