MEAA’s Regional Director for Victoria and Tasmania, Adam Portelli, said the judges of this year’s awards were extremely pleased with the quality of the entries overall in the 13 award categories*.
“This year’s nominations featured important local stories and demonstrated that quality journalism is alive and well in Tasmania,” Portelli said.
The Mercury’s Emily Baker was recognised as Journalist of the Year for a body of work the judges said “included breaking news and a series of courageous journalism around the highly-political issues of foreign investment and tourism in world heritage areas”.
Peter Gee was awarded the 2019 Keith Welsh Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to journalism in the state for his work and leadership at the ABC, both on screen and behind the scenes.
The judges said: “Peter’s influence on the ABC, and the media in Tasmania in general, extended far beyond his nightly broadcasts. The consummate professional on air, he was also a calm, reassuring presence behind the scenes, who was instrumental in helping guide and develop the careers of countless young reporters and producers. Even in retirement he continues to be a mentor and friend to many in the ABC newsroom.”
* All entries must have been published, broadcast or televised through Australian media outlets in the 12 months from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018.
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Judges’ comments: Luke’s work captured the drama of an extraordinary morning in Tasmanian politics. Sue Hickey’s election to the Speaker’s chair blindsided the Hodgman Government and Luke’s image of the Premier looking towards the backbench for answers is now seared into the minds of Tasmania political followers.
Scott Gelston is commended for his coverage of the same events while Grant Wells beautifully captured the winning side of a crucial Federal by-election in Braddon.
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Judges’ comments: A clear winner. Gets to the heart of an issue through incisive writing, a clear understanding of the topic and an obvious willingness to express his views without fear or favour. It’s an opportunity many in the media would love to be given but so few can actually do well.
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Judges’ comments: The winning entry stood out for the way the stories illuminate big and thought-provoking ideas through individual artistic projects. Tim’s research is thorough and he writes with authority, combining important subject matter with whimsy and humour. The judges also enjoyed seeing hard news stories and examples of outstanding production values among the entries.
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Judges’ comments: This was a very strong category with a range of interesting stories. Henry Zwartz from the ABC wins for his excellent interviewing and research, but also how he covered all sides of the story about salmon farms and seals on the North-West Coast.
Adam Morton’s body of work was very well-written and researched and Emily Baker wrote three excellent pieces on the hot topic of Lake Malbena and tourism development.
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Judges’ comments: Tim Martain’s feature stories on three athletes were original in approach and refreshing in style. His stories revealing unique aspects of a sporting life with great promise, one from the present and a legend of yesteryear. Compelling reading from someone writing outside their comfort zone, well done Tim.
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Judges’ comments: Rhiana Whitson presented a compelling digital first multiplatform series covering radio, TV and online and social media. Her stories were well researched and her presentation skills engaged the viewer providing a clear understanding of the issues, seriously challenging the government’s management of our health services. Her win is well deserved
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Judges’ comments: Alexandra Humphries’s stories investigating Hobart’s growing housing crisis demonstrated a strong feel for news, a keen sense of public service and an ability to produce informative and empathetic copy. Breaking the story of working families living at Hobart Showgrounds, Alexandra’s work contributed to housing being at the top of the agenda for last year’s state elections.
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Judges’ comments: Loretta Lohberger’s court reporting in the Mercury shows great compassion and empathy for the people in her stories, while at the same time scrupulously presenting the facts. The stories she entered were interesting, informative, profoundly moving, and of an exemplary professional standard. She is a deserving winner.
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Judges’ comments: A great example of basic journalism – the reporter saw something, asked some questions, talked to those involved and told the story in a simple and effective way. What more could you ask for? Henry’s entry ticked all the boxes – a well-researched, impactful and important story that shines a light on an insidious and growing problem not just in Burnie but across the state. Of particular mention is his decision to seek out those directly involved in distributing the drugs in a small town for their view. Now that took courage.
Lachlan Bennett’s entry is a great piece of journalism that deserves commendation. This was a beautifully written and produced story. It was emotive without being saccharine and put a human face on what was for a long time a divisive political issue. A lovely, positive yarn that was a joy to read in such troubled and hateful times.
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Judges’ comments: Wide range of extremely well-written and researched stories in this premier category. Kasey Wilkins from the Examiner wins with her series of print, online and video stories about the Bourke St Mall tragedy survivor, Launceston businessman Rod Patterson. Her series portrayed the modern print journalist suite, stories that demanded you read them for the human interest and pathos, as well as the way the videos were cut for overall reader/listener engagement and newsworthiness. Henry Zwartz’s story about the mental health whistleblower and Matt Denholm’s pre-election gun laws watering down story were also important.
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Judges’ comments: Sarah explored the crisis in the ambulance service in northwest Tasmania, revealing a lack of paramedics and ambulances available in the region. In a series of three articles, Sarah showed initiative in developing an important local story, displayed a dogged approach to her subject and clearly understood the ramifications of the crisis to The Advocate’s readership. The judges concluded this was an excellent example of local reporting that illustrates why local and regional newspapers still have an important part to play in the life of communities and regions.
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Judges’ comments: Emily Baker’s body of work included breaking news and a series of courageous journalism around the highly-political issues of foreign investment and tourism in world heritage areas.
Highly Commended: Ali Humphries’ work included what was one of the biggest issues of 2018, the ongoing housing crisis, with her breaking stories leading to Government action.
