Last weekend we tragically lost our exceptionally bright digital reporter, Sam Langford, who passed away suddenly. Here, we pay tribute to our friend Sam.
For those who regularly watch The Feed, or read our content online, we’re a large, energetic and young team. Sam Langford had been our digital reporter since 2019, embodying all those things intrinsic to The Feed: Sam was bold, independent, brimming with ideas and never afraid to seek out stories no-one else was looking at. Sadly, Sam passed away unexpectedly and suddenly last weekend, at only 23.
Sam, who used she or they, contributed so much to our team - not only in producing outstanding content like this overview of firefighters’ challenges and requirements in the midst of the bushfire crisis, but was a great friend and collaborator with limitless enthusiasm, and even a mentor at such a young age.
Sam was dux of her year at Loreto Normanhurst in Sydney, and went on to study Arts at Sydney University. It was there Sam’s passion for journalism was cemented: taking classes in psychology and linguistics, then political economy and government. Outside study, Sam became an avid debater and joined the university’s paper, Honi Soit. That renowned publication boasts Germaine Greer, Clive James, Malcolm Turnbull and Adam Spencer as former contributors. Sam not only wrote for Honi Soit, but also became an editor before graduation.
Late last year, Sam joined the Feed as a digital reporter, and made a huge impression on us all in a short space of time. Sam was fearless in her search for stories, highly ethical, balanced and was always in pursuit of rigorous fact-checking, as in this piece about claims around koala populations prior to the summer fires; and this examination of legislation proposed to outlaw gay conversion therapy and the groups opposing that plan.
Sam had a real talent for explaining complex information in a way we can all understand. This report of programmers’ analysis of the government’s Covidsafe app was not only presented in clear English, but was translated into over 60 languages for SBS.
Sam was equally skilled at capturing the absurdities of life, and was entirely at home seeking out the stories that would put a smile on people’s faces, like this deep dive into the bizarre political keepsakes in the National Library of Australia, including a parody Scott Morrison-themed Hawaiian shirt.
Like all of us, Sam was much more than her job, and her diverse interests mirrored her broad fascination with the world she was reporting. Her loving family describe her as someone who was “never bored”. Sam enjoyed beekeeping with her dad, and loved running and weight training. She had a love of books, podcasts and coding. Sam had learned the violin as a child and was teaching herself the bass guitar. And how to speak Japanese. There was also photography, hiking and crochet in Sam’s repertoire. She loved to draw, had incredible skill as an artist and loved design - with a special fascination in fonts and typography. She made the most of everything in those 23 years.
Sam’s parents, Catherine and Andrew, and brothers Jack and Patrick, will remember her as a warm-hearted, generous, funny and incredibly talented young person and we are all deeply saddened for their loss.
And for us, we will miss Sam very much.