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Finalists for the 2023 Mid-Year Celebration of Journalism have been announced today.

Peer-judged and selected on the basis of journalistic excellence, the Mid-Year Celebration suite administered by the Walkley Foundation includes the John B Fairfax Family Young Australian Journalist of the Year Awards, June Andrews Award for Industrial Relations Reporting, June Andrews Award for Freelance Journalist of the Year, June Andrews Award for Women’s Leadership in Media, Our Watch Award, Media Diversity Australia Award, Humanitarian Storytelling Award, June Andrews Award for Arts Journalism and The Pascall Prize for Arts Criticism.

Walkley Foundation Chief Executive Shona Martyn said the calibre of the entries was incredibly high. “Judging sessions went into extra time as judges weighed up the top entries in highly competitive fields.” she said. “Everyone selected as a finalist should feel hugely proud. There was a pleasing breadth in the entries too with journalists from across Australia, from news organisations big and small, producing high quality stories on a vast range of topics.”

The John B Fairfax Family Young Journalist of the Year awards showed again the wealth of early career talent in Australia. “Young reporters, under 28, have broken some of the biggest stories of the year and are to be commended for their perseverance, dedication and journalistic excellence. I am thrilled because they are the future of Australian journalism,” Ms Martyn said. “Likewise, the tenacity of our freelancers shone through.”

“For those who did not make the shortlist this year, please do not despair. Start working on your entries for next year now. And remember the Walkley Awards open on July 1, 2023, and cover work published from September 1, 2022  to August 31, 2023.”

Ms Martyn also thanked the judges for their commitment and contribution to the Mid-Years. “The dedication of the judges ensures the integrity of the peer-based process and underwrites the Walkley Foundation’s commitment to excellence in journalism.”

The Mid-Year awards are judged by individual panels of three judges, chosen for their expertise in each category. These panels of journalists select both the finalists and the category winners. In addition, the Walkley Judging Board selects the overall winner of the John B Fairfax Family Young Journalist of the Year Award, chosen from the winners of the six Young Journalist categories.

Winners are chosen on the basis of overall merit and journalistic excellence. The Walkley Foundation encourages a diversity of entries from journalists around Australia, published or broadcast between April 27, 2022 and April 26, 2023. The Walkley Foundation has a mechanism for dealing with any conflict of interest, actual or perceived, that may arise during the judging process. The guidelines are based on the principle that all actual conflicts of interest are to be avoided and that even a perceived conflict may be damaging to all parties. 

Winners of all the awards will be announced at the Mid-Year Celebration of Journalism in Sydney on June 15. At the Celebration, winners will also be announced for the Jacoby-Walkley Scholarship with Nine, the WIN News Broadcast Scholarship, the Walkley Young Indigenous Scholarship, the inaugural Esme Fenston Fellowship and the Sean Dorney Grant for Pacific Journalism.

In each award below, the finalists are listed in alphabetical order.

The John B Fairfax Family Young Australian Journalist of the Year Awards

Supported by Jibb Foundation

These awards recognise the hard work of our most outstanding young Australian journalists. They reward the efforts of journalists aged 28 and under who demonstrate excellence in the fundamental tenets of the profession, as well as the ability to present distinctive and original journalism that pushes the boundaries of the craft.

The winner of each of the six categories below will be eligible for the overall Walkley Young Australian Journalist of the Year Award. The ultimate winner will receive a two-week international trip to newsrooms (flights included) and a mentorship program to boost their career. 

The winner of each of the six categories will receive a complimentary place in an AGSM short course at UNSW Business School. The AGSM Client Engagement team will assist the winners to identify the course most relevant to their development. All courses earn credit towards the AGSM Certificate of Executive Management and Development which, in turn, carries course credit into the AGSM MBA and Graduate Certificates.

Shortform journalism

Supported by ABC

  • Fleur Connick, Guardian Australia, “Rural water quality investigations” (1| 2| 3)
  • Claudia Farhart, SBS, “2023 Türkiye-Syria Earthquakes” (1| 2| 3)
  • Paul Sakkal, The Age, “Operation Daintree: Daniel Andrews under direct investigation in new IBAC probe” ( 1| 2)

Longform feature or special

Supported by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age

  • Xanthe Gregory, ABC 7.30 and ABC News, “The Eugowra flood disaster”  (1)
  • Joey Watson, Guardian Australia, “Inside Australia’s secretive torture survival course for elite soldiers” (1)
  • Daryna Zadvirna, The West Australian, “My Ukraine: Inside the Warzone” (1)

