2011 Walkley Award winners
The Walkley Foundation and its custodian, the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance, congratulate all the winners of the 56th Annual Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism. The following is a list of all winners. You can find links to each entrant’s winning work after their entry
Joseph Catanzaro, The Weekend West, 'Secret toll of war' read more
Jill Baker, Herald Sun Weekend, 'The big C and me' read more
Mike Colman, Qweekend, The Courier-Mail, 'Tree of life' read more
Rita Williams, The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Three headings' read more
David Rowe, The Australian Financial Review, 'Mini Murdoch' read more
Simon Bosch, The Sydney Morning Herald, 'The dark legacy of child abuse' read more
Neville Madsen, Toowoomba Chronicle, 'Toowoomba flood rescue' read more
Stuart McEvoy, The Australian, 'Cyclone Yasi 'Maria Domandi' read more
Adam Pretty, Getty Images, 'Shanghai World Swimming Championships 2011' read more
Glenn Campbell, The Sydney Morning Herald/The Age, 'Stolen spirits' read more
Phil Hillyard, The Daily Telegraph read more
Mark Willacy, PM, ABC Radio, 'Rikuzentakata tsunami' read more
Katrina Bolton, Radio Current Affairs Documentaries, ABC Radio, 'Drink, death and dollars' read more
Jeremy Ward, Erin Edwards, Luke Miers, Geoff Breusch, Sally Eeles, Seven News, Seven Network, 'Lockyer Valley flood' read more
Monique Schafter, Hungry Beast, ABC TV, 'Trapped in your own body' read more
Jeremy Ward, Seven News, Seven Network, 'Lockyer Valley flood' read more
Eleanor Bell, Ed Giles, Suzanne Smith, ABC, 'Beating the odds' read more
Natasha Bita, The Australian, 'Virus in the system' read more
Matt Moran and Hugh Riminton, Ten News, Network Ten, 'Skype scandal' read more
Nigel Hopkins, Adelaide Hills Magazine, 'Inside Inverbrackie' read more
Yaara Bou Melhem, Dateline, SBS TV, 'Struggle for freedom' read more
Angus Grigg and Jamie Freed, The Australian Financial Review, 'NSW Labor and the $1 land deal' read more
Richard Baker and Nick McKenzie, The Age, 'RBA held evidence of bribery / Who knew what when?' read more
Kathleen Skene, Townsville Bulletin, "Family first" read more
Caro Meldrum-Hanna, 7.30, ABC TV, 'Harness racing under scrutiny' read more
Trent Dalton, Qweekend, The Courier-Mail, 'Home is where the hurt is' read more
Laura Tingle, The Australian Financial Review, 'Liars, clunkheads, rent seekers and gamblers: federal politics 2010'11' read more
Tony Jones, Lateline, ABC TV, 'Christopher Hitchens', 'Malcolm Turnbull' and 'Chris Bowen' read more
Russell Skelton, King Brown Country: The betrayal of Papunya, Allen & Unwin read more
Darren Dale, Tony Krawitz and Chloe Hooper, The Tall Man, Blackfella Films read more
WikiLeaks read more
Paul Lockyer read more
Sarah Ferguson, Michael Doyle and Anne Worthington, Four Corners, ABC TV, 'A bloody business' read more
Print: Print news reportBack to Top
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Joseph Catanzaro, The Weekend West, “Secret toll of war”
Joseph Catanzaro believed there had been a lack of transparency regarding the Australian soldiers wounded and injured in Afghanistan. It turned out he was right.
During eight months of what he calls “grassroots journalism” – knocking on doors and pounding pavements – Catanzaro found a former Special Air Service soldier who was willing to go on the record about the realities facing many of our returning injured veterans, and the long-term challenges posed by the mental and physical trauma they endure.
Catanzaro showed a strong commitment to journalistic ethics during his research, and worked closely with psychologically fragile veterans to ensure his reports wouldn’t have a detrimental impact on their health.
When his Freedom of Information request to obtain medical discharge numbers from the Department of Defence failed, Catanzaro went to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and obtained previously unreleased figures. He was able to show that 920 wounded and injured soldiers had received compensation – far more than the 180 publicly admitted to by the Department of Defence.
Joseph Catanzaro began working for The Bulletin magazine in 2005 as an editorial assistant. By late 2007, less than 12 months after graduating from the front desk and entering the newsroom as a junior journalist, he was reporting from Iraq and Afghanistan. Following The Bulletin’s closure in 2008, he moved to Perth as a reporter with The West Australian. In the past two years his work – primarily covering defence – has seen him report from the Middle East, northern Africa, the Solomon Islands, Thailand and Malaysia.
A fine example of grassroots journalism. Catanzaro spent months wading through anecdotal evidence and secret government figures to paint a picture of despair and betrayal among Australian soldiers who had fought in Afghanistan. The revelations will have an ongoing impact on the treatment of returning Defence personnel.
Print: Newspaper feature writingBack to Top
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Jill Baker, Herald Sun Weekend, "The big C and me"
The Herald Sun’s deputy editor, Jill Baker, was diagnosed with breast cancer only weeks after her husband had died unexpectedly.
She was doubtful when a friend suggested she write an article about her personal experience but, reluctantly, she wrote an intensely personal piece of some 7000 words to be published in the Weekend lift-out of the Herald Sun and other News Limited papers around the country.
It recorded her year – the despair of bad test results, the fear of chemotherapy and the sadness of having to go through all that without her husband to hold her hand.
Readers left hundreds of messages of support on the Herald Sun website. Some sent her mascara so her eyelashes would be long and black when they grew back. She said her survival was thanks to the help of some very smart doctors, amazing nurses and incredible friends.
In a 30-year career in journalism, Jill Baker has been editor of The Sunday Age and deputy editor of The Age. She was also a group publisher at ACP, overseeing 20 magazines, and a publishing director of Random
House in Australia. She has now finished treatment and is delighted to be back at work full-time on the Herald Sun.
Jill Baker says she hates first-person pieces by journalists, and she took some persuasion to write this. But the story of her own experience of breast cancer, diagnosed just 12 weeks after the sudden death of her husband, is raw and powerful.
Full of medical knowledge informed by personal insight, it is a compelling read from beginning to end. The best storytelling should inform readers, and touch them as well. This story achieves highly on both fronts.
Read Baker's award-winning story, "The big C and me", here.
Print: Magazine feature writingBack to Top
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Mike Colman, Qweekend, The Courier-Mail, “Tree of life”
Mike Colman’s story began when he spotted a small plaque in front of a tree near his home in Brisbane some 10 years ago. The tree had been planted in memory of a local man killed on a bombing raid over France in World War II.
With only a name to go on, Colman tracked down the man’s war record and eventually found an 89-year-old neighbour who had witnessed the tree being planted.
