Monash Journalism’s former students excel in 65th Walkley Awards

Monash Journalism’s former students have excelled in the 65th annual Walkley Awards for Excellence, winning five Walkley categories.

The Age journalist Sumeyya Ilanbey, who studied in the Master of Journalism program, was the joint Walkley winner for the category, Television Current Affairs (more than 20 minutes).

Sumeyya teamed with investigative journalist Nick McKenzie and Joel Tozer to produce The Faceless Man, a 60 Minutes exclusive which led to the sacking of Victorian Labor minister Adem Somyurek.

Mr Somyurek’s demise has led to significant political reform in the Victorian Labor party.

The Guardian’s Calla Wahlquist won the Walkley for the Coverage of Indigenous Affairs category for her report with Lorena Allam, Rio Tinto explodes Juukan Gorge, and BHP’s 24-hour backdown.

Calla said she was thrilled to have won this award with her Guardian Australia colleague, Indigenous affairs editor Lorena Allam.

“The destruction of the Juukan Gorge rockshelters, one of which showed signs of continual occupation over 46,000 years and was named one of the most significant archaeological sites in Australia, sent shockwaves around the world and led to the resignation of Rio Tinto's CEO,” Calla said.

“More importantly, it has made clear to mining companies that investors will not tolerate the wishes of First Nations people being overridden when it comes to protecting their heritage.

“Were it not for the bravery of the Puutu Kunti Kurrama people and the Pinikura people in speaking up despite being bound by non-disparagement agreements with Rio Tinto, this information may not have come out and mining companies in the Pilbara would have been able to continue with business as usual.”

ABC producers Chris Gillett (7.30) and Will Ockenden were part of the brilliant Trace team to produce The Informer, the winning entry of Radio/Audio Feature Walkley category.

ABC presenter Rachael Brown and the Trace team have been widely praised for The Informer, which provides extraordinary insight into the double life of former barrister Nicola Gobbo.

Chris Gillett flew overseas to a secret location and produced the 7.30 interview with Gobbo. Part of this interview was used throughout the award-winning podcast.

Will Ockenden won his second joint Walkey for ABC’s Coronacast with Dr Norman Swan and Tegan Taylor in the Radio/Audio: News and Current Affairs category.

Professor Brett Hutchins, Monash’s Head of the School of Media, Film and Journalism, said these awards continued Journalism’s outstanding record of producing graduates with the ability and courage to tackle big stories.

“From political corruption and Indigenous justice through to crime and health, these Walkley winners continue to show why journalism matters,” Professor Hutchins said. “We are proud to call them Monash alum.”

Monash’s Head of Journalism Associate Professor Fay Anderson congratulates Calla, Chris, Sumeyya and Will for their brilliant stories.

“Monash Journalism is immensely proud of the success of our graduates, and Walkley's recognition of their outstanding work,” Associate Professor Anderson said.

“The award-winning stories, covering Indigenous affairs, health, crime, and politics, are a testament to the importance of quality journalism.”

All Walkley winners here.