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Ten journalists from around Australia have been announced as successful applicants for the 2024 Walkley Mentorship program. Each mentee has been matched with a mentor for the 12-month program supported by the Walkley Public Fund and Hantomeli Foundation.

The program aims to benefit journalists of all ages and experience levels who might not otherwise receive support, and applications are assessed on the basis of need. 

Congratulations to the 2024 cohort:

  • Georgie Desailly (mentor: Lionel Faull)
  • Sam Elkin (mentor: Leigh Tonkin)
  • Jane Howard (mentor: Alice Griffin)
  • Janine Kelly (mentor: Solua Middleton)
  • Alastair Kirkby (mentor: Saffron Howden)
  • Wing Kuang (mentor: Kylie Morris)
  • Keira Proust (mentor: Tracey Hannaford)
  • Isaac Soon Zhi Chong (mentor: Tesa Arcilla)
  • Dellaram Vreeland (mentor: Bianca Nogrady)
  • Hannah Walsh (mentor: Kirsty Thomson)

The program matches selected mentees with mentors with relevant experience, based on selected mentees’ career goals and desired areas of development, for one-on-one sessions over the course of a year. Mentors are drawn from a pool of senior news journalists, including Walkley winners and industry leaders.

Walkley Foundation CEO Shona Martyn said: ‘There is immense benefit for mid-career journalists in being part of a mentoring program tailored to their individual needs. The Walkley Mentorship program offers that opportunity and also allows experienced journalists who would like to “give back” the chance to share their practical experience and wisdom. 

‘I would like to thank the volunteer mentors and program sponsors, the Hantomeli Foundation, for their generosity. This program is of immense benefit to Australian journalism.’

Read more about our 2024 mentees and mentors below.

For more information about the Walkley Mentorship Program, please contact Corinne Podger, Walkley Foundation Senior Manager for Programs and Education:

Meet the 2024 mentees:

Georgie Desailly is a writer and journalist based in Townsville, North Queensland. She has spent time studying in New York City with The School of The New York Times and is currently writing a book telling the stories of 10 refugees who have resettled in her hometown. 

Sam Elkin is a writer, radio maker, and co-editor of Nothing to Hide: Voices of TGD Australia. He hosts the 3RRR show Queer View Mirror and the ABC History Listen’s Crossing Time: Australia’s Transgender History. His debut book Detachable Penis: A Queer Legal Saga will be released by Upswell in 2024. He is based in Melbourne.

Jane Howard is an Adelaide-based  journalist and arts and culture editor of The Conversation, who won the 2019 June Andrews Award for Arts Journalism. Her writing has appeared in publications including the ABC, the Guardian, Meanjin and the Sydney Morning Herald, and she sits on the board of Writers SA.

Janine Kelly is an award-winning filmmaker, radio announcer and training journalist with First Nations Media Association, and is based in Toowoomba. Janine’s passion for story telling gives the voiceless a platform in telling their stories in the topics of injustice and the harm centring around Aboriginal Child Removal in communities and families. Janine holds a Masters of Film and Screen Production studies from Griffith Film School and recently completed a Journalism intensive at Batchelor Institute in the Northern Territory.

Alastair Kirkby is a multiplatform journalist and producer based in Perth, Western Australia. He currently works for LiSTNR making audio news documentaries. He can create engaging original content for TV, radio, digital and social media. He has a particular interest in telling stories about how power really works in society.

Wing Kuang is a digital and audio journalist at the ABC News, covering national and international affairs. Her bylines also appear on SBS, Guardian Australia, The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, Al Jazeera English, and The Saturday Paper. She is based in Sydney.

Keira Proust is a young regional ABC reporter currently based on the NSW Central Coast. She has a Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies majoring in journalism. She has published hundreds of multi-platform stories from different parts of regional Australia, with a focus on Indigenous affairs and women’s rights. She is also interested in the environment, housing, music, politics and travel.

Isaac Soon Zhi Chong is the Social Media Producer and COS Assistant at 7NEWS Melbourne. He is also the presenter for Saturday Magazine, JOY Media’s flagship current affairs programme. On top of that, he volunteers as a newsreader every Friday. He is looking to improve his skills as a reporter through this program.

