Established by the Walkley Foundation, the Sean Dorney Grant for Pacific Journalism aims to encourage more and better journalism about the Pacific islands region by Australian media professionals and outlets.
A grant of $10,000 will be awarded annually to assist an Australian journalist to produce a significant work of journalism in any medium. The work will give voice to Pacific island perspectives on an under-reported issue or development of importance to Australia and the region.
The judges are looking for original journalism with public interest value and impact. Stories that surprise, educate and make a difference.
Quick links: Terms & Conditions | Frequently Asked Questions | Judging Criteria
With thanks to the following organisations and individuals:
Who can apply?
- Journalists from all sectors, backgrounds and experience levels, including freelancers and those employed by media organisations. Please note the terms and conditions before applying.
- Academics, public intellectuals and former journalists working in Pacific-related fields. These applicants must have a strong track record in the media as an independent voice or writer.
- Group applications may include up to three names, with one person nominated as the primary contact.
Applicants must be an Australian resident or citizen but may live outside Australia, preferably in the Pacific.
How to apply
Apply using the online application form. It is free to apply. Applications close at midnight on Sunday April 26, 2020. Applicants should:
- Give a brief outline of their project
- Show they have a realistic understanding of the budget for their project and provide details with their application
- Show they have in principle support of a high-impact, mainstream platform to publish the work they produce as a result of this grant
- Submit up to three examples of their work to support their application
March 2, 2020: Applications open
April 26, 2020: Applications close at midnight AEST
June 17, 2020: Grant recipient will be announced at the Mid-Year Celebration of Journalism
Why a grant for Pacific journalism?
This grant aims to provide:
- an incentive for more and better reporting of Pacific issues by the Australian media in all formats.
- increased opportunities for Australian journalists who cover the Pacific to develop their practice further.
- support for Australian journalists and media outlets who want to embark on Pacific journalism for the first time.
- greater exposure and publicity for journalism that brings the stories of the Pacific island region to Australian audiences.
Who is Sean Dorney?
Sean Dorney is an undisputed icon of Pacific reporting within the Australian media. In 2018 his illustrious 40-year career as a journalist in Papua New Guinea and throughout the Pacific islands region was recognised with the Walkley Award for Outstanding Contribution to Journalism. Sean’s passion for the region, and for the work of the Australian media in telling Pacific stories to Australian audiences, is legendary and unquenchable. Sean is living with Motor Neurone Disease and this grant is one way in which his impact and legacy can be carried forward by and for the industry he loves.
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.
Congratulations to Ben Bohane, winner of the 2019 Sean Dorney Grant for Pacific Journalism
Ben Bohane with Sean Dorney in Brisbane in November 2019. Photo: Dan McGarry.
Australian photojournalist, author and TV producer Ben Bohane was announced as the winner of the inaugural Sean Dorney Grant for Pacific Journalism at the 2019 Walkley Mid-Year Celebration. Read more about the announcement here.
With the support of this grant Ben was able to produce a number of stories covering Bougainville’s referendum for independence for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. Follow the links below to read the stories featured throughout November and December in these publications.
- From the ocean to the east, it looks like Australia’s Pacific policy is all at sea: The Sydney Morning Herald, December 20, 2019
- Bougainville: the journey to the 2019 independence vote in pictures: The Sydney Morning Herald, December 15, 2019
- Bougainville votes overwhelmingly for independence from PNG: The Sydney Morning Herald, December 11, 2019
- From ‘treasure island’ to world’s newest nation? What is happening in Bougainville?: The Sydney Morning Herald, November 29, 2019
- Australian love story at the heart of Bougainville’s push for independence: The Sydney Morning Herald, November 23, 2019
- ‘Where is Australia?’ China makes a bold play for the south Pacific’s ‘Treasure Islands’: The Sydney Morning Herald, November 17, 2019
- Can Bougainville rebuild on the broken corporate dreams of the colonial age?: The Sydney Morning Herald, November 16, 2019
- This derelict mine caused a bloody war. Now Aussie companies are fighting over it again: The Sydney Morning Herald, November 15, 2019
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