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Shining a Light on the Truth: Walkley Foundation brings masterclasses and public talks about journalism to the State Library of WA

Press freedom, democracy, the people’s right to know, public interest versus national interest… What does it mean to be a journalist in 2019? In our shifting media landscape these are the questions journalists, the government and media consumers are asking.

To discuss these issues, the Walkley Foundation for Journalism will host a day of public talks in Perth on Saturday, November 2, hosted by presenting partner the State Library of WA, and with support from major event partner Edith Cowan University, and event partner Curtin University.

Walkley Foundation chief executive Louisa Graham said these discussions come at a critical time for journalism in Australia.

“We’re in a period of unprecedented scrutiny on journalists. This year we’ve seen Australian journalists raided by police in their homes and workplaces, and a greater spotlight on whistleblowers,” Ms Graham said.

“We wanted to provide a forum for Australians to hear from great journalists about how they work and why that work is so important to our democracy, and we’re delighted to bring these discussions to Perth.”

Three panel sessions will feature a number of award-winning journalists speaking about their experiences and the issues facing the media in today’s news world. The Walkley Foundation will also present masterclasses, on FOI for Journalists and Book length journalism, at the State Library of WA on November 1. There will also be a free digital journalism workshop at the State Library of WA on Thursday October 31 as part of the Google News Initiative training program.

Thursday October 31

12.00noon-2.00pm: Google News Initiative training workshop

A free digital journalism training workshop with John Bergin. If you’re working or studying in the Perth area — or even if you’re not, and you can get there — please join us for a lunchtime session covering the latest tools, tips, tricks and insights. If possible, please bring your laptop in order to participate in some hands-on exercises. Book here.

Friday November 1

Learn from award-winning journalists in intimate masterclasses. Only $35 (and MEAA members receive a 40% discount with the code MEAA2019).

10.00am-12.00noon: Walkley Masterclass: FOI for Journalists

Learn how to use Freedom Of Information requests to underpin your journalism with award-winning journalist and Seven News FOI editor Alison Sandy. Alison will talk through what kind of information is available and all the tricks and traps for getting hold of it. Book here.

2.00pm-4.00pm: Walkley Masterclass: Book Length Journalism

If you’ve been thinking about expanding your reporting or writing into a book-length work of non-fiction, this is the masterclass for you. Walkley Book Award-winning journalist and author Helen Pitt (The House) will take you through the process from planning and research to writing, editing and publication. Book here.

Saturday, November 2

Attend an individual session for $25 or take in all three with a day pass for $65. MEAA Members save 40% on all tickets with the promo code MEAA2019. Book tickets here.

10am—11.30am: Politics and the press

When it comes to our democracy, journalism has a vital role to play in interpreting policy and “keeping the bastards honest”. Hear from editors and political journalists about how they report on the corridors of power, from local councils to state governments and the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery. With:

  • Lenore Taylor, editor, Guardian Australia
  • Lanai Scarr, federal political editor, The West Australian
  • Nathan Hondros, political reporter, WA Today
  • Moderator: Gary Adshead, state political editor, Nine News

12.00pm—1.30pm: Press freedom & investigative journalism

This year in Australia we’ve seen unprecedented attacks on journalists: from raids and digital surveillance to court suppression orders and pressure to reveal sources. Hear from an all-star panel of award-winning journalists about how important sources and whistleblowers are to investigative journalism; why this kind of reporting is critical to our democracy; and the risks journalism faces in the current climate. With: 

  • Hedley Thomas, The Australian, 2018 Gold Walkley-winner for The Teacher’s Pet 
  • Oliver Gordon, ABC Alice Springs & 2019 Walkley Young Australian Journalist of the Year
  • Alison Sandy, Freedom of Information Editor, Seven News
  • Moderator: Dr Joseph Fernandez, Associate Professor, Curtin University

2.00pm—3.00pm: The Yarn Spinners

Journalism helps shine a light on injustice and changes our world for the better, but it can also be really entertaining. Hear from some of Australia’s great storytellers and yarn-spinners about the narrative techniques they use to make sure their message resonates with readers, listeners and viewers. From research to sparkling prose, you won’t want to miss this discussion about how to make great stories. With:

  • Kirsti Melville, documentary producer with ABC RN’s Earshot and The History Listen
  • Helen Pitt, Sydney Morning Herald journalist & 2018 Walkley Book Award-winner for The House
  • Michelle White, journalist, filmmaker & Community Arts Network
  • Moderator: Lenore Taylor, editor, Guardian Australia

Event details

Date: Saturday, November 2, 2019

Venue: State Library of Western Australia, Theatre

Perth Cultural Centre, 25 Francis Street, Perth


  • Day Pass—$65: This is your ticket to see all three sessions on Saturday, November 2. Individual Sessions—$25: Choose one of our three fabulous sessions on Saturday, November 2.
  • MEAA Members save 40% on all tickets. Enter the promotional code MEAA2019 to get a 40% discount on day and session passes. Have your member number ready when you buy your ticket.
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