The Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism
Your entry statement is your chance to communicate directly with the Walkley Award judges. Use those 400 words wisely! Read on for our tips on crafting an effective supporting statement.
You’ve got 400 words – use them wisely!
Your entry statement is your chance to communicate directly with the Walkley Award judges. It’s also something we draw on when we’re describing your (hopefully) Walkley-winning story on the big night. Stick to the word limit and leave yourself time to proofread. This is another reason not to leave your entry until the last minute!
Do your homework – and make it easy for the judges
Judging Walkley entries is hard work! Our volunteer judges look at dozens of entries and often have to compare work across different platforms. Help make their job easier – and your entry stand out – by clearly addressing the criteria.
The judges will be evaluating your entry based on the general Walkley judging criteria:
- How the story was initiated and followed (with particular credit given for instigating or finding a story)
- Newsworthiness, including exclusivity
- Creativity and innovation
- Research and investigation
- Balance, accuracy and ethics
- Consideration of the resources available
- Consideration of production pressures, 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
We recommend referring back to the category descriptions when you’re working on your entry statement, and letting the judges know how your entry fits the criteria.
What should I include in my entry statement?
This is where you share the context, behind-the-scenes work and the impact of your story with the judges. If you’re entering with a group or team, this is where you can explain the role different people played. If you had to work with limited resources, explain how you made the most with what you had. It depends on your story and the criteria, but you might like to highlight how you found the story, the breadth of research or sources, and how you worked within production and/or deadline constraints.
If there is anything the judges might question – for example, any ethical or editorial issues – don’t leave them wondering. Address it in your entry statement.
Your entry statement is held to the same journalistic standards as the work you are submitting and any element of it could be fact-checked. Keep it factual, avoid misleading embellishments, and always opt for full transparency.
How can I show impact?
Of course we love to see journalism that leads to changes to laws and policies, but impact can take many forms. Can you point to other ways your story made a difference – was it shared widely in a community it served? Do you have amazing stats on how many people read/listened to/watched the story? Did you receive feedback from your sources or audience about what your story changed for them?
Have your bio and headshot ready
If you’ve been entering the Walkley Awards for a while, in 2023 you might notice some small changes to the entry form. For each entry you’ll be asked to submit a bio (up to 50 words) and a photograph.
So make sure you’re ready with a 50 word bio written in the third person. Joint, group and team entries must write one bio reflecting all members. This bio will be used online, at the Walkley Awards live event, and in printed collateral if you become a finalist and/or winner.
Some bio tips: Include your full name, names or team name; your position or specialty; and your employer. You may like to include particular stories or projects you are proud of. You may wish to include you where you are based if it is relevant to your work.
- Individual entrants: Provide one headshot. Name the file with your first and last name.
- Joint entries with up to four people: Provide one headshot per member with each file clearly named; or one team shot.
- Team entries with five or more people: Provide one team photo or a logo or image that represents your team. Name the file with your team name.
- Include headspace and your shoulders in the image
- Make sure the photo is well lit so your face is visible
- You don’t need a professional headshot – you can take a photo with a smartphone
- Submit an appropriate image (e.g. avoid party pics and don’t include images with children for their safety)
- Don’t overthink it. You look great!
You’ll also need to complete some declarations about the ethics of your entry (including any use of AI) and any legal challenges or corrections. If you need to declare anything about your entry, you’ll need to include that in the supporting statement.