A message from Kate McClymont on the opening of the 2016 Walkleys

The Australian media landscape is changing fast, and that makes the Walkleys’ role of benchmarking excellence in journalism more important than ever.

Kate McClymont

Kate McClymont, Walkley Advisory Board chair.

This year we have seen new evidence that Australian authorities have sought journalists’ metadata, more newsroom cuts, and an even sorrier state of affairs for whistleblowers.

But we also see journalists adapting to new realities. Finding new ways to connect the dots through data journalism — not least via the Panama Papers, a giant worldwide collaboration covering the largest leak ever. We see some whistleblowers are still coming forward despite risks, enabling us to hold banks and other large institutions to account for their actions. We see journalists playing with storytelling and ways to engage people. We see digital audiences expanding.

So the new age brings hope. But it also brings questions, as far as the Walkleys go.

For one, what is a journalist exactly? Who’s eligible – freelancers, bloggers, academics? For us, it doesn’t matter what your title is, although you do have to be an Australian or working for an Australian outlet. If it looks like journalism, smells like journalism and is produced according to our journalistic code of ethics, your work is eligible for a Walkley Award.

“All media” categories refer to all media, full stop — you can apply whether your work is published in traditional outlets, or some strange new online beast.

In the interest of fairness, we have strengthened the entry process for photographers this year and will ask for original photo files from those who reach final judging stages.

No matter what happens in our industry, there’s one aspect of the Walkley Awards that never changes: You can’t win unless you enter. So get in there, and good luck!

Kate McClymont
Walkley Advisory Board chair