The winners of the 2018 WA Media Awards were announced at the WA Media Ball in Perth on October 27.
This year’s media awards attracted more than 280 entries and the judges said the standard of journalism entered for the awards was outstanding.
Gary Adshead of The West Australian was named the West Australian Journalist of the Year for his work exposing a series of misrepresentations by the former State MP for Darling Range Barry Urban about his past. The judges said this was “the sort of journalism all of us in the media should be striving to achieve”. The judges acknowledged an extremely high standard of work across all the winners of each category, but Gary’s work was “a level above the rest”.
The Clarion Prize for the Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism went to Cathy O’Leary who began her career in 1984 on a Perth suburban newspaper. In 1985, she was offered a job at The West Australian and very early on began to specialise in health reporting. The judges said: “In an industry that might sometimes be distracted by social media stats and ‘clickbait’, she continues to remind colleagues what the important issues are. Her multi-award-winning reporting has led to major changes, at state and national levels, within the health system and public health policy, in a wide range of areas… changes that will have a positive impact on the health of generations to come.”
The Arthur Lovekin Prize for Excellence in Journalism was awarded to Tony Barrass of The Sunday Times for his story ‘McCusker’s Bid to Clear Child Killer’. The judges were impressed by Tony’s meticulous, almost forensic, research into a potentially significant miscarriage of justice. “The well-crafted narrative keeps public attention on police and judicial processes, which remain an important issue in WA,” they said.
MEAA congratulates all of the 2018 WA Media Awards winners. Martin Turner, WA MEAA Media section president said: “It is pleasing to see such a strong commitment to excellence in journalism as has been shown in the entry level to this year’s WA Media Awards. It is equally pleasing to enjoy an evening with our media friends from across the industry to celebrate our work, and to demonstrate the enjoyment we get from such a noble and intellectually stimulating environment as the media affords us. Thanks in particular to our generous sponsors for supporting quality journalism and our judges for sharing their professional knowledge to determine winners,” Turner said.
For more information: MEAAstateawards@walkleys.com
Outstanding Journalism Student Award
Sponsor: Department of Premier and Cabinet
Judges’ Comments This category shows the great work being done in universities to develop new journalists and the future is in good hands if these stories are an indication. Many of the stories had been picked up in mainstream media and Stephanie Baumgartel’s was among those, shining a light on Rottnest’s dirty underwater pollution secrets. Her work across her stories reflected the ability to find a fresh angle, research and report with flair and it will be worth watching to see what she tackles next.
New Journalist or Cadet – The Eaves-Prior-Day Prize
Sponsor: Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance
Judges’ Comments The judges had a great range of work from new journos across the state and there’s a lot of talent among this cohort, that’s for sure. James Carmody stood out among them for his versatility. He reported across radio, television and online news where he’s also proficient with a camera. James showed a great range of research in his Cyclone Kevin reporting, was among the media throng reporting on the Margaret River murders and stood his ground at the scene of a mass drug overdose in the face of a hostile hostel owner. He’s shown himself to be developing into a very good all-rounder.
Sponsor: The Sunday Times
Judges’ Comments: ‘Rescued’ – An image with great news value, showing good technical skills … and made from a distance in very challenging questionable light. Not only does the bear and the boy tell a great story – but the faces of the three men looking on add to the drama … fabulous.
Sponsor: Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance
Judges’ Comments: Jon Gellweiler’s Body of Work is a step above the pack in terms of technical skills. His work shows a good range of subject matter, and the images tell great stories.
Feature Photographic Essay
Sponsor: Media Super
Judges’ Comments: David Dare Parker’s ‘Rohingya refugees’ is a standout above all others. David’s work amongst the Rohingya fleeing Myanmar is very much world class. A telling visual portrayal of the suffering of the Rohingya … and the aftermath of apparent attempted genocide.
Broadcast Camerawork – All Media Sponsor Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance Winner Gareth White, Channel 9 Perth: Missing woman found Finalists
Highly Commended Simon Hydzik, Seven West Media: Police ROG Unit and wild parties Judges’ Comments When news unfolds in front of you, there is an ethical decision in terms of how much to become a participant rather than the storyteller. The judges praised Gareth White for navigating this challenge with professionalism, while under pressure to get the story. While it was clear that the first concern was for the welfare of the missing woman, he secured an exclusive, attention-grabbing interview as they drove her to waiting emergency services. Best Three News Stories or Features – Community/Regional – All Media Sponsor Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance Winner Sam Tomlin, ABC Kimberley: Body of work Finalists
Judges’ Comments Sam Tomlin produced consistently well-written and researched stories on key local issues in the turbulent Goldfields. The contribution of indigenous rangers to keeping the peace during the Elijah trial was nicely observed. Measured coverage was credited with helping during a tense time in Kalgoorlie. A gold miner dudding workers and vice versa would be water-cooler moments around town. Observation and the working of contacts are the bread and butter of reporting, keeping the journalist at the cutting edge of the local news beat. Freelance Journalist – All Media Sponsor Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance Winner Tom de Souza, Freelance: Body of work Finalists
Judges’ Comments Tom de Souza’s compelling personal tale of a descent into drug addiction, and of the hard road to recovery, takes us to the heart of a problem wrecking lives and relationships across the State. Adding value to the story in a foreign setting – Indonesia – demonstrated ingenuity and resourcefulness across genre and context. Tom’s other story on the Yiriman Project in Western Australia’s Kimberley shed light on another intractable problem; indigenous alienation and suicide. Tom put a positive spin on an often elusive issue, enlisting the community’s assistance to tell the tale. Culture and Arts Report – The A.H. Kornweibel Prize – All Media Sponsor Serafino Wines Winner Katie McDonald, Business News: Strategic plan to build on creative connections Finalists
Judges’ Comments This is a very well-researched suite of stories covering a diverse and complex sector in a detailed manner. The stories explore both the challenges and opportunities for arts and culture in WA through multiple interviews, context and background. Importantly, they collectively point to the future of the sector in terms of funding issues and engagement with other industries such as tourism. Though complex, the stories are engaging, well-structured and have significant news value. Health/Medical Report – All Media Sponsor AMA WA Winner Claire Moodie and Team, ABC: Mesh victims fight back Finalists
Judges’ Comments Judging of the Health/Medical category was exhausting. So many heart-breaking stories. All the judges commented on the high standard of entries and the difficulty of choosing from so many very moving, well told and tragic stories. “Never again doing this category” said one of them. Claire Moodie’s story for ABC 7.30 stood out. Claire skillfully and sensitively told the story of one of Australia’s biggest health scandals – that women across the country have been living in severe pain since being fitted with pelvic mesh implants to treat prolapse and incontinence. These women’s suffering has been ignored for too long. The story came to life with the excellent use of numerous case studies that described the problem in an engaging and honest way. This was enhanced by superb production. The story was also balanced and alternative views were respected and given appropriate airtime. The follow-up online story showed the extraordinary and expensive measures some women have taken to deal with the problem. Moving, heartbreaking and well told. Science and Environmental Report – All Media Sponsor Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance Winner Kathryn Diss, ABC News: How the Gorgon gas plant could wipe out a year of solar emissions savings Finalists
Judges’ Comments John Flint and Erin Parke each produced outstanding pieces of work and are commended by the judges. Kathryn Diss spent several months researching the Gorgon gas plant’s failure to meet its key environmental condition of capturing and storing carbon dioxide underground. Kathryn broke down a complex issue by using a consumer angle to tell the story. The finished product featured on ABC TV News and on the ABC website and was well executed, using on-screen graphs in the TV report and easily understood charts in the online version. Her research also questioned Australia’s ability (or inability) to meet its global climate change agreement and a lack of political will to introduce unpopular policies to meet the target. Social Equity Report – All Media Sponsor Equal Opportunity Commission Winner Gabrielle Jeffery, Community News : ‘Til death do us part Finalists
Judges’ Comments Social equity involves the protection and proper treatment of the most vulnerable in our society. This was a story about a woman who was so close to death that she was unconscious when a celebrant performed a marriage ceremony that outraged the woman’s family, turned them against the groom/fiancé and ultimately saw the celebrant censured. This story is remarkable in the way that it brings all perspectives into the story with great sensitivity. This is community news reporting at its best. It goes to an issue of the exploitation and protection of the vulnerable. This story came to Jeffery after a tip-off from witnesses. She had to provide them with assurances that their identities would not be disclosed. She used the court processes to dig out the transcript. There was research all the way through, getting to an understanding of the Marriage Act and following up on the status of the celebrant. Every possible angle was included, giving all parties concerned the opportunity to tell their side. In addition, the story was picked up by other media nationally and internationally. Business, Economics or Finance Report – All Media Sponsor The Australian Winner Matthew Mckenzie, Business News: Technology drives reform need in energy Finalists