In the National Archives, Colman found a letter to the man’s widow from a Frenchwoman who wrote movingly of how she and other villagers had risked the wrath of the Germans by organising a funeral for him and other downed Allied airmen.
Then, through the neighbour, Colman found the man’s son, who now lives on an island off Brisbane. The son told him of what his father’s death had meant to his mother, and how eventually he visited his father’s grave in the French village.
Published over the Anzac weekend, the impact of the piece lies in its telling of what war does to those left behind. Colman received a greater response to this story from the public than any other he’d written in 40 years of journalism.
Colman started work with News Limited the day after finishing high school in 1973. He has been there ever since. He has written for The Australian, The Sunday Telegraph and, for the past 14 years, The Courier-Mail. Best known as a sports writer, four years ago he joined the newspaper’s colour magazine QWeekend.
This is an absolute stand-out in terms of its humanity, and a splendid example of a journalist following his instinct and finding a story that many of his colleagues would not have pursued. Not a word was wasted. The story was 10 years in the making, and with only one name to start with, Mike Colman embarked on an extensive trail of discovery. His article is movingly written, creative and original, and strikes an emotional chord with the reader.
You can read Colman's piece here.
Print: Best three headingsBack to Top
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Rita Williams, The Sydney Morning Herald, “Three headings”
When The Sydney Morning Herald got word of a top secret review that had found the only way to rectify lax security at some of Australia’s biggest Defence installations was to arm their guards, Rita Williams came up with “Unarmed and dangerous: ADF warned of holes in its own defence”.
When a Bavarian primary school began a pilot program for kids to chew gum in class, following research that continuous chewing stimulates brain activity, Williams rose to the challenge – four decks over a single column width – with the headline: “Chew for IQ: pupils go in gums blazing”.
And when news broke that the number of warrants taken out to spy on alleged criminals, corrupt cops and public servants had skyrocketed, but the number of arrests off the back of the buggings had remained low, she came up with: “Spying on the increase but the bugs don’t necessarily bite”.
Rita Williams completed a music degree at the University of Sydney before getting her first job in journalism as editor of a monthly magazine for the fine music station 2MBS-FM. While there she studied an MA in journalism at the University of Technology, Sydney, focusing on print media. She has worked as a subeditor at Terraplanet, News Magazines, Symphony Australia, The Sun-Herald and the Sydney Symphony. In 2006 she joined Fairfax Community Newspapers as a full-time sub, and in March 2008 she moved to The Sydney Morning Herald. She became a page editor at the Herald in July 2011.
These three headlines all demonstrate the fine art of taking a well-known phrase and twisting it cleverly in a way that surprises and delights the reader. Rita Williams has deftly managed to convey the meaning of the news stories she is dealing with while at the same time engaging our interest and challenging our brains.
Artwork: CartoonBack to Top
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David Rowe, The Australian Financial Review, “Mini Murdoch”
In the wake of the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, The Australian Financial Review’s David Rowe takes us inside a Fortress Wapping in disarray.
Its central characters, Murdoch and Mini-Murdoch, are left to survey the carnage and wonder at the ruin of their newspaper empire once so dominant on the British political scene. Here is Rebekah Brooks, the flame-haired former tabloid hack who rose to social and political prominence as CEO of News International, hobbled to the switchboard, while disgraced former police commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson exits stage left.
Meanwhile, through the round window, a pig flies – Rupert Murdoch’s dream of his lucrative BSkyB takeover bid heading west. According to clocks on the wall, everywhere it is five minutes to midnight.
David Rowe was born in Holland in 1968 and moved to Canberra in the early ’70s. After brief stints at the ANU, Canberra School of Art and TAFE, he found work at The Canberra Times as an illustrator in 1991. In 1993 he moved to The Australian Financial Review and his editorial work and Chanticleer illustrations have become a feature of the paper.
David also makes sculptures for The Australian Financial Review’s budget coverage as well as providing work for The Sun Herald’s opinion pages.
David Rowe’s very clever cartoon hits a hard target right between the eyes. It combines all the elements of the Murdoch hacking saga in one ugly, yet superb snapshot. One of the few cartoonists still working in watercolour, Rowe has produced a highly detailed, very stylised and utterly compelling cartoon.
You can view Rowe's winning cartoon here.
Artwork: ArtworkBack to Top
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Simon Bosch, The Sydney Morning Herald, “The dark legacy of child abuse”
Simon Bosch’s “The dark legacy of child abuse” illustrated an opinion piece by social issues writer Adele Horin, which argued that a hidden history of child abuse may lie behind the myriad social problems that afflict Australia, including
its high rates of depression and homelessness.
The illustrator took the lead of Horin’s comments to come up with a piece of artwork that, as the judges said, “makes you stop and think”.
Simon Bosch studied at the Queensland College of Art, and began his freelance career in Sydney by drawing a bull in a suit of armour for a Leo Schofield restaurant review in The Sydney Morning Herald. During two years in the UK, his work appeared in Time Out, Punch, Radio Times and a number of other publications. He now lives in the Blue Mountains and spends his leisure time teaching TAFE students.
Confronting, compelling, powerful, disturbing, emotionally engaging, Simon Bosch’s artwork makes you stop and think. It’s an effective way of conveying the legacy of child abuse. Rewarding greater scrutiny, it takes you into the subject of child abuse, and that’s its power. Who’s the boy, who’s the man? Who is the victim?
You can view Bosch's winning artwork here.
Photography: News photographyBack to Top
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Neville Madsen, Toowoomba Chronicle, “Toowoomba flood rescue”
Neville Madsen, like many of this year’s winners, told stories from the devastating Queensland floods.
On January 10, 2011, the city of Toowoomba was inundated with torrential rain. Hannah Reardon-Smith and her mother Kathryn found themselves caught in rising floodwaters. When their car was forced into a power pole they climbed onto the roof. While Hannah made it to shallower waters, her mother was swept away during the rescue attempt, and was caught further downstream by members of the public. Both women survived the ordeal and Madsen shot this graphic series of images.
Madsen graduated from the Queensland College of Art in 1987 and has worked at the Toowoomba Chronicle since. During his time at the Chronicle he has covered a variety of events, including an eight-day cycling race from Charleville to Toowoomba in the early ’90s, using one of the first Nikon digital cameras, and Prince Harry’s time as a jackeroo near Injune.
A stunning series of a dramatic rescue from the Toowoomba floodwaters. Neville Madsen not only had to be in the right place at the right time, but he also had to brave the rising waters as the flood developed at the beginning of the disaster. To get these shots was incredible, and technically the photos are faultless with excellent composition.
You can view the 2011 Walkley photography finalists and winners here.
