The Walkley Foundation is a non-profit body aimed at supporting and encouraging professional and ethical journalism and rewarding excellence in the Australian media.
The Walkley Foundation administers the Walkley Awards, hosts a year-round program for journalists and media professionals, and produces The Walkley Magazine – Inside the Media.
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The awards were started with five categories by Ampol Petroleum founder Sir William Gaston Walkley. William Walkley appreciated the media’s support for his oil exploration efforts. He envisaged awards that recognised emerging talent in the Australian media. Since then, winning stories have chronicled Australia’s history, people and events.
The Walkleys grew organically to 21 categories over the passing decades, as television news came of age and different reporting niches were recognised. In 1995, the Walkleys underwent a major review which resulted in a massive expansion of the awards to encompass all major areas of the media. The number of categories grew from 21 to 30, and the two-tier judging system was introduced, modelled on the Pulitzers’ judging system. The review also established the Walkley Advisory Board appointed by the Media Alliance.
Subsequently the Alliance formally established the Walkley Foundation under by-laws endorsed by the Federal Council of the Alliance. These by-laws delegate the trusteeship to the nationally elected officers who are members of the media section of the Alliance plus the chair of the Walkley Advisory Board. The trustees are responsible for the oversight of the administration and management of the Foundation. The Walkley Advisory Board is charged with responsibility for judging of the Walkley Awards and advising the trustees on matters relating to the Awards.
The Foundation’s broad aims are to support and encourage professional and ethical journalism and promote and reward excellence in the Australian media. To do this it manages the Walkley competition and other awards, and hosts a year-round professional development program for journalists and media professionals. It also produces The Walkley Magazine – Inside the Australian Media – full colour bi-monthly media magazine mailed to around 10,000 media professionals.
In 2011 awards were presented across all areas of print, radio, television, photography, long form and online journalism, including the coveted Gold Walkley. The awards are held at the end of each year and reward work done in the 12 months ending August 31.
In over half a century, the Walkley Awards have been the inspiration for hundreds of great careers in journalism.
The Trustees are the senior elected officials of the media section of the Alliance, plus the chair of the Walkley Advisory board. Elections take place every three years. Currently the Trustees are:
- Laurie Oakes (also chair of the Advisory Board)
- Chris Warren
- Peter Lewis
- Gina McColl