Judges’ Comments Mckenzie’s three-part submission devoted valuable column inches to a very important topic for the business community – affordable and sustainable energy. His stories provided a rare long-form insight into electricity market contestability and the improved viability of battery power storage. Mckenzie was thorough and covered all bases, including relevant graphics and explaining the facts and figures pertaining to the changing face of WA’s energy market, and clearly spelt out the need for more reform. Political Report – The Beck Prize – All Media Sponsor The Sunday Times Winner Gary Adshead, The West Australian: Urban disaster Finalists
Judges’ Comments Reporters expect politicians to tell a few porkies. But who would ever believe that one of our elected representatives might make up the better part of an entire career? Armed with a small piece of information, The West Australian’s Gary Adshead began making inquiries about a police service medal worn at an ANZAC Day ceremony by Labor MP Barry Urban. A senior staffer in the Premier’s office called Gary to tell him he had been given a “bum steer”, but Gary persisted. Gary chased down British police authorities, former officers who served in Bosnia, the Bosnian war crimes investigations office in The Hague and universities in the UK as he checked out every element of Urban’s life. Adshead threw up story after story and Urban was eventually forced to quit parliament amid the historic threat of expulsion. It was only then that the incredible extent of Urban’s dishonesty became clear. Among Urban’s bogus claims were that he had a degree from the University of Leeds, that he had a certificate from the University of Portsmouth, and that he investigated war crimes in the Balkans. Urban’s exit from politics forced a by-election, which Labor lost. Judges were impressed by Gary’s tenacious pursuit of the story and its impact on WA politics was significant. Sports Report – The Gilmour-Christian Prize – All Media Sponsor Gage Roads Brewing Co. Winner Nick Taylor, Seven West Media: How Rugby Australia signed the Western Force death warrant Finalists
Judges’ Comments Taylor’s three entries constitute a truly national news-breaking effort with solid evidence of a disturbing and questionable series of deals that could be traced straight back to the top at Rugby Australia. The stories showed not only that Taylor’s knowledge and connections in national rugby circles are impeccable; they also displayed his ability to cultivate a level of trust from his sources that blew open the inappropriate nature of all the deals Rugby Australia involved itself in while cutting the Western Force from the NRL. This kind if story takes time and effort to co-ordinate, and is a testament to Taylor’s experience and doggedness. Columnist – The Matt Price Award – All Media Sponsor The West Australian Winner Emma Young, Fairfax Media/WAtoday: Matters of life and death (and recycling) Finalists
Judges’ Comments The Matt Price Award was hotly contested and featured passionate pieces from some of the State’s most talented writers, triggering lively debate among the judges. In the end, Emma Young’s entries, particularly “Why my grandma should be left to die”, were both personal and universal, tapping into the issues that affect millions of Australians every day. Young told her grandmother’s story with humour and respect, while conveying the frustration and hopelessness that so many families feel when it comes to aged care and end-of-life issues and decisions. Young used some powerful imagery and emotive language to argue that our society’s “save the life at all costs” mentality was causing more damage than it should. It was a thought-provoking piece that had the readers and the public interest firmly at its heart. Multimedia Sponsor Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance Winner Emma Young, Soren Frederiksen, Craig Butt, Trisnadi Kurniawan and Mark Stehle, Fairfax Media: Peak hour Finalists
Judges’ Comments This piece fully harnesses the storytelling capacities of multimedia through the engaging, accessible use of data visualisations. The interactive data is made informative and useful with the aid of well-written analysis and broader context. Traffic is always a hot topic that resonates with Perth audiences and importantly this story explores the wider impact of mounting congestion. This is an outstanding example of both collaborative journalism and multimedia-driven sense-making. News Story or Feature – Radio/Audio Journalism Sponsor Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance Winner Kirsti Melville, ABC Radio National: Foster care Finalists
Judges’ Comments Strong long-form reporting on an important subject, this two-part report examines the important contributions to the community of foster carers and foster families and the challenges faced by child protection workers in the Kimberley. The reports are engaging due to Kirsti’s excellent interaction with the subjects of her interviews backed by solid research and thoughtful editing. News Story or Feature – Television/Audio-Visual Journalism Sponsor Media Super Winner Charlotte Hamlyn, ABC News: David Goodall Finalists
Highly Commended Nicolas Perpitch and Robert Koenig-Luck, ABC: Saving Roebourne Judges’ Comments The judges said that voluntary euthanasia is a sensitive topic that requires ethical and delicate reporting. Charlotte Hamlyn’s coverage of David Goodall’s bid to end his life was just that. Trust between her and Dr Goodall was developed over many years, and Charlotte was allowed to be a part of his final, private moments, and tell Dr Goodall’s story with dignity. Charlotte accurately captured and painted an intimate picture of a fragile, elderly man who just wanted to die, at a time when Australia is still trying to come to terms with such a divisive subject. Best Three Stories or Feature – Suburban – Print/Text Presented by WA Public Transport Authority Winner David Cohen, Post Newspapers: Cops, Court, and a car crash Finalists
Judges’ Comments Cohen’s entry displayed a great range of suburban news coverage. Each story was relevantly anchored in current events. The Margaret Court scoop was tremendous, obviously in large part because of the timing. It was an impressive effort to find out about it, confirm it and get it into print without any other media getting wind of it. Not easy on a weekly deadline. Cohen’s crooked cops shone the light on some shameful behaviour that would otherwise not have attracted headlines. Cohen rounded out his entry with a lovely, bread-and-butter story from the streets of his community. Three Headlines – Print/Text Sponsor Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance Winner Martin Turner, Community News Group: “Arrest is history”, “Best distill to come” and “West Coast’s Darling buds in May” Finalists
Judges’ Comments Martin’s skill in conveying the core message of a story in so few words shone through in all his entries. Of particular merit was the headline accompanying the story of Mervyn Eades’ life, which said all it needed to in three words – allowing the front-page space which the powerful picture of Eades deserved. Martin did not rely on puns to make his point – instead he used a skilled turn of phrase, and then borrowed from the bard to catch the reader’s eye. To be able to utilise this quality amid the universal quantity that a modern-day sub-editor has to cope with made the entry even more worthy of the win. Feature Writing – Print/Text Sponsor Lavan Winner Billy Rule, The Sunday Times: Trying to save Ben Gerring Finalists
Highly Commended Tim Clarke, Seven West Media: The Aaron Pajich murder trial Judges’ Comments Feature writing at its best. Billy Rule’s emotive feature reduced even the most jaded and cynical readers to tears. It was a 3600-word masterclass of the genre. Flawlessly written and researched, moving and captivating, Billy’s writing puts the reader in the water that day and brings alive the fear, horror and courage of those involved. Billy wrote about a tragedy but he didn’t descend into melodrama: he let the facts, and people, speak for themselves. Tim Clarke’s chilling series is court reporting, at its finest. Beyond the cut and thrust of the courtroom, he chased down facts and people, piecing together a string of comprehensive, gripping reads with exclusive elements. In writing, researching and reporting this series, Clarke does justice to a crime story which horrified Perth. News Report – Print/Text Sponsor The West Australian Winner Charlotte Hamlyn, ABC News: David Goodall Finalists
Judges’ Comments Charlotte’s telling of the story of the end of David Goodall’s remarkable life was remarkable itself in several respects. Charlotte had obviously gained the trust of Dr Goodall so completely that he wanted her to tell his story – that was a feat in itself. But to then capture his final journey so sensitively while retaining the news value and power of the message was a brilliant and important piece of journalism. In a year where tragic death so often dominated the news, Charlotte managed to make the story of Dr Goodall’s death uplifting as well as empathetic. The judges unanimously agreed that Charlotte was a worthy winner. Arthur Lovekin Prize for Excellence in Journalism Presented by the University of Western Australia Winner Tony Barrass, The Sunday Times: McCusker’s bid to clear child killer Finalists
Judges’ Comments Tony Barrass’s story focused on the murder of schoolgirl Sharon Mason 35 years ago, and the subsequent trial of convicted killer Arthur Greer. The judges were impressed by Tony’s meticulous, almost forensic, research into a potentially significant miscarriage of justice. The well-crafted narrative keeps public attention on police and judicial processes, which remain an important issue in WA. WA Journalist of the Year Sponsor Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance Winner Gary Adshead, The West Australian Finalist