Photography: Daily life / feature photographyBack to Top
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Stuart McEvoy, The Australian, “Cyclone Yasi – Maria Domandi”
Eighty-six-year-old Maria Domandi bunkered down on the ground floor of her house in Tully in Far North Queensland when Cyclone Yasi swept through. She survived, but her home of many years lost its roof.
Stuart McEvoy started as a photographer with News Limited’s Leader Community Newspapers in Melbourne in 1999. After six years on the suburbans, including casual work with AAP, he moved to a full-time position with The Australian in its Melbourne bureau, where he has spent the past six years. Working as part of a national team, this year he helped cover both the floods in southern Queensland as well as Cyclone Yasi up in the north.
Stuart McEvoy’s shot tells Maria Domandi’s whole story in a single image. You can see it in her expression, the way she’s sitting in her bedroom, her dress – and the fact that she has gone to the trouble of taping up her windows and door but her roof has been torn off.
You can view the 2011 Walkley photography finalists and winners here.
Photography: Sport photographyBack to Top
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Adam Pretty, Getty Images, “Shanghai World Swimming Championships 2011”
Avoiding the obvious images associated with the sport, Adam Pretty used unique angles and alternative viewpoints for his coverage of the 2011 World Swimming Championships in Shanghai. He began his career in 1997 as a news photographer at The Sydney Morning Herald, but in 1998, wanting to specialise in sport photography, he shifted to Getty Images. Working with Getty, he has been based in Los Angeles, Sydney, Beijing and now Tokyo. Pretty has photographed five Olympics and completed assignments around the globe for magazines including Sports Illustrated, Life, Time, Harper’s Bazaar and marie claire.
Each image in this entry was outstanding and original in its own right. The instant beauty of the opening image of divers standing on the platform was striking, and set the artistic rhythm of the entry. These are not just photographs, they’re puzzles.
You can view the 2011 Walkley photography finalists and winners here.
Photography: Photographic essayBack to Top
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Glenn Campbell, The Sydney Morning Herald/The Age, “Stolen spirits”
In July 2011 the skeletal remains of more than 60 Aborigines, including children, were buried in two mass graves at a billabong in the shadow of Oenpelli Hill, near the community of Gunbalanya, 300km south-east of Darwin.
Most of the bones were collected from Arnhem Land in 1948 in one of Australia’s largest expeditions, jointly organised with the United States.
Glenn Campbell, a Darwin-based photographer with The Sydney Morning Herald/The Age, and journalist Lindsay Murdoch were invited to attend the traditional ceremony where Gunbalanya elders said the “spirits” of their ancestors could now rest, and a great wrong had been righted.
Granted such rare and privileged access, Campbell took this moving series of photos, starting from the overseeing of the opening of the first box of bones, labelled “7 males”, to the final burial.
This series also won Campbell the best photography of the year category at the 2011 Northern Territory Media Awards.
Glenn Campbell’s series of pictures depicting the remains of Aboriginal men and women being returned to their traditional owners in Arnhem Land is both sensitive and powerful. He has told a story in pictures with a beginning, middle and end. Campbell was able to gain exclusive access to something outsiders would not normally be privy to, and brought an amazing ceremony to the world. The beautifully composed series shows real craftsmanship.
You can view the 2011 Walkley photography finalists and winners here.
Photography: Nikon-Walkley Press Photographer of the YearBack to Top
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Phil Hillyard, The Daily Telegraph
Phil Hillyard’s knockout sporting images, action shots and formal portraits show he is always ready to snap that unexpected fleeting moment. He spends time building trust with his subjects, always making sure they feel comfortable, even with a camera on them. Hillyard’s extensive knowledge of sport and its players has helped him capture some unguarded moments at a time when appearances by elite sportspeople are becoming increasingly stage-managed.
Hillyard knew he wanted to be a photographer from the age of 13, when he was given his first SLR. After completing a cadetship and spending his early career in Adelaide, he moved to Sydney’s Daily Telegraph in 1998, working as a sports photographer. He has covered three Olympic Games, two Commonwealth Games, soccer in South America, and many cricket tours travelling with the Australian Cricket Team. He also covered the tsunami in Sri Lanka.
Hillyard has gained many awards for his work, including six Walkley Awards, and was named Australian Press Photographer of the Year in 2001.
Phil Hillyard’s portfolio is a collection of outstanding individual images, each standing alone as strongly as the whole portfolio. Hillyard has shown his versatility, ranging from brilliant sporting images to posed portraits and beautiful moments of daily life, including the stunning image of a seagull snatching a chip.
You can view the 2011 Walkley photography finalists and winners here.
Radio: Radio news and current affairs reportingBack to Top
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Mark Willacy, PM, ABC Radio, “Rikuzentakata tsunami”
When a devastating tsunami hit the Japanese fishing community of Rikuzentakata in March, Mark Willacy was the first foreign journalist into the town, arriving with the recovery teams and witnessing the first bodies being found.
The graphic scene before him – corpses scattered on open ground, in cars and in trees – led the journalist to report the story in a uniquely personal way, describing exactly what he was seeing, smelling and feeling to the audience as he wandered through the carnage.
Willacy had visited the village just months before the tsunami hit, and was able to produce a moving and unscripted piece based on his experience there.
His coverage also included an exclusive interview with a long-term engineer at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, who revealed that the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) had failed to heed tsunami warnings and was woefully underprepared for the wave.
Reporting just 21km from the nuclear reactor, Willacy had to learn to use a Geiger counter to monitor his own radiation exposure. He has spent more than 70 days in the nuclear/tsunami zone since March 2011 – more than any other Australian journalist.
Mark Willacy has been the ABC’s North Asia correspondent since 2008. As the ABC’s Middle East correspondent, he won a Walkley Award in 2003 for his coverage of the Iraq War. In 2010 he was named Queensland Journalist of the Year for his investigation into the massacre of more than 30 journalists in the southern Philippines.
This year he won the Eureka Prize for Environmental Journalism for his investigation into Japan’s whaling program.
Mark Willacy has produced gripping journalism from the heart of earthquake and tsunami-ravaged Japan, while at the same time showing great empathy for his subjects. From describing the apocalyptic scenes at the Rikuzentakata fishing village to revealing just how unprepared the Fukushima nuclear power plant was for disaster, Willacy brought to Australians the tragedy and despair of the Japanese people through his original and compelling use of the medium.
Radio: Radio feature, documentary or broadcast specialBack to Top
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Katrina Bolton, Radio Current Affairs Documentaries, ABC Radio, “Drink, death and dollars”
Katrina Bolton’s documentary takes us inside Central Australia’s alcohol-related catastrophe. It asks to what extent the behaviour of businesses – particularly in relation to takeaway alcohol – is responsible for the appalling death rate.