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Judges’ comments: In a very strong field, Peter Gee was awarded the 2019 Keith Welsh Award for his outstanding contribution to journalism. Peter first joined the union in 1979 and started working at the ABC in sport in 1980. For 18 years, Peter worked as a commentator, interviewer and presenter on national sports programs across radio and television, including two Olympic games, two Commonwealth Games, the Athletics World Championships, World Cup Soccer and golf, swimming and basketball.
In 1998 Peter Gee moved to Tasmania to take up the role of the weeknight news presenter. Peter’s influence on the ABC, and the media in Tasmania in general, extended far beyond his nightly broadcasts. The consummate professional on air, he was also a calm, reassuring presence behind the scenes, who was instrumental in helping guide and develop the careers of countless young reporters and producers. Even in retirement he continues to be a mentor and friend to many in the ABC newsroom.
If you are having trouble seeing this gallery on your phone or browser, view it on flickr. All photos by Alastair Bett.
The winners of the 39th Tasmanian Media Awards were announced at a gala cocktail presentation event on Friday, April 27, 2018 at Mawson Place, in the Waterside Pavilion, on the Hobart waterfront.
Tasmanian MEAA president Mark Thomas said the judges of this year’s awards were extremely pleased with the quality of the 117 entries overall in the 12 award categories (see the list of winners below).
“Richard Baines was named Tasmanian Journalist of the Year for a second year running, which is tribute to his ability to break stories … and as one judge said, he was the ‘must-watch’ journalist of TV news on a nightly basis,” Thomas said.
“Simon Bevilacqua, the former Mercury journalist and editor, was presented with the Keith Welsh award for his extraordinary contribution to the profession for more than 20 years,” Thomas said.
He noted: “As newsrooms are put under resources pressure Australiawide, it is heartening to see the quality of journalism in print, television, radio and online statewide in Tasmania. We saw winners from across the spectrum and around the state.
“Journalists are breaking stories, holding governments – state and local – to account and bringing the Tasmanian public critical and policy-changing facts every day,” Thomas said.
Best News Image Sponsor: Media Super
Judges’ comments: Cordell Richardson arrived before emergency services at Devonport Airport to document the mangled remains of an aircraft that crashed killing the pilot. His timely and graphic image “On the Scene” brought home the horror of the situation in a way only a still image can. The viewer is transfixed by the situation that we are obliged to ponder. A true news image and a worthy front page.
Arts Reporting Sponsor: Serafino Wines
Judges’ comments: Congratulations to all who entered. There were some beautiful and important stories in the mix. What impressed us most with the winner was the freshness and vitality of story ideas, supported by the quality of the writing. The winning stories were thoroughly researched and focused on less-known people who are working to make a significant creative contribution in Tasmania. The stories did more than scratch the surface. They were thought-provoking, included context and, in a thoroughly accessible way, highlighted the important role the arts play in a community. We would also like to commend the two runners up on the level of research, insight and depth in their work.
Science, Technology & Environment Sponsor: Cancer Council Tasmania
Judges’ comments: Natalie Whiting’s three entries showed the great breadth and intelligence of her journalism on three very different topics Her story about Macquarie Harbour was the first to report damage to the World Heritage Area. Her feature on “wombat” mange was extremely well-presented with interviews and day and night vision of the animals. Her Cape Barren story was also extremely well presented with interviews with indigenous community members and Tasmania Fire Service, using ancient methods to protect a critical Tasmanian environment.
Sports Coverage Sponsor: MEAA
Judges’ comments: The judges felt the quality of the work submitted for consideration was of a particularly high standard this year. The diversity of disciplines entered was also acknowledged with traditional Television, on-line and Print entries competing with a pictorial entry, as well as a compilation of radio work. Original and investigative pieces stood out deciding our three finalists for the category Chris Rowbottom is the winner with the judging panel acknowledging the originality of the work submitted. The insight into the life of a successful female speedway driver balancing competitive sport and raising an infant in a male dominated sport was refreshing and informative. This piece on Laura Davidson coupled with comprehensive coverage of the disputed Sydney to Hobart yacht race and Chris’ work on racing industry trainer Scott Brunton was all well-crafted and written.
Health Reporting Sponsor: Health & Community Services Union
Judges’ comments: The Health reporting entries submitted were all of a very high standard, demonstrating excellent use of the medium whether on-line, radio, television or print. They reflected the important role health plays in our everyday life and how it is one of the most crucial public and political issues in Tasmania. The judges were challenged as the style of stories ranged from day to day reporting of local health problems, how health policies can impact on individuals to feature articles and even a very personal and compelling family history story. The winner, for her series of magazine features is Sally Glaetzer. The articles were well crafted, the writing clear, crisp and engaging and the stories themselves were a delight to read, building a real connection with the subject and the people whose story was being told.
Public Service Journalism Sponsor: TasCOSS
Judges’ comments: ABC reporter Linda Hunt was judged the winner of this category, from a highly competitive field. Her outstanding coverage of community demands and fiscal pressure on our hospitals, demonstrated a mature grasp of the issues facing the government and community interests. Linda’s treatment was unquestionably objective and thorough. She gave voice to both sides of the debate, incorporating the right of the Minister Michael Ferguson and professional stakeholders to have their say. As well, she allocated valuable space in the tight time restrictions of a TV news bulletin, to ensure that viewers understood the reason for the news items and the complexities of the issues. The judges also wish to highly commend the entries of The Mercury’s AlexandraxHumphries and The Australian’s Matt Denholm. Together with Linda Hunt’s entry their work was of the highest quality. Tasmanian news media is well served by the impressive calibre of these three.
