April Fool: Walkley Awards embrace online publishing with new categories including best news aggregator and best use of enhanced headlines

Walkley AwardsNoon update: This story was published on April Fool’s Day.

Australian journalism’s most prestigious awards ceremony is to undergo a radical overhaul with several new categories to reflect the changing nature of news in the online era.

Amongst the new Walkley Awards categories is Best Aggregator, which recognises the publishing organisation that most efficiently re-appropriates content from primary sources.

Another new award is for Enhanced Social Media Headline of the Year. This will be awarded to the site which generates the most traffic to a story via a headline on a home page or social media that is not directly related to the content of the article.

The award will also for the first time have a chairman of the jury from outside the media industry.

Respected gender studies commentator Mark Latham will take on the role.

To reflect the new focus organisers have also updated the event’s logo to give it a more “upbeat” feel

walkley awards emojisMeanwhile, the Most Efficient Story category will be calculated via a complex formula involving page views and level of engagement an article generates in inverse proportion to the resources invested in the creation of the content.

Latham told Mumbrella: “While there may still be a small place to recognise stories which have an impact on society, this does not reflect the realities of modern online journalism. It is time that pioneering work in the creation of listicles, use of emojis and clickbait is also recognised.

“It is also time that we also recognise the importance of social media monitoring by outlets which allows them to lead the way with celebrity habits and Twitter spats through their constant vigilance.”

Thomas: leading Most Engaging Millennial Post jury

Thomas: Only millennial in the media

The additional category of Most Engaging Millennial Posting will recognise the online article which generates most cut-through to the highly desirable advertising demographic of teenagers and 20somethings. The jury in this category will be led by comedian Josh Thomas.

This year the awards will also break with tradition by recognising media executives as well as journalists. For the first time a Walkley for the executive who runs the most cost-efficient news organisation – called the Back Yourself Award – will be handed out.

Criteria for this category will include calculating the multiple between the lowest-paid employee in the newsroom and the media executive’s own salary. Valet parking will be provided at the event for all exotic sports car owners.

Other new categories include the Best Story About a Video Going Viral, Speediest Use of a Reddit Thread, Fastest Correction, Most Original Use of the Word ‘Exclusive’, Best Travel Article About How To Get An Upgrade, and Best Stoking of Social Media Outrage.

And modern visual storytelling techniques are also being recognised with the prestigious Cartoon of the Year being opened up to include the best satirical GIFs.

back to the future gif

Best Explainer Video will be open to entries less than 60 seconds long which manage to distill a complex story into a series of stock images and generalised captions.

A new individual award is for Journalist Brand of the Year, which will be handed to the person who has most managed to overshadow the news organisation they work for with their personal brand. Criteria for this will include the size of Twitter following, whether they have a personal Facebook brand page, and the number of self-referential articles penned during the judging period.

To recognise the changing employment environment, The Gold Walkley for Outstanding Contribution to Journalism will now be open to anyone who has worked in journalism for longer than 18 months.

And public relations professionals will also be recognised in the awards, with a special category for the Best Survey Generating Outstanding Media Coverage.


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