The documentary shows the human side of Alice Springs’ addiction to alcohol, introducing us not just to the drinkers but to their families and the people who care about them. It canvasses the indirect deaths, the pressure to keep drinking, and how powerless non-drinkers feel when pubs open every morning and then sell unlimited amounts of alcohol as soon as takeaway sales are legal.
Bolton found it very difficult to secure on-the-record interviews for this sensitive story, as many drinkers were ashamed, many non-drinkers were afraid, and many of the people she spoke to didn’t have phones. She found one interviewee, Kevin Wirri, by riding around Alice Springs’ town camps on a borrowed bicycle.
The story sparked a Northern Territory Licensing Commission review of the way the venues operate, and retailers in the Alice have since committed to a floor price, taking the cheapest alcohol off the market.
Katrina Bolton has been working for the ABC since 2001, for the past six years in the Northern Territory. This is the second time she has been a Walkley finalist. “Drink, death and dollars” won a bronze in international competition at this year’s New York Festival.
Katrina Bolton braved the wild bars and takeaways of Alice Springs – where the drinking begins early and usually ends in violence – to give us an insight into an important issue, in a story which provoked a public outcry. Through natural sound and interviews, Bolton’s feature highlights not just the tragic extent of this persistent problem but also the role of the liquor suppliers who continue to fuel it.
You can hear Bolton's winning radio feature here.
Television: Television news reportingBack to Top
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Jeremy Ward, Erin Edwards, Luke Miers, Geoff Breusch, Sally Eeles, Seven News, Seven Network, “Lockyer Valley flood”
The flooding that ravaged Queensland at the beginning of the year was a difficult event to cover. Reporter Geoff Breusch and cameraman Luke Miers arrived to report for Seven News from Postmans Ridge near Toowoomba just as the flood hit. Meanwhile, reporter Erin Edwards and cameraman Jeremy Ward hovered above in a helicopter, allowing Ward to capture the shots of a family of three on a car.
For the team, the whole afternoon was a fine balancing act between helping flood victims and getting their story back to producer Sally Eeles in time for the 6pm news.
Tragically, James Perry, the father of the family of three, did not survive the deluge. Some viewers complained that Seven’s helicopter should have been used to rescue the family, but the helicopter was not equipped for rescues and doing so could have resulted in more deaths.
Geoff Breusch first started with the Seven News team more than 20 years ago as a cadet in Sydney. He rejoined the Seven newsroom in Brisbane in 2010, following a decade working in corporate public relations.
Luke Miers became a Seven News cameraman in 2001 and was a finalist in the 2008 Queensland Media Awards for his work during the Emerald floods.
Erin Edwards was a finalist in the 2006 Queensland Media Awards as part of the Seven News team that covered Cyclone Larry.
Jeremy Ward joined the news team as a cameraman in 2007.
Sally Eeles was a Walkley Award finalist in 2004 for her contribution to Nine’s coverage of the jailing and release of Pauline Hanson. She is now a producer with Seven.
In the shock and chaos of houses and people being washed away in the Lockyer Valley, the work of the Seven News team stood out. They captured the immediacy, horror and scale without sensationalising it. Yet in the middle of all this, they put aside the urgency of their deadline to help a family trapped on the roof of a floating car. And they still filed a clear and compelling story that encapsulated Queensland’s summer of sorrow.
Television: Television current affairs reporting (less than 20 minutes)Back to Top
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Monique Schafter, Hungry Beast, ABC TV, “Trapped in your own body”
In “Trapped in your own body”, Monique Schafter brings us the story of Maree Bourke-Calliss, who suffered a massive stroke 17 years ago at the age of 32 after being knocked in a netball game.
Bourke-Calliss became a quadriplegic with “locked-in syndrome”, meaning that while her brain is active, she cannot move or speak.
Schafter had to find a way to interview a woman for whom communication was painstakingly difficult. Schafter emailed her questions in advance to allow Bourke-Calliss to communicate her answers to her sister, Berni Hind, by blinking her thoughts using learnt sequences that correspond with numbers and letters. This process took more than a week.
The interview was shot with Hind reading out Bourke-Calliss’s responses, but with the camera squarely on Bourke-Calliss, capturing her reactions. The report was accompanied by a web story which shows in real time how long it takes Maree to communicate her story – a process requiring a great deal of patience on all sides.
Monique Schafter was one of 19 young cage-rattlers chosen from around Australia for the ABC’s current affairs show Hungry Beast, a co-production with Zapruder’s Other Films. As a reporter, she covered topics as diverse as bullying, mental illness, gender identity and disability. She feels privileged to have met the inspirational Maree Bourke- Calliss and her husband, Peter, and thanks them for trusting her to tell their story.
This story challenges and changes the way we think about disability. Monique Schafter uses patience and creativity to bring us the personal story of a stroke victim in her own words, even though she can’t speak. It’s a story that stays with you long after viewing. It is fascinating, moving, different and an original way to tell a story not often told. For originality of concept, this story was exceptional.
You can view Schafter's story here.
Television: Best broadcast cameraworkBack to Top
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Jeremy Ward, Seven News, Seven Network, “Lockyer Valley flood”
Jeremy Ward was singled out by the judges for his extraordinary shots of the Queensland floods taken at Murphys Creek near Toowoomba.
The Seven News crew was diverted to the area while rushing back to Brisbane in the Seven News helicopter. As the crew hovered over Murphys Creek, they saw a family of three on the roof of a car being inundated by the floodwaters. After a short time, they disappeared.
Ward, 24, was able to keep his composure in difficult circumstances, shooting as much as he could while also playing a part in the rescue of two people.
The images he shot made television and newspaper headlines around the world.
Jeremy Ward knew what he wanted to do with his life when he was given his first video camera at the age of 14. He joined Seven in Brisbane in 2005 as a sound recordist with Today Tonight. He learned his craft as a cameraman on the job and transferred to the news team in 2007.
He has chased everyone from conmen to Pamela Anderson down the streets of every capital city in Australia. He has covered the trials of Jayant Patel and Gordon Nuttall, and traced Queensland’s summer of disasters from Cape York to the suburbs of Brisbane.
This stunning shot told the whole story and became a symbol of the Queensland floods. As a news piece it conveyed the fear and emotion of people caught in this huge natural disaster. Obviously shooting in difficult conditions, Jeremy Ward worked in tandem with the chopper pilot and captured the horror of a family trapped in their car as well as the danger and magnitude of the event. While the shot conveyed the urgency of the situation, it was steady and well composed.
Online: Best online journalismBack to Top
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Eleanor Bell, Ed Giles, Suzanne Smith, ABC, “Beating the odds”
The disappearance last year of schoolgirl Kiesha Abrahams in Mount Druitt led videojournalist Eleanor Bell and photojournalist Ed Giles to take a month-long look inside the western Sydney suburb. Joining with the ABC’s online investigations editor, Suzanne Smith, they produced "Beating the odds" to show how children in disadvantaged communities could break out of a vicious cycle of unemployment, crime and family breakdown.