Excellence in Legal Reporting Sponsor: Butler, McIntyre & ButlerLawyers
Judges’ comments: Melissa Mobbs extended her role as a court reporter to flesh out legal stories for the human interest factor and produced engaging journalism. Matthew Denholm’s exclusive stories on payouts received by union officials exposed practices within two major trade unions that otherwise would not have come to the attention of union members, the public and the relevant legal authorities. The winner is Matthew Denholm. Matt Denholm is to be congratulated on bringing to the public important legal issues within the union movement which would have not been exposed if not for his work.
Feature, Documentary or Current Affairs Sponsor: Unions Tasmania
Judges’ comments: The judges for Feature, Documentary or Current Affairs were impressed by the high standard of entries which, as a body of work, showed a consistently strong standard of long-form journalism in Tasmania. The hard work by individuals and teams in both print and other platforms was evident, as was the effort to find new stories as well as new ways of looking at long running issues. The short list was rather long. However, the Feature, Documentary or Current Affairs was awarded to the Advocate’s Imogen Elliot and Lachlan Bennett for their digital feature Wild Assets. Imogen Elliot and Lachlan Bennett used interviews with protesters in a logging coupe in the Tarkine to launch an exploration of the Tasmania forestry politics and regional communities that depend on wild places. The three-part online series included long-form podcasts and print features accompanied by video and photos. Imogen and Lachlan approached the controversial subject of forestry in the Tarkine with fresh eyes and tailored their work to ‘tell it best’ for their audience in the North West using contemporary forms of story-telling that was given a national audience via the Australian Media network. In giving this award, the judges also commended the Advocate for investing the time and confidence in two young reporters which resulted in an impressive – and now, award-winning – multi-platform package.
Best News Story Sponsor: Media Super
Judges’ comments: In an extremely strong field, Simeon Thomas-Wilson’s series on the Glenorchy City Council scandal was judged the Best News Story. His series were comprehensive and well-balanced, with the views and opinions of both sides of the Council “argument” presented without bias, as well as how the members of the community viewed the entire situation. His work was extremely well-researched and presented so that all of the outcomes could be easily understood by the broader public. The judges Highly Commended Richard Baines work on the tragic death of baby Ariah.
Best New Journalist Sponsor: The Mercury
Judges’ comments: The 2018 Best New Journalist category continues to prove that capable, thorough and dedicated young journalists are rising through the ranks. The judges considered 14 entrants and found the foundation of solid ability among young Tasmanian journalists. Particularly impressive was the work of newspaper reporters who went beyond covering the daily, breaking news and were given the opportunity by their editors to dig more deeply into social, cultural and political issues of importance to their communities and Tasmania. The judges also noted the new generation of reporters making increasing use of digital media to complement their work in print and on air – an important development for maintaining the relevance of the formal news media. Of the runners-up, Rhiannon Shine (ABC) showed increasing maturity in story-telling for the electronic media, as did Benjamin Hansen (WIN News) with both breaking news and political issues. For a journalist in his first year, Rob Inglis (Fairfax Media) displayed a sound grasp of breaking news, in-depth reporting and issues of social import and told his stories well.
Keith Welsh Award for Outstanding Contribution to Journalism Sponsor: MEAA
Judges’ comments: As a journalist, Simon broke major stories, including: Stolen babies (1996 & 1997) about young Australian women in the 1940s to 1980s having their babies taken from them, often being told the babies had died. The rest of the country followed. It triggered a Senate inquiry, soul-searching by churches and charity groups, and reconciliations. Lawyers’ fund fiasco (2001 & 2002): Surveyors were overvaluing properties as part of the solicitors’ mortgage fund scheme run by some of the most respected firms. Mum and dad investors lost life savings, some died before getting any justice, lawyers were struck off and went to jail, there was a Senate inquiry, and financial advisers were forced to pay back millions to clients. Forestry: Simon reported fearlessly on the industry for 20 years in what had been a no-go area for journalists. As the Opinion/Letters editor, Walkley award winning political journalist Wayne Crawford said Simon vitalised the Editorial and Talking Point pages with an insight and eloquence which made them arguably the most read sections of the Mercury. Under Simon’s editorship – and in his intuitive, empathic and perceptive writings – Talking Point provided the most wide-ranging and balanced commentaries of perhaps any Australian newspaper, regional or metropolitan. Simon still writes a weekly column which his editor says generates the most letters to the paper than any other column or writer.
Journalist of the Year Sponsor: MEAA
Judges’ comments: The judges were extremely pleased with the vast range of stories and level of entry in 2018. The winner is Richard Baines (ABC); His stories were not just high quality, they affected change in Tasmania. He was the “must-watch” journalist of TV news on a nightly basis. His stories had impact beyond the political sphere and gave the audience broader community impact across the full range of media platforms – television, digital and radio. Richard provided hard exclusive stories, utilising contacts that no-one else seems to have, as well stories with a softer, human touch. He is deservedly the Journalist of the Year.
Wisbey has been on-air for the best part of three decades and was the unanimous choice of judges to the first Keith Welsh award winner since 2010. “Chris Wisbey wins the 2017 Keith Welsh Award for his telling of Tasmanian stories. How he has dealt with sensitive issues with an engaging story-telling style… He has built an archive of people and places in Tasmania, telling uniquely Tasmanian stories about Tasmanians,” the judges said.
