MARK WILLACY and ABC INVESTIGATIONS win Gold at 2020 WALKLEY AWARDS | Full List of Winners


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Journalist Mark Willacy and ABC Investigations have won the Gold Walkley at the 2020 Awards held last night.

The public broadcaster has also been recognised for its bushfires and coronavirus coverage

Full List Of Winners Below


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ABC investigative journalist Mark Willacy and the ABC Investigations team worked for more than a year to get to the truth about alleged unlawful acts by Australia’s elite soldiers in Afghanistan. Tonight the ground-breaking reporting was recognised with the Gold Walkley Award, Australian journalism’s top honour. 

Willacy and the ABC Investigations and Four Corners teams also won the Walkley for Investigative Journalism for “Killing Field”, which in March exposed killings and cover ups by Australian special forces in Afghanistan.

“This story was extremely sensitive and a difficult one to crack,”

– Willacy said.

“We were dealing with allegations of criminal acts in a distant land by our most secretive and lethal special forces.

“For us to not only get a witness on camera, but to obtain and broadcast what we believe is the first footage of an alleged Australian military war crime, was a massive task – one that really underscores the ABC’s commitment to investigative journalism.

“This work built on some very brave reporting by my colleagues Dan Oakes and Sam Clark in their series “The Afghan Files”. Also thanks to everyone in Four Corners who supported this work so brilliantly.

“I’m really proud to be part of the ABC Investigations team started by Gaven Morris and led by Jo Puccini. It’s still a relatively new team and it’s breaking some big stories and proving it’s a real powerhouse in quality journalism.”

The ABC was the major prize-winner at this year’s Walkleys.

Among its other honours, the coverage of last summer’s bushfires, a combined effort by journalists from the News and Regional & Local teams, won the award for Coverage of A Major News Event or Issue, and the Coronacast podcast took the prize for Radio/Audio News and Current Affairs.

Hosted by health expert and broadcaster Dr Norman Swan and ABC health and science journalist Tegan Taylor, and produced by Will Ockenden, Coronacast launched on 3 March and has gone on to address hundreds of questions from listeners.

“When we started our little podcast we had no idea what we had walked into,”

– said Swan.

“Our goal now is the same as on day one: to inform, explain and answer, and provide a sense of solidity in a time of uncertainty and huge change.”

Sports reporter Russell Jackson won the award for Feature Writing (Over 4000 Words) for his powerful story of the racial abuse experienced by trailblazing Indigenous AFL player Robert Muir, which earlier this year also won the Grant Hattam Award for Excellence in Sports Journalism, voted on by all AFL players.

Managing Director David Anderson paid tribute to the finalists and winners – as well as to all the ABC’s journalists, content-makers and teams.

“Along with the rest of the ABC, I’m proud of all our journalists and the work they do for all Australians,”

– he said.

“The ABC has never shied away from tackling the tough and important stories, and our reporting and storytelling this year has been brave, meticulous and compelling.

“Our bushfire and coronavirus coverage was essential, and the reporting of alleged atrocities in Afghanistan has demonstrated once again why the ABC’s commitment to public interest journalism is so crucial.”

Director, News Gaven Morris said the ABC’s investigative and public interest journalism had never been stronger.

“Our teams are consistently bringing Australians the big stories and setting the agenda,” – he said.

“It’s also terrific to see our strength in newer formats such as podcasting and data journalism, where audiences are increasingly turning for information and explanation.

“But I want to particularly acknowledge Mark Willacy and the ABC Investigations team led by Jo Puccini, which we established several years ago to do journalism with impact across all ABC News outlets and platforms. It has had a profound impact on reporting on the conduct of Australian special forces serving in Afghanistan.”


Nine’s diverse journalism was recognised during the 65th Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism, collecting nine awards across its publishing and television divisions, in the biggest news year in history. 

The award for Outstanding Contribution to Journalism went to The Sydney Morning Herald’s Ross Gittins for his 40-year commitment to making economics and public policy not only accessible but a must read. He was also honoured for his dedication to mentoring many generations of journalists.

Michael Roddan from The Australian Financial Review won a Walkley for Business Journalism for his investigation into sexual harassment at AMP that led to the resignation of the company’s chairman.

The Financial Review’s cartoonist David Rowe was also awarded a Walkley for his cartoon ‘Thoughts and Prayers’.

Jacqueline Maley and Kate McClymont from The Sydney Morning Herald/The Age won the Print/Text news report category for their investigation into shock claims of sexual harassment against former High Court Justice Heydon Dyson.

Liam Mannix from The Age won the Feature Writing Short award (under 4000 words) for his pandemic piece ‘The perfect virus: two gene tweaks that turned COVID-19 into a killer’, and Tony Wright from The Age was awarded a Walkley for Commentary, Analysis, Opinion and Critique.

