Walkley Grants for Freelance Journalism

Why is the Walkley Foundation giving out grants for reporting?

The Walkley Foundation benchmarks the best in Australian journalism and also supports the industry through training, mentoring, scholarships, fellowships and a public program that encourages all Australians to value quality journalism. Providing grants to fund the production of original journalism in the public interest not only supports Australian journalists, but Australian news organisations as well.  

How are these grants funded?

The grants are allocated from the Walkley Public Fund for Journalism. Since establishing DGR status, the Walkley Foundation has been building the fund with money raised through donors, bequests and foundations. You can find out more about the Walkley Public Fund here.

Who can apply?

Australian freelance journalists. Applicants can enter as individuals or groups of up to three members (all freelance journalists).

Who judges the grant applications?

A steering committee of six senior Australian journalists from a range of media organisations are guiding the process for the inaugural grant round. Depending on the volume of applications received, they may appoint extra judges to assist. All the judges will be announced when the successful projects are announced.

What are the judges looking for?

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, and that newsrooms may not have the resources to support. 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 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 reward underheard, diverse and emerging voices as well as experienced and well-known freelancers as grant recipients.

What is public interest journalism?

Public interest journalism is journalism informs citizens as part of our democratic system. It is journalism that aims to make a difference, with tangible public benefit to the community. It could include: Good civic journalism which gives a voice to the voiceless in our community; Journalism which starts a public debate on an important issue; Journalism which exposes incompetence or wrongdoing by those who should be working for the common good, especially in government or any institutions affecting the public; Journalism which points to solutions to important issues within the community or society which it serves.

How do I apply?

APPLICATIONS ARE CURRENTLY CLOSED. Apply using the online application form. It is free to apply. As well as your contact details, there are six fields 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, and a budget. You will need to provide details about your story/project idea, what costs would be covered by the grant (upload your budget as a simple list/table/spreadsheet), who the audience is and what impact you think the project will have. Applications close at midnight on March 8.

What kind of work can I pitch?

You can pitch a story or project on any topic, for any medium (or multimedia), so long as it is in the public interest.

Can I apply with an idea that is already in production?

As long as it hasn’t been published elsewhere and is still a freelance project, yes. For example, a project that you ran out of resources for and couldn’t finish. But a project that is completed and awaiting publication/broadcast would not be eligible.

How long a story should I pitch?

It’s up to you; be realistic about what your story needs and what you are capable of, and budget accordingly. It may be a single piece, a series of articles, a podcast series, a multimedia project… Tell us what you think is best. It is possible that if your finished piece is co-published, a publisher may choose to run a shorter edit of the piece while the Walkley Foundation runs a longer version. That’s up to each publisher’s discretion.

Why do I need to provide a budget?

Seeing an outline of the costs you anticipate helps the judges decide how much funding to allocate, and also gives them insight into how you plan to approach your reporting. A simple dot-point list of costs, each with a dollar value, will suffice.

Do I have to show my own contribution?

You don’t have to, but you may like to.

Can I seek additional funding from other sources?

Yes. Please mention any additional funding when you outline your budget in your application.

Can I apply more than once?

No, applicants can only apply once.

Can I enter with a partner/group?

Yes, groups of up to three people can apply but all group members must be freelance journalists.

I work for a newsroom—can I apply?


Can I be employed full time but doing freelance work on the side and this my project?


What if I become employed after I apply?

We understand that things can change. Please let us know if your circumstances change.

When does it need to be published?

Projects should be completed and published by December 31, 2019. Projects that may take longer will be approached on a case by case basis.

When will I know if my application has been successful?

Successful projects will be announced at the Walkley Fund for Journalism Dinner on the evening of April 5, 2019. All applicants will be contacted.

My newsroom has an idea—can we apply?

The grants are not open to media organisations or journalists employed full-time. If your newsroom wanted to work on a collaborative project with a freelancer, the freelancer would need to apply for the grant and the grant would be paid to them only.

Can my publication pair up with a project or republish the funded stories?

If you’d like to express interest in this, please email walkleys@walkleys.com.

How can I support the grants/fund?

You may like to consider making a donation of any size to the Walkley Public Fund. You can find out more about the fund and donate here.

Can I talk to someone about this?

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