Judges’ Comments Gary Adshead’s work in exposing a series of lies by the former State MP for Darling Range Barry Urban about his past is the sort of journalism all of us in the media should be striving to achieve. The judges acknowledge an extremely high standard of work across all the winners of each category, but Gary’s work was a level above the rest. By revealing that Mr Urban had worn a fake police medal and then pursuing other questions about his past, Gary’s journalism led to a series of extraordinary events which saw Urban quit Parliament. The newly installed State Government was forced back to the polls and lost the seat of Darling Range to the Liberals. Mr Urban now faces criminal charges. In choosing Gary as the WA Journalist of the Year, the judges praised his persistence and methodical work that dismantled Mr Urban’s claims about his past exploits and qualifications. Holding elected members to account is a cornerstone of journalism, one of the reasons our profession is so important to the communities we serve. By selecting Gary as the Journalist of the Year, the judges send a strong message not only to the rich and powerful but also to the community that as an industry one of our highest ideals is to hold those in positions of power to account. In a world now dominated by an online environment peppered with fake news, it is good to remind ourselves what is truly important in our profession and the sort of time, effort and expertise it takes to deliver such work. There is no finer example than Gary Adshead’s work. Outstanding Contribution to Journalism – The Clarion Prize 2018 Sponsor Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance Winner Cathy O’Leary Judges’ Comments The Clarion Prize is presented to a member of the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance who has, in the opinion of the MEAA’s Media Section Committee, made the greatest contribution to the profession in WA during the year. The committee considers the quality of work and other ways in which the member has contributed to journalism and the union. Cathy O’Leary has made exceptional contributions to journalism and the state’s health over a period of three decades. She is a campaigning, compassionate and knowledgeable journalist, unrivalled in her specialist area. Her contribution in improving health literacy, healthy behaviours and health outcomes is recognised as remarkable. As a MEAA member, Cathy is a shining example of adherence to the union’s Code of Ethics. She has served on the WA Newspapers house committee and been a generous mentor to colleagues, who have benefited from her experience, judgement, guidance and high-minded values. Well respected for her ethical, accurate and balanced reporting, Cathy has managed to consistently break important news stories while maintaining the trust of the WA community – no mean feat at a time when trust in the media around the world is being eroded by accusations of “fake news”. Considerate, empathetic and highly popular with her readers, Cathy often receives phone calls for advice from members of the public – even including once being called by a pregnant woman in advanced labour asking if it was time to go to hospital! In recognition of the need to instil these qualities in future journalists, Cathy was asked to write the curriculum for – and then teach – Australia’s first Health Journalism unit at Edith Cowan University. Students of this course have gone on to win national awards for health reporting. ECU is still the only university in Australia to teach Health Journalism. Cathy began her career in 1984 on a Perth suburban newspaper. In 1985, she was offered a job at The West Australian and very early on began to specialise in health reporting. Cathy started out on typewriters, sharing one landline telephone with four reporters, and then moved on to the age of computers and online reporting. Successfully navigating our much-changed media landscape, she has maintained her high standards. In an industry that might sometimes be distracted by social media stats and “clickbait”, Cathy continues to remind colleagues what the important issues are. Her multi-award-winning reporting has led to major changes, at state and national levels, within the health system and public health policy, in a wide range of areas, from waiting lists and finances, to cancer care, palliative care, mental health, Aboriginal health, alcohol, tobacco and drugs, obesity and immunisation – changes that will have a positive impact on the health of generations to come. In the past year, her reporting has contributed to two landmark advances in health:
* A $39.5 million Federal Budget initiative ensuring all pregnant women will be offered a free whooping cough vaccine. The decision comes after campaigns by families who lost babies to whooping cough, with our winner receiving the Best Health/Medical Report award in 2015 for her articles on the tragic death of Riley Hughes from pertussis.
* New Zealand is moving to join Australia in the mandatory addition of folic acid to packaged bread, to prevent babies being born with neural tube defects. Australian public health officials say our winner’s initial reporting on the case for fortification of bread-making flour with folate was critical to ensuring the implementation of this measure in Australia in 2009. As a result of this, neural tube defects have already fallen by 14 per cent in Australia and by a staggering 74 per cent in indigenous women.
Both of these advances have highlighted the quality and far-reaching influence of Cathy’s journalism.
If you are having trouble seeing this gallery on your phone or browser, view it on flickr. All photos by Sachi Kotecha
The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA), the union and industry advocate for Australia’s journalists, is delighted to announce the winners of the 2017 West Australian Media Awards – the pre-eminent state-based awards celebrating journalistic excellence in print, broadcast and digital media platforms. The winners were announced at the awards’ gala function at the Empire Function Centre in West Perth. The annual awards – proudly supported by MEAA – promote quality journalism and reward media professionals whose commitment and excellent media coverage best informs and entertains West Australians. This years’ WA Media Awards attracted 247 entries across the 24 award categories. The panel of 39 judges said they were impressed by the high quality of submissions this year. Rebecca Johns and Jessica Miocevich of Nine Network Australia won the Daily News Centenary Prize – West Australian Journalist of the Year 2017 award. The judges said: “The judges felt the two entries – camerawork by Jessica Miocevich and news story by Rebecca Johns – deserved to share the award as they were intrinsically linked. Most definitely, the story of the riots, sparked by the death of Aboriginal teen Elijah Doughty, could not have been told to the same extent without the confronting images that accompanied it. The camerawoman put herself in the action in a heated and volatile situation and managed to maintain her composure and her focus, to capture one of the year’s most iconic sequence of pictures. At the same time, the story was sensitively handled by the journalist who… was able to link Aboriginal people to violence but also to grief.” Rebecca and Jessica also won in both Best News Story or Feature – Television/Audio-Visual and Best Broadcast Camerawork respectively, for their story on the Kalgoorlie Riot. MEAA congratulates all the award winners on their fine achievement. For more information: Anna Magnus 0423 363 725
Outstanding Journalism Student Award Sponsored by the Department of the Premier and Cabinet Winner:
Judges comments: “Molly Schmidt’s three pieces showed a clear talent for beautifully crafted writing well beyond her years. Her Shanghai orphans story is a top notch feature with surprising insights into the scale of prejudice towards cleft palate in China. The fact the condition is the top reason for the high number of babies being abandoned around the nation would be a revelation to most westerners, while the photography is an excellent addition and really helps drive the point home, adding to the poignancy of the story. Molly’s Lyme disease story is thought provoking, shows a strong capacity for research and just, just, straddles the line between positions in the debate. Her Perth Soccer Club story is delivered in a direct manner and is a good example of modern reporting that demonstrates her nose for news. She’s writing at a sophisticated level.” Best New Journalist or Cadet Sponsored by Community Newspaper Group Winner:
Judges comments: “The judges acknowledge the stark differences in these two nominations but consider both worthy of sharing the award. Tom de Souza’s writing style is compelling. His story construction belies his relative inexperience in the craft and his use of photography and inclusion of video material add extra dimensions to already‐persuasive storytelling. Emily Baker displays an ability to craft news stories for television in a style that will resonate with most viewers, as evidenced by reports on the brawl victim and the Roe 8 protestors while her exclusive insulin overdose story was well‐researched and of public importance. The judges feel Emily’s high standard of presentation underpins her submission.” Best News Photograph Sponsored by The Sunday Times Winner:
Judges comments: “Mary’s hard news image from the four hour Kalgoorlie riot’s – sparked by the death of Aboriginal teenager 14 year old Ethan Doughty – was a stand out in the news photo category. Mary was in the right spot to capture the confrontation between a bloodied police officer and a protestor. An important image from one of the biggest WA stories of the year.” Best News Photograph- Community/Regional Sponsored by the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance Winner:
Judges comments: “The judges felt that Mary Mills’ photograph of the Kalgoorlie riots was the best image in this category. It is evident that the photographer was close to the action, capturing the tense and dangerous nature of the riot. The expressions on the subject’s faces are compelling, so too the smear of what appears to be blood on the cheek of an officer. In what was a very fluid situation, the photographer kept her head, producing a very clear, powerful image without getting involved in the riot itself. This illustrates the role of photography in an important news story for the Goldfields region, the state of Western Australia and the nation. The judges also commented that this photograph reminded them of Jonathan Bachman’s photograph of the woman who confronted police at a Black Lives Matter protest in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 2016. The powerful impact of this well-produced image impressed the judges.” Best Feature Photographic Essay Sponsored by Media Super Winner:
Judges comments: “A very strong set of images that capture the volatile emotion as protesters clash with police at the WA Governments controversial Roe 8 extension across Beeliar Wetlands. The photographer’s conscious decision to remove the colour and present the photographs as black and white allows the viewer to look into the images and not be distracted by the fluorescent yellow police jackets which would have dominated the images. The photographer has embedded himself in the thick of the action giving the audience a real insight of what the situation was like as it was happening on the ground. It’s a credit to Michael that he’s remained alert and subjective and managed to shoot well executed sharp images while being aware of his surroundings during constant surging and jostling by both the police and protestors. The set has been well edited and presents as a well-balanced photo essay.” Best Broadcast Camerawork Sponsored by Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance Winner:
