Jake Sturmer named Walkley Young Australian Journalist of the Year

ABC Journalist Jake Sturmer has won 2012 Walkley Young Australian Journalist of the Year.    

The announcement:

ABC journalist, Jake Sturmer has been named the 2012 Walkley Young Australian Journalist of the Year, at the awards ceremony held in Sydney last night. Jake won the top award, as well as the television category, for his investigation into the sexual abuse at a government-run hostel, by one of Western Australia’s worst serial paedophiles.

Last year Jake broke the story of the systemic child abuse at the Katanning Hostel, which subsequently led to an independent inquiry. Since then Jack has continued to cover the inquiry for ABC radio, television and online.

The judges’ comments on Jake’s 7.30 WA report, included: “It was confronting and compelling to see four victims of child sexual abuse reunite as grown men and share details of what they endured. Reporter Jake Sturmer showed great skill and empathy in securing these interviews. Having the victims walk through the location where the acts took place was innovative and haunting. The judges were particularly impressed with the sensitivity of the interview conducted with the father of the perpetrator. These pieces were of great national interest and demonstrated public benefit.”

ABC Director of News, Kate Torney said, “Congratulations to Jake for an outstanding achievement in receiving this award. To break a story such as this, takes courage, sensitivity, and accuracy. For Jake at this point in his career, to demonstrate such qualities, is a credit to him and his reporting skills, and is a fine example of excellent investigative journalism”.

Based in Perth, Jake Sturmer started his journalism career in commercial radio in 2008. A year later he joined the ABC as a cadet journalist, covering radio, television and online. From 2010 – 2011 he worked as a television current affairs reporter for the ABC’s Stateline and 7.30 WA programs. In 2011, his report exposing a land deal that left buyers millions of dollars out of pocket won the WA Media Award for best current affairs.

The Young Australian Journalist of the Year Online award went to ABC Open producer Miranda Grant, for her online feature, “What’s keeping you going Grantham?” In June last year, Miranda set up an ABC Open ‘PhotoBox’ in the car park at the Grantham petrol station. The station had just re-opened that day, after being closed for five months after the floods that devastated Grantham. As part of the ABC Open initiative, Miranda asked community members to answer the question “What’s keep you going?”, and invited members of the community of Grantham to write an answer. Photos were taken of the individuals with the chalk boards, providing an innovative way of story-telling, and the basis of the online content.

The judges said of Miranda’s work, “Miranda Grant sets a wonderful example for online and broadcast journalists in her sustained coverage of a community devastated by Queensland floods. She drives citizen journalism forward by not only collecting and editing user-generated content but by teaching community members how to create it. Her use of innovative video demonstrates a deep understanding of the online medium and how best to present digital story telling”.

ABC Open Project Director, Cath Dwyer said, “We’re really thrilled that Miranda has won this award after working so closely with members of the community in Grantham. Miranda’s work is a great example of how journalists and communities can work together to tell stories in new ways. It shows the commitment of the ABC to sticking with our audiences through periods of hardship and allowing regional Australians to tell their own stories for themselves”.

Prior to the ABC, Miranda worked as a video journalist in Mongolia, PNG, Ethiopia and the Northern Territory.

This is the fifth year of the Walkley Young Australian Journalist of the Year Awards. The awards are open to journalists 26 years old and younger. The finalists were shortlisted from more than 100 entries, from across television, online, radio, photography and print. The top prize includes a three-week trip to newsrooms at the BBC in London and CNN in Atlanta.

Source: ABC news press release

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