Winner: Samantha Maiden,, “Young staffer Brittany Higgins says she was raped at Parliament House” “Parliament office ‘steam cleaned’ after alleged attack” and “Minister Michaelia Cash’s voicemail message to Brittany Higgins”.

“Samantha Maiden’s work fulfilled the extensive criteria for the Our Watch awards and showed enterprise, tenacity and compassion,” the judges said, “while displaying her customary mastery of reporting on the political process. This led to a number of reviews at Parliament House which have the potential to improve safety for women in politics.”

Samantha Maiden is the political editor for She won a Walkley Award for her coverage of federal politics and Scott Morrison’s secret bushfire holiday to Hawaii in 2020. A press gallery veteran, she has covered federal politics for more than 20 years, including for The Australian and NewsCorp’s Sunday papers. But her career began in South Australia, where she edited Adelaide University’s student newspaper On Dit in 1992 and covered state politics. She is a regular guest on the ABC’s Insiders and The Project. Her first book, Party Animals was published in 2020. Her career highlights also include being called a ‘mad witch’ by Peter Dutton.

On average, one woman each week in Australia is killed by a current or former partner. Research demonstrates that attitudes toward gender equality, and toward violence against women, play a major role in influencing rates of gendered violence.

There is a clear link between media reporting and community attitudes towards violence against women. Journalists play a vital role in shaping the public conversation and raising awareness of the true extent of this problem.

The Our Watch Award for excellence in reporting on violence against women and children exists to reward journalists for playing a part in changing these attitudes and stopping the violence before it starts.

The Walkley Foundation administers this award on behalf of Our Watch.

Judging criteria

The Our Watch Award for excellence in reporting on violence against women and children recognises the work of an individual, team or news organisation in highlighting the drivers of gendered violence and the way these intersect with other forms of discrimination and abuse faced by victims.

Eligible formats include rolling coverage or a series of news reports or features, or one longform piece. Entries can be examples of journalism of any medium (text, radio or visual) and published on any platform (print, broadcast, online and through social media).

Entries must demonstrate how the reporting was realised and how intersecting forms of discrimination were considered and represented in it and provide evidence of its impact.

Entries may be a single piece of work, or may consist of up to three pieces of work to represent a body of work.

Judging will take into account deadlines, resourcing and other pressures faced by the entrant/s, as well as ongoing reactions to the work, or social or legislative outcomes arising from it.

Judges will evaluate submissions according to the following criteria:

  • Representation of the drivers of gendered violence
  • Representation of intersecting forms of discrimination
  • Research, writing and production values, including ensuring expert opinions on gendered violence are heard
  • Strict adherence to ethical standards and guidelines on the treatment of victims sharing their stories
  • Inclusion of information for readers experiencing violence or abuse – such as 1800RESPECT
  • Innovation, enterprise or courage
  • Impact and public benefit
  • Time constraints and resources available

Judges also take into consideration isolation or exposure to outside forces, as well as the real or potential dangers in presenting a story.

Conditions of entry

Entries must have been published, broadcast or televised in Australia from April 27, 2020 to April 26, 2021. Entry into the Our Watch Award is based on independent acts of journalism, free from any commercial or corporate interests.

All entrants must certify that the entry is their original work. Apart from standard sub-editorial/production treatment, submissions must adhere to the MEAA Code of Ethics in their preparation; undertake to abide by this Code of Ethics; and have complied with all copyright requirements.

Read Full Terms and Conditions here.

For queries about the award please contact:

Marcus Raue: M: 0437 762 715|E:

Lauren Dixon: M: 0413 212 890|E:

Entry fee

Entry is free for members of MEAA. The cost of entering the award for non-members is $50 including GST. For inquiries about MEAA membership, please contact or call 1300 656 513.

History of this award

Our Watch has been recognising and rewarding excellence in reporting on violence against women and children since 2013, initially through the Our Watch Awards – administered by the Walkley Foundation – and from 2019 onwards through the Our Watch Award at the Walkley Mid-Year Celebration.

The objective of Our Watch’s ongoing work with the Walkley Foundation is to improve the quality of reporting on violence against women and their children by building awareness of gender inequality as a key driver of this violence.

More information on the Our Watch Awards, including previous finalists and winners, can be found here.

Australia’s first awards recognising reporting on gendered violence were established by Domestic Violence Victoria. It is only thanks to the devoted and prolonged efforts of DV Vic and others in the sector that a place for this award exists today.

2020 Winner

The winner of the 2020 Our Watch Award was Nina Funnell for the “Let Her Speak” series of articles, published in Mercury and NT News.

2019 Winner

The winners of the 2019 Our Watch Award were Sarah Dingle and the Background Briefing Team, Radio National, ABC for “Australia On Trial: Carers who killSlavery in the suburbsMurder on Trial

Contact Our Watch

Laurelle Keough
Our Watch Manager, Media and Communications
P: 03 8692 9537/ 0425 701 801

Past Our Watch Award winners