Herald Sun’s “Lawyer X” wins 2019 Gold Walkley Award

Anthony Dowsley and Patrick Carlyon have won Australian journalism’s highest honour in Sydney tonight, for their reporting of the “Lawyer X Informer Scandal” for the Herald Sun.

A deep and sustained investigation, years in the making, Dowsley and Carlyon produced the definitive explanation of a scandal that recast Melbourne’s gangland wars: how lawyer Nicola Gobbo was recruited by Victoria Police to inform on clients. The investigation exposed an unprecedented legal scandal that triggered an inquiry and continues to have serious implications. Gobbo’s alias, “Lawyer X”, is now a byword for the secret abuse of power. The story also won the Investigative Journalism and Coverage of a Major News Event or Issue categories.

The judges were impressed by Dowsley and Carlyon’s dogged pursuit of the story and the Herald Sun’s commitment to it, saying: “In its scale, its scope and its ongoing impact, ‘Lawyer X Informer Scandal’ is an act of journalistic persistence that has changed Australia. That’s what a Gold Walkley is all about.”

Chris McGrath from Getty Images was named the Nikon-Walkley Press Photographer of the Year for a timely, dynamic and powerful body of work spanning Turkey, Syria, Kosovo and Hong Kong. Leigh SalesAny Ordinary Day (Penguin Random House Australia) won the Walkley Book Award. Stan Grant’s film about Adam Goodes, The Australian Dream (GoodThing Productions, Passion Pictures UK and ABC), was named the winner of the Walkley Documentary Award.

The senior award for Outstanding Contribution to Journalism went to Sue Spencer, pioneering producer, documentary-maker and mentor who has made it her mission to speak truth to power. Spencer would never seek out the limelight, but her seven years as executive producer ABC Four Corners was a golden period of investigative journalism, recognised with 14 Walkley Awards, including three Golds.

The 64th Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism were presented in 30 categories. 800 journalists and media identities gathered at the International Convention Centre Sydney for the gala event, with the support of the NSW Government.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian MP paid tribute to this year’s finalists and winners.

“In the age of 24/7 media and mass consumption, institutions like the Walkley Awards are more important than ever to remind us of the importance of timely information and the public interest,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“Every nominee has thrived in 2019, bringing their audience something unique. The words you wrote, story you presented or photographs you captured have been powerful to the viewer or reader. You have inspired, entertained and informed.”

Premier Berejiklian also announced the 65th Walkley Awards gala dinner will be hosted in Tamworth in November 2020, as part of the NSW Government’s two-year partnership with the Walkleys.

Chair of the Walkley Judging Board, Lenore Taylor, praised the range and depth of this year’s winners. 

“At a time when our profession is under threat from upended business models, legislative overreach and those who are very deliberately seeking to de-legitimise our work, it is more important than ever to promote and celebrate the very best of what we do. We all know that a Walkley Award is the measure of Australian journalistic excellence. Congratulations to all this year’s winners.”

You can find information about the Walkley Awards judging process here, and the Terms and Conditions of the Awards here

The list of winners is published below.

2019 Walkley Awards Category Winners:

PRINT/TEXT NEWS REPORT
Award Partner Media Super
Michael Koziol and Jennifer Duke, The Sydney Morning Herald, “Guthrie ordered to sack top ABC reporter”, “ABC chair’s ‘bias’ email” and “Revealed: ABC boss’ secret dossier

PUBLIC SERVICE JOURNALISM
Anne Connolly, Mary Fallon and Patricia Drum, Four Corners, ABC TV and ABC Digital, “Who Cares?

INNOVATION
Mark Doman and ABC News Digital Team, abc.net.au, “Satellite storytelling

HEADLINE, CAPTION OR HOOK
Award Partner Qantas 
Baz McAlister, The Courier-Mail, “Time to Haul Ass”, “Give ‘Em a Finch and They’ll Take a Mine” “Halal… Is it Meals You’re Sooking For”

FEATURE WRITING LONG (OVER 4000 WORDS)
Award Partner UQ
Sam Vincent, The Monthly, “A Nagging Doubt: The Retrial of David Eastman

FEATURE WRITING SHORT (UNDER 4000 WORDS)
Award Partner The Sydney Morning Herald & The Age
Mick Barnes, Good Weekend, The Sydney Morning Herald, “Counting down the days in God’s waiting room

COVERAGE OF INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS
Award Partner PwC Indigenous Consulting
Lorena Allam, Guardian Australia Team and the University of Newcastle’s Colonial Frontier Massacres Project, Guardian Australia, “The Killing Times

