The Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism
Entries open July 1, 2021.
All entries must have been published, broadcast or televised in Australia in the 12 months from September 1, 2020 to August 31, 2021. Eligibility for the Walkley Awards is based on independent acts of journalism, free from any commercial or corporate interests.
All entrants must certify that their entry, apart from normal sub editorial/production treatment, is their original work and that they have adhered to the MEAA Code of Ethics in the work preparation, undertake to continue to abide by the Code of Ethics and have complied with all copyright requirements. All entries must be factually based.
- All entrants must be Australian citizens working for either local or international news outlets whose work is available to an Australian audience or journalists residing in Australia working for an Australian media outlet on a work visa or permanent residents.
- Entry is open to Australian journalists who have self-published, including blogs and social media.
- Self-published entrants should provide relevant URL links and where possible, verification of the work’s authenticity. If the entrant is verifying their own work they must make this clear in their supporting statement.
- All entries must declare any legal complaints, defamation actions, contempt of court actions, suppression orders, challenges to the accuracy, corrections or claims of plagiarism, relevant to the work at the time of entry.
- Entrants must declare if the creation of the work involved payment for information or an interview.
- Each entry must include a 400 word supporting statement. See our FAQs for tips on what to include in your statement.
- Entrants are allowed to submit the same entry into any two categories either as an individual, as a group or team entry. Entrants must complete a new and separate submission for each award category. The exception is with All Media: Production where the production team can enter even if the story has appeared in another two categories.
- Each entrant may enter only once in each category. The exception is with joint or team entries. In this instance, you may submit up to two entries per category. That is: one single entry and one joint or team entry, or two joint or team entries.
- Joint or group entries may include up to four names, with one person nominated as the primary contact.
- Team entries may include any number of people with the name of the team clearly stated. One person will be the primary contact for this entry, but all names, positions and membership details should be submitted on a separate piece of paper attached to the numbered entry form when submitted with the entry. The exception is for entries to the “coverage of a news event or issue” category where entries can be made by a news organisation.
- Joint, group or team entries must include substantial collaboration before publication on the same piece of work. This should be clearly outlined in the supporting statement.
- The winner in each category, except recipients of the ‘Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism’ awards, the Book Award and the Walkley Documentary Award will be a contender for the Gold Walkley.
- Journalists entering more than one category must complete a separate entry form for each category.
- Only journalists employed by community and regional media, or in regional bureaus of organisations, are eligible to enter the ‘Coverage of community/regional affairs’ category. Regional media shall be taken to include outside of Australian capital cities and the ACT, but does include Darwin.
- The entrant acknowledges that the Walkley Foundation may reproduce, broadcast and communicate materials submitted for the purpose of promoting the Awards, conducting the presentation ceremony and making the finalist and winners entries available to the public, including within the Walkley Digital Archive* and agrees and warrants that the Foundation may use the material for these purposes. Please note this include authorisation for any underlying works that may appear within the entry (such as but not excluded to: images, music, text, film, recordings etc.)*The Walkley Digital Archive is an online platform which showcases winning entries from across the Walkley Awards since 1956. This project is in development but a pilot can be viewed here.
Cost of entry
- The cost of entering the awards, including GST, is $150 per entry. Through its support of the Walkley Awards, MEAA covers the entry costs for its financial members as a benefit of membership. Financial members are not required to pay the entry fee except where a non-member is part of a group entry, in which case the normal entry fee ($150 per entry) is required.
- To qualify for the Walkley Entry fee waiver, MEAA members must retain financial MEAA membership for a minimum period of 6 months after joining i.e if you join so you can enter the awards you must remain a member until at least February 2022.
- The cost of entering the Walkley Book Award is $260 per entry for non MEAA members.
- If you have lost your MEAA membership number or would like to speak to someone about joining please phone 1300 65 65 13.
Photographers only need to pay a single $150 entry fee to enter multiple photographic categories or prizes — but see the details in the conditions for photographers section.
- Judges have the right to reject an entry which in their opinion does not comply with the requirements of the competition. The judges’ decision will be final. The Walkley Judging Board reserves the right to withdraw a Walkley Award if it later finds the entrant did not comply with the entry conditions.
- To facilitate easy access for judging, entrants should place URLs outside any paywall. If that proves infeasible, the entry should provide a username and password for judges, plainly indicated in the supporting statement.
Outstanding Contribution to Journalism
- Outstanding Contribution to Journalism: Each year, the Walkley Directors recognise the achievements of a person or group that has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the highest standards of journalism – truth, rigour, integrity, fairness – over a lifetime. Nominations can be made through the online entry form. Enter or nominate someone for this award HERE
The Walkley photographic awards recognise visual journalists producing still photography for any platform. Criteria include storytelling, courage, public impact, creativity, innovative use of technology, technical ability and resourcefulness and can include soundslides and photofilm. Photographers should reference the category descriptions for each category when preparing their entry.
Photographers are also invited to enter their work in relevant All Media categories in the Walkley Awards. Photographers are eligible to enter photographic work in All Media categories such as Camerawork as an individual entrant or as part of a group or team entry.
A photographer may only enter once in each photography category.
Only photos taken between Sept 1, 2020 to Aug 31, 2021 are eligible for entry (the exception is if the photo was shot for purpose with the publication date already confirmed). Each entry must contain at least one published picture.
The cost of entering the Walkley photographic categories, including GST, is $150. For photographers only one fee is payable, regardless of the number of categories entered. Through its support of the Walkley Awards, MEAA covers the entry cost for its financial members as a benefit of membership. Entry to Walkley All Media categories will require an entry fee per category for non-members of $150.