Judges comments: “This was another closely contested category … The judges said Jessica Miocevich’s gripping on-the-spot camera work captured the rioting that erupted on the streets of Kalgoorlie following the death of Elijah Doughty. Putting aside her own safety, Jessica captured unforgettable pictures as rioters threw rocks and bottles at the court building; stomped on a police car and smashed its windows; and attacked and injured police. Amid the screaming and chaos, police retaliated with batons, riot shields and pepper spray as they tried to subdue the angry crowd. Jessica’s camerawork is an outstanding example of on-the-spot news camerawork shot in dangerous and difficult conditions as events unfolded around her with no warning.” Regional and Community – Best Three News Stories or Features Sponsored by the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance Winner:
Judges comments: “Nathan Morris has produced an extremely powerful and haunting piece from Leonora that humanises the story of Australia’s indigenous suicide crisis. Local undertaker Matt Taylor’s decision to tell the story of his son’s suicide in raw detail is clearly the result of a deeply trusting relationship between journalist and subject. The footage of a grieving Taylor measuring and digging his son’s grave is unforgettable. The interview with a man who speaks of his own suicidal thoughts is similarly troubling. And while this piece helped foster greater awareness around this tragic issue in the Goldfields-Esperance region, it surely deserves to be seen by a much wider audience. It is rare that journalism conveys fact, emotion and the desperate mood of a town. This did it all.” Suburban – Best Three Stories or Feature Sponsored by WA Public Transport Authority Winner:
Judges comments: “The Suburban category attracted a large field of high-quality entries. The judges were impressed with the breadth of coverage of suburban news reporting and the high degree of relevance the reporting of all entrants, and particularly the finalists, would have had on their local communities. It also became clear that there were two standout entrants in this category who could not be separated because they both excelled at addressing the Suburban category, albeit from different angles. Sarah Brookes submitted an excellent body of work of grassroots suburban reporting. Her dogged pursuit of answers to health incidents affecting a local school displayed local community reporting at its best, and would have generated widespread public interest in her newspaper’s catchment area. Bret Christian’s experience and position as a newspaper publisher allows him to regularly set the suburban news agenda. Particularly, it is his continued pursuit of the inside story of the Claremont Serial Killer police investigation that elevated his submitted body of work to the highest level. He produced a story borne out of understanding events at a suburban level can was elevated to State-wide (and even national) significance. Brookes and Christian are therefore worthy joint winners of the Suburban news category.” Best Freelance Journalist Sponsored by the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance Winner:
Judges comments: “This set of stories by Dorothy Henderson presents the widest variety of rural life with empathy and an understanding of the land. Through the stories of individuals, the author gives the reader a nuanced insight into the experiences of people, and not through ‘man on the land’ stereotypes. Henderson clearly likes and respects her interviewees, whether they are commenting comically on an earthquake shock and the solace of sharing the experience on social media, or a mother describing the value of growing market vegetables with her two young sons. Or an inspiring account of land care schemes that leave wildlife in the landscape and crops in the paddock.” Best Culture and Arts Report Sponsored by Serafino Wines Winner:
Judges comments: “Katie McDonald’s entry focuses on the challenges facing the Western Australia arts sector in a tough funding environment and against a backdrop of low federal funding allocations. The articles show a resourceful WA arts sector energetically striving to surmount funding challenges through innovation and collaboration at state, national and even international levels. McDonald demonstrates a solid grasp of the arts scene; her work is carefully researched and grounded in facts, figures and well-founded opinions. She captures the lively aspirations of a creative but often under-funded sector. Such journalistic work is vital for nurturing a healthy and informed arts sector and for fostering an enlightened funding bureaucracy.” Best Health/Medical Report Sponsored by the Australian Medical Association WA Winner:
Judges comments: “Final Act” is a mature, well-written piece of journalism and the excellence of Victoria Laurie’s writing stood above the field of entries. Foresight and planning was the cornerstone of the piece; it was obvious Ms Laurie had recognised the importance of Clive Deverall to the euthanasia debate long before his tragic death at his own hand. She interviewed him about his campaign to legalise euthanasia in Western Australia before he died and those close to him afterwards. Impressively, the piece demonstrated a deft handling of an issue that is both complex and contentious without any evidence of the journalist’s personal inclination one way or the other. The importance of the piece was underscored when Mr Deverall’s widow Noreen Fynn, one of Ms Laurie’s interview subjects, was a guest of the WA Parliament in August when it established an inquiry examining the introduction of euthanasia laws in WA.” Best Science and Environmental Report Sponsored by the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance Winner:
Judges comments: “John Flint took a story that could have easily stayed forgotten in a government media release and broke it wide open. He doggedly investigated the implications of the Western Australian government’s strategy to divert waste from landfill by crushing and recycling demolition rubble from older buildings, even though it is riddled with asbestos, and what he found was alarming. Stockpiles of dangerous waste had been created by contractors who couldn’t afford landfill levy fees which had been hiked 500 per cent to encourage recycling. Mr Flint’s series is a peerless example of delving beneath the spin to pursue every possible angle. Supported by comprehensive research, the work is a showpiece revealing the unintended consequences of poorly conceived government policy.” Best Social Equity Report Sponsored by Equal Opportunity Commission Winner:
Judges comments: “In Rottnest Island: Black Prison, White Playground, Kirsti Melville takes radio listeners on a modern day exploration of the island’s darkest history. Her exquisite audio presentation encapsulates the Rotto we know today while explaining intrinsic detail of the suffering experienced by Aboriginal prisoners at the hands of early European settlers. Beautiful use of language (both English and Noongar), strong historical research and an ability to interweave little-known facts throughout a two-part longform radio series makes Melville’s entry a standout in the category. Her work evokes empathy rather than sympathy while exposing the minimal knowledge – or is that wilful ignorance? – of today’s fun-loving greater population. Judges also had high regard for work produced in this category by The West Australian’s medical editor Cathy O’Leary and emerging reporters Heather McNeill, Liam Croy and Erin Parke.” Business, Economics or Finance Report Sponsored by the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance Winner:
Judges comments: “Peter Williams’ series of reports on the troubles of builder-developer Diploma group, from the time subcontractor non-payment claims emerged through to its financial collapse, won unanimous support from all judges as the clear winner. The entry epitomised what quality journalism is all about – hearing about an issue and continuing to dig until the truth is finally exposed. The entry goes beyond standard business reporting to shine a light on the human-interest aspect of the story – exposing the financial pain suffered by many small business people stung by Diploma’s troubles. The judges were particularly impressed with Williams’ sheer persistence in pursuing the story and the punchy and informative way it was told. The judges acknowledge this story would have been particularly difficult to expose because the journalist was writing about a subject matter who refused to engage. The judges also praised Williams’ final entry – a piece questioning why the watchdog didn’t act sooner given all the alarm bells that were being sounded. Trends suggest audiences are crying out for more in-depth analysis of news and events and Williams nailed that in this piece. “ Best Political Report Sponsored by The Sunday Times Winners:
Judges comments: “Joe Spagnolo used multiple sources to break the news of One Nation’s preference deal with the WA Liberal Party – a story that came to be dominant issue during the state election this year. The issue went onto become a national concern and was attributed as underpinning the Liberal party’s loss. “ Multimedia Sponsored by Telstra Winner:
Judges comments: “The West Australian’s online 2017 State election day coverage shows perfectly how multi-media journalism should work at its best and how it has evolved to provide an experience that is greater than the sum of its parts. Slickly produced, the live election day coverage incorporated a mini documentary, seat tracker, live election day blog, a custom-built promise tracker and access to expert commentary on the day. It provided a substantial audience with lively, informative coverage in an easily digested format” Best Three Headlines Sponsored by Walkley Foundation Winner:
Judges comments: “The headline: It’s an art, designed to grab the readers’ attention and pull them to an article. The sub-editor is the anonymous hero of a publication, his work often more crucial than the opening paragraph, the layout or the picture. There were three strong entries in this category but Martin Turner came up with three smart and snappy headlines. Mind your mannas took just three words to warn fishers of catching undersize crabs, New York plate of mind took the readers to baseball’s big time, while Reading, Writing and a Rhythma-trick was a particularly clever way to highlight how music was used to introduce young adults to a novel. Great work.” Best Sports Report Sponsored by Lion Winner:
Judges comments: “The series of reports by Steve Butler was compelling and demonstrates clearly a level of trust and respect earned by the journalist from both Danny Green and Anthony Mundine. The “behind the scenes” access to the camps of both fighters and the exclusive revelations about Green’s health were matched by an entertaining and absorbing writing style, especially in the report on the fight that was filed against tight deadlines. In each case the reports showed great storytelling and captured the emotion of an event that held the interest of a broad section of the WA public.” Best Columnist – The Matt Price Award Sponsored by The West Australian Winner:
