Categories Explained



In all cases, report refers to either a single report or a collection of reports covering an event, subject or issue, although entrants in most categories are limited to submitting no more than three pieces of work per category. See specific category descriptions for entry requirements.

Read ‘Terms and Conditions of Entry’ and ‘Guidelines for Group/Team entries’. For more information visit


Gold Walkley: The Gold Walkley is the pinnacle of journalistic achievement. The winner is chosen from the category winners, excluding “Leadership” and “Outstanding contribution to journalism” awards.

Outstanding contribution to journalism: Recognises the achievements of a person or group for outstanding or enduring commitment to the highest standards of journalism and is chosen by the Walkley Trustees.

Leadership: This category is open to self and peer nominated entrants and will reward acts of courage and leadership by individuals or teams in coverage of news, innovation in journalism, and/or campaigning journalism. Innovation will mean different things at different times. It could be innovation in the way media operates, or the business and funding models that sustains journalism or it could recognise journalism that looks outside the square to research, investigate and/or present a story in a new and innovative way.

Nikon-Walkley Press Photographer of the Year: Entrants must submit a body of work up to ten images showing the photographer’s range and self-editing skill. Body of work can encompass any genre.


Book: The Walkley Book Award celebrates the value and importance of journalism and acknowledges the proud line-up of Australian writers who have taken subjects of enduring topicality and consequence from news bulletins, eye-witness reporting, investigations and historical records and provided readers with expanded factual detail, revelation and greater clarity of analysis in book form.

Documentary: This award recognises excellence in documentary production that is grounded in the principles of journalism – accuracy, impact, public benefit, ethics, creativity, research and reporting – together with rigorous filmmaking. The award is open to a variety of documentary storytelling styles and the judges will be looking for courage and creativity in concept, approach and execution. Documentaries may encompass in-depth examination of issues of local, national or international importance or of contemporary or historic events and may include investigative, biographical and first person stories that reflect the emotion and drama of the human experience. Entries that have appeared within regularly scheduled television current affairs programs must be documentary in nature and execution.


Print/text journalism recognises journalism delivered primarily through the written word across print or digital media. It replaces the traditional print section.

News report: This category recognises excellence in news journalism created for text formats. It recognises the diverse skills of the news reporter/journalist – not just for breaking news but for all the other elements that make a great story under the pressure of deadlines – tenacity, writing ability, accuracy, ethics, research, impact and great storytelling. Entrants can include up to three related news items. The emphasis of this award is on solid, gripping reporting and outstanding individual (or small team) efforts in covering a news story.

Feature writing short (under 4,000 words): Based on single entry, this category recognises short form newspaper and magazine-style feature writing in print or digital. The focus of this award remains on quality writing. It celebrates excellence in the craft of feature writing and storytelling, with prime consideration given to the written word and research ability as well as originality, creativity, impact and technique. (This award is also open to multi-media packages where writing is the primary medium.)

Feature writing long (over 4,000 words): Primarily and critically, this award is judged on the quality of writing and narrative skill in written works over 4000 words. Based on a single entry, this award recognises long form journalism that shines a light, tells a compelling story or provides in-depth analysis and investigation. It also recognises reporting excellence, accuracy, storytelling, originality and high standards of ethics and research. (This award is also open to multi-media packages where writing is the primary medium.)


This platform recognises visual journalists producing still photography for any platform. Criteria include storytelling, courage, public impact, creativity, innovative use of technology, technical ability and resourcefulness and can include soundslides and photofilm.

Nikon-Walkley Photo of the Year: This award recognises an outstanding “hero” image worthy of individual celebration and recognition. Judges will select a single image that defines the year from photographs submitted across all categories in the awards.

News photography: Newsworthiness, impact, technical superiority, creativity and originality will be looked at in this category. News photography encompasses a range of news photography from an exclusive or spontaneous news moment or images depicting news values on the day. The images should represent a story or event not a series on a theme. Entrants can enter up to five images.

Sport photography: This category will reward those who capture the emotion and drama of sport. Entries may show action and/or feature imagery in the sporting arena. Sport photography will be judged on up to five images. These do not have to be related and can represent a body of work.

Feature/photographic essay: Between 5 and 10 images of a feature story or essay, of which one photograph must have been published on any platform.

Nikon-Walkley portrait prize: Recognising excellence in portraiture, photographers can enter a single image for this Nikon-Walkley prize.

Nikon-Walkley community/regional prize: Celebrating the best work of photographers working in regional and community media, entries for this Nikon-Walkley prize can comprise up to five images.


This platform recognises journalism produced primarily in an audio format, for radio or digital platforms. It replaces the traditional radio section.

News & current affairs: This category recognises excellence in news and current affairs journalism produced in audio formats, taking into consideration the immediacy and unique demands of the medium. This award acknowledges the special skills required to present content for radio and digital broadcast, including podcasts. In particular, the judges will reward work demonstrating the best elements of the platform – accuracy, immediacy, incisiveness, research and production skill, originality, public impact and a gripping story.

Documentary, feature, podcast or special: This category recognises audio feature productions and journalistic research programs focusing on in-depth information, utilising the crafts of storytelling and/or investigative journalism. This award acknowledges the unique skills required to present content for radio and digital broadcast, including podcasts. Judges will recognise excellence in long-form current affairs, highlighting research, impact, storytelling, investigation, analysis and public impact.


