How we reviewed the Walkley Awards

Following the Walkley Advisory Board’s Monday statement about its decision to drop the International category from the Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism, we have received questions regarding the review process.

The Walkley Review started in November 2016 and ended in May 2017.

Over the course of those six months, Walkley representatives met with key journalists, media organisations and partners in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. Award-winning freelance journalist Debra Jopson was engaged to lead the research, and Walkley staff reached out across the industry. Diversity was a key concern: we wanted to give a broad swath of Australian journalists the opportunity to participate. We held lively roundtables with reporters, editors and newsroom managers, and held meetings with management and news directors from major media organisations, as well as key journalists across Australia.

We also drew from more than three dozen one-on-one interviews with young journalists, editors and newsroom heads across Australia, platforms and news organisations; these were conducted in late 2016 for the Young Australian Journalist of the Year Awards review. In addition, we reviewed journalism awards from around the world, such as the Pulitzers, and recent research on the state of the industry from Pew, Reuters and other sources.

Over five months, from the beginning of November 2016 through March 2017, we invited submissions from journalists across the industry as well as from the general public. These requests were shared via our homepage, in the print Walkley Magazine, in numerous newsletters from the Walkleys and MEAA that went to thousands of subscribers, and across all social media channels. We received many comments and submissions by email, phone and in person. In May, the board met to review all the information gathered and decide what changes should be made to the awards.

Please don’t hesitate to make suggestions for how we can improve the review process in future.

You can read more about the changes to the awards in the Walkley Magazine: Journalism is changing — so the Walkley Awards are, too.