Hit podcast The Teacher’s Pet wins the 2018 Gold Walkley Award

The Australian’s investigative journalist Hedley Thomas and composer/producer Slade Gibson were announced as the winners of Australian journalism’s highest honour in Brisbane tonight.

The Teacher’s Pet explored the 1982 disappearance of Sydney mother Lyn Dawson, bringing investigative reporting to 27 million listeners around the world. Thomas wrote and recorded an average of more than 15,000 words each week, as new informants came forward and the investigation unfolded in real time. Gibson added original music and audio production. The Teacher’s Pet is the only Australian podcast to go to number 1 in the US, the UK, Canada and New Zealand.

The judges described the podcast as “a masterclass in investigative journalism… The investigation uncovered long-lost statements and new witnesses, and prompted police to dig again for the body of Lyn Dawson.”

Having won the Gold Walkley previously in 2007, Thomas joins an elite club. The only other person to win the Gold Walkley twice in the award’s 40-year history is the legendary cartoonist Ron Tandberg, who passed away in January this year. The 2018 Gold Walkley is supported by Apple News. The winners also receive $10,000 in business class airfares thanks to Qantas.

Dean Lewins was named the Nikon-Walkley Press Photographer of the Year for a body of work spanning news and sport photography. Journalist Helen Pitt’s history of the Sydney Opera House, The House (Allen & Unwin), won the Walkley Book Award. Myanmar’s Killing Fields on SBS Dateline won the Walkley Documentary Award for Evan Williams, Eve Lucas and Georgina Davies.

And in a poignant presentation, Sean Dorney was recognised for his Outstanding Contribution to Journalism over forty years of tireless reporting on the Asia Pacific and especially Papua New Guinea.

Chair of the Walkley Advisory Board, Angelos Frangopoulos, praised the range and depth of this year’s winners. “It’s so exciting to see innovative formats for journalism reaching huge audiences, and the diversity of our winners is a ringing endorsement of the quality of Australian journalism. With 1329 entries this year I want to particularly thank the judges who gave their time to carefully consider each one.”

The 63rd Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism were presented in 30 categories. Just under 600 journalists and media identities gathered at Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre for the gala event with the support of Tourism and Events Queensland.

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones paid tribute to this year’s winners.

“The Walkley Awards are the pinnacle of achievement in the Australian media industry. This is about recognising the outstanding contributions of journalists across the country,” she said. “It’s a privilege to host this event once again in Brisbane, welcoming almost 600 leading journalists to Queensland.”

Amplifying the winners

For the first time, all the Walkley Award-winning stories will be amplified through a dedicated collection on Apple News. Click here to view on your iPhone or iPad.

The full list of winners is published below and you can find more details on the winners here.

2018 Walkley Awards Category Winners:

PRINT/TEXT NEWS REPORT
Award Partner Media Super
Kate McClymont, Lorna Knowles, Tracey Spicer and Alison Branley, The Sydney Morning Herald and ABC, “Don Burke Investigation

PUBLIC SERVICE JOURNALISM
Award Partner Naked Communications
Louise Milligan, Sashka Koloff, Mary Fallon and Lucy Carter, Four Corners, ABC TV, “I Am That Girl

INNOVATION
Award Partner News Corp Australia
Guardian Australia Team, Guardian Australia, “Deaths Inside: Indigenous deaths in custody

HEADLINE, CAPTION OR HOOK
Award Partner Qantas
Anthony De Ceglie and Brad Clifton, The Daily Telegraph, “BUNDLE OF JOYCE” “DELAY OLE! DELAY OLE!” and “PEKING SCHMUCK”

FEATURE WRITING LONG (OVER 4000 WORDS)
Award Partner UQ
James Button, The Monthly, “Angels or Arrogant Gods: Dutton, Immigration and the Triumph of Border Protection

FEATURE WRITING SHORT (UNDER 4000 WORDS)
Award Partner Fairfax
Leisa Scott, Qweekend, The Courier-Mail, “Holly’s Choice

COVERAGE OF INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS
A
ward Partner PwC
Allan Clarke and Yale Macgillivray with Team Unravel True Crime, ABC Podcasts & ABC TV, Unravel: Blood on the Tracks” and “Australian Story: Blood on the Tracks

COVERAGE OF COMMUNITY OR REGIONAL AFFAIRS
Award Partner BHP
Belinda-Jane Davis, The Maitland Mercury, “The Big Dry

CARTOON AND ARTWORK
Jon Kudelka, The Australian, “From The Heart

SPORTS JOURNALISM
Leo Schlink, Herald Sun, “The Big Fix

SPORT PHOTOGRAPHY
Award Partner Nikon
Scott Barbour, Getty Images, “Sport 2017—2018”

