Supporting Statement tips

The Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism

Your supporting 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 supporting 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 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

But they’ll also take into account the specific criteria mentioned in the description of the category you’re entering. So refer back to the category descriptions when you’re working on your supporting statement, and let the judges know how your entry fits the criteria.

What should I include in my supporting statement?

This is where you share the context, behind-the-scenes work and the impact of your story to wow the judges with why your story stands out. 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.

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?