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Daryna Zadvirna, a cross platform reporter from Western Australia, was named the 2023 John B Fairfax Family Young Australian Journalist of the Year, as the Walkley Foundation honoured all the winners in the 2023 Mid-Year Celebration of Journalism in Sydney this evening. 

Peer-judged and selected on the basis of journalistic excellence, the Mid-Year Celebration suite administered by the Walkley Foundation includes the John B Fairfax Family Young Australian Journalist of the Year Awards, June Andrews Award for Industrial Relations Reporting, June Andrews Award for Freelance Journalist of the Year, June Andrews Award for Women’s Leadership in Media, Our Watch Award, Media Diversity Australia Award, Humanitarian Storytelling Award, June Andrews Award for Arts Journalism and The Pascall Prize for Arts Criticism.

Winners were also announced for the Jacoby-Walkley Scholarship with Nine, the WIN News Scholarship, the Walkley Young Indigenous Scholarship, the Esme Fenston Fellowship and the Sean Dorney Grant for Pacific Journalism.

Walkley Foundation CEO Shona Martyn said the Mid-Year Celebration is one of the highlights of the year for Australian journalists that turns the spotlight on key subject areas, allowing print, radio, television, podcasts and digital entries to go head to head.

“The quality of entries was particularly high this year and, as a result, two awards have been presented in both the Jacoby-Walkley Fellowship and the Sean Dorney Grant for Pacific Journalism, ” Ms Martyn said.

“Excellence is all-important as we recognise that the media world is under threat on many fronts – from the financial challenges facing news organisations across the globe to changing consumer behaviour and scepticism about “fake news”, the rise of misinformation and disinformation, and the arrival of AI technologies such as ChatGPT. Awards like these are a sign of hope.

“Congratulations to all the winners and my huge thanks to the judges, sponsors, partners, the brilliant Walkley team and the board of directors”.

Daryna Zadvirna, now a cross-platform reporter at ABC Perth,  was named overall 2023 John B Fairfax Family Young Australian Journalist of the Year for her documentary reporting from Ukraine’s warzone,. This story, published by The West Australian and on YouTube, also won the categories for Visual Storytelling and Longform reporting. The Walkley Judging Board, represented by Rashell Habib, Kate Kyriacou and Michael Brissenden, said the  finalists were all of such high quality this year, yet the judges could not go past Daryna’s entry, saying it’s a story that imprints on you. 

“Daryna Zadvirna’s initiative and accomplishment in producing this impactful work by herself greatly impressed the judges. She bought a camera, hopped on a plane and went into the Ukrainian warzone on her own accord. Her background was in print yet she beautifully captured on film what the Russian invasion was like for Ukrainian locals. Despite the heavy subject matter, she threaded hope through her storytelling. Of all the Ukraine reporting the judges had seen, they felt this was unique coverage that was only possible if you spoke the language and had Zadvrina’s access.”

The Mid-Year awards are judged by individual panels of three judges, chosen for their expertise in each category. These panels of journalists select both the finalists and the category winners. In addition, representatives from the Walkley Judging Board select the overall winner of the John B Fairfax Family Young Journalist of the Year Award, chosen from the winners of the six Young Journalist categories.

Winners are chosen on the basis of overall merit and journalistic excellence. The Walkley Foundation encourages a diversity of entries from journalists around Australia, published or broadcast between April 27, 2022 and April 26, 2023. The Walkley Foundation has a mechanism for dealing with any conflict of interest, actual or perceived, that may arise during the judging process. The guidelines are based on the principle that all actual conflicts of interest are to be avoided and that even a perceived conflict may be damaging to all parties.

The full list of winners is below.

The John B Fairfax Family Young Australian Journalist of the Year Awards

Supported by Jibb Foundation

These awards recognise the hard work of our most outstanding young Australian journalists. They reward the efforts of journalists aged 28 and under who demonstrate excellence in the fundamental tenets of the profession, as well as the ability to present distinctive and original journalism that pushes the boundaries of the craft.

The winner of each of the six categories will receive a complimentary place in an AGSM short course at UNSW Business School. The AGSM Client Engagement team will assist the winners to identify the course most relevant to their development. All courses earn credit towards the AGSM Certificate of Executive Management and Development which, in turn, carries course credit into the AGSM MBA and Graduate Certificates.

2023 John B Fairfax Family Young Australian Journalist of the Year
Supported by Jibb Foundation

Thanks to the Jibb Foundation’s support, Daryna will receive a two-week international trip to newsrooms (flights included) and a mentorship program to boost their career.

