Simon Crerar

Co-founder, *PS Media

Simon Crerar is co-founder of *PS Media, a local news startup. He spent the first 10 years of his journalism career on Fleet Street, working for The Times and The Sunday Times. In Australia he has reported for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian and Far North Queensland’s Cairns Post. A former member of the Walkley judging board, Crerar was most recently founding editor and then GM of BuzzFeed Australia. In 2020 he worked with five regional publishers on a digital audience, engagement and revenue growth project funded by Google News Initiative. He is a member of the Judith Neilson Institute's hyperlocal advisory group.
Rhanna Collins

Rhanna Collins

Head of Indigenous News and Current Affairs, NITV & SBS

Rhanna Collins is a proud Palawa woman and the Head of Indigenous News and Current Affairs at NITV & SBS, working across the slate of digital and on-air platforms. She is an experienced cross-platform producer and journalist with a strong editorial, project management and strategic news background. She has worked as a journalist, producer and editor in a number of Australian media companies and broadcasters over the past decade including Foxtel, The Weather Channel, Sky News and SBS.

Anna Draffin

CEO, Public Interest Journalism Initiative

Anna Draffin is the Chief Executive Officer of the Public Interest Journalism Initiative, an independent think tank researching a future for public interest journalism in Australia. She has held senior executive and board roles across government, business and philanthropy, and brings into news media her leadership experience in developing and implementing social impact and business strategy for complex civic issues. She is also a Professional Associate in the Faculty of Arts and Design, University of Canberra.
Tony Gillies

Tony Gillies

Co-founder, NewsFarm

Since leaving his 16-year post as Editor-in-Chief of Australian Associated Press (AAP) in August 2020, Tony Gillies has been working on a number of projects to support the media industry. Two of these have been for regional journalism. NewsFarm offers management, editorial, commercial and technology assistance to media start-ups and independent news outlets. The other project will deliver impartial public interest news content to all media on all platforms. Serving on industry organisations in Australia and overseas during a 40-year career has given Gillies access to the business logic, creative thinking and strategic solutions found in newsrooms of all types and sizes. At the upcoming Walkley Regional Journalism Summit, Gillies will combine these insights with his passion for regional journalism, which stems from his time as an editor, manager, trainer and group executive with Rural Press Ltd.
Annabelle Hickson

Annabelle Hickson

Editor-in-Chief, Galah

Galah Editor-in-Chief Annabelle Hickson didn’t plan to live in regional Australia, but she fell in love with a handsome farmer from western NSW so she thought she’d give it a shot. She knew there’d be some sacrifices – her journalism career at The Australian, the beach, and takeaway food that is still hot by the time you get home – but she had no idea how many opportunities there’d be in this new life too.
While her husband Ed planted pecan trees, Annabelle looked after their three young children, wrote a monthly column at Country Style Magazine and published a book, A Tree in the House (Hardie Grant), that has been translated into three languages and sold all over the world. She began to learn what it was to be part of a community, all in it together. Everywhere she looked she saw smart, clever, resilient people who talked about opportunities instead of limitations. This was in stark contrast to the “simple country people” stereotypes she had bought into in the city.
Twelve years after moving west, as the terrible drought of 2019-2020 eased, Hickson was craving to read stories that weren’t about disadvantage. Lack of water, lack of jobs and lack in general were all real, but they were not the only narrative from regional Australia. She wanted stories that reflected her own sense of luck at being able to live out of the city, stories about beauty and freedom and opportunities. She also wanted a publication that assumed people in regional Australia were a smart and increasingly diverse lot, who cared about community and creativity and the environment as well as about profitability. And she wanted a publication that would bridge the city and country divide. So she made Galah.
Andrea Ho

Andrea Ho

Director of Education, Judith Neilson Institute

Andrea Ho is the Director of Education for the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas. She is a media professional and an experienced leader, broadcaster and content maker. Ho started her distinguished broadcasting career in community radio in Melbourne, and moved into journalism at the ABC in regional NSW. She went on to lead ABC broadcast teams in Hobart and Canberra, and then take on executive leadership as Head of Planning, ABC Regional and Local. During that time she designed and introduced a system to track diversity in media content at the ABC, after completing a Churchill Fellowship investigating practical strategies for increasing cultural diversity in broadcast media. She oversaw the ABC’s emergency broadcasting during the unprecedented 2019-2020 bushfires, and led the COVID-19 operational response for ABC Regional and Local in 2020. Ho has been a Walkley Awards category judge. She continues to have a deep interest in media that serves local communities.
Nic Hopkins

