The Walkley Judging Board

The Walkley Judging Board plays a pivotal role in the work of the Walkley Foundation. Made up of senior members of the Australian media industry, the board members are appointed by the Directors of the Foundation and function as custodians of the Walkley Awards. They are responsible for judging the overall winners of the Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism after the first stage of judging. They also act as ambassadors for the Foundation.

Michael Brissenden

Chair

Michael Brissenden was a political journalist and foreign correspondent for the ABC for 35 years. He began his career covering Federal politics and has been a correspondent in Moscow, Brussels and Washington. He was the political editor for the 7.30 Report in Canberra from 2003 to 2009, the ABC's Defence and National Security Correspondent between 2013 and 2015 and the host of the AM national radio program. From 2017 to 2021 he was a reporter with the 4 Corners program. Michael is a two-time Walkley Award-winner. He has written for a number of newspapers and magazines and has published both fiction and nonfiction books.

Claire Harvey

Deputy Chair

Claire Harvey is Editorial Director of The Australian, after starting her career at newspaper in 1994 as a copygirl. She worked at The Australian for a decade, covering various rounds including politics and spending three years as New Zealand correspondent, from where she also covered the Pacific Islands, before working for two years as a senior writer and columnist at The New Zealand Herald. In 2008 she returned to Australia as senior writer and columnist at The Sunday Telegraph, before becoming deputy editor in 2012. She lives in Sydney.

Natalie Ahmat

Natalie Ahmat is a proud Mudburra and Maluyligal First Nations woman, who is passionate about telling Australian stories through an Indigenous lens. She currently presents NITV News and is a regular contributor on NITV’s current affairs program, The Point. Natalie has also fronted NITV’s live coverage of significant Indigenous events, including Garma from north-east Arnhem Land, the Uluru First Nations Constitutional Convention and the National NAIDOC Awards.

Michael Bachelard

Michael Bachelard is the Gold Walkley Award-winning deputy editor of The Age and editor of The Age investigations unit. He began his career in 1990 at The Canberra Times before moving to Melbourne in 1997. He has four Walkley awards and has written two books, The Great Land Grab and Behind the Exclusive Brethren.
Neil Breen

Neil Breen

Neil Breen is the host of 4BC Breakfast. He began his career at the Daily Sun in Brisbane in 1990 before holding positions ranging from sports editor of The Courier-Mail and The Australian to launch editor of Alpha magazine. In 2006 he was appointed editor of The Sunday Telegraph, a position he held for seven years. In 2013 he transitioned to broadcast journalism, holding several behind-the-scenes and on-air positions at the Nine Network including executive producer of the Today Show and Nine Sydney reporter, presenter and co-host of panel shows. In 2020 he succeeded Alan Jones as the host of 4BC Breakfast back in his hometown of Brisbane. Breen won the Walkley for best sports reporting in 2002. He has won multiple awards for journalism.
Jane Doyle

Jane Doyle

Jane Doyle is Adelaide’s most experienced and respected television newsreader, with 40 years’ experience as a print, radio and television journalist. Jane’s media career began with a newspaper cadetship in far north Queensland in 1980. In 1981 Jane moved with her husband Ian to SA where she worked for The Recorder newspaper in Port Pirie and ABC Radio station 5CK. Jane joined ABC Radio Adelaide in 1986 as chief morning newsreader, and in 1988 was appointed weeknight newsreader for ABC TV in SA. Jane left the ABC in 1989 to join Seven News and has continued in that role while undertaking a wide range of other broadcast duties for Seven Adelaide. From 2005 until 2012 Jane also worked as part of Adelaide’s number one breakfast radio team on 1395 5AA. In 2009 Jane was named Australia’s Best AM Newsreader at the Australian Commercial Radio Awards in Sydney.
Narelda Jacobs

Narelda Jacobs

Narelda Jacobs is a Whadjuk Noongar woman from Perth. She’s been a journalist at Network 10 since 2000, spending 19 years in the Perth newsroom before heading to Studio 10 in Sydney. After graduating from WAAPA, Narelda began her career at GWN as a reporter and a few months later commenced at Network 10. In 2008, Narelda became the presenter of 10 News First Perth. On her 20th year at the network, she moved to Sydney to join the panel of Studio 10. Narelda has co-hosted Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras for SBS and NITV’s January 26 Sunrise Ceremony. She’s been a regular on ABC Radio Sydney and MamaMia and has shared the stage with Prime Ministers, international leaders, humanitarian advocates and pop superstars. She’s passionate about promoting equality, diversity and inclusion and is the patron of Motor Neurone Disease Association WA and WA Aboriginal Leadership Institute. She’s on the board of Dame Changer and is an ambassador of The Pinnacle Foundation.