Judges comments: “Shane Wright explained complex economic policy in everyday language and thorough research to show Australia risks falling behind in food security if more money is not spent on agricultural-based science.” Radio/Audio Journalism – Best News Story or Feature Sponsored by Southern Cross Austereo Winner:
Judges comments: “Kirsti Melville crafted a powerful and compelling story with Rottnest Island: Black Prison, White Playground. The way the narrative weaves between the horrific events on Rottnest and the subsequent use of the island as a tourist destination and a “pleasure resort” was astounding and makes for captivating listening. Also, a special mention for the technical production. The use of location sounds and music perfectly enhanced the storytelling and helped to hold the tension, and attention throughout. Descriptions of the treatment of Aboriginal people were respectful and gripping. But revealing what happened on Rottnest is only part of the story. The story of ‘tentland’ – the island’s camping ground positioned on top of Australia’s largest Aboriginal burial ground -was such a powerful metaphor for the “masterclass in forgetting” which this feature exposes. This story made me angry, sad and enlightened and I think I am a better Australian for listening to it.” Television/Audio-Visual Journalism – Best News Story or Feature Sponsored by Media Super Winner:
Judges comments: “The news and feature story category was keenly contested with several high-quality entries. The judges said Rebecca Johns’s winning entry vividly told the story of the violence and terror in the Kalgoorlie riots sparked by the death of indigenous teenager Elijah Doughty. Rebecca, like other reporters and crews, was always at risk of being caught up in the violence. Her stories had impact and insight, and contained a dramatic piece to camera filmed as the rioters smashed the gate to the court compound and stormed inside. Her entry also included a thoughtful follow-up story on the courageous young woman—a cousin of the dead teenager—who used her body as a shield to protect police from the rioters and who was applauded for her dignity and bravery.” Best Print/Text Feature Writing Sponsored by Lavan Winner:
Judges comments: “In a strong field where the entries embodied many of the qualities of an ideal feature story, Victoria’s report about Aboriginal woman June Oscar’s discovery of her ‘white’ family measured up most strongly against the specific criteria of the Hugh Schmitt prize. This is quality writing. It is well crafted and well researched, packing an emotional punch that lingers beyond the page. Victoria captures her subjects’ feelings as they discover their blood connection and describes their open-hearted approach to each other and forgiving attitude to the circumstances that led to their lives being intertwined to great effect. Western Australia is filled with great stories such as this and the judges encourage journalists to continue to employ the best skills of our craft to tell stories such as this.” Best Print/Text News Report Sponsored by The West Australian Winner:
Judges comments: “Paige Taylor’s work on the Elijah Doughty story was an example of a reporter prepared to go the extra mile on a breaking news event. While much of the first day’s media focus was on the violence in Hannan Street, Kalgoorlie, as family and friends reacted to Elijah’s death, Taylor went behind the story to investigate the festering sore of race relations in the Goldfields city. Up against The Australian’s early deadlines for WA reports, she covered a lot of ground, interviewing many people with intimate knowledge of the boy, his family and members of the wider community. What appeared was an even-handed, but still emotionally powerful report, that managed to explain Elijah’s difficult life while exploring the anger and retribution petty juvenile crimes were causing. Up against a very strong group of exclusive news-breaking entries, Taylor showed great skill in reporting a very public event in the best traditions of the profession. The judges request a special mention for Childrens’ Hospital Lead by Gary Adshead and Dylan Caporn: This entry was a major scoop on a story that has dominated State politics ever since. The judges had difficulty separating it from the winner.” Outstanding Contribution to Journalism-The Clarion Award 2017 Sponsored by the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance Winner:
Judges comments: “Tonight’s winner has provided consistent and multi-faceted leadership to at least two generations of journalists in Western Australia. He has run his own successful newspaper for forty years, employed dozens of reporters, and advanced the careers of many now-senior journalists. But he has remained a reporter at heart and in practice, by working assiduously as an investigative journalist and author. He has helped right gross injustices and held government to account. He has also stood up for the importance of belonging to the MEAA, our journalists union, stressing the importance of reporting standards and ethics, acting regularly as an awards judge, and offering counsel in union matters. Tonight’s winner was 28 years old when he and his then wife Bettye produced the first edition of what has become an institution in Perth – the 12-page newsletter they started in the front room of a Subiaco terrace house. The Subiaco Post now has a distribution of 52,000 and employs six reporters, two photographers, three subeditors and a total staff of 30. Why has the Post endured? Could it actually be that the news is always exclusive and directly relevant to its readers?! The Post’s reporters do not just go to the council meetings in the seven local government areas it covers, they are sent to every committee meeting as well. At the Post’s 40th birthday party in September, Foreign Affairs minister Julie Bishop said they deserve a medal for this. The Post’s reporters haunt police stations, planning tribunals and the most obscure trials in the magistrate’s court. Some recent gems include the naked muffin baker, the police officer who “bashed himself up” to get compensation and the priest who dug his own grave. There is no doubt tonight’s winner loves a quirky yarn – he got his start in 1967 at the now-defunct Daily News where he was the UFO roundsman, until he exposed two frauds who used the tail light of a car to mock up a spaceship photograph. But his long commitment to serious journalism is without peer in Western Australia. He is highly respected and his remarkable reporting on the big stories on his patch are an inspiration. His investigations of the Claremont serial killings – Australia’s most expensive homicide investigation – resulted in astonishing scoops that shed light on crimes that had changed Perth. His sources proved better than anyone’s. He will champion unpopular causes; he threw himself into the successful battles to overturn John Button and Daryl Beamish’s murder convictions, putting his time and money into tests and research for both cases. His 2013 book Presumed Guilty was a still-pertinent expose about what has gone wrong in police investigations, and in WA’s jury system. It is a substantial contribution to our understanding of Australian justice. Tonight’s winner generously and patiently passes on what he knows. And his reporters are sought after by employers – former Post reporters currently work at the ABC, News Corp, Seven West Media, Fairfax, AAP, BBC, Time and Wired magazine. When tonight’s winner addressed his troops at the Post’s 40th birthday party, he told them: “Looking back on those frenetic early days, a saying with worrying implications comes to mind: ‘Only the mad survive’.” We are glad. The winner of the 2017 Clarion is Bret Christian” West Australian Journalist of the Year – Daily News Centenary Prize 2017 Sponsored by the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance Winner:
Judges comments: “Kalgoorlie riots.. Camerawork and news story. The Kalgoorlie riots dominated the news agenda for part of last year and the story went international.. The judges felt the two entries – camerawork by Jessica Miocevich and news story by Rebecca Johns – deserved to share the award as they were intrinsically linked.. most definitely the story of the riots – sparked by the death of Aboriginal teen Elijah Doughty – could not have been told to the same extent without the confronting images that accompanied it.. the camerawoman put herself in the action in a heated and volatile situation and managed to maintain her composure and her focus, to capture one of the year’s most iconic sequence of pictures.. pictures that travelled the world to tell the story of a town at breaking point.. At the same time, the story was sensitively handled by the journalist who put aside her own fear… And was able to link Aboriginal people to violence but also to grief. John’s selection of facts and emphasis was ethical and thoughtful. She progressed the narrative and by choosing to tell the story of a courageous young woman who protected police during the riot she moved her reporting away from a divisive “us and them” story which could have contributed to negative stereotypes, to a story that was both accurate and fair. The judges also felt a special commendation should be made to Victoria Laurie for her two winning entries, a powerful and sensitive piece on Euthanasia looking at the life and death of Clive Deverall – the former executive director of the WA Cancer Council and president of Palliative Care WA – who took his own life on the day of the WA election as one final political statement… And her beautifully written feature on an Aboriginal woman connecting with her white half-siblings. “
Sponsored by the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance Winner: • Thomas de Souza, Stories from the Scenic Route, University of Notre Dame Finalists: • Stephanie Garnaut, Body of Work, Edith Cowan University • Cameron McAloon, Body of Work, Edith Cowan University Judges’ comments: “Notre Dame student Thomas de Souza’s ability to source original stories with national and international implications sets him apart as one of West Australia’s most promising young journalists. de Souza showed maturity in his perspective and storytelling beyond that associated with student reporting, particularly his profile of a subculture choosing to live in their vehicles and his written exploration of the reliance upon drugs at Indonesia’s Gili Trawangan. These stories were picked up and published by prominent interstate newspapers in a nod to the originality of his work. Judges agreed de Souza displays a passion for his story topic and delves beyond surface judgments to understand issues affecting people from all walks of life.” Links to view winning submission (one, two and three).