It’s a harrowing story: the ABC online investigative team was filming with a family when police found a headless torso in a nearby park where their children played; a man was stabbed shortly before they arrived at a pub; a local shopping strip was firebombed.
"Beating the odds" combines traditional investigative journalism techniques with a sophisticated multimedia approach using text, images and video. It also features contributions from young people in the area, such as a video slideshow created by a 14-year-old resident who was given a camera to document his life.
The project used social media to invite others within disadvantaged communities to share their stories. This broadened the conversation to include the experiences of people from all over Australia.
Eleanor Bell is a multimedia producer and video journalist for the ABC News Online Investigative Unit. She previously worked as a freelancer both online and in radio. In 2010, she received the UN Media Peace Award for best online work.
From 2009 to 2011, Ed Giles worked with ABC News Online and with the launch team of ABC News 24. He is now based in Cairo, Egypt as a freelance video and photojournalist.
Suzanne Smith is a broadcast journalist with 23 years’ experience in radio, television and online. She has won two previous Walkley Awards, one in 2005 for television current affairs and another in 1999 for an investigative radio documentary.
A compelling, intimate and moving entry by Eleanor Bell, Ed Giles and Suzanne Smith that marries superb documentary-style video, sharp text and interactive graphics. It takes viewers behind the shocking story into an unfamiliar world. By journey’s end, the viewer feels a deeper understanding, and indeed empathy, for the communities and their issues.
A stunning piece of work.
You can view "Beating the odds" here.
All media:Sustained coverage of an issue or eventBack to Top
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Natasha Bita, The Australian, “Virus in the system”
Last year, the federal government suspended the seasonal flu vaccine for young children after it triggered febrile convulsions in one per cent, resulting in dozens of hospitalisations and a possible death.
This suspension may not have continued if not for Natasha Bita’s reporting of the health scandal and the flaws in the country’s system of approving and monitoring new medicines.
Government inquiries have since recommended major reform.
In a series of 23 articles for The Australian, including a 4600-word cover story in The Weekend Australian Magazine, Bita exposed manufacturing flaws at Australia’s biggest pharmaceutical company, CSL, as well as potential conflicts of interest between the government’s key immunisation advisers, and wastage at a cost to taxpayers of $65 million.
These articles were published in the face of hostility and stonewalling from the federal health department and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
After Bita’s front-page interview with a boy who contracted polio from a vaccine, the federal health minister said she was open to the idea of a compensation scheme for people suffering the side-effects of immunisation.
Bita is the consumer editor of The Australian, where she has worked since 1990. In 2007 she transferred to Europe, working as the London-based Olympics correspondent for the News Limited group of newspapers, and then as Italy correspondent for The Australian until her return to Brisbane in 2008.
Natasha Bita chipped away methodically and professionally at Australia’s questionable vaccine policy. Beginning with a story about an adverse reaction to the flu vaccine, she realised she was onto a bigger story. Her series was not only newsworthy, but of significant public benefit, and revealed the personal traumas behind the statistics.
All media: Best scoop of the yearBack to Top
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Matt Moran and Hugh Riminton, Ten News, Network Ten, “Skype scandal”
In March 2011, an 18-year-old female airforce cadet named “Kate” had sex with a fellow cadet at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA). A few days later, she learned the act had been broadcast live over the video chat program Skype to six other cadets. But a Defence and Australian Federal Police inquiry found no grounds for criminal investigation and deemed the incident a “lower-order Defence Force matter”.
Through their exclusive access to “Kate”, who had contacted Network Ten about the incident, Moran and Riminton were able to reveal a deep-seated culture of sexual harassment and misconduct at the Academy.
Moran, an Army Reserve officer, remains the only journalist to have interviewed “Kate” on camera. Riminton followed up the legal and political angles.
After the story was aired, charges were laid against the offending cadets, the ADFA’s commandant, Bruce Kafer, was stood aside, six separate government inquiries were instituted and a long-overdue overhaul of the Academy’s culture was put in motion.
Matt Moran is a federal political correspondent with Network Ten in Canberra. Before joining Ten in 2004, he was a rural reporter with the ABC. He’s also a captain in the Army Reserve and was deployed to East Timor in 2007 and Afghanistan in 2009. In June 2011 he won the Paul Lyneham Award for Excellence in Journalism.
Hugh Riminton is Ten’s political editor in Canberra. He was previously a foreign correspondent and news anchor, working for the Nine Network and CNN . He has been a Walkley finalist several times, and won a Walkley Award in 2000 for a scoop first interview with Fiji coup leader George Speight.
This was a giant scoop. When Kate told Ten a fellow ADFA cadet had filmed their sexual encounter, the network knew it had a big story – and one that had to be handled with extraordinary sensitivity. The team combined a compassionate approach towards Kate with tough-minded reportage of her story’s political implications. The Defence establishment was rocked and the government set up six inquiries in the wake of the sensational revelations.
All media: Coverage of community and regional affairsBack to Top
Sponsored by Fairfax
Nigel Hopkins, Adelaide Hills Magazine, “Inside Inverbrackie”
On Saturday December 18, 2010 the first asylum seekers moved into the Inverbrackie Detention Centre near Woodside in the Adelaide Hills. Strict bans on media access had been imposed in the wake of riots at Christmas Island and Villawood, and freelance journalist and local resident Nigel Hopkins believed the bans exacerbated the rumours, innuendo and misinformation sweeping through the area. When the asylum seekers arrived the 81 men, women and children – 22 families in all – were met by a community divided.
While some Woodside locals were concerned by their presence, others welcomed them, and schoolchildren made 200 gift boxes containing toys, clothes and toiletries.
Hopkins thought if he were able to get into the centre, he’d be able to write a piece showing the human side of the story and allay some of the community’s fear. He pitched the idea to the Adelaide Hills Magazine, then negotiated with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship for a drawn-out four months. On May 27, he and photographer Grant Nowell were granted access to the centre.
He found the 294 asylum seekers were housed in neat AVJennings kit homes, built in the 1980s for Defence families, while waiting for their cases to be processed; it was no powder keg as some media and
local politicians had suggested.
Nigel Hopkins is a former News Limited journalist who has worked as a freelance feature writer for the past 15 years. He writes for national and international newspapers and magazines and also runs a corporate communications consultancy.
The government’s announcement that it would open the Inverbrackie Detention Centre at Woodside in the Adelaide Hills caused local controversy. Concerned that the detainees had been demonised, Nigel Hopkins managed to secure exclusive access to the centre. Aside from being beautifully written, Hopkins’ well-pitched feature in the local paper put a human face to the story, and answered questions for the locals.