Coverage of community and regional affairs

  • Xanthe Gregory, ABC 7.30 and ABC News, “The Eugowra flood disaster” (1)
  • Melissa Mackay, ABC News, “Unjust Justice” (1 | 2 | 3)
  • Hannah Walsh, ABC, “Parents receive apology from Mackay Base Hospital nine years after baby’s death” (1)

Visual storytelling

Supported by News Corp Australia

  • Rhiona-Jade Armont, Dateline, SBS, “Now You See Me: The Search for Syria’s Missing” (1)
  • Julian Fell, ABC News, “Stories told through data” (1 | 2 | 3)
  • Daryna Zadvirna, The West Australian, YouTube, “My Ukraine: Inside the Warzone”  ( 1| 2)

Public service journalism

Supported by Telum Media

  • Brooke Fryer, SBS, “Vanished: The unsolved cases of First Nations women” (1 | 2)
  • Lydia Lynch, The Australian, “DNA disaster”  (1)
  • Liam Mendes, The Australian, “Alice Springs”

Student journalist of the year

Supported by University of Sydney

  • Grace Baldwin, Monash University / Herald Sun, “Bailey Smith’s first interview: ‘I went days without getting out of bed’”; “Sinister cult recruiters targeting people at Melbourne landmarks”; “Nazi lark has no excuse” (1 | 2)
  • Angus Delaney, Swinburne University of Technology / Freelance, “Fiji dogged by strays after Covid breeding boom”; “Why the fight for marriage equality in Fiji divides LGBTQ+ activists”; “Call for Fiji to end pay gap between men and women rugby players”  (1 | 2 | 3)
  • Grace Nakamura, University of Queensland / *PS Media Logan / Deutsche Welle, “Logan’s Last Cane Farm ‘Doomed’ By New Highway’”; “Deutsche Welle ‘Inside Europe’ podcast”; “‘Ruined’: Logan Woman’s Agony As New Flood Maps Make $2.5m Property ‘Worthless’” (1 | 2 | 3)


June Andrews Award for Industrial Relations Reporting

Supported by MEAA

  • David Marin-Guzman, The Australian Financial Review, “Pub chain sacks casuals ahead of Australia Day to avoid penalties” (1)
  • Ewin Hannan, The Australian, “Industrial relations laws revealed”  (1 | 2 | 3)
  • Max Mason, The Australian Financial Review, “Top accounting firm sacked woman who alleged sexual assault” (1 | 2 | 3)

June Andrews Award for Freelance Journalist of the Year

Supported by Media Super and MEAA

  • Patrick Abboud, Audible Podcasts, SBS Television / SBS OnDemand, The Project / Network 10, “Patrick Abboud” (1, 2, 3)
  • Caroline Winter , Apple Podcasts, Sick As A Dog website, “Sick As A Dog: An industry in crisis” (1, 2, 3)
  • Nina Funnell,, “Justice Shouldn’t Hurt” (1, 2, 3)

June Andrews Award for Women’s Leadership in Media

Supported by PwC

  • Nina Funnell,, “Justice Shouldn’t Hurt: Listening to regional voices on sexual violence”  (1, 2, 3)
  • Sherele Moody, NT News and other News Corp outlets, “She Matters: Telling the stories of women lost to violence”  (1, 2, 3)
  • Tamara McDonald, Geelong Advertiser, “Why women felt failed by Geelong’s health system”

Our Watch Award

Administered by The Walkley Foundation

  • Alexis Daish, A Current Affair, Nine, “Kim’s Fight”
  • Melissa Fyfe and Jacqueline Maley, Good Weekend Magazine, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, “Rethinking Rape”
  • Richard Willingham, ABC Investigations, “Shortage of doctors causing victims of sexual crime to wait for forensic examinations” (1, 2, 3)

Humanitarian Storytelling Award

Supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross and administered by The Walkley Foundation

  • Matthew Davis and Peter O’Donoghue, Foreign Correspondent, ABC, “Myanmar’s Forgotten War”  (1, 2, 3)
  • Tom Joyner, ABC News and ABC 7.30, “Somalia’s looming famine” (1, 2, 3)
  • Ben Lewis, Colin Cosier and Josh McAtamney, Dateline, SBS, “Teens, Love and War”

Media Diversity Australia Award

Supported by Media Diversity Australia, The National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters Council and administered by The Walkley Foundation 

  • Dan Bourchier, ABC, “Voice reporting by Dan Bourchier” (1, 2, 3)
  • Hagar Cohen and Raveen Hunjan, ABC, “Racism allegations lead to staff exodus” (1, 2)
  • Jessica Horner and Nicole Mills, ABC, “A Rich New Lens” (1)

Arts Journalism 

The following two awards recognise excellence in journalism about the creative arts, from the perspectives of both practitioners and critics. Through the generous support of the Hantomeli Foundation and the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund, the winners of the June Andrews Award for Arts Journalism and The Pascall Prize for Arts Criticism will each receive $5000 in prize money.

