In line with the Walkleys ethos of encouraging excellence across the media industry, the Walkleys are peer-judged awards.
Each year around 100 judges have to be recruited, and without their generous contribution the awards would not be possible.
Three judges are assigned to each category (except for the literary award - more details follow), and with the approval of the Board they are selected to ensure a balance of:
- media organisations,
- and, for the all media categories, medium
Proposed first-tier judges are suggested by the Board or previous judges and are signed off at the end by the Board and the Chair before being approached.
Judges are given at least two weeks to review the entries for their category before meeting in person or via teleconference to select three finalists. This will sometimes involve a vote. During this meeting the judges also write the comments that are referenced in the finalist's booklet, tributes and script for the awards night.
There is scope for "highly commended" entries outside the top three, but only when there is no outcome in sight.
Judges can enter the Walkley Awards, but not in the category they are judging.
Judges are supplied with appraisal forms, to help evaluate entries according to different criteria. They are also given guidelines encouraging them to consider factors such as the resources available to the entrant, the time given and the location of media. They are also given conflict guidelines to help mitigate issues during the judging process.
If at this point there are still issues the Chair of the Advisory Board can be asked to mediate. After the first round judging is complete, judges are debriefed and asked for feedback about the process and any issues that arose.
Judges' identities are not revealed until the finalist's announcements.
Finally the Walkleys Advisory Board reviews the finalists for each category to select category winners.
Judges are given longer to review entries to the Non-Fiction Book category, which are submitted and judged in two rounds. The literary category is divided into three panels of three judges, including a chair. Each panel nominates three finalists, and the chairs of the panel go on to determine the long list and the shortlist. The chair of the Walkley Advisory Board then joins the panel to choose the ultimate category winner, who is announced at the awards night.
View a full list of the judges of the 2008 Walkley Awards.