‘Katrina is greatly missed as a journalist, even more so as a truly wonderful person’

Saturday was one of the hardest and saddest days in my long career as a journalist as we said goodbye to one of our own, Katrina Taylor, writes Chad Editor Jon Ball.
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Chad reporter Kat had embarked on her “brain tumour journey” – as she called her often witty, occasionally heartbreaking and always inspirational Facebook page – with the same courage, tenacity and humour she showed in the newsroom in the all-too-brief time we worked alongside each other.

Her journey into journalism was a happy accident, when our paths crossed shortly after your Chad relocated from Southwell Road West to Chadburn House, the former Mansfield Brewery offices.

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In early September 2019, I joined the nearby Water Meadows Leisure Complex and was introduced to the membership manager to complete my forms – Kat!

Chad reporter Katrina Taylor.Chad reporter Katrina Taylor.
Chad reporter Katrina Taylor.

Her ease in talking to people was readily apparent and on learning I was a journalist, shared it had always been her dream job.

By happy coincidence, we were then recruiting for a community news reporter. The community news project, funded by Facebook, now Meta, offered full journalism training to people from non-typical backgrounds, who perhaps had not been to university or journalism training college, but represented their community, in a bid to increase the diversity of newsrooms. Kat was a perfect fit.

I sat out of the interview process, but my boss told me she “smashed it out of the park” and we offered her the job.

It was 100 per cent the right decision.

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As a journalist, she was everything we hoped and expected she would be. Thanks to her confidence, easygoing nature and sheer likeability, from day one her contacts book was the biggest I have ever known. If felt like there wasn’t a story we did where she didn’t know someone somehow connected to it.

As one of her tutors said, “she just had a very special way of engaging with people and championing their causes, giving them a voice”.

That is not to say she wasn’t afraid to upset people. She was as brave and tenacious a reporter as you would expect.

Her courage was evident not just in the stories she chased, but also the deeply personal tales she shared – from being a victim of sexual harassment, to losing her baby – in the hope of helping other people going through similar experiences. It was also evident in dealing with some of the horrible online comments she was subjected to due to stories she had written, a sad side effect of being in the public eye.

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She had ambitions of being an editor. I have no doubt she would have made it and been a very good one at that.

When her fixed-term CNP contract finished in early 2022, it was an easy decision to offer her a permanent contract. Sadly, it was around this time she was diagnosed with her brain tumour.

Despite her long illness, she remained a valued part of our team, frequently sending me tip-offs and story ideas. Just a few short months ago, we were in discussions about a phased, part-time return to work, until sadly her condition deteriorated.

Katrina is greatly missed as a journalist, even more so as a truly wonderful person.

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