Deborah Knight

Deborah Knight is a well-respected reporter and host across TV and radio. She hosts Afternoons on Nine Radio stations 2GB, 4BC and 2CC and hosts Saturday A Current Affair for Nine TV. She's a former host and regular fill in on The Today Show, 9 News bulletins, a former U.S Correspondent and Political reporter for the 10 Network.

Stella Lauri

Stella Lauri is a member of the prestigious Walkley Judging Board and is the National News Director of Australia’s largest regional news service – WIN News.

The WIN Network is home to 17 news bureaus across Australia, more than 80 news staff and services a population of more than 8 million people.

Stella is responsible for 13 half hour news bulletins each weeknight, and more than 100 news updates a day.

Stella started her career as a reporter at WIN Television in the early 90s after graduating with a Masters in Journalism from the University of Wollongong and quickly rose to the position of Newsroom Chief of Staff at WIN Network headquarters in Wollongong.

After leading the flagship newsroom to record ratings, Stella moved to Channel 9 in Sydney as Assistant Chief of Staff, Producer and covered breaking national and international news as Reporter for many years.

While working at Channel 9, Stella also lectured at the University of Wollongong, passing her knowledge and skills to postgraduate students studying Broadcast Journalism both here and at UOW offshore campuses.

Stella is proud to have a long list of successful regional and metropolitan journalists she has mentored over her career spanning 27 years – and credits WIN Television for employing thousands of journalists and camera operators over a 50 year period.

Dean Lewins

Dean Lewins

Dean Lewins has worked as a photojournalist for the past 32 years. He joined the Australian Associated Press (AAP) in November 1999, in the lead up to the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Since then Dean has covered six Olympic Games, four Commonwealth Games, the Ashes, Football World Cup and the Rugby World Cup. His passion for sport is only equalled by his passion for news. Dean has covered bushfire and drought, unrest in East Timor and the Solomon Islands, and he had a brief stint with Australian troops in Iraq. Dean regards an assignment to Antarctica for the 100th anniversary of Mawson’s landing as a career highlight. Dean was named the Nikon Walkley Press Photographer of the Year in 2018.

Hamish Macdonald

Hamish Macdonald co-hosts The Project on Network Ten. He is also a regular presenter of Radio National Breakfast. He comes from Jindabyne in country NSW. He began his media career in regional radio and television before embarking on an international broadcasting career, first with UK's Channel 4 News, then Al-Jazeera English, before joining America’s ABC. He has won a Walkley Award for current affairs journalism and was named Young Journalist of the Year by Britain's Royal Television Society in 2008. In 2016 he was awarded a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University. He now sits on the Walkley Judging Board. Hamish has covered conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Ukraine, the nuclear disaster in Japan, uprisings in Hong Kong and Egypt, the London bombings and the rise of ISIS.

Mark Mallabone

Mark Mallabone is the deputy editor of The West Australian. In a career spanning more than 20 years at the newspaper, he has held a wide range of editorial executive positions including night editor, features editor and chief of staff. He has worked as a political reporter in Perth and Parliament House in Canberra. He is currently based in Perth.

Bhakthi Puvanenthiran

Bhakthi Puvanenthiran is editor of ABC Life. Previously, she was managing editor of Crikey, covering politics and the media as well as a journalist and editor at The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald reporting on arts, entertainment and business. Bhakthi co-hosted the podcast Hard Bargain (Fairfax Media). Her career began at the National Young Writers’ Festival and Melbourne Writers’ Festival and she has previously judged the Victorian Premier’s Prize for Literature (nonfiction) twice. Bhakthi is a regular media commentator.

Tory Shepherd

Tory Shepherd is a senior columnist at The Advertiser, and was previously the paper’s political editor. She is also the author of On Freedom. Tory appears on television shows including The Drum, The Project, and Sunrise, and is a regular on various ABC radio shows. She is a multiple award winner, and a Churchill Fellow.
Cameron Spencer

Cameron Stewart

Cameron Stewart is an associate editor of The Australian. He has recently returned to Australia from Washington where he covered the Donald Trump era from 2017 to early 2021. He was also posted to New York as The Australian’s correspondent in the late 1990s. Cameron combines investigative reporting on foreign affairs, defence and national security with feature writing for the Weekend Australian Magazine. He is a former winner of the Graham Perkin Award for Australian Journalist of the Year.