Read Hopkins' piece, "Inside Inverbrackie", here.
All media: International journalismBack to Top
Sponsored by University of Queensland
Yaara Bou Melhem, Dateline, SBS TV, “Struggle for freedom”
While the eyes of the West watched the people of Egypt struggle to overthrow a dictator in power for three decades, video journalist Yaara Bou Melhem was reporting calls for non-violent change in Bahrain, from a democracy movement that had been largely forgotten, and from Syria, where a ban on journalists made reporting exceptionally difficult.
Her report from Syria, “Freedom’s call”, told the story of those who speak out against Syria’s oppressive regime. The investigation featured rare interviews with dissidents and human rights workers.
Bou Melhem was able to gain the trust of her interviewees though they risked prison or worse. She went to great pains to protect her sources. To avoid compromising her contacts, no part of the story was organised in advance; rather, it was the culmination of a month spent clandestinely researching, contacting people and recording. An 80-year-old lawyer featured in the story has since been released from prison and is now leading the Syrian opposition movement.
In “Bahrain’s dark secret”, Bou Melhem went inside the crackdown on the pro-democracy movement there. Many of her contacts and interviewees remain in danger.
Yaara Bou Melhem’s first short documentary saw her awarded the Young Australian Television Journalist of the Year in 2009, and she is a four-time finalist in the UN Media Peace Awards. In 2011, she was named Young Australian Journalist of the Year by the Walkley Foundation for her reporting from Syria. She is currently based in Sydney.
Yaara Bou Melhem showed considerable courage and initiative going into Bahrain and Syria in the early days of the Arab Spring – one of the biggest stories of the year. Her strong entry highlights bloody repression in the two states, and the young journalist overcame considerably dangerous obstacles to provide reports ahead of many of her international contemporaries. Very gutsy, very daring!
All media: Business journalismBack to Top
Sponsored by JP Morgan
Angus Grigg and Jamie Freed, The Australian Financial Review, “NSW Labor and the $1 land deal”
Angus Grigg and Jamie Freed’s investigation of a series of questionable deals done in the dying days of the NSW Labor government prompted an investigation by the Independent
Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).
Two incidents were brought to light and scrutiny by Grigg and Freed’s report. A 70ha plot of crown land outside Cessnock, described as a “remnant”, was sold by the NSW government to publicly listed and generous AL P donor, White Energy, for $1. The NSW government had previously granted an exploration licence for the area to Cascade Coal for $1 million. Fourteen months later, when Cascade were to sell out to White Energy, the licence had been revalued at $500 million, and covered land owned by Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid.
The coverage led to the eventual abandonment of the Cascade-White Energy deal, and the Financial Review’s work formed the basis of a major corruption investigation into the former Labor government.
Angus Grigg is a senior writer at The Australian Financial Review in Sydney, specialising in investigative reporting on subjects that cross business, politics, Asia and the media. Prior to this he was the AFR’s South-East Asia correspondent, based in Jakarta.
Jamie Freed is a resources reporter at The Australian Financial Review, specialising in coverage of larger miners and the coal industry. Prior to joining the AFR in January 2010, she spent five years working on the business section at The Sydney Morning Herald.
These articles on a deal done in the last days of the NSW Labor government prompted an investigation by the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). This old-fashioned scoop from Angus Grigg and Jamie Freed exposes grubby practices on behalf of powerbrokers and some of the wealthiest people in the country – and it was followed up by powerful analysis of political and financial consequence.
All media: Investigative journalismBack to Top
Sponsored by Bayer
Richard Baker and Nick McKenzie, The Age, “RBA held evidence of bribery / Who knew what when?”
In the past year, Richard Baker and Nick McKenzie have produced more than 60 exclusive reports on Australia’s first case of foreign bribery, a story they originally broke in May 2009 when they revealed that Securency, a subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), had paid million-dollar commissions to win global banknote contracts.
Baker and McKenzie’s investigation has involved extensive source cultivation, Freedom of Information requests and the painstaking uncovering of a complex money trail which spans Asia, Europe and Africa. Their reporting has sparked raids, arrests and contributed to charges.
In July, commander Chris McDevitt from the Australian Federal Police publicly acknowledged the Baker and McKenzie investigation, saying the case sent “a very clear message to corporate Australia” about avoiding bribery overseas.
Baker has been a reporter at The Age since 1999 and has worked in its investigative unit since 2005.
McKenzie joined The Age’s investigative team in 2006 from the ABC. He has won two Walkey Awards for his work exposing organised crime and corruption and also works occasionally with the ABC’s Four Corners program.
Richard Baker and Nick McKenzie’s meticulously researched series revealed multimillion-dollar commissions paid by a Reserve Bank of Australia subsidiary to win global banknote contracts, unravelling the complex money trail behind the nation’s first case of foreign bribery. The stories sent shockwaves through business and government circles, exposed an international network of corruption and led to the creation of an Australian-British taskforce to investigate alleged bribery by the RBA in three continents.
You can read some of the pieces from Baker and McKenzie's investigation here.
All media: Coverage of Indigenous affairsBack to Top
Sponsored by SBS
Kathleen Skene, Townsville Bulletin, “Family first”
When Kathleen Skene heard allegations of mismanagement, nepotism and bullying in local indigenous organisations tasked with helping to close the gap in Townsville’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, she was determined to get the whole picture. She discovered that in an area where homelessness and lifestyle diseases remain major challenges, government funding meant for Indigenous health, legal, seniors and housing programs was under the control of a handful of organisations, whose boards and memberships were largely dominated by one family.
Skene interviewed scores of sources, found and cross-checked countless public records and emailed government departments. She discovered that the directors of a registered housing charity and their relatives were themselves living in the homes meant for needy families.
Queensland’s Crime and Misconduct Commission has now announced it will conduct a review of the systems by which Indigenous organisations are funded across Queensland.
Kathleen Skene began her career at the Herbert River Express in North Queensland after graduating from James Cook University in 2002. A drought, several floods and six sugarcane seasons later, she began work for the Townsville Bulletin. She is currently a columnist and editor of the Bulletin’s entertainment magazine Savvy, but continues to write news stories. Skene has been a winner at Queensland’s Clarion Awards and has also been recognised at the Older People Speaking Out Awards and North Queensland Media Awards.
Through old-fashioned digging and persistence Kathleen Skene found that directors of a local housing charity were living in government-funded houses meant for the most needy. Skene’s dogged research into local welfare organisations exposed mismanagement, nepotism, bullying of staff and constant attempts to hide the truth. Her efforts brought about government action and changes in the management in some of these organisations. This series brought home the whole issue of governance of these sorts of organisations – a local issue of national importance.