• Richard Baines from the ABC won the Journalist of the Year and Best News Stories awards.
• Sally Glaetzer from The Mercury/Tas Weekend Magazine won the Best Feature, Documentary or Current Affairs and Comment and Analysis categories and was a finalist in the Science, Environment and Health and Journalist of the Year awards.
• WIN Television’s Brent Costelloe won his third straight award for Best Sports Coverage. MEAA Tasmania President Mark Thomas said a record 130 entries were received for the 2017 awards, surpassing last year’s mark of 122. “Judges commented in all 12 categories about the quality and breadth of entries – from child protection, domestic violence, the Port Arthur anniversary and the devastating floods of 2016,” he said. “Without a fair, independent and fearless media – print, TV, radio, online & social – we do not have a democracy. Fortunately, as tonight’s awards have amply demonstrated, Tasmania’s media and its journalists deliver some of the finest journalism in the country,” Thomas said.
Tasmanian Media Awards 2017
• Best News Image – Winner: Matthew Growcott, Win News Tasmania: Moonah Siege
• Arts Reporting – Winner: Rick Eaves, ABC News Online: Body of Work
• Science, Environment and Health – Winner: Felicity Ogilvie, ABC Radio AM: Body of Work
• Best Sports Coverage – Winner: Brent Costelloe, WIN Television: Body of Work
• Mental Health Reporting – Winner: Tamara McDonald, The Examiner: Body of Work
• Comment and Analysis – Winner: Sally Glaetzer, The Mercury/Tas Weekend: Body of Work
• Excellence in Legal Reporting – Winner: Michael Aitkin – ABC TV & News Online: Child Abuse Commission-Body of Work
• Best Feature, Documentary or Current Affairs – Winner: Sally Glaetzer, TAS Weekend: Port Arthur Massacre Anniversary Coverage
• Best News Story – Winner: Richard Baines, ABC: Letting the Most vulnerable down- Tasmania’s child protection woes
• Best New Journalist – Winner: Michelle Wisbey, The Examiner : Body of Work
• Keith Welsh Award for Outstanding Contribution to Journalism – Winner: Chris Wisbey, ABC
• Journalist of the Year – Winner: Richard Baines, ABC
1. Best News Image Sponsor: Media Super Finalists • Dan Broun: Tasmanian bushfires • Matthew Growcott, Win News Tasmania: Moonah Siege • Grant Wells, The Advocate: Calder Fires Winner • Matthew Growcott, Win News Tasmania: Moonah Siege Judges’ comments: Matt Growcott’s victorious Moonah siege piece showed patience and skill … and had all the winning news elements … the unfolding scene, the shots fired, the standoff and the eventual arrest of the perpetrator. A riveting news segment. He was, however, pushed all the way to the finish line by Dan Broun’s evocative still images of the aftermath of Tasmania’s World Heritage bush fires. Congratulations to both.
2. Arts Reporting Sponsor: Serafino Wines Finalists: • Rick Eaves, ABC News Online: Body of Work • Elise Fantin, ABC News Tasmania: Young Arts • Sally Glaetzer, The Mercury‘s Tas Weekend: Body of Work Winner: • Rick Eaves, ABC News Online: Body of Work Judges’ comments: Competition for the arts reporting award was strong, but the judges were united in their decision to award the prize to Rick Eaves for his body of work. The judging panel were particularly impressed with his piece about singer Claire Anne Taylor which transported the reader or listener to the edge of the Tarkine to hear about how this emerging artist grew up and the influences on her life. Rick’s other two pieces also displayed a variety and talked about arts not necessarily profiled in the mainstream media, and used multimedia well across the board to tell the stories. The work by Sally Glaetzer is also worthy of a mention, presenting three pieces on different Tasmanians and getting deeper into their influence on the arts and their community. Elise Fantin’s piece titled Young Arts was also very positive and interesting.
3. Science, Environment and Health Sponsor: Health and Community Services Union Finalists: • Michael Atkin, ABC TV & News Online: The human toll behind a deadly oyster disease • Sally Glaetzer, Tasmanian Weekend: Body of Work • Felicity Ogilvie, ABC Radio AM: Body of Work Winner: • Felicity Ogilvie, ABC Radio AM: Body of Work Judges’ comments: A huge volume of entries in this category (21) and of a very high standard, creating a real dilemma for judges. In the end, the body of work presented by Felicity Ogilvie, covering all 3 subjects in this category, was the unanimous winner….judges commenting on the quality of research and investigation, the fact all were significant news-breaking stories at a national level but with local ramifications – the Antarctic Division’s decision to close its Macquarie Island base – with the Minister reversing the decision within 24 hours of the story airing……as a fine example of her work. Her story in getting a doctor at the LGH to speak publicly about the mass exodus of specialist staff and its impact also was singled out for praise. Michael Atkin’s entry showed a rare piece of true reality television capturing the moment when an oyster farmer realised his entire farm was destroyed by POMS virus. This story had a considerable impact at showing the human cost of POMs on Tasmanian oyster growers and its ongoing impact on the environment including the risk to other states including South Australia. Sally Glaetzer’s body of work was praised, in particular, her piece on the renewed campaign to drain the Pedder impoundment and replace the original Lake Pedder. She investigated why previous campaigns to save the lake had failed and looked into the science behind the latest proposal to restore it….judges saying despite her independent, dispassionate approach, it made you want to see the Lake restored. It was ‘fresh, compelling, wide range of talent and beautifully written.” Special mention was made for Matthew Denholm’s work on Seals and Salmon……and also Fiona Breen. But in the end, settled on the three journalists above as the finalists.
