Is it radio? Is it print? No, it’s a podcast! A super crime investgation that is apparently so good, it’s won a Gold Walkley.
The Australian’s investigative journalist Hedley Thomas and composer/producer Slade Gibson have been awarded Australian journalism’s highest honour in Brisbane. They also took out the Walkley for Invetigative Journalism.
The Teacher’s Pet is the only Australian podcast to go to number 1 in the US, the UK, Canada and New Zealand. The Teacher’s Pet revolves around the 1982 disappearance of Sydney mother Lyn Dawson.
The judges described the podcast as “a masterclass in investigative journalism… The investigation uncovered long-lost statements and new witnesses, and prompted police to dig again for the body of Lyn Dawson.”
At a time when the craft of audio is being used by many more media practitioners who have not necessarily gained creative audio production skills, there is debate about the merits of the Teachers Pet win. While it may have been good investigative journalism, was it good audio craft?
Award winning, internationally recognised audio documentary maker Dr Siobhán McHugh, Associate Professor in Journalism at the University of Wollongong has told radioinfo:
19 million listeners – tabloid journalism will do that. Yes, the story premise is compelling, but its execution as audio is dire. Only the host Hedley is on mic – the narcissism verges on satire, wooden writing, zero craft.
The repetition is laughable: cannibalising earlier episodes, tedious tee-ups of previous tee-ups, flogging the salacious aspects, reusing tired phrases ad nauseam (“fringe benefits”, the “lovely drink”, “insular peninsula”) and playing interviews with himself about how important his podcast is.
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The list of other audio winners include:
GOLD WALKLEY & INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM
Award Partner Apple News
Hedley Thomas and Slade Gibson, The Australian, “The Teacher’s Pet”
COVERAGE OF INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS
Award Partner PwC
Allan Clarke and Yale Macgillivray with Team Unravel True Crime, ABC Podcasts & ABC TV, “Unravel: Blood on the Tracks” and “Australian Story: Blood on the Tracks”
RADIO/AUDIO NEWS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS
Award Partner ABC
Jane Bardon, AM, ABC Radio National Breakfast, ABC News Online, “Indigenous families appeal to NT Government to keep young people out of detention”, “NT child protection workers allege unmanageable workloads putting vulnerable at risk” and “Tennant Creek night patrols begin to have effect”
Award Partner Griffith University
Kylie Stevenson, Caroline Graham and Eric George, The Australian, “Lost in Larrimah”
For all the winners and Walkley news go here.