This category recognises the skill of producing quality news journalism in television broadcast and audio-visual formats under deadline pressure. The emphasis of this award is on solid, gripping reporting, clarity of message and outstanding individual (or small team) efforts in covering a news story. In particular, the judges rewarded work demonstrating accuracy, immediacy, incisiveness, public impact and storytelling ability.
Robert Ovadia and Paula Doneman
The Dark Side of the Force
Seven News, Seven Network
“Allegations of drug use”
“Police vs army: The cover-up”
Robert Ovadia and Paula Doneman combined their networks of Defence and police contacts over two states to produce exhaustively researched investigative pieces, a rarity in nightly TV news. Their exposé drew out highly sensitive information from within two of Australia’s most secretive organisations, revealing a cover-up of the Australian Defence Force’s “Jedi Council” sex ring, under investigation for distributing details and images of themselves having sex with unwitting women.
Ovadia is Seven News Sydney’s Walkley Award-winning senior crime reporter. He joined the Seven Network in 2001 after a year with Associated Press in London. Since late 2003, his focus has been mainly on crime. He won a Walkley Award in 2008 for breaking the “Iguana-gate” scandal concerning Belinda Neal and John Della Bosca’s unhappy night out at a Central Coast watering hole. Doneman has been a journalist for 21 years, specialising in crime and investigations. She joined Seven News in 2011. She was a Walkley finalist as part of The Courier-Mail’s coverage of the Childers backpacker fire and is also a Queensland Media Award winner.
Doneman is the author of Things a Killer Would Know, a founding member of The Courier-Mail’s investigative unit, and has reported for the New York Post.
Robert Ovadia and Paula Doneman’s reports into the so-called “Jedi Council” and subsequent cover-up once again shone the spotlight on the dark underbelly of the Australian Defence Force (ADF). A strong narrative was supported by excellent graphics and good old-fashioned investigative journalism, which all made for compelling viewing. The judges felt it showed courage to take on the ADF and reveal the rift between the police and army over initial investigations into the scandal.
Ten Eyewitness News, Network Ten
An election game-changer in the western Sydney federal seat of Greenway, Hill’s interview with Liberal candidate Jaymes Diaz went viral on the internet, relentlessly exposing Diaz’s ignorance of his own party’s policy and just how the Coalition would stop the boats.
David Speers and Kieran Gilbert
Sky News led the charge with live coverage of Labor’s final leadership challenge. Speers had an exclusive interview with Prime Minister Gillard as she announced a leadership ballot, and with the ballot still underway the Sky team were the first to announce that Kevin Rudd would return as prime minister.