Winners announced: 2016 Freelance, Women’s Leadership, Young Journalist awards and Jacoby-Walkley Scholarship

Winners were announced tonight at the Walkley Mid-Year Awards celebration in Sydney. For media enquiries: Please contact Walkley Foundation multimedia manager Kate Golden on 0403 848 247 or

PDF versions of press releases:
Winners announced: 2016 Womens Leadership Award and Freelancer of the Year
Winners announced: 2016 Young Journalist Awards
Winner announced: Jacoby-Walkley Scholarship


Walkley Freelancer of the Year Award

Journalist and filmmaker Yaara Bou Melhem was honored as 2016’s best freelance journalist in Australia.

Her body of work titled “Australia: At Home and Abroad”,  broadcast on Al Jazeera English, explored the impact of Australia’s policies abroad and at home on some of the world’s most disadvantaged and vulnerable populations and those striving for change.

Judges Michael Beach, Cameron Stewart, Margot Saville and Dan Himbrechts said her work “gave a powerful insight into the human impact of the Australian Government’s failed resettlement plan. Her pieces, which she researched, wrote and produced, showed dogged reporting skills, was highly newsworthy and a great scoop.”

Yaara Bou Melhem is a previous Walkley Award Winner and a Walkley Young Australian Television Journalist of the Year Winner.

Bou Melhem was awarded $3,000 cash and tickets to the 2016 Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism (December 2) and Storyology (August 10-12).

Award profile: Yaara Bou Melhem


Women’s Leadership in Media Award

Freelance reporter Jess Hill has won the first Women’s Leadership in Media Award for her long-form reportage raising awareness about the complexities of domestic violence and its prevention.

Judges Liz Jackson, Marina Go, Anne Davies and Narelle Hooper said they were impressed by the scope and depth of Jess Hill’s work: “She has clearly done an extensive amount of original research as to the causes and extent of domestic violence, and similarly with her work on the Family Court. All in all, outstanding work. “

Hill’s entry comprised two articles for The Monthly and a radio documentary for the ABC’s investigative Background Briefing program. Her interviews with perpetrators and their partners were especially enlightening. Her dedication, deep research and direct style resulted in reports that were both comprehensive and accessible.

In 2015, her reporting on domestic violence won three Our Watch Walkley awards, including the inaugural Gold Award for reporting on violence against women.

The Women’s Leadership in Media Award, supported by PwC Australia, is a national award that honours and celebrates women who are making a contribution to gender equality and recognises outstanding journalistic contribution to the coverage of gender equality and full participation of women in society.

Award profile: Jess Hill

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Young Journalist of the Year Awards

ABC News journalist Elly Bradfield has been named the 2016 Walkley Young Australian Journalist of the Year

In naming Bradfield, 24, the overall winner, The Walkley Advisory Board, represented by Kate McClymont, John Stanley, Claire Harvey and Angelos Frangopoulos, said:

“In an exceptionally strong field Elly Bradfield stood out for her carefully crafted stories and brilliant use of her medium, tackling difficult subjects with courage, sensitivity and innovation. This was great journalism — compelling and engaging. As audio storytelling undergoes a worldwide renaissance, Elly’s work is up there with the best.”

Bradfield won the Radio/Audio category as well as the Community/Regional Journalism category. As the overall winner, Bradfield will fly to the USA with Cathay Pacific to undertake work experience with CNN, Huffington Post and Twitter.

Here is the full list of category winners announced in Sydney tonight:

Walkley Young Australian Journalist of the Year (presented by News Corp Australia)

Elly BradfieldQLD Regional Drive, ABC, “St George’s ice struggle”, “Dinosaurs fighting depression in the bush” and “The story of three long lost sisters”

Text-Based Journalism (presented by Fairfax Media)

Eryk Bagshaw, The Sydney Morning Herald, “The great university entry charade”, “Gaming the system”, “University revolution proposes national entry scheme”

Judges: Ben Doherty, Julie Powers and Lynda Fallon

Radio/Audio Journalism (presented by ABC)

Elly BradfieldQLD Regional Drive, ABC, “St George’s ice struggle”, “Dinosaurs fighting depression in the bush” and “The story of three long lost sisters”

Judges: Ben Fordham, Joseph Fernandez and Emma Griffiths

Television/Video Journalism (presented by SKY NEWS Australia)

Alexis Daish, Nine News Melbourne, “Parolee rape”, “Ravenhall riot”, “Wild weather/Spirit of Tasmania”

Judges: Robert Ovadia, Bernadine Lim and Jayne Azzopardi

Community/Regional Journalism (presented by UNSW)

Elly BradfieldQLD Regional Drive, ABC, “St George’s ice struggle”, “Dinosaurs fighting depression in the bush” and “The story of three long lost sisters”

Judges: Jane Bardon, Heath Harrison, Emma Filed

Photography (presented by MEAA)

Ella Rubeli, The Sydney Morning Herald, “Cool Threads”, “Escaping the waves”, “School’s Out”

Judges: Nick Moir, Brett Costello and Gordon McComiskie

Student Journalist of the Year (presented by Macleay College)

Jarni Blakkarly, RMIT University, “Democracy rising”, “Behind the mask of an emergency”, “Australian cuts to climate change research may hit drive into Asia”

Judges: Damien Smith, Yaara Bou Melhem and Kathryn Wicks

The Walkley Foundation thanks Fairfax Media, ABC, SKY NEWS Australia, News Corp Australia, UNSW, the ABC and Macleay College, as well as Cathay Pacific, CNN, Huffington Post and Twitter for their support for the Walkley Young Journalist of the Year Awards.

Jacoby-Walkley Scholarship winner

The Walkley Foundation is pleased to announce that Taylor Denny– a final year Journalism and International Studies student at University of Technology Sydney– has been awarded the 2016 Jacoby-Walkley Scholarship.

Now in its fourth year, the judges found the standard of entries consistently high. It was a tough job whittling the ten finalists down to one winner, UTS’s Taylor Denny.

“Taylor has demonstrated a passion for TV journalism and quality storytelling. Her feature story, ‘The Toll of Finding Your Tinderella’, was particularly creative and well told.”

This year’s judges — Anita Jacoby, Nine’s Sydney News Director Simon Hobbs, Jenny Brockie and Dan Ilic — congratulate Taylor, and we look forward to celebrating her future success in the media.

Denny will now undertake a paid internship which includes eight weeks at the Nine Network in Sydney (working on 60 Minutes, A Current Affair, Today and in the newsroom), four weeks at The Walkley Foundation and at least one TV production course through the open program at AFTRS.

She will also be mentored by senior journalist members of The Walkley Advisory Board and, along the way, work with and learn from some of Australia’s leading news and current affairs journalists and producers.

The scholarship was established with the generous support of Anita Jacoby, a journalist and producer, in honour of the memory of her father Phillip – a pioneer in the Australian electronics and broadcast technology industry.

The Walkley Foundation congratulates other finalists in the 2016 scholarship: Eleanor Grounds (Queensland University of Technology), Carla Howarth (Queensland University of Technology), Monica Ireland (RMIT University, Melanie Keyte (The University of Queensland), Nicola McCaskill (Monash University), Han Nguyen (University of Technology Sydney), Emily Smith (University of Technology Sydney), Ellijahna Victoria (RMIT University), and Tom Williams (The University of Queensland).

For more information about the scholarship’s judging criteria, go to the Jacoby-Walkley Scholarship page.

The Walkley Foundation thanks Anita Jacoby and family, the Nine Network and AFTRS for their generous support.