Please see the category descriptions for further information. Below are the number of images you can submit per category:
- News Photography up to 5 related images
- Sport photography up to 5 images. These do not need to be related and can represent a body of work.
- Feature/Photographic Essay can comprise 5 to 12 images in a series with at least one published image.
- Nikon-Walkley Press Photographer may enter 6 – 10 images representing a body of work with at least one published image.
- Nikon-Walkley Photo of the Year is a single image only. This is not an entered category but is chosen from all work entered by photographers in the Nikon-Walkley photographic categories.
- Nikon Portrait Prize is a single image only.
Entry process and requirements for photographers:
- Photographers must submit an entry statement with each category entered.
Material specifications for photographers
- Images must meet the following specifications:
• Images must be uploaded in .jpg/.jpeg format
• Images should be at least 3,000 pixels in length.
• Each image should be saved in the .jpg/.jpeg format with a medium to high quality.
• An embedded ICC profile is required. Adobe RGB or sRGB is recommended for colour images, Gamma 2.2 for black and white. No CMYK.
- All required image information, such as the creation date, place and country as well as the caption/description, must be provided. It can be included in the metadata of the image files or entered on the entry website after uploading the images.
- The content of an image MUST NOT be altered. Only retouching that conforms to currently accepted standards in the industry is allowed. No cloning, montaging or digital manipulation other than cropping, ‘digital spotting’, burning and dodging is permitted. The jury is the ultimate arbiter of these standards
- Entrants must not intentionally contribute to, or alter, the scene they picture by re-enacting or staging events.
- Entrants must ensure captions are accurate and provide a supporting statement that is open and transparent about the entire process through which their pictures were taken and published.
- Participants who are longlisted by the first round judges may be contacted and required to provide file/s as recorded by the camera for all images in order to proceed to the final stages of the contest. These file/s will be requested and examined confidentially during the judging period. A failure to provide these files if requested will lead to the elimination of the entry that will not proceed into the final rounds and will not become eligible for a Walkley Award.
Entrants may not enter the same photograph in more than one photographic category except:
- Nikon Portrait Prize. Entrants in this category are eligible to submit their photo again in another appropriate Photography Award category.
- In the Nikon-Walkley Press Photographer of the Year Award where the body of the year’s work may include shots included in other entries.
Walkley Documentary Award
Eligibility: Any non-fiction film made for cinema, broadcast or web release with a running time of at least 40 minutes and a maximum time of three hours, not including entirely or scripted or improvised fictionalisations of actual events. If the documentary is part of a series that exceeds the three-hour limit entrants must choose the three hours of content they wish to be judged on i.e the first three episodes.
Entries that have appeared within regularly scheduled television current affairs programs must be documentary in nature and execution.
Number of entrants: The named entrant(s) should be the individual(s) most involved in the key journalistic and creative aspects of the filmmaking process. A maximum of three persons may be designated as entrants, at least one of whom must be the credited director who exercised directorial control.
Walkley Book Award
The Walkley Book Award specifically recognises journalism in book form, and is open to all examples of journalistic nonfiction works. Please forward six full versions of the published work, complete with 200-word synopsis and 200-word entry statement (six copies each). Titles can be an edited collection of up to five people, can be on Australian or international subject matter, and can be historical in context. Entries may be a joint collaboration. All titles must be submitted by the writer and authorised by the publisher. Authors must be Australian citizens or permanent residents of Australia. Books will not be eligible if a significant portion has been previously published in book form.
Presentation of the awards
- 66th Walkley Awards Gala Dinner: Friday, November 19, 2021
- Business finalists announced: Friday, October 8
- Finalists in all categories announced: Thursday, October 14
- Book Award shortlist announced: Thursday, Nov 4
The purpose of the Walkley Awards is to recognise creative and courageous acts of journalism that seek out the truth and give new insight to an issue.
The judges will consider the following criteria as well as those in the description for the category they are judging:
- How the story was initiated and followed (with particular credit given for instigating or finding a story)
- Newsworthiness, including exclusivity
- Consideration of the resources available
- Creativity and innovation
- Research and investigation
- Balance, accuracy, and ethics
- Consideration of production pressures or deadlines and time constraints
- Demonstration of best use of the format/s in which the work was published or broadcast, including clever choices in storytelling through multimedia
- Excellence in written or verbal communication and/or technical and production skill
- Public impact or benefit, including audience engagement and serving specific communities
The awards seek to recognise excellence, independence, innovation and originality in storytelling and distinctive reporting. This can be through research and investigations, well-crafted and innovative presentations, news breaking single stories or engaging, entertaining and/or informative reporting.
Judges will consider the resources and time available in creating the work, the pressure and demand of reporting deadlines, and the location of the journalist, taking into consideration potential isolation or exposure to outside forces, danger or pressure in presenting a story. Read the category descriptions here
All entries are initially judged by a three-person jury, except in the case of the photographic awards, which will have a five-person jury. The jury will recommend the best three entrants to the Walkley Judging Board. That board will then select the winner in each category including the winner of the Nikon-Walkley Press Photographer of the Year and the Gold Walkley. The Walkley Directors select the Outstanding Contribution to Journalism winner.
How to enter the awards
All entries but be submitted through the online entry form CLICK HERE. There are no hard copy entry forms. Entries must be completed online. NOTE: it is the responsibility of the entrant that any links provided to online works or broadcasts be available for at least six months after entries close.
We are happy to report that you no longer need to send us hard copies of your work unless you are entering the Walkley Book Award.
If you have any questions or need help please contact
Lauren Dixon email@example.com / 0413 212 890