Walkley Grants for Freelance Journalism

On April 5 we announced the 11 journalism projects to be funded in our inaugural Grants round. The judging committee selected the winners from a field of 117 applicants on the basis that their stories would serve the public interest, would make an impact and would not otherwise be published.

The funded journalists are, in alphabetical order:

  • Carol Altmann
  • Jessica Cockerill
  • Michael Cruickshank
  • Nicole Curby
  • André Dao, Michael Green & Tia Kass
  • Erin Delahunty
  • Nina Funnell
  • Vivienne Pearson and Margaret Paton
  • Kylie Stevenson and Tamara Howie
  • Dale Webster
  • Brian Wilson

The initial pool of $50,000 from the Walkley Public Fund for Journalism was boosted by an additional $25,000 contribution from the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.

Read the full announcement here.


Sean Dorney Grant for Pacific Journalism

Congratulations to Ben Bohane, the inaugural winner of the Sean Dorney Grant for Pacific Journalism.

Bohane is an Australian photojournalist, author and TV producer who has covered Asia and the Pacific islands for the past 30 years. He is the founder and present director of Waka Photo Agency based in Vanuatu. Read more about the announcement here.

Veteran reporter Sean Dorney has given his name to a $10,000 journalism grant, to be awarded annually by the Walkley Foundation for the first time in 2019. The Sean Dorney Grant for Pacific Journalism will support a significant work of Australian journalism about an under-reported issue or development in the region. Read our post on the announcement here.

For more details, click here.

About the Walkley Grants for Freelance Journalism

The Walkley Grants for Freelance Journalism (currently closed) are open to Australian freelance journalists (as individuals or small groups) to request funding to support the production of public interest journalism, either a single story or a journalistic project.

Stories may be pitched on any topic, in any format (including investigations, news stories or features, but not essays or opinion) and on any media platform (including text, photojournalism, data journalism, podcast, video, illustration and multi-platform projects).

Grants from $2,500 to $10,000 will be awarded to cover reporting costs directly related to the project (which may include reporters’ time, travel, research and support). The judges are seeking stories that make an impact, and distribution is critical to that: applicants should be clear about who their intended audience is, what they will learn and how the story can reach them. Successful projects will be published by the end of 2019 in the Walkley Magazine online under a Creative Commons licence, in addition to co-publishing with any publications the applicant has organised.

It is free to apply. Applications closed at midnight on March 8, 2019. The projects selected for funding will be announced on April 5 at the Walkley Fund for Journalism Dinner.

Walkley Grants for Freelance Journalism: Criteria

 The judges are looking for original journalism with public interest value and impact. Stories that surprise, educate and make a difference. The kind of stories that inspire news editors and readers alike. These grants are for journalism that makes an impact—so think about the audience for your story and the best distribution channels to reach them.

The judges will look favourably on applicants who have considered their story’s audience and the distribution methods to reach them; eg applicants operating solo who can demonstrate interest from a publisher (Australian, any format) in considering the final project for publication, or freelancers who have scoped a collaborative investigation/project with an Australian publisher. The grants are for freelance reporters, not existing newsrooms.

The judges want freelance journalists from all sectors, backgrounds and experience levels to apply with pitches for reportage, features and news stories (not essays or opinion). The judges hope to see a broad range of applications and to award grants to diverse and emerging voices as well as experienced and well-known freelancers.

In assessing the applications, the judging panel will be guided by the values of the Walkley Awards criteria:

  • How the story was initiated and followed (with 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

How to apply

Apply using the online application form. It is free to apply. As well as your contact details, there are six fields with space for a maximum response of 100 words each, so be clear and to-the-point. You will also be asked to upload a one page CV, including a reference. You will need to provide details about your story/project idea, what costs would be covered by the grant (include a list or simple budget), who the audience is and what impact you think the project will have. Applications close at midnight on Friday March 8, 2019.

Key dates

The Walkley Public Fund for Journalism

These grants are funded by the Walkley Foundation’s Public Fund. The industry needs more from us, and to provide that kind of support, we need help to grow the Walkley Public Fund. The Fund is an opportunity for individuals and organisations to come together and show their support for journalism and the vital role that it plays in supporting democracy, with a tax-deductible donation.

You can find out more about the fund, what we support, and how to donate here.

Contact us

For questions on the grants program, please contact Lauren Dixon via email or call (02) 9158 3820.

Past grants programs

The Foundation offers  a variety of grants to support key areas:

  • Commissioning works by individual journalists to focus on under-reported topics that are in the public interest.  These may cover areas, such as journal of record functions (courts and local politics), particularly in rural and regional communities, health, environment, indigenous affairs and gender equity.
  • Grants for innovation in journalism
  • Freedom of Information requests

Walkley Journalism Explored essay series 

Walkley Grants for Innovation in Journalism

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Want to support great storytelling in the public interest through a grant? Get in touch with us.