June Andrews Award for Arts Journalism

Supported by Copyright Agency

  • Gabriella Coslovich, Good Weekend, “The Art of the Steal”  (1)
  • Marc Fennell, ABC TV, “Stuff the British Stole” (1, 2)
  • Anna Verney and Richard Cooke, Guardian Australia and The Monthly, “The John Hughes literary plagiarism series” (1, 2, 3)

The Pascall Prize for Arts Criticism

Supported by the Hantomeli Foundation and administered by the Walkley Foundation

  • Christopher Allen, The Australian, “Mission not accomplished” (1, 2)
  • Catriona Menzies-Pike, Sydney Review of Books, “Critic Swallows Book” and “Fool’s Gold” (1, 2)
  • Jinghua Qian, The Saturday Paper, “Reading the gaps” (1)

Thank you to our judges

Each year hundreds of journalists, editors and producers give their time to judge our awards. Thank you to all those who judged this year:

  • Patrick Abboud, freelance 
  • Nabil Al Nashar, ABC
  • Mridula Amin, ABC
  • Sarah Ayoub, author and academic
  • Neheda Barakat, freelance 
  • Rob Beaumont, WIN
  • Michael Brissenden, author and journalist
  • Jenny Brockie, journalist, broadcaster and facilitator
  • Fiona Buffini, The Australian Financial Review
  • Hilary Burden, author, writer, journalist
  • Ben Butler, Herald Sun
  • Nicole Byers, The Australian Women’s Weekly
  • Rowan Callick, journalist and author
  • Liv Casben, AAP
  • Natassia Chrysanthos, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age
  • Kelly Clappis, WIN
  • Nicole Cleary, freelance photographer
  • Shannan Dodson, engagement, strategy and Indigenous sector specialist
  • Sean Dorney, retired ABC Journalist
  • Elizabeth Farrelly, author and critic
  • Mahmood Fazal, ABC Four Corners
  • Dion Georgopoulos, Canberra Times
  • Cameron Gooley, NITV
  • Alice Griffin, Junkee Media
  • Ali Gripper, author
  • Rashell Habib, Paramount and 10 News First
  • Samela Harris, journalist, critic and author
  • Saffron Howden, ACM
  • Dan Ilic, presenter, comedian and filmmaker
  • Narelda Jacobs, Ten
  • Anita Jacoby AM, media executive, producer and NED
  • Christian Jantzen, WIN    
  • Alex Johnston, WIN
  • Neha Kale, freelance 
  • Sophie Kuryl, WIN
  • Stella Lauri, WIN        
  • Stephen Lunn, The Australian
  • Jacqueline Maley, The Sydney Morning Herald
  • John-Paul Maloney, Canberra Times
  • Rick Morton, The Saturday Paper
  • Alex Needs, Nine
  • Mary-Louise O’Callaghan, Internews
  • Donna Page, Newcastle Herald
  • Gemma Purves, Radio 2RPH
  • Matthew Ricketson, Deakin University
  • Caitlyn Rintoul, The Sunday Times
  • Tom Robinson, ABC Pilbara
  • Gina Rushton, Crikey
  • Amber Schultz, The Sun-Herald
  • Pallavi Singhal, Google
  • Ben Smee, Guardian Australia
  • Erin Smith, Dart Centre Asia Pacific
  • Sean Smith, WestBusiness and The West Australian
  • Andrew Stafford, freelance journalist and author
  • Emily Steinhardt, WIN
  • Sarah Stinson, Sunrise, Weekend Sunrise and The Morning Show
  • Katrina Strickland, Good Weekend
  • Kirsty Thomson, 60 Minutes
  • Sarah Thornton, Network Ten
  • Samantha Trewoneth, The Australian Women’s Weekly
  • Max Uechtritz, Kundu Productions 
  • Mariam Veiszadeh, Media Diversity Australia
  • Raj Wakeling, Studio 10 and 10 News First Midday
  • Martin White, Network Ten
  • Dorothy Wickham, Melanesia News Network
  • Geordie Williamson, Pan Macmillan Australia
  • Ashleigh Wilson, author 



Media queries: James Gorman, |  +61 414 990 480

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