Mark Willacy and the ABC Investigations-Four Corners Team have won Australian journalism’s highest honour, the Gold Walkley, for their six-month long investigation Killing Field”.

The program, which also won the Walkley Award for Investigative Journalism, exposed alleged war crimes by Australian special forces in Afghanistan. 

Attempts to report on allegations of war crimes encounter extreme obstacles, yet Mark Willacy and the ABC Team’s unflinching investigations continue to expose suspected cover-ups and deep cultural problems within Australia’s special forces.

The judges were impressed by Willacy’s compelling and brilliant investigation, which included shocking helmet-camera footage of special forces in action on the ground, sharp scripting and probing interviews. Watch Willacy’s acceptance speech here or below.

Matthew Abbott was named the Nikon-Walkley Press Photographer of the Year for his work covering the Summer Bushfires and Covid-19. Lucie Morris-Marr’s Fallen (Allen & Unwin) won the Walkley Book Award. Sarah Ferguson, Nial Fulton and Tony Jones’ haunting documentary Revelation (ABC and InFilms) won the Walkley Documentary Award.

The award for Outstanding Contribution to Journalism went to Ross Gittins, for his 40-year commitment to making economics and public policy not only accessible but a must read. He was also honoured for his dedication to mentoring many generations of journalists. Watch the video tribute to Ross Gittins’s career, and his acceptance speech, here.

The 65th Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism were presented in 30 categories.

The chief executive of the Walkley Foundation, Louisa Graham, said: “The Walkley Foundation has a great deal to be proud of. The challenges of the last year have shown us that journalism is critical to keeping Australians accurately informed; this year’s list of finalists and winners is a testament to the outstanding journalism that is so critical to our democratic process. The Foundation remains strong and stable, enabling us to deliver on our mission to support and celebrate great Australian journalism.”

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

“During last summer’s fires factual information at times made the difference between life and death,” she said. “Likewise, facts have been the most important tool for limiting the spread of the coronavirus, and our audiences have had a seemingly insatiable thirst for information.  It was the role of journalists to go out and bring us reliable information because facts are what we do.

“I am always heartened, if slightly overwhelmed, when I see the array of excellent reporting and writing in contention for a Walkley Award and the journalistic skill and determination evident in every entry.”

Winners of the Walkley Awards are selected by the Walkley Judging Board. You can find information about the Walkley Awards judging process here, and the Terms and Conditions of the Awards here

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. You can read more about the conflict guidelines here.

The list of winners is published below. For media enquiries, contact Nick Jarvis on nick.jarvis@walkleys.com or 0415 713 144.


2020 Walkley Award Winners

PRINT/TEXT: NEWS REPORT
Award Partner Media Super

PUBLIC SERVICE JOURNALISM
Award Partner Sydney Airport

INNOVATION
Award Partner Google News Initiative

HEADLINE, CAPTION OR HOOK
Award Partner Qantas

  • Anthony De Ceglie, The West Australian, “The Royal Formerly Known As Prince,” “Bridget Over Troubled Rorters” and “You Had One JobKeeper”

PRINT/TEXT: FEATURE WRITING LONG (OVER 4000 WORDS)
Award Partner UQ

PRINT/TEXT: FEATURE WRITING SHORT (UNDER 4000 WORDS)
Award Partner The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age

COVERAGE OF INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS
Award Partner PwC Indigenous Consulting

COVERAGE OF COMMUNITY OR REGIONAL AFFAIRS
Award Partner BHP

  • Matthew Kelly, Helen Gregory, Anita Beaumont and Donna Page, Newcastle Herald, “Your Right to Know

CARTOON 

  • David Rowe, The Australian Financial Review, “Thoughts and Prayers”

SPORTS JOURNALISM

SPORT PHOTOGRAPHY
Award Partner Nikon

  • Sam Ruttyn, The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph, “UFC 243”

RADIO/AUDIO: NEWS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS
Award Partner ABC

  • Dr Norman Swan, Tegan Taylor and Will Ockenden, ABC, “Coronacast

RADIO/AUDIO: FEATURE

  • Rachael Brown, Josie Taylor, Tim Roxburgh, Martin Peralta and Trace Team, ABC, “Trace: The Informer

PRODUCTION
Award Partner Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas

SCOOP OF THE YEAR
Award Partner Nine News

COVERAGE OF A MAJOR NEWS EVENT OR ISSUE
Award Partner Facebook

NEWS PHOTOGRAPHY
Award Partner Nikon

  • Matthew Abbott, The New York Times and Oculi, “A kangaroo rushes past a burning house in Lake Conjola”

BUSINESS JOURNALISM
Award Partner ING

FEATURE/PHOTOGRAPHIC ESSAY
Award Partner Nikon

  • Nick Moir, The Sydney Morning Herald, “Firestorm”

TELEVISION/VIDEO: CAMERAWORK
Award Partner Australian Super

TELEVISION/VIDEO: NEWS REPORTING
Award Partner Seven

TELEVISION/VIDEO: CURRENT AFFAIRS SHORT (LESS THAN 20 MINUTES)
Award Partner SBS

TELEVISION/VIDEO: CURRENT AFFAIRS LONG (MORE THAN 20 MINUTES)
Award Partner TEN

  • Nick McKenzie, Joel Tozer and Sumeyya Ilanbey, 60 Minutes, Nine, “The Faceless Man

INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM

  • Mark Willacy and the ABC Investigations-Four Corners Team, Four Corners, ABC, “Killing Field

COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS, OPINION AND CRITIQUE

WALKLEY DOCUMENTARY AWARD
Award Partner NSW Government 

  • Sarah Ferguson, Nial Fulton and Tony Jones, ABC and In Films, Revelation

WALKLEY BOOK AWARD 

  • Lucie Morris-Marr, Fallen, Allen & Unwin

NIKON-WALKLEY PRESS PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR
Award Partner Nikon

  • Matthew Abbott, The New York Times and Oculi 

OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO JOURNALISM
Award Partner News Corp Australia

  • Ross Gittins, The Sydney Morning Herald 

GOLD WALKLEY

  • Mark Willacy and the ABC Investigations-Four Corners Team, Four Corners, ABC, “Killing Field

The 2020 Walkley Judging Board were:

  • Chair: Lenore Taylor, editor, Guardian Australia
  • Deputy Chair: Claire Harvey, editorial director, The Australian
  • Natalie Ahmat, presenter/producer, NITV News
  • Michael Bachelard, investigations editor, The Age
  • Michael Brissenden, reporter, Four Corners, ABC
  • Patricia Karvelas, presenter, ABC Radio National Drive (abstained from judging in 2020)
  • Mags King, managing photographic editor, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review
  • Deborah Knight, presenter, 2GB
  • Stella Lauri, network news director, WIN Television
  • John Lehmann, commercial director and managing editor, The Australian
  • Hamish Macdonald, host, Q&A, ABC
  • Mark Mallabone, deputy editor, The West Australian
  • Heidi Murphy, senior producer, Mornings with Neil Mitchell, 3AW693 (abstained from judging in 2020)
  • Bhakthi Puvanenthiran, editor, ABC Life
  • Tory Shepherd, columnist, The Advertiser