Fairfax Media’s revenues may be tumbling and its share price stagnant, but the company has routed arch-nemesis News Corporation Australia in this year’s Walkley Award nominations for journalistic excellence.
Fairfax has received 27 nominations, ahead of the ABC on 18 and News Corp on 13 (see the full list here). Channel Nine’s A Current Affair — regularly pinged by Media Watch and the Australian Communications and Media Authority for shoddy reporting — is up for two awards. As well as Tracy Grimshaw’s bruising interview with the royal prank DJs, ACA scored a nomination for “Drug granny” — an expose of an Aussie grandmother running a suburban drug supermarket from her front door. Who said the Walkleys are anti-tabloid?
The Sydney Morning Herald‘s Eddie Obeid-pursuer Kate McClymont is again among the nominees; so are The Age‘s Nick McKenzie and Richard Baker for exposing corruption in the customs service. Australian Financial Review tick tock queen Pam Williams is in the mix too. The Newcastle Herald‘s Joanne McCarthy — whose reporting helped prompt the royal commission — is up for best coverage of regional affairs and best investigative journalism.
The ABC’s Trevor Bormann received multiple nods for his “Prisoner X” scoop while 7.30 gun Caro Meldrum-Hanna has been recognised for her reporting on footy doping.
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Herald Sun state political editor James Campbell led the charge for News Corp with two nods. Campbell broke the “leaked tapes” story that forced Ted Baillieu to step down as Victorian premier. The Daily Telegraph was recognised for its peptides coverage, while The Australian‘s feature writing drew praise. News Corp got in a day early on Wednesday by announcing the nominations for its in-house News Awards.
Recent arrival The Guardian debuted with two nominations — one for its multimedia work and another for Katharine Murphy in the comment and analysis category. And surely Channel Ten’s John Hill has a strong chance to take out a gong for that interview with a tongue-tied Jaymes Diaz.
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Two books on Fairfax’s financial troubles feature in the long list for the book award, the irony of which didn’t escape those who gathered to hear the nominations announced at simultaneous shindigs in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. The Age‘s editor-in-chief Andrew Holden was spotted quaffing white wine and downing arancini balls at the Tuscan Bar; former Media Watch host Jonathan Holmes was a star turn in Sydney. In news set to infuriate Melbourne hacks, Sydneysiders were treated to an open bar for an hour while those down south made do with one free drink token each.
The guessing game of who will win the coveted Gold Walkley now begins. Foreign Correspondent must be hopeful of taking out top prize for the Prisoner X coup — a story with genuine international ramifications. Or could The Newcastle Herald‘s campaigning on a royal commission on child sex abuse show up its big-city cousins? The riddle will be solved on November 28 in Brisbane, when the results are announced.