4. Best Sports Coverage Sponsor: Lion Finalists: • Brent Costelloe, WIN Television: Body of Work • Scott Rollinson, ABC News Breakfast: Body of Work • Brett Stubbs, The Mercury: Body of Work Winner: • Brent Costelloe, WIN Television: Body of Work Judges’ comments: The judges were impressed with the overall standard in this category with sport at a local, state and national level encompassed in the entries. The work of ABC Sport’s Scott Rollinson embodied all those facets with his story on Tasmanian motor racer John Bowe putting a spotlight on the mental health issues he’d silently suffered while rising to the top of the sport in Australia. The Mercury’s Brett Stubbs displayed a commitment to pursuing the perennially contentious topics of a preferred model for a Tasmanian AFL team and the general health of football in this state. He shone a light on the contents of the Garlick Report, which up until that time football authorities had prevented the media from accessing. The Tasmanian football public had been long anticipating the sacking of AFL Tasmania head Scott Wade and when it happened WIN Television’s Brent Costelloe was the first to report it. He utilised his industry connections and intimate knowledge of Tasmanian football to break the story and dispassionately dissect Wade’s polarising time in charge. This along with his profiles of young basketball coach Reece Potter and boxer Luke Jackson combined to give him the edge over a talented field.
5. Mental Health Reporting Sponsor: Mental Health, Alcohol and Drug Directorate Finalists: • Duncan Abey, Tas Weekend Magazine: Emma Haswell’s battle • Doug Dingwall, The Sunday Examiner: Facing up to mental illness: The royal Commission, veterans compensation and equine therapy. • Tamara Mcdonald, The Examiner: Body of Work Winner: • Tamara Mcdonald, The Examiner: Body of Work Judges’ comments: Tamara McDonald’s package of three diverse stories reflects her commitment to reporting mental health. She took a strategic approach in seeking out stories that reflected positive community responses to mental health issues – a proactive approach which reflects her commitment to reporting mental health issues. Her story on Alison Cocker and her use of photography to help with her mental health issues is a nice piece; her story on women starting a help group for those with partners with PTSD is likewise a good story reflecting back to the community the ways in which citizens are coping with mental health; and her story on former foreign correspondent Dean Yates’ recovery from PTSD is sound.
6. Comment and Analysis Sponsor: Unions Tasmania Finalists: • Matthew Denholm, The Australian: Analysing the issue • Sally Glaetzer, The Mercury‘s Tas Weekend: Body of Work • Matt Smith, The Mercury: Body of Work Winner: • Sally Glaetzer, The Mercury‘s Tas Weekend: Body of Work Judges’ comments: Sally Glaetzer’s three entries – Fight Club, about ongoing Local Government issues, Growing Pains on Forestry and Up and at ’em, (GetUp!’s involvement in the Federal Election demonstrated an enormous ability to write at multiple levels – for the everyday person in the street and those with greater knowledge. All her pieces showed story-telling of the highest level, with great pictures to illustrate them. The Getup! Explained an organisation and its methods not normally understood and her forestry story covered a great range of stakeholders involved and affected.
7. Excellence in Legal Reporting Sponsor: Butler, McIntyre & Butler Finalists: • Michael Aitkin – ABC TV & News Online: Child Abuse Commission-Body of Work • Edith Bevin, ABC News – Tasmania: Body of Work • Matthew Denholm, The Australian: Rough (youth) Justice • David Killick, The Mercury: Legal Reporting Winner: • Michael Aitkin – ABC TV & News Online: Child Abuse Commission-Body of Work Judges’ comments: The quality of the entries this year is very impressive and all entrants are to be congratulated on their work in bringing news about legal issues to Tasmanians in the past year. Four entries were particularly outstanding: Michael Atkin, Edith Bevan, David Killick and Matthew Denholm. Michael Atkin’s entry – four national news stories, and two national 7.30 reports from the hearings of the Royal Commission into Child Abuse hearings in Tasmania are exceptional. Not only did Mr Atkin report daily on the hearing, but he spent time prior to the hearing to comprehensively research church child sex abuse in Tasmania including Phillip Aspinall’s role, and also the role of Peter Hollingsworth. He also made contact with victims, Don Owers and Steve Fisher and others and persuaded victims of child sex abuse to be interviewed on camera. Mr Atkin produced stories on this difficult topic stripped of sensationalism, he provided the facts in a measured but comprehensive way, and provided new and, through his interviews with victims, deeply personal insights into the impact of child sex abuse within the church. The interview with Steve Fisher is particularly memorable. In this story on paedophile priest Garth Hawkins Mr Atkin allows the victim, Steve Fisher, the agency to tell his story in a nuanced, comprehensive and insightful manner, which provided the public with a greater understanding of the impact of child sex abuse on the life of an individual. It is a story that stays with the viewer. He produced this fine body of work with tight daily deadlines and negotiating the legal complexities of defamation. Congratulations Michael Atkin on an outstanding body of work.
