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Conflict of Interest Guidelines

The Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism

The Walkley conflict guidelines are based on the understanding that in all cases an actual conflict of interest in judging is to be avoided and that even a perceived conflict can be damaging to all parties. All judges—both first-round and judging board members—sign a conflict of interest declaration.

A conflict is considered to arise where a judge has a personal or professional relationship with a person, which may throw into question their ability to fairly and independently judge their entry. Being from the same news organisation does not necessarily make it a conflict of interests.

Prior to judging, all panels are sent a list of entrants to the categories they will judge which enables them to identify possible conflicts and alert the Walkley Foundation and other judges. The onus for declaring a conflict falls on individual judges.

If the conflict is considered significant, the judge will be replaced. Where the conflict is contained, the judge will refrain from participating in any discussion concerning the entrant.

At the board judging level, determining the winners, the following applies:

  • Judging Board members who have entered and become a finalist do not participate in any board judging for that year.
  • Judging Board members who are editors leave the room and do not participate in the judging of categories where there are nominees from their own news organisation.
  • Judging Board members who have a personal or professional relationship with the entrant leave the room and do participate in the judging of that category.

The Walkley Directors choose the winner of Outstanding Contribution to Journalism only and are not involved in judging any other category of the Walkley Awards or its Mid-Year program.

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