All media: Sport journalismBack to Top
Sponsored by the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance
Caro Meldrum-Hanna, 7.30, ABC TV, “Harness racing under scrutiny”
Allegations of corruption are nothing new in the harness racing industry, but this report from Caro Meldrum-Hanna uncovered evidence that up to 100 races over 18 months had been fixed.
When doping became a serious concern in harness racing, the NSW governing body introduced a system of stewards to oversee drug-testing of the animals. But Meldrum-Hanna found that two stewards, dismissed after an internal investigation by NSW Harness Racing, had been corrupting the system. Beginning at Dubbo racetrack in rural New South Wales and spreading to other tracks across the state, for 18 months the stewards contacted certain trainers to tell them when their horses would be tested. If given “the green light” that the animals would not be tested, the trainer could give the animal performance-enhancing drugs, virtually guaranteeing a win the next day. Major punters also got in on the deal.
Through months of persistent research, Meldrum-Hanna pieced together evidence from various confidential sources, allowing her to paint a complete picture of the scandal. The exposé sparked the establishment of a police strike-force, and the possibility of a major overhaul of sports drug-testing procedures.
Caro Meldrum-Hanna joined the ABC in 2006, starting as a radio presenter before branching into television as the only video journalist for the Sydney newsroom. She became a researcher, working on documentaries including Jihad Sheilas and The Howard Years before joining Four Corners as a researcher in 2009. She was nominated for a Walkley Award in 2009 and 2010 for two of her Four Corners stories. She joined 7.30 NSW as a reporter this year.
An immediately compelling report built on months of careful research that established a damning picture of corruption within NSW Harness Racing. From the tension-filled opening moments in the stables as horses are drug-tested, the admissions and revelations that unfold leave the viewer in no doubt of the damage done by systematic failures in policing the sport.
You can view Meldrum-Hanna's award-winning story here.
All media: Commentary, analysis, opinion and critiqueBack to Top
Sponsored by Nexus
Laura Tingle, The Australian Financial Review, “Liars, clunkheads, rent seekers and gamblers: federal politics 2010–11”
Laura Tingle’s insightful and incisive commentary for The Australian Financial Review shows an independent mind taking an impartial approach to an often confusing political landscape.
Addressing Labor’s leadership woes; the gap between the Coalition’s policy aspiration and fiscal reality; and the return to the scene of the special interest heavies, Tingle’s copy is always readable and comes with the weight of more than two decades’ experience of national politics behind it.
Laura Tingle has covered federal politics and economics for The Australian, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian Financial Review since 1986. She began her career in Sydney in the early 1980s reporting on financial deregulation and the floating of the dollar. Her book, Chasing the Future – documenting the political and economic fallout of the recession of the early 1990s – was published in 1994. Laura won the Paul Lyneham Award for Press Gallery Journalism in 2004, a Walkley Award in 2005, and in 2010 was shortlisted for the John Button Prize for political writing.
In the era of political spin, Laura Tingle’s forensic approach stands out. Tingle argues there are three explanations for the Abbott opposition’s $11 billion costings black hole: they are either liars or clunkheads, or both liars and clunkheads.
In her line-by-line analysis, one of three hard looks at Canberra politics, Tingle explains why an arcane argument about costings goes to the heart of forming government.
All media: Broadcast and online interviewingBack to Top
Sponsored by Ernst & Young
Tony Jones, Lateline, ABC TV, “Christopher Hitchens”, “Malcolm Turnbull” and “Chris Bowen”
The three interviews for which Tony Jones wins his Walkley Award show the broadcast journalist’s depth and range. The first, a discussion with Christopher Hitchens, was recorded after the writer and polemicist was diagnosed with stage three cancer of the oesophagus. Jones, who co-presented the September 11 one-year anniversary program with Hitchens and regards him as a friend, travelled to Washington DC to record several long interviews. The final product is remarkable for the candour with which Hitchens discusses life and death.
The second interview, with Malcolm Turnbull, began as a discussion of the National Broadband Network, but it was Turnbull’s attack on the Coalition’s “direct action” climate change policy – expertly teased out by Jones – which made the headlines in the days and weeks after.
The final interview saw Jones put leaked UNHCR documents and emails demonstrating the organisation’s serious concerns about the federal government’s Malaysia solution to immigration minister Chris Bowen. What was originally set to be a short interview ended up becoming a much longer cross which gained additional significance after the High Court’s decision to reject the plan.
Jones is one of the ABC’s most respected journalists, with more than 20 years’ experience in radio and television news and current affairs. He anchors Lateline on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Jones began hosting Lateline in 1999. In 2004, he received a Walkley for a series of Lateline interviews.
Whether filleting Chris Bowen on the Malaysia solution, teasing from Malcolm Turnbull what he “really thinks” about Coalition carbon policy or plumbing the issue of life, death and Monica Lewinsky with Christopher Hitchens, Tony Jones brings warmth, intelligence and a genuine spirit of inquiry to the best of his interviews.
He is always making news. And he does it politely.
View the interviews: Christopher Hitchens | Malcolm Turnbull | Chris Bowen
Long-form journalism: Walkley book awardBack to Top
Sponsored by the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance
Russell Skelton, King Brown Country: The betrayal of Papunya, Allen & Unwin
“Why don’t you check out Papunya? It’s the (petrol) sniffing capital of Australia, it’s a Bermuda triangle for taxpayer funds. Nobody in the Northern Territory government gives a rats. The council just tossed out World Vision. People are frightened to talk.”
It was this tip-off, emailed from a trusted source, which set Russell Skelton on a five-year investigation. Papunya in Central Australia had become world famous after an extraordinary period of creative energy from its talented artists. But as Skelton found, the reality on the ground would never attract such glowing publicity.
Skelton spares no-one in his painstaking examination. At the centre of the story is the powerful Anderson clan and the formidable and mercurial figure of Alison Anderson, who went from being town clerk to the Northern Territory’s most outspoken Indigenous member of parliament.
Skelton dissects difficult issues of the use and misuse of community and government funds, and the interaction between the community and the white establishment. He uncovers examples of dysfunction, of financial mismanagement, allegations of corruption, power plays and unspeakable neglect.
He also reveals how the failure of Indigenous policy over many years has betrayed this once secure community.
Russell Skelton is a contributing editor to The Age and was previously its deputy editor, foreign editor and a foreign correspondent. He has received the Grant Hattam Quill award for investigative journalism and a United Nations Association Peace award for his reports on Aboriginal disadvantage.
Skelton writes beautifully, employing an authoritative narrative style. He avoids the common pitfall in reporting Indigenous affairs of exaggeration or sensationalism.
Instead, he weaves a compelling story building fact on fact, incident on incident, impression on impression to produce a cool, forceful account that has considerable impact. The result is a thoroughly impressive achievement.
