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Reporters putting their lives at risk to reveal the truth

We enter dangerous territory when the truth is hidden, warns Walkley Foundation chair Adele Ferguson.

We enter dangerous territory when the truth was hidden, warned Walkley Foundation chair Adele Ferguson as she paid tribute to journalists covering the war in Ukraine.

“It’s hard to compute that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has carried out his threat and launched an unprovoked attack on a sovereign country,” she told the audience gathered for The 66th Walkley Awards for outstanding journalism.

“War is now raging in Ukraine.

“The world’s focus will be on the unfolding stories, which will be brought to us by journalists on the ground, putting their lives at risk.

“Which serves to highlight for democracy to work, we need a strong and independent press – the polar opposite of the one working in Russia where paid assassins kill outspoken journalists and the press is muzzled.”

A Gold Walkley Award-winning investigative journalist, Ms Ferguson said it had never been easy to hold the powerful to account.

And “chilling defamation laws, the misuse of injunctions, suppression orders, physical threats, black art backgrounding” had made it harder.

“We enter dangerous territory when truth is hidden,” she said.

As Kerry O’Brien observed in his 2019 Walkley Award address, freedom is usually eroded gradually. Its loss is not necessarily felt day by day, but we will certainly know when it’s gone.

“Wise words from one of the best in the profession, we ignore them at our peril.”

But Ms Ferguson stressed journalism was a rewarding profession – one of the few jobs that could make democracy stronger, society fairer, and lives richer.

She highlighted the need to invest in the profession and recruit young journalists with the skills, passion, and ethical fibre to withstand the personal sacrifices to pursue this career.

And the awards go to …

PRINT/TEXT NEWS REPORT

Kate McClymont | The Sydney Morning Herald | “The Lady Vanishes: Melissa Caddick and the missing millions”

PUBLIC SERVICE JOURNALISM

Naaman Zhou | Guardian Australia | “Australia’s delivery deaths: the riders who never made it and the families left behind”, “’They don’t have brakes, the tyres are gone’: food delivery companies accused of bike safety failures” and “Uber Eats riders earning as little as $5 for deliveries crossing multiple NSW suburbs”

INNOVATION

Kylie Boltin, Ella Rubeli, Ravi Vasavan and Emma Anderson | SBS | “Ravi and Emma”

HEADLINE, CAPTION OR HOOK

Duska Sulicich | The Age | “Michael rolled, the vote assured, Hallelujah!”, “It’s all a bit cray-cray” and “The Art of the Steal”

FEATURE WRITING LONG (OVER 4000 WORDS)

Andrew Quilty | The Monthly | “The Worst Form of Defence: New revelations of Australian war crimes in Afghanistan”

FEATURE WRITING SHORT (UNDER 4000 WORDS)

Tom Patterson | The Australian | “Searching for a lost soul”

COVERAGE OF INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS

Karla Grant, Julie Nimmo, Michael Carey, Mark Bannerman and the Living Black Team | Living Black on NITV | “Taken”, “Missing Pieces” and “Heritage Victory”

COVERAGE OF COMMUNITY OR REGIONAL AFFAIRS

Andrew Messenger | Northern Daily Leader | “‘You feel so powerless’: little room for kids in rural mental health”, “Banksia Mental Health Unit: children’s services ruled not ‘economies of scale’ in plan for new mental health unit” and “Tamworth Banksia Mental Health modelling says New England North West won’t need more general-purpose beds until 2031”

CARTOON

David Pope | The Canberra Times | “Rollout de Vax”

SPORTS JOURNALISM

Michael Warner | Herald Sun | “‘Do Better’: The Secret Collingwood Racism Report”

SPORT PHOTOGRAPHY

Alex Coppel | Herald Sun, The Daily Telegraph, The Courier-Mail and The Advertiser | “The Games that Had to Happen”

RADIO/AUDIO NEWS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS

Sally Sara and Victoria Pengilley | RN Breakfast and The World Today, ABC | “Afghanistan Interviews”

RADIO/AUDIO FEATURE

Angus Grigg and Lap Phan | The Australian Financial Review | “The Sure Thing”

PRODUCTION

Rhiona-Jade Armont and the 101 East team | Al Jazeera English | “This is Myanmar’s State of Fear”

SCOOP OF THE YEAR

Ellen Whinnett | The Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun, The Advertiser and The Courier-Mail | “The AN0M Files”

COVERAGE OF A MAJOR NEWS EVENT OR ISSUE

Samantha Maiden and the news.com.au team | news.com.au | “Open Secret: The Brittany Higgins story”

NEWS PHOTOGRAPHY

Brook Mitchell | The Sydney Morning Herald | “Sydney Anti-Lockdown Protest”

BUSINESS JOURNALISM

Caitlyn Rintoul | The West Australian | “Police investigating alleged sexual assault at BHP’s South Flank mine near Newman”, “WA mining giants unite for apology to female mine workers and back calls for sex assault inquiry” and “Mine site sexual harassment inquiry: Submission shows BHP sacked dozens of WA workers”

FEATURE/PHOTOGRAPHIC ESSAY

Dean Sewell | The Sun-Herald | “Of Mice and Men”

TELEVISION/VIDEO: CAMERAWORK

Andy Taylor | ABC TV | “Exposed – The Ghost Train Fire”

TELEVISION/VIDEO NEWS REPORTING

Peter Fegan and Rebeka Powell | Nine News 6pm, Nine | “The Investigation of Andrew Laming”

TELEVISION/VIDEO CURRENT AFFAIRS SHORT (LESS THAN 20 MINUTES)

Christine Ahern | A Current Affair, Nine | “Epping Disgrace”

TELEVISION/VIDEO CURRENT AFFAIRS LONG (MORE THAN 20 MINUTES)

Nick McKenzie and Joel Tozer | 60 Minutes, Nine | “Nazis Next Door”

INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM

Nick McKenzie and Joel Tozer | 60 Minutes and The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, Nine | “Nazis Next Door”, “Inside Racism HQ: How home-grown neo-Nazis are plotting a white revolution” and “From kickboxing to Adolf Hitler: the neo-Nazi plan to recruit angry young men”

COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS, OPINION AND CRITIQUE

Katharine Murphy | Guardian Australia | “Brittany Higgins’ shocking story must be a turning point. Women in politics have had enough”, “Canberra’s pale, stale and male tribe is missing the moment – as it did with Julia Gillard’s misogyny speech” and “Scott Morrison’s efforts to engage with women are more ‘me’ than mea culpa”

WALKLEY DOCUMENTARY AWARD

Firestarter – The Story of Bangarra | Ivan O’Mahoney, Wayne Blair and Nel Minchin | In Films, ABC

WALKLEY BOOK AWARD

Kate Holden | The Winter Road | Black Inc.

NIKON-WALKLEY PRESS PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR

Alex Coppel | Herald Sun, The Daily Telegraph and The Courier-Mail

OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO JOURNALISM

George Negus

GOLD WALKLEY

Samantha Maiden | news.com.au | “Open secret: The Brittany Higgins story”

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