Pictorially, 2020 was a year like no other. Beginning with some of the world’s worst bushfires to dramatic and violent Black Lives Matter protests in the US, Nine’s skilled photographers and camera operators were on the front line.

The Sydney Morning Herald’s Chief Photographer Nick Moir won Feature/Photographic Essay for ‘Firestorm’ and Adam Bovino received a Walkley for Television/Video: Camerawork for his vision for Today/9News of the George Floyd protests.

Nick McKenzie (image – Nine)

Nick McKenzie, Joel Tozer and Sumeyya Ilanbey were awarded a Walkley for Television/Video: Current Affairs Long for their year-long 60 Minutes investigation ‘The Faceless Man’ that exposed the dark underbelly in Victoria’s Labor Party and saw powerbroker Adem Somyurek expelled.

James Chessell, Executive Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, said:

“Congratulations to all the winners from our newsrooms. It’s just wonderful to see the talent, independence and hard work of our journalists recognised.” 

The Herald‘s Editor Lisa Davies and Executive Editor James Chessell also paid tribute to Gittins on behalf of all their predecessors. 

“Ross has forged an extraordinary career explaining complicated economic concepts and policies in ways readers not only understand, but respect,” Ms Davies said. “His verdict on each Federal Budget remains a highlight of the Herald’s coverage, and the first thing most readers devour.”

The Australian Financial Review’s Editor-in-chief Michael Stutchbury, and Editor Paul Bailey said:

“Michael Roddan’s AMP series was the result of a young reporter turning a tip-off about unacceptable personal behaviour into a journalistic investigation that claimed the chair of one of Australia’s most iconic financial institutions. David Rowe confirmed his position as Australia’s most decorated and brilliant cartoonist.”

Simon Hobbs, 9News Sydney News Director, said:

“Adam Bovino is an incredibly talented cameraman and journalist. This award not only honours his incredible work in Minnesota but also a career of outstanding stories.” 

Kirsty Thomson, Executive Producer of 60 Minutes, said:

“The Faceless Man was an extraordinary piece of television journalism. Nick McKenzie, Joel Tozer and Sumeyya Ilanbey’s investigation of branch-stacking and political corruption in the Victorian Labor party had an undeniable impact. Daniel Andrews held a press conference to announce Adem Somyurek’s sacking and expulsion from the ALP. Two other ministers also resigned. The story was also another example of the power of collaboration between 60 Minutes, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. Congratulations to all involved.”


Amelia Brace (image – Seven)

7NEWS reporter Amelia Brace and cameraman Tim Myers were tonight recognised with the Walkley Award for Excellence in Journalism in the Television/Video: News Reporting category for their courageous broadcasting efforts after being assaulted by US riot police live on air while covering a Black Lives Matter protest just a stone’s throw from the White House.

Brace and Myers were broadcasting live to Seven’s Sunrise on June 1 this year when they were belted with an armoured shield and Brace whacked in the back with a truncheon as police violently cleared Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C. Despite their injuries, the pair went on to broadcast non-stop for some 12 hours across Sunrise, 7NEWS and The Latest.

Brace later addressed a US congressional committee about the incident as part of a broader investigation into the police response to peaceful protesters in D.C. that day to clear the way for the arrival of President Donald Trump for his now infamous photo opportunity outside St John’s Episcopal Church.

Commenting on behalf of herself and Myers, Brace said:

“This story was never about us. It’s about the people who were peacefully and legally protesting. We’re grateful and humbled that our coverage drew attention to what happened that day. It was a confronting moment for America and certainly for us. We hope this serves as a reminder of the important role of the media and the need for us to do our jobs safely.

“Tim and I appreciate the ongoing support of the team at Seven and the recognition of the Walkley Foundation. I, personally, appreciate Tim’s professionalism, camera work and, most of all, friendship through those days and weeks in Washington, and the many years in the US.”

Network Director of News and Public Affairs, Craig McPherson, said:

“You shouldn’t become the story by simply doing your job but in the chaos the world witnessed there are circumstances you have no control over. Amelia and Tim produced fearless and measured reporting across a frantic 24 hours. The award is a tribute to their courage and poise under extreme pressure.”