8. Best Feature, Documentary or Current Affairs Sponsor: Telstra Finalists: • Michael Atkin, ABC TV 7:30 Program: The Failure of Fitlink • Fiona Breen, ABC TV Landline: Robbins Island Farming • Sally Glaetzer, TAS Weekend: Port Arthur Massacre Anniversary Coverage Winner: • Sally Glaetzer, TAS Weekend: Port Arthur Massacre Anniversary Coverage Judges’ comments: Sally Glaezter demonstrated both a courage and refreshing viewpoint on this Tasmanian and Australian tragedy. Her writing was both nuanced and complex, interviewing a broad range of sources for her feature to deliver a completely different take on Port Arthur after 20 years of the massacre. Her research and reporting on the impact on the people she interviewed delivered many previously unwritten stories. Good feature writing, like all good journalism, helps the community, the reader or watcher, with good conversation about important matters. Sally Glaetzer achieves that here.
9. Best News Story Sponsor: Media Super Finalists: • Richard Baines, ABC: Letting the Most vulnerable down- Tasmania’s child protection woes • Zona Black, The Examiner: Rollin Coverage of Tasmania’s Floods • Alexander Blucher, ABC: Lives and farming dreams washed away in Tasmanian floods • Benjamin Hansen, Win Television: Body of Work Winner: • Richard Baines, ABC: Letting the Most vulnerable down- Tasmania’s child protection woes Judges’ comments: The judges were impressed with the depth of the body of work and made special mention of Zona Black’s rolling coverage for The Examiner and its service to the community. Richard Baines was judged the winner because of the depth of his research, following the initial Four Corners coverage, to identify a whistle-blower, and take the next step. His stories demonstrated both consideration and care for the people involved, especially the children affected. His coverage broadened the issues for the entire Tasmanian community and delivered an outcome in that the Government changed its policy with regard to the contracted organisation.
10. Best New Journalist Sponsor: The Mercury Finalists: • Lucy Stone, The Examiner : Body of Work • Michelle Wisby, The Examiner : Body of Work • Pablo Vinales, ABC: Body of Work Winner: • Michelle Wisby, The Examiner : Body of Work Judges’ comments: The judges noted that much effort this year went into the difficult and often unrewarding issues of urban affairs and local Government. Most of the young journalists proved capable of covering a wide range of issues and showed encouraging ability. The Examiner’s Lucy Stone was among those who impressed with reporting a broad spectrum of issues, imbuing them with a human element that made them both informative and easy to read. Pablo Vinales stood out for breaking news stories, for his sensitive treatment of a woman providing shelter for sex offenders in the face of community opposition and for a profile of Eric Abetz, allowing the Tasmanian senator ‘s views and character to emerge without editorialising. Michelle Wisbey showed maturity beyond her three years’ experience in a marathon 6-thousand word series in The Examiner on domestic violence. While much of the issue has already been explored elsewhere, Michelle gave the subject new insights, real intimacy and added impact by producing a six-week series featuring victims, perpetrators and carers. Michelle further impressed with insightful interviews and timely reporting on female athletes’ struggle for sporting equality in Tasmania.
11. Keith Welsh Award for Outstanding Contribution to Journalism Sponsor: MEAA Winner: • Chris Wisbey Judges’ comments: Chris Wisbey from the ABC wins the 2017 Keith Welsh Award for his telling of Tasmanian stories. How he has dealt with sensitive issues with an engaging story-telling style for some three decades. He has built an archive of people and places in Tasmania, telling uniquely Tasmanian stories about Tasmanians. Chris Wisbey has developed and built an oral history of the State, along the way giving people a voice and encouraging them to become story-tellers.
12. Journalist of the Year Sponsor: MEAA Winner: • Richard Baines Judges’ comments: Excellent level and breadth of entries in this category; however, judges also made comment about overall lack of digital treatment of stories and use of social media to tell stories. This is important as our audiences have moved away from traditional platforms and technology has given journalists more flexibility in their story telling. Richard Baines from the ABC was judged the winner for his coherence and narrative as a journalist, successfully unifying his story series under a serious journalistic agenda. He demonstrated excellent use of the television medium with his story construction, content and use of graphics in a news format. The impact of his stories also showed his willingness to hit hard.
Best News Image (stills) Sponsor: Media Super Finalists • Nikki Davis-Jones , The Mercury: Taking A Stand • Richard Jupe, The Mercury : Comanche wins the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race • Sam Rosewarne, The Mercury: Anti-racism • Grant Wells, The Advocate: White Knight Winner • Grant Wells, The Advocate: White Knight (Link to view submission) Judges comments: With his entry White Knight, Grant Wells has taken a terrific, old school newspaper picture evocative of the analogue era. The image really lent itself to black and white and full credit to Grant for using it thus. The picture tells the story: a natural politician taking an opportunity to hit the hustings. He looks so alive and bright and stands out like a beacon among a dull congregation of the faithful. The conservative dark clothing of the many other people in the picture, each one captured in their own moment, adds a further political layer to the image. Grant was at a routine regional event and had the vision to capture a remarkable moment that revealed much about the subject: Tony Abbott, the Prime Minister of Australia, and a man in his element.
Best News Image (video) Sponsor: Media Super Finalists: • Steve Fisher, WIN Television: Prison Escape • Nick Glover, WIN Television: Lefroy Bushfire Winner: • Steve Fisher, WIN Television: Prison Escape (Link to view submission) Judges comments: Steve’s piece on the escape and recapture of an allegedly armed Risdon jail prisoner was a stand out in the News Video Image category. The vision captured the entire escape episode from the hunt to interception of the suspect swimming towards a boat, a dramatic arrest at gunpoint by police and the prisoners return to captivity. Steve’s persistence and tenacity paid off affording news viewers all the visual drama of the event.
