‘Jumped up copywriter’ Jane Caro and SBS’ Laura Murphy-Oates dominate Walkley night

Author and journalist Jane Caro, who described herself as a “jumped up copywriter from advertising”, took home the Women in Leadership Award at the Walkley Mid-Year Awards yesterday evening.

Caro, who was up against Fairfax investigative journalist Kate McClymont, Tracey Spicer, the ABC’s Lorna Knowles, Joanne Puccini and SBS Viceland’s Jeannette Francis, took home the leadership award last night, for her focus on “ageing” and the “illegitimacy of women in high office”, which the judges said resonated with a wider audience.

Caro was ‘gobsmacked’

Upon receiving the award, Caro said: “I am completely gobsmacked. I did not think this would ever happen. I’m a jumped up copywriter from advertising, let’s be honest. Thank you, I feel legit.”

She was congratulated by her fellow competitors:

The awards, which took placed at The Beresford in Sydney, also saw SBS’ Laura Murphy-Oates take home three big gongs, including Young Journalist of the Year.

Oates, who won the long-form feature or special, public service journalism and Young Journalist of the Year for her works ‘Kids of Kalgoorlie’ ‘Young and black’ and ‘Vanished: Canada’s missing women’. She was the most awarded journalist of the night.

“Laura’s body of work was outstanding,” the judges said in comments.

Murphy-Oates won three awards last night

“We couldn’t look away. The fact that she was a winner in two categories also speaks to the high quality of her work, the depth of her reporting, her ability to draw insights from interviewees, and her skill in crafting a narrative that engaged viewers.”

Oates said she was honoured to receive the award, thanking the families she interviewed, SBS and her family. Oates has won a two week trip to US newsroom, and was named the unanimous winner by the judges.

“This is very surreal and very awesome for me. It was such an honour just to be nominated in amongst so many young, amazing journalists. To win three of these point things is pretty amazing,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Herald Sun’s Cassie Zervos won the award for short-form journalism, Samara Gardner from WIN News Illawarra and WIN News Canberra won an award for coverage of community and regional affairs and Emily Verdouw from SBS won the award for visual storytelling.

A full list of the award winners is below:

Walkley Young Australian Journalist of the Year Awards


Laura Murphy-Oates, The Feed, SBS Viceland and Dateline, SBS TV, “Young and black”, “Kids of Kalgoorlie”, “Vanished: Canada’s missing women”
Supported by: Jibb Foundation

Thanks to the support of the Jibb Foundation, Laura will fly to the USA to undertake two weeks’ worth of work experience with BuzzFeed, The New York Times, Columbia Journalism Review, Twitter and Quartz. All category winners will also receive mentoring from senior journalists.


Cassie Zervos, Herald Sun, “Investigation into illegal solariums”
Supported by: ABC


Laura Murphy-Oates, The Feed, SBS Viceland, “Kids of Kalgoorlie”
Supported by: Fairfax Media


Samara Gardner, WIN News Illawarra and WIN News Canberra, “The Tathra inferno”
Supported by: UNSW


Emily Verdouw, The Feed, SBS Viceland, “Dangerous games?”
Supported by: Sky NEWS


Laura Murphy-Oates, The Feed, SBS Viceland and Dateline, SBS TV, “Young and black”, “Kids of Kalgoorlie”, “Vanished: Canada’s missing women”
Supported by: News Corp Australia


Christiane Barro, Monash University and The New Daily, “The cannabis oil ‘healers’ preying on Australia’s sick and dying”, “Contaminants detected in unlicensed cannabis oil products”, “‘It’s a disgrace’: Senator requests complete overhaul of medicinal cannabis regulator”
Supported by: Macleay College

Helen O’Flynn & Alan Knight Award for Best Industrial Reporting
Emma Field and Vanessa Marsh, The Weekly TImes, The Courier-Mail, Townsville Bulletin, Bundaberg NewsMail and The Rural Weekly, “Pacific worker program death count”. Supported by: Ai Group, Australian Super, Unions NSW, ACTU, UTS and MEAA

  • Women’s Leadership in Media Award

Jane Caro, The Saturday Paper, ABC News online and University of Queensland Press, “Women’s Entrappings of High Office”, “Women over 50 are living out two fates that show feminism is an incomplete project”, “Unbreakable: Women share stories of resilience and hope”. Supported by: PwC Australia

  • Freelance Journalist of the Year
    Karishma Vyas, Al Jazeera English, “Bride and brothels: The Rohingya Trade”, “Afghanistan: Asylum denied”, “Forced back to cambodia”. Supported by: Media Super and MEAA
    • Arts Journalism Award

Gabriella Coslovich, Melbourne University Press, “Whiteley on Trial”. Supported by: Copyright Agency Cultural Fund and Google News Initiative

  • Walkley-Pascall Award for Arts Criticism

  • Delia Falconer, The Sydney Review of Books, “The opposite of glamour”. Supported by: Copyright Agency Cultural Fund and Geraldine Pascall Foundation
  • Jacoby-Walkley ScholarshipBenjamin Ansell, The University of MelbourneAmber Schultz, Monash University. Supported by: Anita Jacoby, Nine Network and AFTRS



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