2020 Walkleys – TV Categories
(Winners in Bold):

Television/Video Camerawork
Adam Bovino, Today and Nine News, Nine, “George Floyd Protests”
Scott Morelli, 60 Minutes, Nine, “Permafrost”
Aaron Smith, ABC TV and ABC iView, “Revelation”

Television/Video News Reporting
Amelia Brace and Tim Myers, Sunrise, Seven News and The Latest, Seven Network, “Beat the Press: Journalism Under Attack”
Alex Hart, Seven News Sydney, Seven Network “New South Wales Fires”
Chris O’Keefe, Nine News, Nine Network, “The Ruby Princess Emails”

Television/Video Current Affairs Short (Less Than 20 Minutes)
Marc Fennell, Ninah Kopel and Joel Stillone, The Feed, SBS, “Stuffed: Inside Australia’s Biggest Museum Heist”
Adele Ferguson and Chris Gillett, 7.30, ABC, “Alinta Exposed: Power, lies and privacy breaches”
Dylan Welch, Suzanne Dredge and David Maguire, 7.30, ABC, “Battlescars”

Television/Video Current Affairs Long (More Than 20 Minutes)
Nick McKenzie, Joel Tozer and Sumeyya Ilanbey, 60 Minutes, Nine, “The Faceless Man”
Louise Milligan, Mary Fallon and Lauren Day, Four Corners, ABC, “Boys Club”
Mark Willacy and the ABC Investigations-Four Corners Team, Four Corners, ABC, “Killing Field”

Public Service Journalism
Nina Funnell, Kerry Warren and Lori Youmshajekian,, The Herald Sun, NT News and The Mercury, “#LetUsSpeak: Victoria blocks sexual assault victims from using real names”, “Give Rape Survivors a Voice” and “Gang rape victim becomes first Tasmanian to speak out following gag law reform”
Chris Vedelago, Sumeyya Ilanbey and Cameron Houston, The Age, “The man who made a toxic waste disaster,” “What happened to us in West Footscray? Firefighters call for answers after toxic fire” and “’Don’t fight’: CFA told to stay home if chemical stash explodes”
Elise Worthington, Lesley Robinson and John Stewart, Four Corners, ABC, “Please Don’t Judge”

Coverage Of Indigenous Affairs
Stan Grant and the Four Corners Team, Four Corners, ABC, “I Can’t Breathe”
Annabel Hennessy, The West Australian, “Kill or Be Killed? The incarceration of Jody Gore”
Calla Wahlquist and Lorena Allam, Guardian Australia, “Rio Tinto explodes Juukan Gorge, and BHP’s 24-hour backdown”

Sports Journalism
Peter Badel, Travis Meyn, Robert Craddock and Kate Kyriacou, The Courier-Mail, “Fall of the Brisbane Broncos”
Jessica Halloran and Julian Linden, The Australian and The Daily Telegraph, “On Thin Ice: Katia’s story”
Caro Meldrum-Hanna, Amy Donaldson, Fred Shaw and Justin Stevens, 7.30, ABC, “The Final Race”

Casey Briggs, Andrew George, Ryan Kerlin and Peter Matejcek, ABC, “The Curve: COVID-19 data journalism”
Four Corners Team, Four Corners, ABC, “Black Summer”
Visual Stories Team, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, “Invisible Crime – Are we failing victims of sexual violence”

Scoop Of The Year
Samantha Maiden, The New Daily, “Hawaii Two-O: Scott Morrison’s bushfire holiday”
Nick McKenzie, Joel Tozer and Sumeyya Ilanbey, 60 Minutes, Nine, “The Faceless Man”
Paul Sakkal and Chloe Booker, The Age, “Hotel quarantine”

Coverage Of A Major News Event Or Issue
ABC News and ABC Regional and Local Team, ABC, “ABC Bushfire Coverage”
Richard Baker and The Age hotel quarantine news team, The Age, “Hotel quarantine”
Stan Gorton, The Islander, “Kangaroo Island bushfire coverage”

Business Journalism
Adele Ferguson, Lesley Robinson and Lauren Day, Four Corners, ABC TV and The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, Nine Network, “Immoral and unethical”
Jared Lynch and Nick Evans, The Australian, “Ending business payment rorts”
Michael Roddan, The Australian Financial Review, “#AMPToo – sexual harassment at AMP”

Investigative Journalism
Jacqueline Maley and Kate McClymont, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, “‘Dirty Dyson’: a harasser on the High Court”
Nick McKenzie and Chris Masters, 60 Minutes, Nine, “Secrets of War”
Mark Willacy and the ABC Investigations-Four Corners Team, Four Corners, ABC, “Killing Field”

Walkley Documentary Award Shortlist
Against Our Oath, Heather Kirkpatrick, Waratah Films
Revelation, Sarah Ferguson, Nial Fulton and Tony Jones, ABC and In Films
Storm in a Teacup, Nia Pericles and Celia Tait, ABC and Artemis Media

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Brand new series of SPICKS AND SPECKS premieres tonight on ABC

Join Adam Hills, Myf Warhurst, Alan Brough when Australia’s popular music quiz show returns. With ten mystery songs, 100 clues, two team captains and 40 guests trying to figure it all out, this new season is like no other!


This week our special guest is Melissa Bell from Neighbours as we group binge the finale episode ever.