Arts Reporting Sponsor: Media Super Finalists: • Michael Atkin, ABC: Body of Work • Scott Gelston Freelance : Pete Mattila Images • Sally Glaetzer, The Mercury’s TasWeekend: TasWeekend features Winner: • Sally Glaetzer, The Mercury’s TasWeekend: TasWeekend features ( Links to view submissions:one, two and three ) ***Special Commendation: Scott Gelston Judges comments: This category represents our closest result in 2016. Judges were not divided, rather, they were locked in agreement that there were two exceptional entries here. Sally Glaetzer won for her satisfyingly in-depth features and personality pieces. Her feature on public art controversies in Tasmania was especially accomplished. The judges appreciated the legwork that gave historic context to a topical story. Sally sourced artists caught up in past controversies, found artists working on current commissions and sourced arts budgeting figures. Skilfully written profiles on architect Robert Morris-Nunn and designer, Brodie Neill, were also satisfying reads. The judges felt Scott Gelston’s photo-essay of blacksmith-artist Pete Matilla was also exceptional work; an opportunity recognised, then maximised through technical excellence. There was a sense of being embedded in the artists’ process and the images generated an excitement about making art. Words would not have told the story better and he is awarded a special, high commendation.
Best Sports Coverage Sponsor: Cascade Brewery Finalists: • James Bresnehan, The Mercury / Sunday Tasmanian: Sports Coverage from Top to Bottom • Brent Costelloe, WIN Television: Body of Work • Chris Rowbottom, Southern Cross News Tasmania: Body of Work Winner: • Brent Costelloe, WIN Television: Body of Work (Links to view submissions: one, two and three) Judges comments: Very high quality of entries across all media platforms – television, print, radio and online. James Bresnehan’s work with the Man Up campaign got national recognition, Michael Aitkin’s Shipsterns 7.30 story was outstanding and Chris Rowbottom’s Luke Jackson piece was excellent. Brent Costelloe’s work stood out for its consistency, persistence and writing ability; his Glenorchy Brothers piece was both innovative and informative, his Glenorchy Inner Sanctum story was riveting.
Science, Environment and Health Sponsor: Health and Community Services Union Finalists: • Michael Atkin, ABC: Body of Work • Fiona Breen, ABC: Landline Reports • Alexandra Humphries, The Examiner: Water woes Winner: • Michael Atkin, Australian Broadcasting Corporation: Body of Work (Links to view submissions: one, two and three) Judges comments: Michael Atkin broke some of the biggest environmental issues of the year, from the communities facing water contamination in the state’s north-east, to the mass fish kill in Macquarie Harbour, to the flouting of 4WD bans on the state’s remote tracks. Atkin’s work is direct and fearless. It forces people to take notice and affects change. He also is willing to go the extra mile when he gets the sniff of a story (he was the only reporter to attend the community meeting in Pioneer). His body of work is powerful, agenda setting journalism, which seamlessly combines news breaking stories with a powerful human focus.
Mental Health Reporting Sponsor: Mental Health, Alcohol and Drug Directorate Finalists: • Alexandra Humphries, The Examiner: Minds Matter: Post traumatic stress disorder amongst those who serve • Sam Ikin, ABC News: Talking about suicide isn’t easy, but it’s necessary • Jane Ryan, ABC: Coming out – Living with bipolar Winner: • Jane Ryan, Australian Broadcasting Corporation: Coming out – Living with bipolar (Link to view submission) Judges comments: The growth and development of this category – Mental Health Reporting – and the quality of the reporting is not only significant, but also very encouraging. The judges found the diversity of the stories impressive. The entries of Jane Ryan and Sam Ikin show us all what courageous journalism looks like. They both stepped out out from behind the comfort of the journalist’s by-line and put themselves as the central focus of deeply personal journeys with mental illness. Alexander Humphries is to be commended on her well-researched series on the impact PTSD has on a range of professions, highlighting the need for better support. Jane Ryan’s compelling and finely produced RN Earshot program “Coming Out – Living with Bi Polar”, provided insight into her own experience and also the experience of others living with this illness. With more than 10,000 listeners, nationwide Jane has made a significant contribution to the national conversation on bi polar and mental illness. She is to be congratulated on her documentary “Coming Out” and is a worthy winner of the Mental Health Reporting Category.
Comment and Analysis Sponsor: Unions Tasmania Finalists: • Matthew Denholm, The Australian: Analysing Tas • Sally Glaetzer, The Mercury’s TasWeekend: Body of Work • Matt Smith, The Mercury: Body of Work Winner: • Matt Smith, The Mercury: Body of Work (Links to view submissions: one, two and three) Judges comments: The judges were impressed by the consistently high standard of writing and engagement by Matt Smith over several examples. Matt writes clearly, concisely and builds around the facts in a way that the reader is kept engaged in often-complex articles. He shows a strong writing style, accuracy and solid analysis based on extensive factual research or observation. The judges felt his writing was particularly strong in the article “Glass jaw syndrome is alive and well” and also considered that in this small community it was also a brave piece to put out there.
