Winners of the 61st Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism were presented tonight in a ceremony in Brisbane.
More than 600 journalists and media identities gathered in the Plaza Ballroom of Brisbane’s Convention and Exhibition Centre for the gala event hosted by Sky News’ David Speers.
Winners were announced in 34 categories, with the Gold Walkley going to freelance photographer Andrew Quilty for his extraordinary work covering Afghanistan, and his powerful photo “The Man on the Operating Table.”
In a significant development, one of the radio/audio awards was not won by a radio journalist.
The Australian newspaper’s five-part podcast on the unsolved murders of three Aboriginal children who disappeared from the NSW country town of Bowraville won the Documentary/Feature/Podcast category.
The investigation gave voice to the families of the children, exposed institutional racism and led to a breakthrough in the cases. It led to an independent review and new charges in the case, and prompted a public apology by the NSW police commissioner to the victims’ families.
Radio/Audio Documentary, Feature, Podcast or Special
Dan Box and Eric George, The Australian, “Bowraville Podcast”
The news and current affairs category was won by a sereis of ABC Radio Current Affairs reports from Syria.
The reports used audio creatively to transport listeners to Syria, where hundreds of thousands of people are surrounded by armed forces, isolated, starving and cut off from medical care. Despite the challenges of making and maintaining contacts, many of whom live in fear of persecution, and working in towns with fluctuating internet and electricity, Sophie McNeill and Fouad Abu Gosh worked hard to verify shocking reports, producing video and audio to bring these stories to the world.
Sophie McNeill is the ABC’s Middle East correspondent. She was the Walkley Young Australian Journalist of the Year in 2008 and won the TV/Video category in 2008 and 2010. In 2010 she won a Walkley for her reporting from Afghanistan. Last year she was nominated for a Walkley for her work on Syrian refugees fleeing to Europe.
Fouad Abu Gosh has been the ABC’s Middle East producer since 2014. Before that he spent nearly 10 years working with the BBC. Abu Gosh was a crucial member of the team that produced the Yazidi sex slave story for which ABC Middle East correspondent Matt Brown won a Walkley last year.
Radio/Audio News and Current Affairs
Sophie McNeill and Fouad Abu Gosh, PM and AM, ABC Radio, “Voices from Besieged Syria”
A full list of winenrs is available on the Walkley Awards website.