Sponsored by Community Newspaper Group Winner: • Nathan Hondros, Body of Work, Mandurah Mail Finalists: • Claire Dearle, Body Of Work , Ten Eyewitness News • Jacob Nazroo, Body of Work, POST Newspapers Judges’ comments: “This category had a very strong field of entries. Nathan’s stood out as brave articles that reflected his maturity and life skills. They were original stories that utilised his network of contacts and not only had relevance to his local community but also had wider social implications as shown by the fact they were taken up by state and national media. He asked tough questions of people in power and the stories reflect a good range of sometimes hard-to-get interviews. They are a very strong start for a new journalist.” Links to view winning submission (one, two and three).
Sponsored by The Sunday Times Winner: • Marta Pascual Juanola, Falcon Beach Fatal Shark Attack, Mandurah Mail Finalists: • Colin Murty, Yarloop Devastation, Perth Now and The Australian • Michael O’Brien, Freeway Inferno, The West Australian Judges’ comments: “It was a year of powerful flame images from the flames of Yarloop to burning trucks on Mitchell Freeway. But the winner this year went to a drama on a beach new Mandurah that might have lost to smartphone shots if Marta had not reacted as good news photographers do when code 262 – shark attack – came down the police feed. In shots that would have looked like staged movie stills if we did not know this story was so tragically real. We saw all the human and emergency services drama in trying to save a life. Marta’s work was live, on the spot news photography at its best.” Links to view winning submission (one, two and three).
Sponsored by Media Super Winner: • Jon Gellweiler, Body of Work, Ampersand Southwest Magazine Finalists: • Jon Hewson Body of Work, Mandurah Coastal Times • Andrew Ritchie, Body of Work, Guardian Express Judges’ comments: “Jon Gelweiller showed great skills with a diverse range of topics. The pictures were distinctly Bunbury and the South West but the imagery transcended the locality. Jon was under clear pressure to produce when he called his reporter away from the pub to play torch-waver for the stunning shot of a basketball import who had become a local identity. He showed what can be done with water, sunlight and the Bunbury skyline when he turned what could have been a pedestrian paddler pic into a sports classic. Jon says he seeks to find a different angle and he certainly succeeded with his winning shots.” Links to view winning submission (one, two and three).
Sponsored by Media Super Winner: • Colin Murty, Eradication of pests on Dirk Hartog Island, The Australian Finalists: • Philip Gostelow,The Utopia Project, The Weekend Australian Magazine • Martine Perret, Ngala Wongga, ABC Goldfields Radio Judges’ comments: “The judges were all taken in by Colin Murty’s photographs of Sue Robinson and Bax working on the eradication program on Dirk Hartog. Colin set out to convey the desolation, space and beauty. And he did this with stunning use of landscape, light and spacing of his human and canine talent. The images speak for themselves.” Links to view winning submission (one, two, three and four).
Sponsored by Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance Winner: • Cameron Wallis, Devil Inside – Power of Meth, Seven News 6pm Finalists: • James Hayward, Waroona – Yarloop Fires, Nine News Perth, Today Sydney, Nine Network • Simon Hydzik, Body of Work, Seven News Perth Judges’ comments: “Cam Wallis’s video expose of addicts’ battles with methamphetamine is an outstanding example of precision storytelling, from panoramic drone vision to concise closeups that clearly mark each chapter. His focus on the simple power of people’s faces is both confronting and compelling. Cam’s use of light and shade, haunting family images and a stunning piece to camera in Part Three cap off the masterclass.” Links to view winning submission one.
Sponsored by Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance Winner: • Nathan Morris, Preservation of Aboriginal languages of the Goldfields, Esperance, ABC Local Radio, ABC News Online, ABC News 24 Finalists: • Jasmine Bamford, Kalgoorlie multimedia Entry , ABC Goldfields-Esperance Breakfast program • Andrew Brosnan, Body of Work. Kalgoorlie Miner Judges’ comments: “Finalists’ entries were all of a high standard. Several others were commendable. Nathan Morris’s pieces were wonderfully vivid. True to their particular people and places, imaginatively shot, beautifully edited, they were also fruit of time well spent before the camera “rolled”. Their subjects were obviously at ease, allowed to tell their own stories, effectively assisted to do so. No word or image was wasted. “Academic” and “grass roots” speakers were interwoven uncommonly well. Serious issues were explored, but no story became tediously “worthy”, and the first was great fun. Subtitles were used well, sparingly. Nathan himself made no unnecessary intrusions, but any attentive viewer knows he worked hard and well. His first story’s text-based version was fine in its own right, illustrated by Nathan’s photos. If there were separate categories for “feature” and “investigative”, Andrew Brosnan would have been a worthy winner of the latter.” Links to view winning submission (one, two and three).
Sponsored by WA Public Transport Authority Winner: • Sarah Brookes, Body of Work, Echo Newspaper Finalists: • David Cohen and Bret Christian, Gang crashes dinner party, POST Newspapers • Bryce Luff, Terror on our Roads, Cockburn Gazette Judges’ comments: “This work is revelatory, well-written and highly relevant to its audience. Brookes showed that in the Perth hills, the NBN was not about cables but towers, lots of them, and she understood the storytelling power of an excellent graphic. Brookes’ story on the damage caused to the environment by feral pigs was thoroughly researched. Her report on the new Midland hospital shed new light on what services would not be offered, and the health implications of this for individuals.” Links to view winning submission (one, two and three).
Sponsored by Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance Winner: • Kerry Faulkner, Special report WA’s accident towing industry among worst in Australia Judges’ comments: “Kerry Faulkner’s entry exposed unsavoury practices in Western Australia’s accident towing industry, describing it as “one of the worst in Australia”. Kerry obtained access to a confidential insurance industry internal report showing serious price gouging, a tow truck driver boarding an ambulance to pressure a woman who was being treated for her signature, aggressive behavior by ‘towies’ towards police and paramedics at accident scenes, creating accident scene traffic hazards, and misleading stressed car owners into thinking the towies are contracted for the job. The article pointed out that some towies were operating “well outside acceptable business practices” and highlighted the need for legislation to govern the industry to protect consumers. The article was well researched and key stakeholders comments were presented.” Links to view winning submission one.