COVERAGE OF COMMUNITY OR REGIONAL AFFAIRS
Award Partner BHP 
Donna Page and Nick Bielby, Newcastle Herald, “Dirty Deeds

CARTOON
Pat Campbell, The Canberra Times, “Christchurch Fern”

SPORTS JOURNALISM
Malcolm Knox and Nigel Gladstone, The Sun-Herald, “Caught Out: Cricket’s Inflated Player Numbers Revealed

SPORT PHOTOGRAPHY
Award Partner Nikon
Craig Golding, AAP, “Invictus Games 2018”

RADIO/AUDIO NEWS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS
Award Partner ABC
Adam Harvey, AM, ABC, “The Survivors of ISIS

RADIO/AUDIO FEATURE
Kirsti Melville, Earshot, ABC Radio National, “The Ghosts of Wittenoom

PRODUCTION
A
ward Partner Google News Initiative
Fadzil Hamzah, The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph, “The Ibrahim Tapes

SCOOP OF THE YEAR
Award Partner Nine News
Al Jazeera Investigations Unit, Al Jazeera Media Network, “How to Sell a Massacre

COVERAGE OF A MAJOR NEWS EVENT OR ISSUE
Award Partner Facebook
Anthony Dowsley and Patrick Carlyon, Herald Sun, “Lawyer X Informer Scandal

NEWS PHOTOGRAPHY
Award Partner Nikon
Matt Roberts, ABC, “The Second Coming of Senator Lambie”

BUSINESS JOURNALISM
Award Partner ING
Nick McKenzie, Nick Toscano and Grace Tobin, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and 60 Minutes, Nine, “Crown Unmasked

FEATURE/PHOTOGRAPHIC ESSAY
Award Partner Nikon
Chris McGrath, Getty Images, “The End of the Caliphate”

TELEVISION/VIDEO: CAMERAWORK
Award Partner Australian Super
Paul Walker, Seven News, Seven Network, “Sydney Stabbing”

TELEVISION/VIDEO: NEWS REPORTING
Award Partner Seven
Seven News Sydney Team, Seven News Sydney, “Sydney Stabbing Rampage”

TELEVISION/VIDEO CURRENT AFFAIRS SHORT (LESS THAN 20 MINUTES)
Award Partner SBS
Ali Rae, Al Jazeera EnglishAll Hail The Algorithm

TELEVISION/VIDEO CURRENT AFFAIRS LONG (MORE THAN 20 MINUTES)
Award Partner TEN
Suzanne Dredge, Dylan Welch, David Maguire and Janine Cohen, Four Corners, ABC TV, “Orphans of ISIS”

INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM
Award Partner Bayer
Anthony Dowsley and Patrick Carlyon, Herald Sun, “Lawyer X Informer Scandal

COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS, OPINION AND CRITIQUE
Award Partner Bond University
Jan Fran, The Feed, SBSVICELAND and associated social media channels, “The Frant

WALKLEY DOCUMENTARY AWARD
The Australian Dream, Stan Grant, GoodThing Productions, Passion Pictures UK and ABC

WALKLEY BOOK AWARD
Leigh Sales, Any Ordinary Day, Penguin Random House Australia

NIKON-WALKLEY PRESS PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR
Award Partner Nikon
Chris McGrath, Getty Images

MOST OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO JOURNALISM
Award Partner News Corp Australia
Sue Spencer

GOLD WALKLEY
Anthony Dowsley and Patrick Carlyon, Herald Sun, “Lawyer X Informer Scandal


The 2019 Walkley Judging Board were:

  • Chair: Lenore Taylor, editor, Guardian Australia
  • Deputy Chair: Claire Harvey, deputy editor, The Sunday Telegraph
  • Natalie Ahmat, presenter/producer, NITV News
  • Michael Bachelard, investigations editor, The Age (abstained from 2019 judging)
  • Michael Brissenden, reporter, Four Corners, ABC
  • Mags King, managing photographic editor, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review
  • Deborah Knight, news presenter, Nine
  • Stella Lauri, network news director, WIN Television
  • John Lehmann, editor, The Australian
  • Hamish Macdonald, host, The Project, Network 10
  • Mark Mallabone, deputy editor, The West Australian
  • Heidi Murphy, senior producer, Mornings with Neil Mitchell, 3AW693
  • Patricia Karvelas, presenter, ABC Radio National Drive
  • Bhakthi Puvanenthiran, editor, ABC Life
  • Tory Shepherd, state editor, The Advertiser

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