Monash journalism’s strong showing in the 65th annual Walkley Awards

Monash University journalism graduates have been named finalists – 10 times – in the 65th annual Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism.

The Age journalist Sumeyya Ilanbey, who studied in the Master of Journalism program, is a joint finalist in three Walkley categories – Scoop of the Year, Public Service Journalism and 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.

The Faceless Man was recognised in two categories - Scoop of the Year and Television Current Affairs (more than 20 minutes).

Sumeyya, who is now covering the Victorian COVID-19 crisis as The Age’s state political reporter, worked with Chris Vedelago and Cameron Houston to win a finalist nomination for Public Service Journalism, related a series of toxic fire stories.

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

Luke Henriques-Gomes, also from The Guardian, is a finalist for the Print/Text News Report category, producing Robodebt failure exposed by leaked documents.

ABC’s 7.30 producer Chris Gillett has two finalist nominations in the Television Current Affairs (Less than 20 minutes) category with The Age’s Adele Ferguson for Alinta Exposed: Power, lies and privacy breaches, and the Radio/Audio Feature category with ABC’s Rachael Brown and the Trace Team for Trace: The Informer.

The Age journalist Nicole Precel wrote Are we failing victims of sexual violence? with colleagues Rachael Dexter and Eleanor Marsh.

This sexual violence investigation is presented as a digital journalism interactive, and The Age’s team is a finalist in two Walkley categories, Innovation and Production.

Tom Doig, who was the university’s first journalism graduate with a Monash practice PhD, is a finalist in the prestigious Walkley Book Award longlist.

Tom’s Walkley entry, Hazelwood, was the second book he wrote during his PhD.

Tom’s PhD supervisor Dr Deb Anderson said Tom was a “passionate advocate for journalism for social change”. 

Hazelwood is actually the second book Tom wrote while doing his PhD with us in Monash Journalism,” Dr Anderson said.

“His first, The Coal Face (Penguin), gave a compelling account of the 2014 mine fire. Hazelwood extends that story – both back and forward in time.

“It includes more survivor stories – Tom called these 'survivor's eye-view' narratives – on how that mine fire has continued to affect lives in the lead-up to the closure of the mine and power station, and beyond.”

Dr Anderson said the book was well deserving of a Walkley nomination.

“It's a testament to Tom’s commitment to public journalism. And we at Monash are very proud of his achievement,” she said.

Monash Head of Journalism Associate Professor Fay Anderson said Monash journalism was delighted and proud of our graduates' Walkley nominations in 10 categories.

“Their work on stories involving politics, the abuse of power, sexual violence, the environment, and Rio Tinto's devastating destruction of a 46,000-year-old Aboriginal site is a reminder of the power and importance of journalism,” Associate Professor Anderson said.

“Congratulations to our graduates and I look forward to continuing to follow their outstanding careers.”

All Walkley Award-winners will be announced in a live broadcast on Sky News Extra (Foxtel Channel 603) and streamed on the Walkley website from 7pm AEDT on Friday, November 20.

Full finalists’ list here.