Dellaram Vreeland is a freelance journalist and Australian-born Iranian working and living on Wadawurrung Country. Dellaram grew up in Ballarat and in more than 13 years working as a storyteller across print and online publications her work has appeared in Guardian Australia, across various Nine and Australian Community Media mastheads, and a variety of travel magazines. She is the founder of online platform Jamál, and her days are spent tending to her family of five while striving to contribute to the vibrancy of her hometown.

Hannah Walsh is a multi-platform journalist based in regional Queensland. She graduated from the University of Queensland in 2021 and worked for ABC Brisbane before moving to Mackay to take up a full-time position. Hannah is a skilled visual journalist who files for TV, online and radio content for the ABC. In 2023, she was a finalist in the 2023 John B Fairfax Family Young Australian Journalist of the Year Awards for her coverage of community and regional affairs.

Meet the 2024 Mentors

Tesa Arcilla is a former foreign correspondent and news presenter with 20 years of global news experience covering world affairs, politics and business for major news networks including CBC News, NBC News, Euronews, Al Jazeera English, and CNN International. Tesa hosted the primetime pan-European political debate show Raw Politics on Euronews NBC, broadcast from the European Parliament, for which she was named one of POLITICO Europe’s “Women Shaping Brussels” in 2018. She’s currently news director at ausbiz.

Lionel Faull is an award-winning investigative journalist, editor and mentor based in Perth. His specialism is money trail investigations exposing corrupt or exploitative practices. He has worked in the EU, UK and Africa. Lionel believes in mentorship as a way of expanding and strengthening investigative journalism.

Alice Griffin is Editor-in-Chief of leading youth brands Junkee and Punkee. Previously editor of MTV Australia, Alice grew an engaged readership of young Australians interested in music, emerging culture, and social justice. An experienced editor, writer, and presenter, Alice has over a decade of experience in journalism and content strategy with TRAVLR, isango! and Australian Country Magazine. Her experience includes travel presenting across Europe and Asia as well as roles in content strategy and lifestyle journalism in Sydney and London.

Tracey Hannaford is a broadcast journalist who has produced stories for news, current affairs, documentaries and features. She has worked for Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes, A Current Affair and in the Nine London Bureau, Channel Seven, SBS, CJZ and across a range of formats in London, Singapore and New York. She is a two-time Walkley Awards finalist and a producer on the AACTA Awards Best Documentary winner: Murder in the Outback.

Saffron Howden is a leader in journalism, innovation and media literacy. She has worked at some of Australia’s largest news outlets, Google News Initiative, and founded national children’s newspaper Crinkling News. Saffron is Australian Community Media’s national editorial trainer and AI lead. She is the co-author of Kid Reporter: The Secret to Breaking News, and is currently a PhD candidate investigating media literacy and misinformation.

Solua Middleton is a senior journalist who loves to tell stories in different ways. She’s worked in print, television, radio and digital. Solua’s been at the ABC for 13 years and now works with the digital storytelling team, Story Lab. As a proud Torres Strait Islander, Solua has a strong passion for Indigenous stories and has worked for Koori Mail, NITV News, and self-published her own Indigenous newspaper – Be Counted.

Kylie Morris is currently the Gendered Violence writer for women’s online magazine, She writes longform digital articles, mainly about domestic and family violence.  Prior to returning to Australia in 2019, she had worked as a resident foreign correspondent for the BBC in locations including the Gaza Strip, Afghanistan, and Bangkok. She was posted by Britain’s Channel Four News to Washington DC for five years, and covered the rise of Donald Trump. She began her career with the ABC in Newcastle. 

Bianca Nogrady is a freelance science journalist, author and broadcaster, and founding president of the Science Journalists Association of Australia. She writes regularly for the Guardian, The Saturday Paper, WIRED, Nature and the BMJ, and her work has appeared in The Atlantic, MIT Technology Review, Australian Geographic, Cosmos and others.

Kirsty Thomson is an experienced journalist with a career spanning 20 years. Since 2016, she has held the position of Executive Producer at 60 Minutes, where she previously served as a producer and Chief of Staff. Before joining 60 Minutes, Kirsty worked in senior management roles at Sky and ITV newsrooms in London. 

Leigh Tonkin has worked in national and regional newsrooms for nearly 20 years and is the editor, features and context for ABC News. Previously, she was comment editor at the Sydney Morning Herald and online editor at the Newcastle Herald. She was a Walkley finalist in 2009. She’s a media vice-president of MEAA, board member of the Walkley Foundation and the Pacific representative for the Federation of Asia Pacific Journalists council and the IFJ’s gender committee.

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