2016 Walkley Grants for Innovation in Journalism winners announced

Four outstanding media projects will receive cash grants in the third year of the Walkley Grants for Innovation in Journalism.

Projects focused on podcasting, community radio, secure communications and automated data journalism will share in the pool of $50,000 in seed funding from the Walkleys’ inaugural innovation partner Google Australia.

The Walkley Foundation aims to celebrate and encourage great Australian journalism, telling the stories of our nation and strengthening our democracy. Now in their third year, the grants program is central to the Walkleys’ mission to encourage and support innovation in the Australian media.

The judges agreed that it was difficult to divide the pool of funding among so many promising ideas. All projects on the long list were outstanding, and were invited to develop their pitches at a workshop and Storyology in Sydney in August.

Judge James Kirby said the panel were pleased with the way the four funded projects represent the challenges and opportunities of today’s media.

“Community radio, podcasting, data-driven automated stories, secure communications — these are some of the big trends and issues in journalism this year, so it’s great to back projects that will break new ground in these areas,” Kirby said.

The 2016 funded projects:

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FiveARM Crisis Journalism Secure Reporting Tool

Nick Chesterfield (West Papua Media)
Award: $15,000

Nick Chesterfield.


FiveARM will help get accurate reports out of hard to access crisis areas by connecting eyewitness accounts with simple, secure and tested smartphone technology. Nick is working on coding a scientific information collection process, that can be used for reporting human security issues and eyewitness reports from crisis areas – local independent journalists will be able to use this tool to record witness statements into credible, verified reports suitable for journalists, UN agencies and more. After local testing on existing and new datasets, Nick will roll out the app on secure smartphones and train independent journalists working in West Papua to test the application. Ultimately he hopes the app will be useful (with basic customisation) in any crisis situation anywhere around the world.

Time Serious

Nick Evershed
Award: $15,000

Nick Evershed.

Nick Evershed.

Time Serious is an application that automatically takes in data, analyses it, and outputs a news report in natural language, with publication-ready graphics. It automates the data of formulaic news stories (weather, economic figures, polling figures, sports results) to give journalists more time to focus on analysis and deeper investigations. Nick has already built a working prototype and with the support of the Walkley Grant he’ll further develop Time Serious into an open source application that any news organisation or person can install for free to produce news stories and graphics from datasets. He’ll also work on developing a user interface that will allow journalists or citizens without technical skills to add and edit new story templates and datasets.

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Moonshot Podcast

Kristofor Lawson and Andrew Moon
Award: $5,000

Kristofer Lawson and Andrew Moon.

Kristofer Lawson and Andrew Moon.

Moonshot is a narrative-driven podcast that explores seemingly impossible technology ideas and the people that believe they can make them happen. Kris and Andrew will produce six to 10 podcasts, each running for 12-17 minutes, available through iTunes and social media channels. They already have a preview episode available: iTunes preview, Pocket Casts, Stitcher

Creating a Community Radio Newsroom for the 21st Century

William Martin, Jim Beatson & Susan Forde
Award: $15,000

William Martin at our longlist pitches.

William Martin at our longlist pitches.

This project is focused on reinvigorating local news and participatory democracy at a grassroots level by providing a model, tools, engagement and distribution for citizen journalism within the community broadcasting sector. Taking what they’ve learned about producing quality, independent local news at Byron Bay’s BayFM, William Martin and team want to build a network of support and resources for community radio stations around Australia to develop their own citizen journalism newsrooms, and to engage with audiences. The online portal will allow community newsrooms to upload and share their best stories and content for a global audience; individual newsrooms would also be able to create local news programs and curate portals dedicated to their own communities, with original local stories and national and international updates and features. Special stories will also be crowd-sourced and crowd-funded. The team will also develop a citizen journalism podcast as a resource for community newsrooms to build the movement of citizen journalism and curate and share the best stories from around Australian community broadcasters.

All four projects will be featured on the Walkley website, sharing updates from their entrepreneurial journeys. They will also receive support from program partners Google, iSentia and the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund.

More than 80 people from around Australia applied for the third year of the grants, judged by:
James Kirby, wealth editor of The Australian & co-founder of Eureka Report
Ramin Marzbani, leading technology, internet and financial services analyst
Jacqui Park, CEO of the Walkley Foundation

“We’re excited about each of these projects. But we’re also excited about connecting these innovators with each other. Building a network of creative, entrepreneurial people is a key step toward a sustainable future for the Australian media.” Walkley Foundation CEO Jacqui Park said.

“We were delighted to see the leap forward these projects took through our development workshops, using techniques like design thinking, and we think they’ll have lots to learn from each other as we track their progress. The future looks bright!”

For more information please contact Clare Fletcher: (02) 9333 0925 or clare.fletcher@walkleys.com.