Excellence in Legal Reporting Sponsor: Butler, McIntyre & Butler Finalists: • Edith Bevin, ABC News – Tasmania: Body of Work • Pat Billings, The Mercury, Compensation and Jodi Eaton • Sophie Kuryl, WIN Television Tasmania:Body of Work Winner: • Pat Billings, The Mercury, Compensation and Jodi Eaton (Links to view submissions: one, two and three) Judges comments: The high profile investigations into the disappearance of Lucille Butterworth, understandably featured in the Legal Reporting Category. Edith Bevin’s report on Lucille Butterfield presented impressive production values, which enhanced the quality of her report, expanding well beyond just the evidence presented. Her profile of Chief Magistrate Michael Hill on his retirement further demonstrated Edith’s story telling skills. Sophie Kuryl likewise presented a comprehensive report on Lucille Butterworth, making the most of information gathered during the month long inquest, producing a well-crafted feature story. Away from the spotlight of the Lucille Butterworth mystery was the work of Pat Billings, his three stories demonstrating the very essence of legal reporting. His stand out report on the Jodi Eaton murder raised questions about the justice system, police processes and domestic violence, leading to an inquiry into shortcomings within the judicial system. In tandem with his story on a Gay Hate Pay Out case, setting a legal precedent, Patrick shows a comprehensive commitment to court reporting to take out this year’s Legal Reporting Category Award.
Best Feature, Documentary or Current Affairs Sponsor: Telstra Country Wide Finalists: • Duncan Abey, The Mercury: Alan and Kris Pearn • Michael Atkin, ABC: Easy Prey: Careers Australia and its dubious sales tactics • Fiona Breen, ABC: Macquarie Island Winner: • Michael Atkin, Australian Broadcasting Corporation: Easy Prey: Careers Australia and its dubious sales tactics (Links to view submissions: one and two ) Judges comments: Michael Atkin’s piece entitled Easy Prey was an expose of Careers Australia and the dubious tactics used to sign up and sell packages to vulnerable people. It was an excellent example of how Tasmanian stories can have national importance, and influence from a solid current affairs perspective. The story touched on a very important issue; it was backed with very strong sources, both from the whistle-blower and one of the victims. The combination of the visual and audio elements of the story worked very well. The visual elements helped to shine a light on the areas which were obviously being targeted by Careers Australia’s less scrupulous operators. The work by Michael also resulted in the organisation’s CEO resigning from a Federal government advisory board. It demonstrated strong newsworthiness, public benefit and creative flair. Duncan Abey’s feature with Alan and Kris Pearn, parents of Natalia, was a very worthy Honourable Mention amongst a number of other strong contenders.
Best News Story Sponsor: CPSU Finalists: • Bob Burton, Tasmanian Times: Deals and donors • Blair Richards, The Mercury: Defamation defeat • Matt Smith. The Mercury: Your right to know Winner: • Matt Smith. The Mercury: Your right to know (Links to view submissions: one, two and three) Judges comments: Matt entered a body of work he titled “Your Right to Know” which exposed the Hobart City Council’s lack of control over expense claims submitted by aldermen. Relying on good sources, leaked documents and numerous RTI requests, Matt unveiled a pattern of endemic spending behaviour that had cost ratepayers more than $350,000. The Council’s “self-certification” policy had resulted in claims including babysitting fees, overseas trips, expensive dinners and event tickets. Predictably, the community was outraged and prompted the Tasmanian Auditor General to deliver 40 recommendations. A complete overhaul of expense spending and accountability has now been implemented by the HCC.
Best New Journalist Sponsor: The Mercury Finalists: • Elizabeth Anile, WIN Television : Body of Work • Richard Baines, ABC : Body of Work • Katelyn Barry, Southern Cross Austereo : Body of Work Winner: • Richard Baines, ABC : Body of Work (Links to view submissions: one, two and three) Judges comments: Every year, the quality of this category improves; perhaps the most difficult to judge because of the high calibre of both entries and levels of entrant, from first year to third year practitioners. Many of the younger journalists have hit the ground running by using both RTI/FOI and working their contacts to achieve results with stories. This was very close, from 15 entrants and perhaps seven at the highest level. Richard Baines won for the quality of his stories, his writing and presentation on television, print and radio.
Journalist of the Year Sponsor: MEAA Finalists: • Michael Atkin, ABC : Body of Work • Patrick Billings, The Mercury: Body of Work • Matt Smith, The Mercury: Body of Work Winner: • Michael Atkin ABC: Body of Work Judges comments: Michael Atkin’s body of work was of a consistently high standard across a diverse range of issues of vital interest to Tasmanians and with implications for a national audience. His investigation into predatory practices in vocational education worked to give significant momentum for national reform of the sector. This beautifully crafted story used the stark surroundings of an underprivileged outer Hobart suburb as the backdrop for the dashed hopes of an aspirational young mother. Michael’s ability to work with his camera operator and sound recordist for maximum impact was also demonstrated in his story on water contamination in two small towns in rural Tasmania. The vision of a conga line of elderly residents with walking sticks lugging buckets to a communal tap would be considered shocking even in a third world country. These stories required extensive research and verification of information from a variety of sources, but Michael was equally adept in his sensitive handling of an extremely personal portrait of Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie as she struggled to do the right thing by her drug addicted son. Michael has the ability to be both fearless and fair handed, exemplified in his confrontation with a forest contractor, which could have easily turned into an unenlightening slanging match. The judges were very hard pressed to separate the entrants in this category. The standard of journalism submitted was of a uniformly high standard of which Tasmanians should be proud. But in a very strong field, the ABC 7.30’s Michael Atkin has been adjudged Tasmania’s Journalist of the Year.