Nic Hopkins

APAC News Partnerships, Google

Nic Hopkins has worked in journalism and technology for more than 25 years. He began his career as a business journalist at The Advertiser newspaper in Adelaide. He then covered the first internet boom for The Australian in Sydney before joining The Times of London, where he wrote about the dotcom crash and the emergence of new technology trends that have had a profound impact on today’s society. He later moved into digital editing and strategy in Sydney and New York, and was part of the team that created News Corp’s first paywall and news apps in Australia. Hopkins joined Google in 2016 as Corporate Communications Manager, with responsibility for issues such as taxation, economic impact, news regulation, and privacy and security. In 2018 he was named the Google News Lab lead for Australia and New Zealand, working with news publishers in their digital transformation and expansion, and more recently has joined the APAC News Partnerships team. Hopkins lives in Sydney with his family and two dogs.
Andrew Hunter

Andrew Hunter

News Partnerships Lead, Facebook

Andrew Hunter is Facebook’s News Partnerships Lead for Australia, New Zealand and North Asia. In that role, he is leading Facebook’s collaboration with Australian news organisations. Hunter began his career as a local news reporter and has worked in newspaper, magazine and digital newsrooms. He co-authored the book All Your Friends Like This, which looks at the relationship between the news industry and social networks.
Adam Kershaw

Adam Kershaw

Chief Revenue Officer, Spotpass

Adam Kershaw is the Chief Revenue Officer of Spotpass, a micropayment technology company enabling a convenient financial relationship between producers and consumers of media. He works directly with publishers across Australia and New Zealand to monetise their content and generate new revenue from online readers in the form of small payments and donations.Kershaw was previously an executive with The New York Times, where he led its commercial operations in Australia and Zealand from 2017 to 2020. Under his leadership, The Times became the fastest growing digital media subscription in Australia. Before returning to Australia in 2017, he was based in Hong Kong where he oversaw commercial operations for The Times across Asia Pacific. Kershaw is the author of Crocodile Shark, a best-selling children's picture book, and producer of Audies, a groundbreaking series of immersive children's audio stories. He holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of International Relations, both from the University of Melbourne.

Stella Lauri

National News Director, WIN News

Stella Lauri, a member of the Walkley Judging Board, is the National News Director of Australia’s largest regional news service, WIN News. The WIN Network services more than 8 million people through 17 news bureaus and more than 80 news staff across Australia. Lauri is responsible for 13 half-hour news bulletins each weeknight and more than 100 news updates a day. She started her career as a reporter at WIN Television in the early 1990s after graduating with a Masters in Journalism from the University of Wollongong and quickly rose to the position of Newsroom Chief of Staff at WIN Network headquarters in Wollongong. After leading the flagship newsroom to record ratings, Lauri moved to Channel 9 in Sydney as Assistant Chief of Staff and producer, and covered breaking national and international news as a reporter for many years. While working at Channel 9, she also lectured at the University of Wollongong, passing her knowledge and skills on to postgraduate students studying Broadcast Journalism both in Wollongong and at UOW offshore campuses. Lauri is proud to have mentored a long list of successful regional and metropolitan journalists over her 27-year career and gives credit to WIN Television for employing thousands of journalists and camera operators over 50 years.
Hugh Martin

Hugh Martin

Head of Regional, Rural and Emergency, ABC

Hugh Martin is Head of Regional, Rural and Emergency at the ABC, where he oversees the journalism and broadcasting output of 46 bureaus across regional Australia. In addition to radio programming and TV news, his teams produce digital stories and feature video content for local, national and international audiences. In 2019, ABC Rural celebrated 75 years of dedicated coverage of the issues, events and stories of rural communities. Australia’s longest running radio program, The Country Hour, is an example of the ABC’s ongoing commitment to rural Australia. ABC’s regional reporters are also a crucial link in the reporting of emergency events such as bushfires, floods and cyclones, and ABC local radio provides an essential information service for Australians in vulnerable areas. Before joining the ABC in 2016, Martin held senior roles at Fairfax, News Corp and APN News & Media.
Rudi Maxwell

