Community/Regional Program – Walkley Award Finalists and Winners

Journalists in small towns, regional centres and close-knit communities play a pivotal role – giving voice to the unheard, and shining a light into corners beyond the reach of metro media. In partnership with Australia Post, we are delighted to share these stories as part of the Storyology Community/Regional Program.

2014 Winner: All Media: Coverage of Community/Regional Affairs – Ben Snee, NT News, “Chasing the circus: a year of chaos and scandal in Territory politics”

Ben Smee headshot web

Mates rates

Bush rebels walk out

Cash for access


“Chasing the circus” showcases just three stories from a much larger project about Northern Territory politics and public officials.

In “Mates rates”, Ben Smee drew on leaked government documents to reveal that the former Territory Labor government used its final day in power to hand Unions NT the long-term lease on a $3 million Darwin property for less than $450. The report led to an inquiry that found former ministers had acted improperly and “with bias over many years”. “Bush rebels storm out” exclusively reported the demands of a group of backbenchers who were threatening to move to the cross benches. It came out at the height of a political crisis, when the rebels had been in negotiations with the government for days. “Cash for access” emerged from a months-long investigation that dug up documents showing a politically aligned magistrate had attempted to pay cash to gain access to government files. The magistrate resigned within three hours of being contacted about the story, but used legal threats to delay publication until the documents were read into the parliamentary record.

Judges Comments: Ben Smee has demonstrated how it is possible to unlock the power of good community and regional journalism through dogged investigation, determination and good old-fashioned sleuthing. The impact of Smee’s work is made clear with the magistrate’s resignation. This is strong journalism – the kind the Territory really needs.




 Adam Hourigan, The Daily Examiner, “Images from The Daily Examiner

Adam Hourigan shows strong skills and creativity in a body of work that is both emotive and well-executed. From horse racing at the Clarence River Jockey Club to a lucky escape on the Pacific Highway and a 60th wedding anniversary snuggle in the cinema, Adam’s portfolio shows his commitment to providing a small regional newspaper with exceptional imagery.