This platform recognises journalism primarily produced in audio-visual formats. It replaces the traditional television section.

News reporting: This category recognises the skill of producing quality news journalism in television broadcast and audio-visual formats under deadline pressure. The emphasis of this award is on solid, gripping reporting, clarity of message and outstanding individual (or small team) efforts in covering a news story. In particular, the judges will reward work demonstrating accuracy, immediacy, incisiveness, public impact and storytelling ability. Entries in this category may be a single news report or no more than three related reports on the same subject.

Daily current affairs: This category recognises the unique skills required in the production of daily current affairs reports and investigations as the broader analysis of unfolding news events. Reports will be judged on originality, newsworthiness, public benefit, ethics, courage and impact as well as production expertise and writing. Entries must be under 15 minutes in length.

Weekly current affairs, feature or special: This category will recognise excellence in long-form current affairs, highlighting research, impact, storytelling, investigative journalism and analysis as well as public impact. Entries should be over 15 minutes in length. Documentary programs are not eligible to enter the television current affairs category.


Multimedia storytelling: This category recognises journalism that pushes the boundaries of the craft in innovative and creative ways. Judges will place importance on works that deliver a story imaginatively and effectively, taking into consideration innovative techniques in news gathering and presentation including interactives, multimedia, audio, video, animation and live interaction, crowd-sourcing and modes of distribution.

Coverage of a major news event or issue:  Primarily, this is an award that recognises the valuable role of teamwork and organisational commitment as well as journalistic skill in coverage of an issue or event.  Judges will take into consideration criteria such as impact, accuracy, immediacy, creativity and journalism that provides context and deeper understanding to a story, issue or area of public debate. Available resources live broadcast considerations and the pressures of breaking news will also be factored in the judging process. Entries are open to all media and should be packaged to represent a showcase of the work.  Each entry should include the initial story that led to the subsequent coverage over the course of days, weeks and months. For television and audio entries this means an initial story accompanied by up to 90mins of compiled footage. Print entries should include the initial story and up to five subsequent stories. Digital entries should include all relevant weblinks. Entry statements should include a summary of the story or issue, an outline of the response or planning and a timeline or rundown of events/reports.

Scoop of the year: This award seeks to recognise the journalistic resourcefulness applied to breaking news through what is traditionally known as a ‘scoop’. A scoop is defined as an exclusive report which contains revelatory facts which inform and change public understanding or knowledge of an issue or event. The judges will be looking for a significant revelation, with public impact. It will display the skill of the journalist in getting the information and having it published or broadcast, and the degree of difficulty in so doing. Supporting documentation should include a chronology and must include and document the exact moment of broadcast or publication.

Business journalism: This award recognises excellence in business, economics and finance journalism. Judges will give special regard to newsworthiness, public benefit, storytelling, impact, incisiveness and research.

Camerawork: This award recognises excellence in camerawork in Australian news, current affairs and documentary as well as videography and photofilms in digital formats, representing the highest standards of the craft. Entrants can choose to submit a single piece of footage or 3 pieces of work showcasing a body of work.

Coverage of community & regional affairs: This category is open only to journalists working in the suburban or regional media and recognises their role in reporting on and informing their local communities.

International journalism: This award recognises excellence in international journalism in the Australian media.

Investigative journalism: Recognising its valuable role, this category will reward well-researched and presented investigations. Works will be judged on accuracy, ethics, tenacity and public benefit.

Coverage of indigenous affairs: This award recognises excellence in coverage of indigenous issues. Journalists and photographers working in both the indigenous and mainstream media are encouraged to enter.

Sports journalism: This award recognises the diverse skills of the sports journalist and the elements that make a great sports story – tenacity, accuracy, ethics, research, great storytelling and the capacity to capture and share the emotion in sport.

Social equity journalism: This award recognises the vital role of public service journalism and media reporting which addresses issues relating to social and economic equality, human rights and participatory democracy. The award will be given to journalism that measures business, governmental and social affairs against clear ideals of the common good.

Commentary, analysis, opinion & critique: This category is open to journalists involved in comment and analysis and includes leader writers, reviewers, opinion columnists and bloggers across the spectrum of discussion and debate, including arts, sports, business and politics. Entrants should submit three samples, not necessarily related, to be judged as indicative of their work.

Interview: Based on a single entry, this category will be awarded to the best interview and can be entered as text, audio, video or multimedia. Judges will be looking for excellence in the art and skill of interviewing. Criteria include originality, tenacity, research, analysis and public impact. A transcript of the main interview including interview questions must also be submitted to provide judges with insight into the interviewing process and how the story developed.

Headline journalism (ten words or less): A broadening of the traditional print three headings category, this award recognises the art of witty and succinct journalism that grabs attention across all media. It is open to all journalists, sub-editors and digital content producers whose job it is to attract readers and viewers with clever use of language. Entrants will be judged on three samples of their work.

Artwork: Judges will be looking for artwork, illustrations, digital photo illustrations or information graphics displaying creativity, innovation and style, combined with artistic technique.

Cartoon: Creativity, innovation, wit and style will ideally combine with newsworthiness and artistic technique for the winner of the best cartoon award.