Walkey Awards celebrate best of Australian Journalism

March 31, 2022

The stars of Australian journalism were celebrated on 25 February at the 66th Annual Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism. The media industry’s night of nights gave recognition to Australia’s best journalists, photographers, editors and more for their incredible coverage of the year that was 2021.

The awards spanned 30 categories, and highlights included Alex Coppel, who took out the Nikon-Walkley Press Photographer of the Year for an outstanding contribution to the year, for his impactful photographic coverage on sport, breaking news, features and daily life. The Walkley Documentary Award went to Firestarter – The Story of Bangarra, from Ivan O’Mahoney, Wayne Blair and Nel Minchin for In Films and ABC.

Kate Holden’s The Winter Road (Black Inc.) won the Walkley Book Award. Through four years of investigation; piecing together court documents, archives and interviews, the book tells the harrowing story on the 2014 murder of Glen Turner. Judges said:

“Kate Holden’s exposition of an environmental officer’s murder on a lonely road is part thriller and part meditation on Australia’s landscape, culture and politics as legacies of its settler past. Drawing together true crime, history and botany at the place where journalism and literature meet, this is an extraordinary work of storytelling.”

The award for Outstanding Contribution to Journalism was presented to George Negus, a household name with 30 years of reporting under his belt. George’s career spanned countless news programs across TV channels, radio stations and newspapers including 60 Minutes, The Australian and the Australian Financial Review.

Samantha Maiden took out the coveted Gold Walkley for her shattering report Open Secret: The Brittany Higgins story which shocked the nation back in February 2021, bringing to light a disturbing account of abuse within the walls of Parliament House, empowering Ms Higgins and other women to speak up about their experiences and evoke change.

The judges said: “Samantha Maiden broke the story of Brittany Higgins’ allegation of sexual assault in Parliament House and pursued it fiercely for weeks. Her powerful reporting revealed significant new angles that built a disturbing picture of the mistreatment of women in Australian politics and fuelled a national discussion about gender relations that dominated public affairs in 2021.”

Samantha Maiden. Photo by Adam Hollingworth/The Walkley Foundation.

The Walkley Foundation’s chief executive, Shona Martyn, said:

“The Walkley Awards are, without doubt, the highlight of the year for Australian journalists. After Covid-19 forced a virtual ceremony in 2020 and the postponement of the presentation of the 2021 awards, it is brilliant that we have finally been able to celebrate these achievements in person. Hearty congratulations to all the 2021 winners and finalists.”

The Walkley Awards winners were chosen by the Walkley Foundation Board, after a round of peer judging in September of last year.

Copyright Agency congratulates all winners and nominees for this year’s awards. For the full list of winners, head to the Walkley Foundation website here.

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