Sponsored by Bird in Hand Winner: • Victoria Laurie, Through the Lens; Mavis Walley, The Weekend Australian Finalists: • LaurenDay, The art of prosthetic eye painting, ABC 7.30 • Erin Parke, Miss Daisy, 7.30 ABC TV Judges’ comments: “Victoria Laurie has again entrenched her reputation as the leading culture and arts reporter in the state. Her remarkable stories about the chance discovery of photographs by Mavis Walley – a proud, illiterate mother of 11 who used her beloved box brownie camera to capture a rarely seen part of Western Australian history – are more fine examples of Laurie’s exceptional reporting and writing skills. Laurie’s stories brought to life the images captured by Walley in the small Wheatbelt town of Goomalling during the mid-20th century, capturing the pride, joy and resilience of Walley’s fellow Aboriginal people in a defiant rebuttal to those who presume these lives were pure hardship. Laurie conveyed not only the artistic beauty of the compositions, but also the historical and cultural significance of the photographs and the impact of their re-emergence on the descendants of the men and women in the images.” Links to view winning submission (one and two).
Sponsored by The Gordon Reid Family Foundation Winner: • Emma Young, A child’s ‘best interests’, WAtoday Finalists: • Cathy O’Leary, Robbie’s Fight, The Weekend West • Rebecca Turner, Politics before public health? The children’s water park at Elizabeth Quay, ABC News Perth Judges’ comments: “A very strong category again this year but Emma Young’s piece was not only the best but one of biggest stories of the year. She used modern digital reporting at its best to accompany sensitive and well balanced written pieces. Her research and tenacity developed a series of stories that probed the broader issues at play and provoked debate on a sensitive topic. A heartbreaking story which raised both moral and ethical queries in the medical and wider community. Cathy O’Leary’s report also bought an important issue to light and was highly recommended.” Links to view winning submission (one, two and three).
Sponsored by Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance Winner: • Emma Young, Lancelin residents win development battle, get dunes rezoned for conservation, WAtoday Finalists: • Liam Croy, Cockburn Sound fish kill, The West Australian • Ben O’Shea, Gravity Waves Discovery, The Weekend West Judges’ comments: “A good news story requires well researched and balanced reporting without bias. It must also pique public interest while finally getting a result, either negative or positive, for the protagonists. Emma Young’s series met all these criteria. A series of bungles by the State, environmental bodies and a shire eventually forced the Government to knock back a rezoning plan to protect an endangered plant species protected by Federal law. This report highlighted lackadaisical and inadequate investigation, research and planning by a number of statuary bodies resulting in a different outcome for both the local and wider communities.” Links to view winning submission (one, two and three).
Sponsored by Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance Winner: • Paige Taylor and Victoria Laurie, The reality of everyday life for our most vulnerable kids, The Weekend Australian Finalists: • Courtney Bembridge, Indigenous language barriers putting innocent people behind bars, ABC News – Online • Victoria Laurie and Paige Taylor, Gene Gibson, The Weekend Australian Judges comments: “The entries in this category were very strong overall, however the stories by Paige Taylor and Victoria Laurie stood out in a class of their own. The reality of everyday life for our most vulnerable kids is described through two incidents that prompted widespread outrage – an 11 year old boy charged with murder, and a 10 year old girl who took her own life. The issues these articles explore are uncomfortable and complex. Yet by detailed research, good contacts and trusted relationships with communities and services, Taylor and Laurie are able to take us inside a world that most Australians would not willingly enter. These stories humanize the headlines of alleged murder and suicide by children and open up confronting national conversations about how as a society we care for our most vulnerable children and families. They do this with a sensitivity that does not disenfranchise the people that have trusted them to tell these confronting stories.” Links to view winning submission (one, two and three).
Sponsored by Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance Winner: • Courtney Bembridge, Subcontractors lose millions on airport build, ABC News – Online Finalists: • Nick Evans, Sparkle goes from Kimberley Diamonds, The West Australian • Nick Sas, Mobile phone billing scam hits Telstra clients, The West Australian Judges’ comments: “First-class reporting on a complex issue that covered personal, legal, and policy issues. Viewers shook their heads over a terrible blowout that affected a dozen small contractors. These people were shoddily treated and were given a much-needed voice thanks to Courtney and the ABC. She uncovered a widespread problem, and the state government recently announced a way to address the issue.” Commended: “Mobile phone bill scam, by Nick Sas, The West Australian. Scam, scandal, outrage: whatever you call it, it affected Telstra customers nationwide. Nick’s reports contained a strong human element. Well done on keeping the bastards honest, and persuading someone who was affected to go on the record. This two-part piece has directly benefited consumers, and is what good journalism should be about – and it was also incisively written.” Commended: “Sparkle goes from Kimberley Diamonds, by Nick Evans, The West Australian. More excellent work from Nick Evans. The Mining Rehabilitation Scheme – what a cock up by the state government. Workers entitlements left high and dry – $5million of staff money lost, and sub-contractors go broke, while the parent company walks away. We deserve more from authorities than this, and we are lucky to have business reporters of the calibre of Nick to keep watch on the corporate world.” Links to view winning submission (one, two and three)
Sponsored by The Sunday Times Winners: • Andrew Probyn, Mediscare, The West Australian • Rebecca Turner and Jessica Strutt, The big money and politics behind the Kwinana buffer protests, ABC News Perth Finalists: • Anthony De Ceglie, Aboard Gravy Train, The Sunday Times/PerthNow • Joe Spagnolo, Stephen Smith: From Beginning to End, The Sunday Times Judges’ comments: “Mediscare, by Andrew Probyn, The West Australian. All the ingredients of a winner, and a very important national scoop that dominated the political agenda for months. Andrew Probyn broke the story in February. All parties should have known it would be an election issue as the back office work employs thousands of Community Public Sector Union workers. Probyn’s analysis clearly spelt out Turnbull’s dilemma. But Turnbull didn’t act until June 19, a fornight until election day, giving Labor the Mediscare weapon. With the GP payments freeze and pathology cuts, one more seat and Mediscare could have won the election. Excellent get and insight into Australian thinking by Probyn.” “Kwinana buffer zone, by Rebecca Turner and Jessica Strutt, ABC News. Excellent combination of reportage of a protest by ordinary land owners, and pulling back the veil of corporate donations and influence. The small landholders have had their retirement plans shattered while big end of town property investors are in conflict with government policy. Satterley retaliates by withholding funds from Liberal HQ – looks like HBO drama but it’s real life. Followers of these reports wondered:‘Who is the state government serving?’ Jess Strutt asking the hard questions and pressing for answers on a disturbing and murky topic.” Commended: “Smith tilt, by Joe Spagnolo, The Sunday Times. Joe was always first with this story while other media ignored the months-long rumblings of the Labor backbench, or didn’t have attribution. Good contacts and perseverance paid off with the exclusive Smith interview. Spagnolo deserves credit for sticking with his instincts and pursuing Smith to speak.” Commended: “All Aboard Gravy Train, by Anthony De Ceglie, The Sunday Times. Excellent work: holding politicians to account. This rail travel was a rort that failed the pub test – and the users should have known it did not meet community expectations, especially when ministers such as Helen Morton were cutting programs to the needy in her department. Without scrutiny from The Sunday Times it would still be there for any pollie’s winter break.” Links to view winning submissions by Andrew Probyn (one, two and three). Links to view winning submissions by Rebecca Turner and Jessica Strutt (one, two and three).
Sponsored by Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance Winner: • Yarloop and Waroona Fire Coverage Team Entry, Simon White, Emma Young , Tim Carrier, Heather McNeil and David Baker, WAtoday.com.au and Fairfax Media national network Finalists: • Ryan Emery, Life on Christmas Island, sbs.com.au/news • The Hidden High Team Entry. Simon White, Franziska Rimrod, Giovanni Torre, Mary Louise Brammer and James Mooney, The hidden high: flying high under the radar on synthetic meth, WAtoday.com.au Judges’ comments: “The team made innovative use of the digital platform to provide extensive coverage that offered an important community service in a time of crisis and confusion. The well-curated collection of elements included good use of audio, a great collection of pictures and a compelling live blog and trunk story that was updated more than 80 times. The inclusion of stories, not only about the devastation but of innovative ways that members of the broader WA community were seeking to support the victims extended the relevance of the coverage to a wider audience. In doing so, it is likely to have facilitated the provision of aid and support.” Links to view winning submission (one, two and three).
