Ella Rubeli named the 2014 Walkley Young Australian Journalist of the Year

Sydney freelance journalist Ella Rubeli was last night named the 2014 Walkley Young Australian Journalist of the Year for her “outstanding and compelling work” and “extraordinary” use of video, photojournalism, print and multimedia in multi-platform storytelling.

Rubeli, 24, whose work appeared in The Global Mail, was commended by Walkley Advisory Board judges Marina Go, John Stanley, Anne Davies and Angelos Frangopoulos for her work that “not only displayed the incredible emotion and impact that great storytelling can have, but proved that photojournalism will continue to play a powerful role across all mediums and has a very bright future.”

“Ella Rubeli’s outstanding and compelling work has made her the clear winner of the 2014 Walkley Young Australian Journalist of the Year Award … An incredible job and a very worthy winner,” judges said.

Rubeli was also named winner of the camerawork category by judges Newcastle Herald photographer Natalie Grono and Seven Network videojournalist Tim Noonan, both Walkley Award-winners, as well as Walkley finalist Rick McPhee, a producer with Cordell Jigsaw Zapruder.

Approaching her work with honesty and maturity, Ella showed outstanding use of all mediums with creativity and technical skill in videography, still photography and audio capture,” judges said, in a statement. “The judges found her work powerful, emotive and beautifully composed. Ella is an exciting and promising new talent in visual journalism.”

In her entry statement, Rubeli described a passion for multimedia storytelling across platforms.

Her three stories told of “determined individuals” and communities fighting coal miners in the Hunter Valley, a mother grieving the loss of her son and the indigenous housing crisis in Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory.

“I am most interested in characters and personal stories behind the big issues,” she said.

The camerawork category was supported by UNSW, with an additional prize of $1000 worth of camera gear from Nikon.

As the overall winner, Rubeli will fly to the USA with Cathay Pacific to visit CNN in New York or Atlanta as well as Twitter’s Washington headquarters.

Other category winners announced in Sydney last night included:

TEXT-BASED JOURNALISM (Category partner Fairfax Media)

Benjamin Collins, Business Insider, “A profile of the Australian artist Nigel Milsom” “The forgotten residents of Grantham” and “The Iraqi refugee who tried to repay over $18,000 in welfare money after he became a success”

Judges: Vicki Laurie, Patrick Carlyon and Kirstie Clements

RADIO/AUDIO JOURNALISM (Category partner Curtin University)

Caitlyn Gribbin, ABC, “The Kununurra Midnight Prowlers” “Bushfire residents return home” and “Graziers turn to desperate measures”

Judges: Michael Janda, Melissa Doyle and Manpreet Singh


Joel Tozer, SBS2 The Feed, “Inside Providence: The secretive Korean church led by a convicted rapist” “Carmen’s Story: Living through the pain of abuse” and “Cotton wool kid”

Judges: Robert Ovadia, Yaara Bou Melhem, Greg Miskelly

INNOVATION IN JOURNALISM (Category partner News Corp Australia)

Liam Mannix, InDaily, “InDaily’s pollie tracker: what’s your MP been up to?” “More pubs, less live music?” “Interactive maps: SA’s pokies and disadvantage”

Judges: Steph Harmon, Tim Burrowes, Mary Hamilton


Holly Humphreys, Monash University, “Call for better life for dairy’s rejects”

Judges: Jeannette Francis, Monique Schafter and Trent Dalton

The Walkley Foundation thanks SKY NEWS Australia, Curtin University, Fairfax Media, News Corp Australia, UNSW, the ABC and Nikon, as well as Cathay Pacific, CNN and Twitter for their support.

Media Enquiries: Flip Prior, The Walkley Foundation communications and partnerships manager T: +61 2 9333 0956 | M: +61 409 912 955 | E: flip.prior@walkleys.com | @walkleys YJ_sponsors2014_UPDATED