Long-form Journalism: DocumentaryBack to Top
Sponsored by Linc Energy
Darren Dale, Tony Krawitz and Chloe Hooper, The Tall Man, Blackfella Films
When Cameron Doomadgee was found dead in the Palm Island police station, his injuries were like those of someone who’d been in a car crash.
The police claimed he had tripped on a step. The Palm Islanders rioted and burnt down the police station. The subsequent trial of Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley – who had been decorated for his work in Aboriginal communities – made headlines day after day.
Based on the book by Chloe Hooper, The Tall Man tells the gripping story of the trial of the complex police officer, and of the Doomadgee family as they struggle to understand what happened to their brother. Atmospheric, gritty and original, The Tall Man takes the viewer into the courtroom and the Indigenous community of Palm Island.
Darren Dale has been a company director of Blackfella Films since 2001. Along with Rachel Perkins, he produced the landmark multi-platform history series First Australians, broadcast on SBS in 2008 to more than 2.3 million viewers.
Tony Krawitz has written and directed for both film and television. His film Jewboy was included at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival, and went on to screen at Sundance.
Chloe Hooper won a Walkley Award in 2006 for her writing on the inquest into the death of Cameron Doomadgee, published in The Monthly. Her book The Tall Man (Penguin) was shortlisted for the Walkley Book Award in 2008.
The judges declared that the ultimate selection of this work from such a large field of entries came down to the quality of its journalism through exhaustive research, combined with the art and skill of documentary film making: editing, sound, cinematography and music. The Tall Man objectively deconstructs the circumstances surrounding the death of Cameron Doomadgee.
It is powerful not only because of its factual timeline but its depth in exposing and explaining legal, racial and political issues as well as the human and emotional impact of such a death. It takes marginalised characters and gives them a voice not heard before. It challenges the viewer to engage with the documentary makers in their search for the truth.
Most outstanding contribution to journalismBack to Top
Sponsored by Sky News
This year’s winner has shown a courageous and controversial commitment to the finest traditions of journalism: justice through transparency.
WikiLeaks applied new technology to penetrate the inner workings of government to reveal an avalanche of inconvenient truths in a global publishing coup.
Its revelations, from the way the war on terror was being waged, to diplomatic bastardry, high-level horse-trading and the interference in the domestic affairs of nations, have had an undeniable impact.
This innovation could just as easily have been developed and nurtured by any of the world’s major publishers – but it wasn’t.
Yet so many eagerly took advantage of the secret cables to create more scoops in a year than most journalists could imagine in a lifetime.
While not without flaws, the Walkley Trustees believe that by designing and constructing a means to encourage whistleblowers, WikiLeaks and its editor-in-chief Julian Assange took a brave, determined and independent stand for freedom of speech and transparency that has empowered people all over the world.
And in the process, they have triggered a robust debate inside and outside the media about official secrecy, the public’s right to know, and the future of journalism.
Journalistic leadershipBack to Top
Sponsored by Qantas
Journalists, like saints, aren’t always fully appreciated in their own lifetimes.
So it was with Paul Lockyer, largely because of his own modesty.
A helicopter crash at Lake Eyre on August 18 claimed the lives of Lockyer, cameraman John Bean and pilot Gary Ticehurst. Australia suddenly realised what it had lost.
Born in the wheat-belt town of Corrigin, WA , in 1950, Paul joined the ABC in Perth as a cadet in 1969. It was the start of a journey that lasted more than 40 years and took him to Canberra, Port Moresby, Jakarta, Bangkok, Washington, Central America and a host of other large and small dots on the world map.
He was trusted by his colleagues and his audience. If Lockers told you something you could believe it.
One of his closest friends, Ray Martin, summed up his strengths. “It was Paul’s relaxed storytelling style, his diligence and integrity that left their mark on other journalists and the general public,” he said.
“Covering the Queensland floods and Cyclone Yasi, Paul put these devastated people at ease and gained their trust – as he always seemed to do.”
At his memorial service in Sydney, Lockyer was remembered as a humble man, devoted to his wife, Maria, and his sons Jamie and Nick.
“He loved the little things in life and I think that’s what made him the world’s greatest dad,” said Nick.
“I will miss Dad’s love and compassion, Australia will miss his stories and the world will miss a man’s greatness,” Jamie added.
Among those paying tribute were two O’Briens. The better-known one, Kerry, said Paul Lockyer had no enemies even in the sometimes bitchy world of television. Then there was Michael O’Brien, a NSW farmer who had featured more than once in Paul’s rural reports.
“Paul Lockyer was an exceptional man,” said Michael.
“He gave rural Australia hope. There was a spring in their step because someone else was helping to fight the battle against nature.”
Lockyer thoroughly deserves this award for leadership. He led by example, a decent, humble and diligent man for whom truth came first and his contacts were never a poor second.
2011 GOLD WALKLEY: Television TV current affairs, feature or special (more than 20 minutes)Back to Top
Sponsored by the BBC
Sarah Ferguson, Michael Doyle and Anne Worthington, Four Corners, ABC TV, “A bloody business”
Four Corners held up an unflinching mirror to Australia’s live export trade and exposed levels of cruelty that shocked the nation.
“A bloody business” tackled an intensely difficult and emotion-charged subject with rigour, intelligence, thoughtfulness and context. Many viewers were repulsed and angered, and the story ignited a national debate about a long-standing failure of both the Australian government and the livestock industry to ensure the humane slaughter of animals it exported.
Footage shot by the animal activist group Animals Australia showed cattle being eye gouged and whipped, and dying slowly after their throats were improperly slit.
A seven-week investigation was undertaken by Four Corners to verify the authenticity of the video but also to obtain their own footage from abattoirs in Java and Sumatra, as well as taking steps to determine the scope and nature of the problem.
The story and its repercussions had an enormous impact on the Gillard government, which scrambled to be seen to be doing something in a bid to staunch the fierce criticism of its previous failure to act.
Export bans announced by the government were subsequently withdrawn as the industry moved to ensure animals in Indonesia would not suffer cruelty similar to that shown in the Four Corners report.
Sarah Ferguson has produced and reported stories in Australia for the ABC’s Four Corners, SBS’s Dateline and Insight. She is a multiple Walkley Award nominee.
Michael Doyle has been at Four Corners in various roles for the past 12 years.
Anne Worthington joined Four Corners in April 2011 as a researcher after working as a producer / reporter on SBS’s Insight.
This is an outstanding example of how good investigative journalism can change an entrenched, unacknowledged evil in society. With initial vision from Animals Australia, the Four Corners program verified the facts and embarked on its own investigation, producing a piece so powerful that the live cattle export industry to Indonesia was shut down. One of the best stories of the year, with huge political ramifications.
View "A bloody business"