Sponsored by Walkley Foundation Winner: • Martin Saxon, “To Boo or Not Taboo”, “A Day of Whine and Roses” and “Its Fancy Of The Overflow”, The Sunday Times STM magazine Finalist: • David Cusworth, “Tale dogs the WAG”, “Ham minimisation a barbecue stopper” and “Dry planes snifter calls Qantas home”, The Sunday Times Judges comments: “Martin Saxon’s headlines do everything they should and more. Attention grabbing, true to the stories they represent and just the right amount of clever, Martin’s headlines demand attention. Working within the available space and using it to maximum effect, Martin’s eye-catching offerings jump off the page to engage and entice. The topical and witty ‘To boo or not taboo’ demands further reading, sets the tone for the yarn, and finds the appropriate balance between pithy and powerful. ‘It’s Fancy of the Overflow’ and ‘A Day of Whine and Roses’ both deliver a wealth of intriguing connotations in an admirable scarcity of words. A headline writer demonstrably at the top of the game, Martin’s work makes the top of the page a compelling and entertaining entreaty to read on. No word or opportunity is wasted in these offerings that show a fine example of the craft.” Links to view winning submission (one, two and three).
Sponsored by Lion Winner: • John Townsend, Eagles dodge drugs bullet, The West Australian Finalists: • Courtney Bembridge, Safety concerns at WA racetrack, ABC News – Online • Nick Rynne, WAFL star’s family heartbreak, The Weekend West Judges’ comments: “John Townsend used traditional reporting skills to break his story about the West Coast Eagles’ inadvertent use of banned substances. The story, which was revealed at a public forum at which Townsend was the only reporter because of his inside knowledge of the matters to be discussed, had national significance and set the agenda for Perth’s sporting media at a time when the Essendon drugs furore was still at the forefront of the public’s consciousness. His in-depth reporting revealed how the Eagles had avoided a repeat of the Bombers scandal and was a fine example of a legitimate sports reporting scoop.” Links to view winning submission (one and two).
Sponsored by The West Australian Winner: • Liam Bartlett, Weekly Columns, The Sunday Times Finalists: • Andrew Probyn, Probyn Columns, The West Australian • Shane Wright, The Innovation Battle, The West Australian Judges’ comments: “Liam Bartlett is the consummate columnist, with the ability to hone in relentlessly on his subject, then broaden the parameters of the argument in a way that serves to skewer his subject all the more. Such is the effect of his piece on Lord Mayoral perks. His column on GST distribution takes a now familiar West Australian saw and reframes it around gambling revenue enjoyed by other states. Liam’s firm point of view on swimming ‘hero’ Grant Hackett was vindicated with events that transpired the day the piece went to print. With a neat, often amusing turn of phrase (“The state capital now has a Lord Mayor who thinks ethics is an English county”) and sound research skills, these columns are a must for readers of The Sunday Times and often set the WA media agenda for the week ahead.” Links to view winning submission (one, two and three)
Sponsored by Edith Cowan University Winner: • Lauren Day, Man facing deportation despite living in WA since infancy, ABC PM Finalists: • Joseph Dunstan, Carnarvon Aboriginal Flag Debate, ABC Radio North West WA • Ryan Emery, Giving voice to regional migrants, SBS World News Judges’ comments: “Lauren Day uncovered the story of Ian Wightman, a 51 year old man who was awaiting deportation from Christmas Island as a non-citizen, despite only ever knowing life in Australia. Her feature skilfully and clearly demonstrated the results of controversial changes to the Migration Act, which have led to the detention, and deportation, of people who have identified as Australian their whole lives. It played to the strengths of radio as a medium, telling a story from inside the Christmas Island Detention Centre, by phone.” Commended: Joseph Dunstan’s Carnarvon Aboriginal Flag Debate – “Judges agreed that the story had a clear public interest in giving voice to one of the hundreds of people who identified as Australian but were caught up in this sweeping change to Australia’s immigration system. The piece was well-researched, balanced and engaging from start to finish.” Links to view winning submission (one).
Sponsored by Media Super Winner: • Jessica Page, Parents Versus Doctors, Seven News 6pm Finalists: • Liam Bartlett, Who Killed Josh Warneke?, Nine News Western Australia • Lauren Day, A look behind the St John Ambulance suicides, ABC 7.30 Judges’ comments: “Jessica Page’s exclusive report sparked discussion across the country. Jessica’s determination saw her successfully apply for leave to report Family Court proceedings, usually restricted to media. The court granted a publication order at 5pm, giving Jessica an hour to get it to air. The public interest in the legal battle between doctors and parents saw the story receive nation attention across all networks. Her report on 4th July would be the first in an ongoing battle, with the Kiszkos ultimately winning the right to stop chemo and radiation therapy for their terminally ill son.” Links to view winning submission (one, two and three).
Sponsored by Lavan Legal Winner: • Andrew Burrell, The Utopia Project, The Weekend Australian Magazine Finalists: • Annabel Hennessy, Ripped Tide: Body Builders Investigation, The Sunday Times • Victoria Laurie, Trail Blazer, The Weekend Australian Magazine Judges’ comments: “Andrew Burrell’s fascinating feature took us inside the mysterious Ideal Human Environment experiment on the outskirts of Kununurra in WA’s remote Kimberley. Is it a cult? Is it a breakthrough in human happiness? Burrell broke new ground by going inside this highly unorthodox social experiment and pulling back the curtain on an untold, unusual but very human story right in our backyard. Burrell’s first person observations were buttressed by rigorous reporting, particularly James Salerno’s groups run-ins with the taxman. In all, it was a first class feature that intrigued, surprised and provoked.” Links to view winning submission (one).
Sponsored by The West Australian Winner: • Andrew Probyn, Medicare Privatisation, The West Australian Finalists: • Bret Christian, Series subject: Killer revelations, Post Newspapers, Perth • Joe Spagnolo, Freight Link, The Sunday Times Judges’ comments: “Andrew Probyn’s articles that came to be known as ‘Mediscare’ concerned a secret and highly risky Federal Government plan to privatise Medicare. If successful, the private sector would deliver Medicare, pharmaceutical and aged-care benefits under an extraordinary health services transformation affecting every Australian. Only a few bureaucrats knew of the plan and it was to be a key feature of the Treasurer’s first Budget in May. It would involve a $50 billion-plus outsourcing and it would be the first time the private sector would deliver a government-subsidised national service. As Probyn wrote: “Reforms don’t get much bigger – or more politically dangerous than this.” The story dominated parliamentary debate in the first fortnight of sittings, attracted Senate hearings and haunted the Government during the election campaign, forcing the plan’s abandonment a fortnight before polling day. Probyn’s stories were incisive, his analysis accurate, and they impacted heavily on the election campaign.” Links to view winning submission (one, two and three).
Presented by the University of Western Australia Winner: • David Cohen – The Post Judges’ comments: “The Post is well-known for good investigative journalism at a local level. The Panel felt that this series of articles addressing changes to Strata law was an excellent example of a story of key topical interest that might otherwise have gone largely unreported. David Cohen’s articles highlighted the consequences of proposed legislation that will alter the balance of power between developers and individual property owners. The author was able to report the story in the broader context of the erosion of individual rights, and he showed tenacity in following the story. He used an array of sources to expand the original story in a cogent manner. Although the scope of local paper reporting obviously differs from that afforded by national publications in terms of reach, the Panel felt that this kind of journalism is nonetheless valuable and impactful particularly in the community at which this article was targeted.”
Sponsored by Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance Winner: • Nick Evans, The West Australian
Sponsored by Curtin University Winner: Andrew Probyn – The West Australian Judges comments: “Andrew Probyn for his series of stories about the federal government’s plans to privatise the Medicare payments system. Probyn’s stories were a stand out in a competitive field – detailed, clearly written and providing astute analysis, they had a major impact on federal politics. Probyn wrote: “Reforms don’t get much bigger, or more politically dangerous, than this …..Turnbull will have to decide whether a massive privatisation of national health payments is worth the political pain. Does he roll the dice or will this be another bright idea left for another time? The ‘Mediscare’ story, as it became known, dominated much of the debate throughout the election campaign with the issue dogging the federal government and Malcolm Turnbull abandoning the plan two weeks out from the poll.”Tab 2 content goes here.