Shortform journalism

Supported by ABC

Longform feature or special

Supported by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age

Coverage of community and regional affairs

Visual storytelling

Supported by News Corp Australia

Public service journalism

Supported by Telum Media

Student journalist of the year

Supported by University of Sydney


June Andrews Award for Industrial Relations Reporting

Supported by MEAA

June Andrews Award for Freelance Journalist of the Year

Supported by Media Super and MEAA

June Andrews Award for Women’s Leadership in Media

Our Watch Award

Administered by The Walkley Foundation

Humanitarian Storytelling Award

Supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross and administered by The Walkley Foundation

Media Diversity Australia Award

Supported by Media Diversity Australia, The National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters Council and administered by The Walkley Foundation 

Arts Journalism 

The following two awards recognise excellence in journalism about the creative arts, from the perspectives of both practitioners and critics. Through the generous support of the Hantomeli Foundation and the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund, the winners of the June Andrews Award for Arts Journalism and The Pascall Prize for Arts Criticism will each receive $5000 in prize money.

June Andrews Award for Arts Journalism

Supported by Copyright Agency

The Pascall Prize for Arts Criticism

Supported by the Hantomeli Foundation and administered by the Walkley Foundation


Scholarships, Fellowships & Grants

Jacoby-Walkley Scholarship

Supported by: Anita Jacoby, Nine Network and AFTRS

Tatenda Chikwakukire and Kevin Ding 


WIN News Broadcast Scholarship

Supported by: WIN News

Sophie Watson 


Walkley Young Indigenous Scholarship 

Supported by: BHP, Ten and Junkee Media

Isaac Muller


Esme Fenston Fellowship

Supported by: ARE Media

Jessica Howard


Sean Dorney Grant for Pacific Journalism

Supported by private donors

Stefan Armbruster

Marian Faa 


Media queries: James Gorman, |  +61 414 990 480
Learn more about the Mid-Year Awards

Thank you to our judges

Each year hundreds of journalists, editors and producers give their time to judge our awards. Thank you to all those who judged this year:

  • Patrick Abboud, freelance 
  • Nabil Al Nashar, ABC
  • Mridula Amin, ABC
  • Sarah Ayoub, author and academic
  • Neheda Barakat, freelance 
  • Rob Beaumont, WIN
  • Michael Brissenden, author and journalist
  • Jenny Brockie, journalist, broadcaster and facilitator
  • Fiona Buffini, The Australian Financial Review
  • Hilary Burden, author, writer, journalist
  • Ben Butler, Herald Sun
  • Nicole Byers, The Australian Women’s Weekly
  • Rowan Callick, journalist and author
  • Liv Casben, AAP
  • Natassia Chrysanthos, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age
  • Kelly Clappis, WIN
  • Nicole Cleary, freelance photographer
  • Shannan Dodson, engagement, strategy and Indigenous sector specialist
  • Sean Dorney, retired ABC Journalist
  • Elizabeth Farrelly, author and critic
  • Mahmood Fazal, ABC Four Corners
  • Dion Georgopoulos, Canberra Times
  • Cameron Gooley, NITV
  • Alice Griffin, Junkee Media
  • Ali Gripper, author
  • Rashell Habib, Paramount and 10 News First
  • Samela Harris, journalist, critic and author
  • Saffron Howden, ACM
  • Dan Ilic, presenter, comedian and filmmaker
  • Narelda Jacobs, Ten
  • Anita Jacoby AM, media executive, producer and NED
  • Christian Jantzen, WIN    
  • Alex Johnston, WIN
  • Neha Kale, freelance 
  • Sophie Kuryl, WIN
  • Stella Lauri, WIN        
  • Stephen Lunn, The Australian
  • Jacqueline Maley, The Sydney Morning Herald
  • John-Paul Maloney, Canberra Times
  • Rick Morton, The Saturday Paper
  • Alex Needs, Nine
  • Mary-Louise O’Callaghan, Internews
  • Donna Page, Newcastle Herald
  • Gemma Purves, Radio 2RPH
  • Matthew Ricketson, Deakin University
  • Caitlyn Rintoul, The Sunday Times
  • Tom Robinson, ABC Pilbara
  • Gina Rushton, Crikey
  • Amber Schultz, The Sun-Herald
  • Pallavi Singhal, Google
  • Ben Smee, Guardian Australia
  • Erin Smith, Dart Centre Asia Pacific
  • Sean Smith, WestBusiness and The West Australian
  • Andrew Stafford, freelance journalist and author
  • Emily Steinhardt, WIN
  • Sarah Stinson, Sunrise, Weekend Sunrise and The Morning Show
  • Katrina Strickland, Good Weekend
  • Kirsty Thomson, 60 Minutes
  • Sarah Thornton, Network Ten
  • Samantha Trewoneth, The Australian Women’s Weekly
  • Max Uechtritz, Kundu Productions 
  • Mariam Veiszadeh, Media Diversity Australia
  • Raj Wakeling, Studio 10 and 10 News First Midday
  • Martin White, Network Ten
  • Dorothy Wickham, Melanesia News Network
  • Geordie Williamson, Pan Macmillan Australia
  • Ashleigh Wilson, author 



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