RADIO/AUDIO NEWS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS
Award Partner ABC
Jane Bardon, AM, ABC Radio National Breakfast, ABC News Online, “Indigenous families appeal to NT Government to keep young people out of detention”, “NT child protection workers allege unmanageable workloads putting vulnerable at risk” and “Tennant Creek night patrols begin to have effect

RADIO/AUDIO FEATURE
Award Partner Griffith University
Kylie Stevenson, Caroline Graham and Eric George, The Australian, “Lost in Larrimah

PRODUCTION
Award Partner Google 
Four Corners Production Team, Four Corners, ABC TV,I Am That Girl

SCOOP OF THE YEAR
Award Partner Nine
Sharri Markson, Christopher Dore and Kylar Loussikian, The Daily Telegraph, “Bundle of Joyce

COVERAGE OF A MAJOR NEWS EVENT OR ISSUE
Award Partner Lion
Drew Ambrose, Karishma Vyas and Liz Gooch, 101 East, Al Jazeera, “Rohingya Refugee Crisis

NEWS PHOTOGRAPHY
Award Partner Nikon
Jenny Evans, Getty Images and The Daily Telegraph, “Life Saver”

BUSINESS JOURNALISM
Award Partner ING
Jonathan Shapiro, The Australian Financial Review, “Breaking Big Un

FEATURE/PHOTOGRAPHIC ESSAY
Award Partner Nikon
Chris Hopkins, SBS Online Documentaries, “My Name is Yunus”

TELEVISION/VIDEO: CAMERAWORK
Award Partner Australian Super
Aaron Hollett, Four Corners, ABC, “City of Ghosts

TELEVISION/VIDEO: NEWS REPORTING
Award Partner Seven
Alexandra Blucher and Mark Willacy, ABC 7pm News, ABC TV, “Corruption concerns at one of Australia’s biggest councils”

TELEVISION/VIDEO CURRENT AFFAIRS SHORT (LESS THAN 20 MINUTES)
Award Partner SBS
Lorna Knowles, Kate McClymont, Tracey Spicer, Alison Branley and ABC and Fairfax Team, 7.30, ABC TV, “Women claim Don Burke sexually harassed them” and “More people come forward with accounts of dealing with Don Burke

TELEVISION/VIDEO CURRENT AFFAIRS LONG (MORE THAN 20 MINUTES)
Award Partner Network Ten
Four Corners Team, Four Corners, ABC TV, “Out of the Dark

INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM
Award Partner Bayer
Hedley Thomas and Slade Gibson, The Australian, “The Teacher’s Pet

COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS, OPINION AND CRITIQUE
Mark Riley, The West Australian, “Atrocities committed in God’s name mean church will never sway me”, “Live exports to Middle East based on a lie”, “‘Disappointing’ Malcolm Turnbull comes under fire from his own faction

WALKLEY DOCUMENTARY AWARD
Myanmar’s Killing Fields, Evan Williams, Eve Lucas and Georgina Davies, Dateline, SBS

WALKLEY BOOK AWARD
Helen Pitt, The House, Allen & Unwin

NIKON-WALKLEY PRESS PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR
Award Partner Nikon
Dean Lewins, NBCnews.com, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Guardian, The Australian and Time

OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO JOURNALISM
Award Partner Sky News
Sean Dorney

GOLD WALKLEY
Award Partner Apple News
Hedley Thomas and Slade Gibson, The Australian, “The Teacher’s Pet


The 2018 Walkley Judging Board were:

  • Chair: Angelos Frangopoulos AM, CEO and managing editor, Australian News Channel
  • Deputy Chair: Lenore Taylor, editor, Guardian Australia
  • Natalie Ahmat, presenter/producer, NITV News
  • Dennis Atkins, national affairs editor, The Courier-Mail
  • Michael Bachelard, investigations editor, The Age
  • Simon Crerar, editor-in-chief, BuzzFeed Australia
  • Claire Harvey, deputy editor, The Sunday Telegraph
  • Patricia Karvelas, presenter, RN Drive, and host, National Wrap, ABC
  • Mags King, managing photo editor, The Sydney Morning Herald, Sun Herald and The Australian Financial Review
  • Deborah Knight, news presenter, Nine (not present for judging)
  • Stella Lauri, network news director, WIN Television
  • John Lehmann, editor, The Australian
  • Mark Mallabone, deputy editor, The West Australian
  • Heidi Murphy, senior producer, Mornings with Neil Mitchell, 3AW693
  • Tory Shephard, state editor, The Advertiser
  • Sandra Sully, news presenter and managing editor, Ten Daily

Media enquiries: Please contact Walkley Foundation communications manager Clare Fletcher on 0432 616 810 or clare.fletcher@walkleys.com.


Walkley Award Partner logos