Rudi Maxwell

Editor, Koori Mail

Rudi Maxwell is editor of the Koori Mail, Australia’s only 100 per cent Aboriginal-owned, independent national newspaper, based in Lismore, Bundjalung country, NSW. Rudy has been a print journalist for more than 20 years, spending most of her career in regional Australia, apart from a few years in the sports department of The Australian. She has worked for The Northern Rivers Echo, The Northern Star, The Canberra Times and AAP. During her career, Rudi has reported on a huge variety of topics, including sport, politics, crime, native title, the arts, working dog trials, local country shows, coal seam gas and deaths in custody.
Lisa Millar

Lisa Millar

Co-host, ABC News Breakfast

Lisa Millar is the co-host of ABC News Breakfast and a guest presenter for Back Roads. She began her career in 1988 on The Gympie Times in regional Queensland. She spent two years in Townsville working for WIN TV before joining the ABC as the North Queensland reporter, covering a patch that stretched from the Torres Strait to the Whitsundays and out to Mount Isa. She has worked for online, radio and television over the past three decades and completed three foreign postings, reporting from 40 countries in her time as bureau chief in Washington DC and Europe. She won a Walkley Award for investigative reporting and was a director on the board of the Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma for 10 years.
Donna Page

Donna Page

Investigative Journalist, The Newcastle Herald

Donna Page is an investigative reporter for The Newcastle Herald, where she previously worked as Chief-of-Staff and Day Editor. She also ran a mentoring program at The Newcastle Herald for several years and regularly works on investigations with other staff as part of the paper’s training program. Page has worked for The South China Morning Post and Portuguese news agency Lusa, covering news and business. She also spent several years as an investigative reporter for a Chinese/English current affairs magazine Macau Closer, based in Macau on China’s southeastern coast. Passionate about regional journalism, Page won Walkley Awards for Coverage of Community and Regional Affairs in 2016, 2019 and 2020 and was a finalist in 2013. She was also part of a Newcastle Herald team that won a United Nations Association of Australia award for environment reporting in 2015. The mother of two has taught journalism at the University of Newcastle since 2016. She is driven by her belief that regional and rural journalism is at the heart of local communities, as well as by her passion for giving a voice to those without a voice. Over the past 25 years, Page has seen huge changes in the regional media landscape as outlets face increasing financial strain and newsrooms dwindle. Despite the challenging conditions, she believes regional and rural media outlets must continue to stand up for their communities and pursue public interest journalism, championing local people, issues and events. “Too often regional and rural communities get lost in the noise,” she said. “Local journalists are responsible for ensuring local stories are told, injustices are revealed and power is held to account.”
Adam Portelli

Adam Portelli

Director, MEAA Media

Adam Portelli was appointed Director of MEAA’s Media Section in late 2020. Before joining MEAA in 2017, Portelli worked in a variety of roles including as an employment lawyer and as a National Industrial Officer with the National Union of Workers (now the United Workers Union). He is also MEAA’s Victoria and Tasmania Regional Director.
Rod Quinn

Rod Quinn

Editorial Director, ACM

Rod Quinn is the Editorial Director of ACM, Australia's largest independent media company. ACM employs 600 journalists and publishes more than 150 newspapers and websites across every state and territory. Quinn is a former editor of The Canberra Times and The Newcastle Herald, two of the 14 daily mastheads in ACM’s portfolio, which also includes titles such as The Courier in Ballarat, The Border Mail in Albury-Wodonga and The Examiner in Launceston. He led the editorial team of ACM during a major transformation program that helped to lay the foundations for a business that now generates significant digital subscription revenue.
Cathie Schnitzerling

Cathie Schnitzerling

Executive Producer, Landline, ABC

Born and raised in outback Queensland, Cathie Schnitzerling was the founding presenter on Landline, the ABC’s national rural program, when it was launched in 1991, and fronted and reported for the program for four years in the 1990s. She returned as the Executive Producer in 2019 after several years as the ABC’s Regional Editor for Queensland, responsible for managing more than 100 employees and overseeing editorial content in radio, television, online and social media across 10 bureaus. Schnitzerling was the first female Director of News for the Ten Network in Brisbane and Sydney. She has worked as a reporter, presenter and producer on television and radio, including the Queensland Country Hour, and has held senior editorial and leadership positions in commercial television in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. She has also worked as a senior director of media and communications in the Queensland Government and has produced independent documentaries and a short drama. Schnitzerling was recognised by her peers in 2014 for her mentoring and leadership skills when she was awarded the Queensland Clarion Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism. She has tertiary qualifications in mentoring and is the national mentoring coordinator for Women in Media and the convenor of the WIM Queensland committee.

+ more to be announced.