Mridula Amin from the ABC was named the 2021 Walkley Young Australian Journalist of the Year, as the Walkley Foundation honoured all the winners in the 2021 Mid-Year Celebration of Journalism in Sydney this evening.

The Mid-Year Celebration entries are peer-judged and winners are selected on the basis of journalistic excellence. All the entries were published or broadcast between April 27, 2020 and April 26, 2021, and shine a light on great Australian journalism in their categories. The Mid-Year Celebration honours include the 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 JNI Opportunity Fellowships and the Sean Dorney Grant for Pacific Journalism.

“Covid brought disruption and uncertainty to journalists and newsrooms just as it did to all Australians, and people around the world. But for all those challenges, the winners we celebrate tonight show how Australians can rely on our journalists for ethical, impactful reporting that informs, educates and serves,” Walkley Foundation Chief Executive Louisa Graham said.

“With common threads of exposing abuse of power, inequality and disadvantage, these winning stories reflect the defining issues that we’re facing as a nation.”

Mridula was named overall Young Australian Journalist of the Year for “The Hidden Park of Last Resort”. This story was also the winner of the Longform, feature or special category. The Walkley Judging Board, represented by Lenore Taylor, Claire Harvey, Michael Bachelard and Tory Shepherd found Amin’s entry stood out among a strong field.

“Sensitive, compassionate and beautifully shot, Mridula Amin’s ‘Hidden Park of Last Resort’ is a wonderful human story well told. Gaining the trust of the residents and demonstrating a non-judgemental approach to her reporting, Amin’s investigation empowered the community to fight for their homes inside one of Sydney’s last long-term caravan parks.”

Mridula was presented her award by John B. Fairfax, whose family’s Jibb Foundation has supported the Young Journalist of the Year Awards since 2017. Tonight the Walkley Foundation announced that the John B Fairfax family has pledged to support awards and professional development opportunities for young Australian journalists over the next 10 years with a $1million gift. Read more about this extraordinary gift here.

Finalists are selected by panels of peers on the basis of overall merit and journalistic excellence. The Walkley Foundation encourages a diversity of entries from journalists around Australia. Judges are selected by the Walkley Judging Board. 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. Read the Mid-Year Celebration of Journalism program here.

Young Australian Journalist of the Year Awards

Young Australian Journalist of the Year
Supported by Jibb Foundation

Mridula Amin, ABC News and Background Briefing, ABC Radio National

Thanks to the support of the Jibb Foundation, Mridula receives a two-week trip to US newsrooms Buzzfeed, Columbia Journalism Review and Quartz (flights included). Each of the six category winners will be matched with a mentor to boost their career.

The winner of each of the six categories will receive a complimentary place in an AGSM @ 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.

All media: Shortform journalism
Supported by ABC

Paul Sakkal, The Age, “Melbourne Hotel Quarantine

All media: Longform feature or special
Supported by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age

Mridula Amin, ABC News and Background Briefing, ABC Radio National, The hidden park of last resort

All media: Coverage of community and regional affairs
Supported by Google News Initiative

Briana Fiore, South Western Times, Harvey-Waroona Reporter, Bunbury Herald and The West Australian, “Bunbury Hospital Investigation

All media: Visual storytelling
Supported by Macleay College

Mridula Amin, ABC News and National Geographic, “The hidden park of last resort” “Resettled” and “Armin Wahidi

All media: Public service journalism
Supported by News Corp Australia

Annabel Hennessy, The West Australian and The Sunday Times, 11-year-old Indigenous girl takes her own life after her alleged rapist is given bail” “Annaliesse Ugle: How housing insecurity and a lack of support contributed to 11-year-old girl’s despair” and “State Government proposes changes to bail laws to look after child sex victims after death of Annaliesse Ugle

All media: ​Student journalist of the year
Supported by Twitter

Georgios Platias, Central News UTS and Very Public Affairs Podcast, University of Technology Sydney, “Inside Out: Mohsen’s Story” and “Politics, Leadership, and Public Policy with Peter van Onselen

June Andrews Award for Industrial Relations Reporting

Supported by Ai Group, Unions NSW, ACTU and MEAA

Ben Schneiders, Royce Millar and Liam Mannix, The Age, “A city divided: COVID-19 finds a weakness in Melbourne’s social fault lines,” “All in this together? How rich and poor are travelling in lockdown” and “Starved out of Australia: The workers without money or food

June Andrews Award for Freelance Journalist of the Year

Supported by Media Super

Andrew Quilty, The Intercept, The Monthly and Afghanistan After America, Podcast, “The CIA’s Afghan Death Squads” “The Worst Form of Defence” and “Afghanistan After America: A Podcast

June Andrews Award for Women’s Leadership in Media

Supported by PwC

Nina Funnell, Kerry Warren, Gina McWilliams, Hannah Stenning and Georgia-Kate Schubert, news.com.au, The Herald Sun, The Mercury, The Courier-Mail and NT News,Let Her Speak

Our Watch Award

Administered by the Walkley Foundation 

Samantha Maiden, news.com.au, “Young staffer Brittany Higgins says she was raped at Parliament House” “Parliament office ‘steam cleaned’ after alleged attack” and “Minister Michaelia Cash’s voicemail message to Brittany Higgins

Media Diversity Australia Award

Supported by Media Diversity Australia, CoHealth and the National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters’ Council and administered by the Walkley Foundation 

Jason Om, Alex McDonald and Ake Prihantari, 7.30, ABC, “Price of Convenience” and “Hungry Panda food delivery company under fire from workers

Humanitarian Storytelling Award

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

Andrew Quilty, The Monthly and The Intercept, “A War on Civilians in Afghanistan

Arts Journalism Prizes

Through the support of the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund, the winner of each award will receive $5000 in prize money.

June Andrews Award for Arts Journalism

Supported the Copyright Agency

Kelly Burke, Guardian Australia, “Neighbours actor allegedly removed from set after complaints of racism by Indigenous actor Shareena Clanton”, “Neighbours: more actors come forward with allegations of racist slurs and discrimination on set” and “If Neighbours racism allegations happened in US there would be ‘swift’ repercussions, Remy Hii says

The Pascall Prize for Arts Criticism, managed by the Walkley Foundation

Supported by the Copyright Agency

Anwen Crawford, The Monthly, “New air in familiar rooms”, “Ready steady gone” and “Girls don’t cry: Arlo Parks and Phoebe Bridgers

Scholarships, Fellowships & Grants

Jacoby-Walkley Scholarship

Supported by: Anita Jacoby, Nine Network and AFTRS

Ella McCrindle, University of Sydney

WIN News Scholarship

Scout Wallen, The University of Queensland

The Young Indigenous Scholarship 

Supported by: BHP, Ten and Junkee Media

Tahnee Jash

JNI Opportunity Fellowships 

Supported by: Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas

Zathia Bazeer, Macleay College

Tricia Lee Rivera, Monash University

Rafqa Touma, University of Technology Sydney

Sean Dorney Grant for Pacific Journalism

Supported by: ANU College of Asia & the Pacific, Harold Mitchell Foundation, Newcrest Mining

Natalie Whiting, ABC

#walkleys

Media queries: Clare Fletcher, clare.fletcher@walkleys.com |  +61 432 616 810

Awards queries: Lauren Dixon, lauren.dixon@walkleys.com | +61 413 212 890