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2020 Walkley Grants for Freelance Journalism: Criteria

The judges are looking for original journalism with public interest value and impact on the theme “Reporting Regional Australia”. They are looking for applications that show you have a clear plan for how to tell the story, and a clear understanding of the costs. All applications must have a commitment from a publisher or broadcaster to get the story to an Australian audience.

They’re looking for stories that haven’t been published or pitched before. 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.

Applicants must demonstrate a commitment from a publisher or broadcaster to publish the work they will produce as a result of this grant. The grants are for freelance reporters.

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.


  • Focus on an under-reported issue or development that relates to the theme “Reporting Regional Australia”
  • Originality (a story that hasn’t been published or pitched before) and timeliness
  • Potential impact and newsworthiness
  • A clear plan for sources, research and contingencies to complete the project within nine months of the grant announcement
  • In-principle support of a publisher or broadcaster to publish the work you will produce as a result of this grant. 
  • Proof that the applicant is able to produce high quality journalism (including research, investigation, accuracy, ethics and delivery by deadline)
  • A clear budget in the provided template. Costs appropriate to be covered under this grant include reporter’s time/salary, research costs, essential travel, insurance.
  • Excellence in written or verbal communication and/or technical/production skill


  • Innovation and creativity in storytelling including through best use of formats for the project including multimedia

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
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