Walkley Foundation names winners of 2020 Mid-Year Celebration of Journalism

Last night, in a virtual awards ceremony, the Walkley Foundation announced the winners of the 2020 Mid-Year Celebration of Journalism, which saw The West Australian’s Annabel Hennessy named the 2020 Young Australian Journalist of the Year.

Hennessy took out the honour with her investigation ‘Kill or Be Killed?: The First Chapter: The incarceration of Jody Gore’, in which she reported on the imprisonment of an Aboriginal woman who was convicted of killing her abusive ex-partner.

Hennessy detailed the abuse Gore faced, leading to the Western Australian Attorney-General to rely upon rarely-used mercy laws to free her.

The reporting also won in the Public Service Journalism category, and sees Hennessy win a two-week trip to US newsrooms, if and when that becomes feasible again. The judging panel, represented by Tory Shepherd, Stella Lauri and Heidi Murphy, said Hennessy’s entry stood out due to its rigour and impact.

“Annabel Hennessy’s work deserves this honour because it demonstrated true excellence at every turn,” the judges said.

“She discovered the thread of a story, teased it out, chased it relentlessly and brought it to public attention. Her storytelling was factual and compassionate, moving deftly between the human, legal and political elements of this story.

“And the impact of her journalism has been immense – a woman freed from prison, and laws re-written.”

The peer-judged Mid-Year Celebration also recognised The Canberra Times’ Sherryn Groch in the ‘Coverage of community and regional affairs’ category, and The Age’s Ben Schneiders and Nick McKenzie, who won the June Andrews Award for Industrial Relations Reporting for their story: ‘John Setka, domestic violence and the unions’.

Joanna Lester, Madeleine Hetherton and Rebecca Barry took out the June Andrews Award for Women’s Leadership in Media, Nina Funnell was awarded the Our Watch Award, and Mahmood Fazal and Rebecca Metcalf won the Media Diversity Australia Award.

CEO of the Walkley Foundation, Louisa Graham, explained the meaning behind the awards named after June Andrews.

“Our Mid-Year Celebration was established to recognise the work of young journalists and specialist writers not included in the Walkley Awards,” Graham said.

“They are not Walkley Awards, they have a different trophy, but they are determined through the same rigorous processes and according to the same standards of excellence and expert judging. To avoid duplication with the Walkley Awards at the end of year, we have taken this opportunity to honour one of our significant benefactors by rebranding these awards in her name.

“June Andrews was the sister-in-law of our founder, Sir William Gaston Walkley, and now her legacy will be commemorated by honouring excellence in the craft. In this program, we also announce several awards we managed on behalf of other organisations, specifically Our Watch, Media Diversity Australia and the Geraldine Pascall Foundation.”

The full list of winners is below:

Young Australian Journalist of the Year
Supported by Jibb Foundation

Annabel Hennessy, The West Australian, “Kill or Be Killed?: The First Chapter: The incarceration of Jody Gore”

Thanks to the support of the Jibb Foundation, Hennessy will fly to the USA for a two-week trip to meet with BuzzFeed, The New York Times, Columbia Journalism Review and Quartz.

All media: Shortform journalism
Supported by ABC

Luke Henriques-Gomes, Guardian Australia, “Robodebt leaks expose botched scheme’s failure”

All media: Longform feature or special
Supported by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age

Ella Archibald-Binge, The Feed, SBS Viceland, “Australia’s stolen wages shame”

All media: Coverage of community and regional affairs
Supported by Google News Initiative

Sherryn Groch, The Canberra Times, “‘Culture of fear’: Canberra private school engulfed by bullying allegations”

All media: Visual storytelling
Supported by Sky News

Marty Smiley, Jack Tulleners and Pat Forrest, SBS TV On Demand and Online, “Christian Democratic Party”

All media: Public service journalism
Supported by News Corp Australia

Annabel Hennessy, The West Australian, “Kill or Be Killed?: The First Chapter: The incarceration of Jody Gore”

All media: Student journalist of the year
Supported by Macleay College

Andre Nassiri, University of New South Wales and, “The dark side of Africa’s ‘poster child’” and “Who wins when Rwanda plays the ‘genocide guilt card’”

June Andrews Award for Industrial Relations Reporting
In memory of Helen O’Flynn and Alan Knight
Supported by Ai Group, Unions NSW, ACTU, UTS and MEAA
With philanthropic support in memory of Emeritus Professor Alan Knight

Ben Schneiders and Nick McKenzie, The Age, “John Setka, domestic violence and the unions”

June Andrews Award for Freelance Journalist of the Year
Supported by Media Super

Karishma Vyas, 101 East – Al Jazeera English and Foreign Correspondent, ABC “The War on Afghan Women,” “Afghanistan: The Healers” and “Behind Enemy Lines”

June Andrews Award for Women’s Leadership in Media
Supported by PwC

Joanna Lester, Madeleine Hetherton and Rebecca Barry, Media Stockade, NITV and SBS On Demand, “Power Meri”

Our Watch Award
Supported by Our Watch and managed by The Walkley Foundation

Nina Funnell,, The Mercury and NT News, “Let Her Speak”

Media Diversity Australia Award
Supported by Media Diversity Australia, CoHealth and the National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters’ Council

Mahmood Fazal and Rebecca Metcalf, Audible Originals, “No Gangsters in Paradise”

Arts Journalism Prizes

Through the support of the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund, the winner of each award will receive $5,000 in prize money.

June Andrews Award for Arts Journalism
Supported by Facebook and the Copyright Agency

Steve Dow, Meanjin, The Saturday Paper and Guardian Australia “Stream Drama,” “Acts of Faith” and “A Buŋgul, a Procession, An Overnight Vigil”

The Pascall Prize for Arts Criticism
Managed by The Walkley Foundation
Supported by the Geraldine Pascall Foundation and the Copyright Agency

Mireille Juchau, and The Monthly, “How Dreams Change Under Authoritarianism,” “Twilight Knowing: Jenny Offill’s Weather” and “Missing Witnesses: Valeria Luiselli’s Lost Children’s Archive”


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