Sharri Markson wins Kennedy Journalist of the Year prize

The Daily Telegraph’s Sharri Markson has won the 2018 Kennedy Prize for Journalist of the Year for her coverage of the political scandal around former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce’s affair with a staffer and the subsequent cover up.

Markson is the first News Corp journalist to take out the $25,000 prize established in 2011 to commemorate the late Sydney crime reporter, Les Kennedy.

Sharri Markson wins 2018 Journalist of the Year prize at the Kennedy Awards. Photo: Salty Dingo

In awarding the prize to Markson, the Kennedy Foundation judges wrote: “She has repeatedly set the national news agenda and shaken the political establishment with a series of big exclusives using sheer determination and careful cultivation of contacts to break from the pack.

“Markson’s raft of stories which saw her voted Journalist of the Year included her  fearless determination to expose the Deputy Prime Minister’s illicit affair and the subsequent political cover-up that has changed the face of Australian politics forever and will echo in the corridors of Parliament House for decades.”

Markson was appointed The Daily Telegraph’s national political editor in September 2016 after serving as The Australian’s media editor where she became known for her aggressive pursuit of stories involving the ABC, Fairfax Media and broke the story around then Fairfax columnist Mike Carlton’s abusive tweets to members of the Jewish community, which eventually led to him leaving the company.

Prior to The Australian she was the editor of Cleo and before that was a chief of staff at the Sunday Telegraph and a senior producer at Channel Seven.

The Kennedy Foundation’s judges also cited Markson’s scoops for The Daily Telegraph also included the story behind the downfall of Border Security chief Roman Quaedvlieg as well as an expose on how the NSW Rural Fire Service refused help from professional brigades as the town of Tathra was devastated by blazes in March.

Previous winners of the award include  Fairfax’s Adele Ferguson, the ABC’s Caro Meldrum-Hanna and Nine News reporter Chris O’Keefe who won the 2017 prize. Sponsors NRMA announced the renewal its sponsorship last year.

Markson also took out the Outstanding Political Journalism award and shared the Scoop of the Year Award with colleague Kylar Loussikian ahead of previous winners, The Sydney Morning Herald’s Kate McClymont, and Fairfax’s Nick McKenzie.

Overall News Corp was the biggest winner with its journalists and photographers taking out 14 awards while Fairfax collected nine. The ABC won two while SBS Viceland took out the Outstanding Nightly TV Current Affairs Award.

Jana Wendt received a Lifetime Achievement Award while 7 News Sydney’s David Richardson was awarded the Cliff Neville Award for Outstanding Team Player.

Kennedy Foundation chairman, Simon Dulhunty, said: “The deserving winners had come out on top in an absolutely fiercely competitive news year, which included finalists from interstate and all major metropolitan newspapers and television and radio networks; international journalists and photographers as well as artists and photographers from regional newspapers and radio networks throughout NSW, including the Hunter, western NSW and northern rivers areas as well as the Riverina.

“In a bumper news year the standard of submissions was exceptional in every category. As in previous years, in some categories it took judges long hours to finally sort out the winners from absolutely talented fields, some of which had more than 50 entries,” Mr Dulhunty said.

The Full list of 2018 winners:

2018 Kennedy Prize for Journalist of the Year: Sharri Markson (The Daily Telegraph)

Les Kennedy Award for Outstanding Crime Reporting: Emma Partridge (The Daily Telegraph)

Paul Lockyer Award for Outstanding Regional Broadcast Reporting: Anna Henderson (7.30 ABC)

Chris Watson Award for Outstanding Regional Newspaper Reporting: Shannon Tonkin (The Illawarra Mercury)

Rod Allen Award Racing Writer of the Year: Ray Thomas (The Daily Telegraph)

Outstanding Turf Reporting: Chris Roots (The Sydney Morning Herald)

Sean Flannery Award for Outstanding Radio Reporting: Natalie Peters (Macquarie Radio, 2GB)

Outstanding Radio Current Affairs and Audio Blog: Peter Ryan (ABC Radio)

Outstanding News Photo: John Grainger (The Daily Telegraph)

Outstanding Portrait: Johnathan Carroll (The Newcastle Herald)

Outstanding Sports Photo: Brett Costello (The Daily Telegraph)

Outstanding Online Video: Ivan O’Mahoney, Dan Box, Nial Fulton (The Australian Foxtel)

Power of the Lens People’s Choice Award: Phil Hillyard (The Daily Telegraph)

Cliff Neville Award – Outstanding Team Player: David Richardson (Seven Network)

Peter Frilingos Award – Outstanding Sport Reporting: Peter Lalor (The Australian)

2017 Young Journalist of the Year: Lucy Cormack (The Sydney Morning Herald)

Outstanding Travel Writing: Catherine Marshall (The Sydney Morning Herald)

Lifetime Achievement Award: Jana Wendt

John Newfong Award – Outstanding Indigenous Affairs Reporting: Chris Roe and Karla Grant (NITV)  

Gary Ticehurst Award – Outstanding Television News Camera Coverage: Kevin Hudson (Seven News)

Harry Potter Award – Outstanding Television News Reporting: Neil Breen (Nine News)

Outstanding TV Current Affairs: Tara Brown, Grace Tobin, Sean Power (60 Minutes)

Outstanding Nightly TV Current Affairs: Patrick Abboud (SBS Viceland)  

Peter Ruehl Award – Outstanding Columnist: James Jeffrey (The Australian)

Outstanding Finance Reporting: Adele Ferguson, Sarah Danckert (Fairfax Media)

Outstanding Consumer Affairs Reporting: Tony Ibrahim (Choice Magazine)

Outstanding Online News Breaking: Max Mason (The Australian Financial Review)

Outstanding Court Reporting: Nicola Berkovic (The Australian)

Outstanding Reporting on the Environment: Benedict Brook (

The Rebecca Wilson Award – Scoop of the Year: Sharri Markson, Kylar Loussikian (The Daily Telegraph)

The Vince O’Farrell Award – Outstanding Illustration: David Rowe (Fairfax Media)

Outstanding Investigative Reporting: Nick McKenzie, Chris Masters (The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald)

Jim Oram Award – Outstanding Features Writing: Trent Dalton (The Australian)

Outstanding Political Journalist: Sharri Markson (The Daily Telegraph)


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.